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Philippine Navy commissions two AW159 helicopters, four KAAVs

19 June 2019
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The four KAAVs recently commissioned by the PN are expected to be deployed from the service’s two strategic sealift vessels. Source: Philippine Navy

The Philippine Navy (PN) commissioned two Leonardo AW159 Lynx Wildcat helicopters and four Korean Amphibious Assault Vehicles (KAAVs) in a ceremony held on 17 June at the Naval Base Heracleo Alano in Cavite City.

The AW159s, which arrived in the Philippines on 7 May 2019 as part of a PHP5.4 billion (USD101 million) contract signed with Leonardo in 2016, feature anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities and will serve with the Naval Air Wing's Squadron MH-40 at the Danilo Atienza Air Base.

The rotorcraft are expected to be deployed from the PN's two José Rizal-class frigates, the first of was which was launched on 23 May at the Ulsan facility of South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries. The keel for the second ship of the class was laid down that same day. The first of these frigates is set to be delivered to the PN in September 2020 and the second one in 2021.

In the ASW role the AW159s can be equipped with active dipping sonar, sonobuoys, depth charges, and torpedoes, as Jane's previously reported. In the anti-surface warfare role the helicopters can be fitted with anti-ship missiles, rockets, and guns.

The service also commissioned the first four of eight KAAVs ordered in April 2016 from South Korean defence company Hanwha Techwin for PHP2.42 billion. The vehicles, which arrived in the country in the first week of May, are armed with .50 calibre machine guns and 40 mm grenade launchers and smoke launchers, and will be operated by the Philippine Marine Corps.

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