MANILA - The country's two new helicopters worth P5.4 billion arrived in Manila on Monday, giving the Philippine Navy its first-ever capability to "detect and destroy" submarines.
Navy chief Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad said the AW159 Wildcat anti-submarine helicopters, acquired from a UK-based aircraft manufacturer, can "locate submarines that pass our waters."
"It can detect and it can sink, it can destroy submarines because they are armed with torpedoes. (They're) not only designed for detection, they can also destroy (submarines)," he said.
He, however, added that the Navy needs more anti-submarine assets to protect the country's vast maritime territory.
"They're only two, so what they'll see is going to be limited. We have a vast sea. But at least we already started it (acquisition of anti-submarine assets)...We have no (anti-submarine) capability before, this is the first time we're having this capability," he said.
Empedrad said the Navy is planning to install some of its ships with anti-submarine capability.
The AW159s will be initially embarked on two of the three Del Pilar class vessels of the Navy but will be eventually assigned with 2 brand new frigates due to be delivered by Hyundai Heavy Industries in 2020 and 2021.
Empedrad said the helicopters will undergo Customs procedures and inspection by the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee before they will be formally accepted by the Navy.
Once formally accepted, the aircraft will be among the newly-acquired assets that will be featured during the Navy's 121st foundation anniversary in Cavite later this month.