Wednesday, April 30, 2014

AugustaWestland's AW-109 "Power" for PAF a "Smart Choice"

AW-109 Power of Italian firm AugustaWestland
QUEZON CITY, Philippines-- Anglo-Italian firm AugustaWestland won the bidding to supply eight attack helicopters worth P3.44 billion for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

Undersecretary Fernando Manalo confirmed the report, saying the helicopters may be delivered next year if the budget is released soon.
 “If the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) releases the cash allocation, the letter of credit could be opened immediately and the helicopters could be delivered before the end of December next year,” Manalo said. 
According to Defense Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez the helicopters will be armed with two .50 caliber machine guns and rocket launchers. 
The helicopters will be capable of navigating in bad weather and performing close air support. They will be delivered with full night operation capability with complete weapons system and integrated logistics support package.
AW-109 Naval Chopper from AugustaWestland
Department of National Defense (DND) undersecretary for finance, modernization, installation and munitions Fernando Manalo said that having Navy and Air Force operate the same chopper would only need one type of simulator for training of its flight crew.
 "Having the two services operate the AW-109s means that we will just operate one type of aircraft which will greatly ease our maintenance, training and logistic procedures," he pointed out.
According to Manalo, the only difference between the Navy and Air Force AW-109s is that the latter version is armed with .50 caliber machines and rocket launchers.
 "We can also arm the Navy AW-109s if needed," the DND undersecretary said.
 The Philippine Navy (PN) is schedule to undertake the delivery of three AW-109 helicopters which it will deploy aboard its two Gregorio Del Pilar class frigates (formerly the Hamilton class cutters) in its service.
A fully Armed AW-109 "Power"
The AW-109 contract for the PN is worth P1.33 billion while the Philippine Air Force (PAF) is getting eight armed AW-109s for P3.4 billion within the next two years.
Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, Navy spokesperson, earlier said prospective airframe, avionics and flight crews of the three AW-109 choppers are now undergoing training at Sesto Calende, Italy.
 "The last batch of pilots (and technicians) undergoing training for the AW-109 will leave by the first week of November," Fabic stated.
AgustaWestland, the only bidder for the project, offered to supply the eight helicopters for $80 million US$. 
Defense officials said that the bid price is lower, compared to the helicopters purchased by other countries. The bid translates to $10.3 million usd per unit, lower than the package price per unit of the helicopters acquired by the Bulgarian police ($10.4 million usd) and the Bangladesh Navy ($11.9 million usd).
The helicopters should be delivered within 540 calendar days from the opening of the letter of credit.

With PTV News

No comments:

Post a Comment