2 firms to join bidding for anti-submarine helicopters

By Alexis Romero, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 21 2014 03:00 AM | Updated as of May 21 2014 11:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Two firms have so far showed interest to join the bidding for the purchase of two Navy anti-submarine helicopters worth P5.4 billion.

The STAR learned that the Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland and America’s Bell Helicopter bought bid documents for the project.

It remains uncertain, however, whether these firms will indeed join the bidding slated next month.

There have been instances when a prospective supplier bought bid documents but did not submit an offer.

AgustaWestland has won previous biddings related to the Philippine military’s upgrade efforts.

The company bagged the contract for the supply of eight brand new attack helicopters worth P3.44 billion and five AW 109 Power helicopters worth P1.35 billion.

Bell Helicopter, based in Fort Worth, Texas, has key logistics supply and service centers in Europe, Canada, Singapore and the United States.

Last month, Bell Helicopter announced that it signed a deal with the Canadian Commercial Corp. for the supply of eight Bell 412EP helicopters to be delivered to the Philippine military.

Three of the eight helicopters will be configured as VIP helicopters while the rest will replace the old Bell helicopters acquired during the Ramos administration.

The two anti-submarine helicopters are primarily ship-based, with mission essential equipment.

The air assets are expected to boost the military’s maritime security capability, as it can be rapidly deployed to protect the country’s resources.

The anti-submarine helicopter acquisition project is one of the big-ticket items in the military’s upgrade program.

This is the first time the country will acquire anti-submarine helicopters.

President Aquino announced the acquisition of the helicopters during the graduation of the Philippine Military Academy class of 2014 in February.