Philippines eyes anti-sub choppers

Posted at 11/19/12 7:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines plans to buy 2 anti-submarine helicopters for the military, a defense official said Monday.

The aircraft, worth about P5 billion, are being sought by the Philippine Navy, according to Fernando Manalo, Department of National Defense (DND) undersecretary for finance, munitions, installations and materiel.

"That is part of the modernization program that we envision to implement for the next five years," he said.

Four different types of anti-submarine helicopters are being considered, Manalo said.

The AgustaWestland AW-109, a twin-engine, eight-seat multipurpose chopper, is among the aircraft being assessed, a source said.

"We are just waiting for the issuance of the acquisition decision memorandum [from Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin]. We will deploy them [the helicopters] with the frigates that we are trying to also acquire," Manali said.

The Philippines also plans to buy 2 Maestrale-class frigates, worth P11.7 billion, from Italy.

The money that will be used to buy the helicopters wil be sourced from the P75 billion modernization program extension proposal that the military wants Congress to approve.