The Philippines currently has no ASW capabilities, where a number of submarines being operated by neighboring countries are growing.
In response, the Philippines is eyeing up to three Submarines in second Phase of AFP modernization.
But before the Submarine acquisition, the Philippine Navy must be equip first with technical expertise. With this plan the Navy mulls to acquire sophisticated equipment such as Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft and ASW Helicopter.
In May 2014, the Navy announced that it is looking at the possibility of acquiring 2 ASW helicopters.
Airbus Helicopters with its local partner PT Dirgantara Indonesia offer the AS565 Panther. AgustaWestland on the other hand, is also offering their new AW-159 Wildcat helicopter.
Bell Helicopter with its Bell 412EP , NHIndustries with NH90, and Sikorsky with its S-70B Seahawk were also reported to have shown interest but did not joined the bidding.
In October 2014, DND made some major changes in the Technical Specifications of the ASW helicopter, which AgustaWestland and PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Persero) submitted a letter clarifying some changes.
In November 2014, a bidding started but no details released.
In March 2016, 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.
It is reported, 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.
The purchase is part of Philippine military modernization, mainly in response to a tense territorial dispute with China.
Primary users of the helicopter are:
- United Kingdom Army Air Corps
- United Kingdom Royal Navy
- Republic of Korea Navy
- Soon the Philippine Navy
AW-159 can be fitted with forward firing CRV7 rockets, mounted machine gun, Sea Skua missiles, Sting-Ray torpedoes and depth charges.
The AW159s are expected to be deployed in the Philippine Navy BRP Gregorio Del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz frigates
With the aim of providing the Philippine Navy anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface capabilities, the helicopters are expected to be delivered in 2018.