Php 5.4 billion was earmarked to Philippine Navy by the National Government for the acquisition of two anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters, sourced from the AFP Modernization Trust Fund according to Bids and Awards Committee that was later confirmed by Department of National Defense Undersecretary for Finance, Modernization, Installations and Munitions Fernando Manalo.
Bidding has gone through two stage of open competitive bidding procedures using non-discretionary “pass or fail” criterion as specific in Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR-A) of Republic Act 9184 otherwise known as the “Government Procurement Reform Act”.
It should be taken note that Airbus Helicopters and its local partner PT Dirgantara Indonesia together with AgustaWestland expressed interest in bidding the AS565 Panther for the program and AW-159. However no confirmation was dealt with if there was a formal bid happened. Bell Helicopter, NHIndustries, and Sikorsky were also reported to have shown interest to Philippine Navy’s project.
Last October 2014, AgustaWestland and PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Persero) submitted a letter clarifying some changes of ASW Acquisition Project. There are actually some major changes in the Technical Specifications of the helicopters. Some of the most important changes are: range in full ASW configuration with munitions was reduced from 300 nanometer (nm) to 240nm; rigidity of the airframe was further defined to withstand and survive vertical crash impacts up to 10G (1G=gravity=9.8 meters per second).
PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Persero) submitted a bid but failed the documentation requirements to prove that they were able to participate in a similar supply requirements. AgustaWestland, on the other hand, is said to have offered their new AW-159 Wildcat helicopter.
Philippine Navy had been eyeing AW-159 for their Medium Term Defense Acquisition List. If given a chance to own the said helicopters, they will be assigned to the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16). She will serve in the battlefield utility, search and rescue and anti-surface warfare roles.
Just recently, DND closed the deal with Anglo-Italian manufacturer of AgustaWestland AW-159, a contract worth Php5.3 billion (US $114 million) for the anti-submarine helicopter acquisition project of Philippine Navy.
Confined in the Notice of Award sent by DND to Mr. Roberto Parciasepe, the authorized representative of AgustaWestland Limited, is the corresponding contract price of five billion three hundred sixty two million seven hundred sixty two thousand seven hundred forty eight pesos (PHP 5,362,762,748.56) accepted by the department. Within 10 days, AgustaWestland is required to provide the performance security for the bidding documents.
In the ASW role, the AW-159 can be configured to carry Active Dripping Sonar (ADS), sonobuoys, and torpedoes, while for the anti-surface warfare role it can be armed with anti-ship missiles, rockets, and guns. Once in Philippine Navy service, the AW-159s are expected to be deployed aboard immediately.
It is deemed commanded under the specifications of the contract that the winning bidder should deliver the aircraft within 730 days or two years and seventeen days from the time of the awarding.