By Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AA) - Munitions for the major weapons system of the Philippine Navy’s anti-submarine helicopters are now in the country, a state-run media reported Thursday.
Navy Chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said deliveries of the weapons for two AugustaWestland AW-159 Wildcat were completed in the fourth quarter last year, according to Philippine News Agency.
"Both the Spike-NLOS [non-line of sight] missiles and the BlueShark anti-submarine torpedoes are already 'in-country'," the agency quoted Bacordo as saying, when asked about the status of the weapon systems.
The Spike NLOS missile made by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. will give the helicopters a capability to engage hostile vessels beyond visual range, the report said.
Meanwhile, the South Korean-made LIG Nex1 "Blue Shark" lightweight torpedoes will serve as the helicopters' anti-submarine weapons that are capable of shallow and deepwater operations and run off to 45 knots, it said.
Bacordo said once the pilots and aircrew of the AW-159s are fully trained, he expects them to train using these weapons to gain proficiency in their handling.
According to the report, the Navy’s two AW-159s arrived in May 2019 and were commissioned in June the same year.
The contract for the helicopters' munition, mission essential equipment and integrated logistic support is worth $111.6 million, it added.