MANILA, Nov. 10 (PNA News Feature) — There is a huge possibility that the Philippine Navy (PN)’s five brand-new AgustaWestland AW-109 “Power” naval helicopters will be deployed to provide additional security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in Metro Manila next week.
The five aircraft are ideal for security work as they are all equipped with NVG (night vision gear) equipment which allows their pilots to see possible threats in nighttime.
NVG is an optical instrument that allows images to be produced in levels of light approaching total darkness.
Aside from this, the AW-109E are also fitted with FLIR(forward looking infra-red) pods.
FLIR uses an imaging technology that senses infrared radiation.
The sensors installed in forward-looking infrared cameras—as well as those of other thermal imaging cameras—use detection of infrared radiation, typically emitted from a heat source (thermal radiation), to create a “picture” assembled for video output, giving idea to operating forces on exact threat composition and location.
The AW-109Es were first used for nighttime patrol during the visit of Pope Francis last Jan. 15 to 19.
Besides this sensing equipment which is capable of seeing targets in the dark, two of the AW-109Es are armed with machinegun and rocket pods giving them the capability to neutralize hostile targets instantly.
The first three AW-109Es were commissioned on Dec. 22, 2013 while the last two units were commissioned only this Aug. 10.
This is part of the five-helicopter deal worth Php1.33-billion, signed by the Philippines with AgustaWestland early 2013.
The AW-109 “Power” helicopter is a three-ton class eight seat helicopter powered by two Pratt and Whitney PW206C engines.
The spacious cabin is designed to be fitted with a number of modular equipment packages for quick and easy conversion between roles.
The aircraft’s safety features include a fully separated fuel system, dual hydraulic boost system, dual electrical systems and redundant lubrication and cooling systems for the main transmission and engines.
The AW-109 has established itself as the world’s best selling light-twin helicopter for maritime missions.
Its superior speed, capacity and productivity combined with reliability and ease of maintenance make it the most cost effective maritime helicopter in its class.
For shipboard operations, the aircraft has a reinforced-wheeled landing gear and deck mooring points as well as extensive corrosion protection measures.
The ability to operate from small ships in high sea state enables the AW-109 to perform its mission when many others helicopters would be confined to the ship’s hangar.
Over 550 AW-109 “Power” and AW-109 light utility helicopters have been ordered for commercial, parapublic and military applications by customers in almost 50 countries. Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA