For Lt. Cmdr. Ariel Coloma, the AgustaWestland AW-109E “Power” naval helicopter and its armed counterpart, is the most maneuverable and fastest aircraft in the inventory of the Philippine Navy. He said the AW-109E can cruise at 140 knots or 20 knots better than Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 they used to fly.
The last two which are armed version of the AW-109E were commissioned Monday. This is part of the five-helicopter deal, worth Php1.33-billion, signed by the Philippines with AgustaWestland early 2013.
Coloma, a Navy Air Group pilot with 750 flying hours, also said that their newest helicopter can also be made fly at a sizzling 160 knots. But he will not recommend it during normal operations as this is close to their never-exceed 168 knot limit which can seriously damage or destroy the AW-109E if persisted.
Another interesting feature of this aircraft is the autopilot feature which “can be use in three axis” of flight which can greatly help the pilot in controlling the helicopter. Coloma also said that the AW-109Es have a ferry range of 300 nautical miles and is very maneuverable for its size.
The AW-109 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.