On the morning of 27 April 2023, the Philippine Navy achieved another significant milestone in its development of anti-submarine warfare capability as the Philippine Navy AW159 Mk220 Wildcat helicopter with tail number NH441 successfully conducted its first deck landing aboard BRP Antonio Luna (FF151), an ASW guided missile frigate, while underway at vicinity 30 nautical miles southwest of Corregidor Island. This achievement demonstrates the growing capability and readiness of these crew and platforms as a team for ASW operations.
Both the Jose Rizal Class Frigates (JRCF) and the AW159 Mk220 Wildcat helicopters were products of the 1st Horizon Projects under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program, which were delivered and commissioned into the service in 2020/2021 and 2019, respectively. The Jose Rizal Class Frigates were built by Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea while the Philippine Navy AW159 Mk220 Wildcat Helicopters were built by Leonardo Helicopter Limited UK.
The Wildcat aircrew is yet to complete the contracted in-country training with LHUK, while the JRCFs are being utilized in the different operational areas of the country. The Philippine Navy thru the Naval Air Wing and Offshore Combat Force are taking steps to complete the integration of these game-changer assets in order to be deployed together in securing maritime domain. These initiatives are a great contribution to fulfilling the Navy’s vision of becoming a modern, multi-capable naval force responsive to our maritime nation’s defense and development.
The AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat (previously called the Future Lynx and Lynx Wildcat) is a British military helicopter. It is an improved version of the Westland Super Lynx designed to serve in the battlefield utility, search and rescue and anti-surface warfare roles. In March 2016, AgustaWestland signed a €100 million contract with the Department of National Defense for two helicopters along with training and support. On 7 May 2019, the two AW159 anti-submarine helicopters arrived in the Philippines.