The Department of National Defense expects to take delivery of the three AugustaWestland AW109 naval helicopters in 2014, a year after the government submits a letter of credit to the British-Italian manufacturer within the first quarter of this year.
Upon acceptance of the letter of credit, the helicopter builder and supplier has 365 working days to deliver the aircraft to the Philippines.
The DND announced that the contract of agreement for the three naval helicopters were signed last Dec. 20 with AugustaWestland S.P.A. The three rotary wing aircraft has a net price of P1,337,176,584.
“The acquisition of these naval helicopters is one concrete step towards the fulfillment of our goal to modernize the Philippine Navy, and our Armed Forces in general,” DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said, adding that the helicopters were bought through negotiated procurement.
On Nov. 28, AugustaWestland was declared by the Naval Helicopter Acquisition Project Negotiating Committee as the single calculated and responsive proponent after going through the negotiated procurement.
The Italian Ministerio Della Difesa conducted a review of AugustaWestland’s proposal for the procurement of AW109 Power Helicopter, including related logistic support and found out that the price per helicopter “seems to have been progressively reduced,” meaning they were sold cheaper.
The AW-109 a twin-engine, eight-seat multipurpose chopper.
First flown as the Agusta A109 in 1971, the craft has proven itself in light transport, medevac, search-and-rescue, and military roles.
It has a crew of one or two pilots and is capable of carrying seven to eight passengers and length of 42 feet 9 inches (13.04 meters). The AW-109 has a rotor diameter 36 feet 2 inches (11.00 meters). It has height of 11 feet 6 inches (3.50 meters).
The AW109 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada 206C or Turbomeca Arrius 2K1 turboshafts, 567 hp or 571 hp (423 kW or 426 kW) each. It has a maximum speed of 285 kilometers per hour, a ferry range of 964 kilometers and a service ceiling of 19,600 feet.
The AW-109 also has a rate of climb: 1,930 feet per minute (9.8 meter per second).
Upon the recommendation of the DND Bids and Awards Committee, Gazmin issued a notice of award last Dec. 4.
“With the other projects in the pipeline and our planned acquisition, we are now louder and clearer in our intent to upgrade the capability of our AFP to address its constitutional duty to ‘secure the sovereignty of the state and the integrity of the national territory’,” Gazmin said. -- Priam Nepomuceno
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