Armed AW-109Es commissioned; 2 Australian donated LCHs blessed

The Philippine Navy (PN) formally commissioned into service its two armed AgustaWestland AW-109E “Power” helicopters in simple ceremonies at Naval Station Jose Andrada, on Roxas Boulevard, Manila Monday. The helicopters are armed with .50 caliber machinegun pods and 2.75 inch rocket launchers.

Cmdr. Lued Lincuna, PN public affairs office chief, said that armed AW-109Es are also equipped with maritime air surveillance capability, amphibious air support operations and weather search radar and forward looking infrared systems that enhances the Navy’s maritime air surveillance and close air support for ground troops.

The 8 a.m. commissioning ceremonies were spearheaded by outgoing PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Jesus C. Millan.

Meanwhile, the two Australian-donated landing craft heavies (LCHs) were also blessed Monday.

The two LCHs vessels were christened as BRP Ivatan (AT-298) and BRP Batak (AT-299) to preserve the distinctiveness of the two ethnic groups of Palawan and Batanes.

These ships were donated by the Australian government last January. They arrived in Sangley Point, Cavite last August 7.