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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Philippine Navy to Get Three AW109s in Modernization Plan

By Andrew Drwiega, Military Editor

The Philippine Navy will receive three AgustaWestland AW109 Power helicopters following the signing of a Dec. 20 contract between the Philippine Armed Forces and AgustaWestland at the Department of National Defense (DND).

The acquisition is valued at around $33.6 million and includes logistical support. According to a statement from the DND, in November 2012 the Naval Helicopter Acquisition Project (NHAP) identified AgustaWestland as “the single calculated and responsive proponent” (which was understood to mean that it was one of the cheapest bids, according to a review by the Italian Ministry of Defense).

Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin said that the acquisition of the AW109s was a “concrete step towards the fulfillment of our goal to modernize the Philippine Navy, and our Armed Forces in general.”

The Philippines is one of the counties becoming increasingly concerned with China’s geographic claims in areas such as the South China Sea. In December 2012, President Benigno Aquino extended the AFP Modernization Act for a further five years to allow the country’s armed forces to continue to buy new equipment. The allocated budget for acquisition is around $1.8 billion.

Parts of the Act refer to providing air support to ground and naval forces, as well as the build-up of aviation assets and capability including: “airlift, search and rescue, rapid deployment and related support in combat as well as disaster and other civilian relief operations; …and if practicable, manufacture, through Filipino skills and technology, its own requirements for aircraft and infrastructure supply and maintenance.”
Related: Procurement/Acquisition News

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