MANILA, Aug. 19 (PNA) --- The Philippine Navy (PN)'s armed AgustaWestland AW-109E helicopters, which was commissioned last Aug.10, is now capable of shipboard service.
This was disclosed by PN public affairs office chief Cmdr. Lued Lincuna in a message to the PNA Wednesday.
"(The two armed AW-109Es are) now capable of shipboard operations and the crew are continuously honing their skills," he added.
The ship where the armed AW-109Es made their first deck landings was the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-15), one of the two Gregorio Del Pilar-class frigates in PN service.
The landings were part of the ship's operational readiness evaluation for this year.
Lincuna said the landings (deck landing qualification in Navy parlance) took place last week.
All pilots and crewmen of the two armed AW-109Es participated in the exercise, he added. The PN's armed AW-109Es are equipped with two .50 caliber pods and six 2.74 inch rocket launchers each.
The PN's AW-109E contract for five helicopters, including the two armed units, is worth Php1.33 billion.
The AW-109 "Power" 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, paramedics and military applications by customers in almost 50 countries.
(PNA)By Priam F. Neomuceno