07 Desember 2015
PAF AW-109E with 12.7mm (.50 caliber) FN M3P machine gun (photos : Inquirer)
MANILA (PNA) -- All of the six newly-commissioned AgustaWestland AW-109E attack helicopters will be based at Danilo Atienza Air Base in Sangley Point, Cavite and will be utilized in internal security operations (ISO).
This was disclosed by Philippine Air Force chief-of-air staff Major Gen. Galileo Gerard Kintanar on Saturday.
Danilo Atienza Air Base is the headquarters of the PAF's 15th Strike Wing, the Air Force's primary ground attack unit.
"All (AW-109 attack helicopters) will be stationed in Sangley Point, Cavite and (pilots tasked to operate the aircraft) will undergo training to properly operate the helicopter," Kintanar said.
The helicopters will make their first operational deployment in Mindanao by the second quarter of 2016.
"Some of them will be deployed in Mindanao, that is where the aircraft are needed for ISO and hopefully all of them will be deployed by early 2017. So in 2016, we see the initial deployment of a couple of them by the second quarter and as we train more pilots to operate and fly them, all of them will be flying in deployment areas by 2017," Kintanar said.
The first PAF attack AW-109s were commissioned last Aug. 17 while the remaining six were formally accepted for PAF service on Dec. 5.
The Philippines signed an eight-unit attack AW-109E order with AgustaWestland in 2013 for PhP3.44 billion.
Kintanar said the eight attack AW-109es will remedy the dwindling number of MG-520 attack helicopters primarily used for close-air support missions.
"Definitely it will significantly increase our capability for close-air support as the (PAF) commanding general (Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado) said we only have a dozen of the MG-520 so this is a welcome addition of capabilities. What is important is it has more capabilities to speak of, it will be able to carry more ordnance and it can operate at night," he added.