Leonardo has begun flight trials at its Yeovil production facility in southern England on the first of two AgustaWestland AW159 Lynx Wildcat maritime helicopters destined for the Philippines.
The start of the trials, which was announced by the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) on 6 November, comes 32 months after the Philippine Navy announced that it had selected the Lynx Wildcat to fulfil its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter requirement.
Shortly after this selection, the DND signed a PHP5.4 billion (USD114 million at the time) contract that included the two helicopters, munitions, mission equipment, and support. This first helicopter will be handed over to the country once flight trials are complete, with the second to follow shortly after. The DND did not provide any information on when these handovers would take place.
In the ASW role the Lynx Wildcat can be configured to carry active dipping sonar (ADS), sonobuoys, and torpedoes, while for the anti-surface warfare role it can be armed with anti-ship missiles, rockets, and guns.
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