With the AgustaWestland AW-109E “Power” helicopters now in service, Philippine Navy spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said that these new planes can increase the range and reach of Filipino warships conducting maritime patrols.
The AW-109Es were deployed on their first mission on May 21 following their formal commissioning last Dec. 22.
The Navy operates three AW-109Es, with another two — the armed versions — expected to be delivered before the end of the year.
They will be serving aboard the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), two of the PN’s most modern and capable ships.
Arevalo said these helicopters can take off and land while their host vessels are underway.
“The AW-109Es will also be of great contribution to search-and-rescue operations during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, and of course to the morale of our sailors and marines,” the PN spokesperson stressed.
The AW-109 “Power” helicopter is a three-ton class eight-seat helicopter powered by two Pratt and Whitney PW206C engines.
The spacious cabin is designed to be fitted with a number of modular equipment packages for quick and easy conversion between roles.
The aircraft’s safety features include a fully separated fuel system, dual hydraulic boost system, dual electrical systems and redundant lubrication and cooling systems for the main transmission and engines.
The AW-109 has established itself as the world’s best selling light-twin helicopter for maritime missions.
Its superior speed, capacity and productivity combined with reliability and ease of maintenance make it the most cost-effective maritime helicopter in its class.
For shipboard operations, the aircraft has a reinforced-wheeled landing gear and deck mooring points as well as extensive corrosion protection measures.
The ability to operate from small ships in high sea state enables the AW-109 to perform its mission when many others helicopters would be confined to the ship’s hangar.
Over 550 AW-109 “Power” and AW-109 light utility helicopters have been ordered for commercial, para-public and military applications by customers in almost 50 countries.