MANILA, -- Aircraft manufacturer AgustaWestland is now undergoing post-qualification checks after being selected as the sole proponent of the Department of National Defense (DND)'s PHP5.4 billion anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter project.
DND Undersecretary for Finance, Munitions and Modernization Fernando Manalo disclosed the information in a text message to the Philippines News Agency.
Post-qualification refers to the background check to determine the capability of the manufacturer to deliver the equipment on time and comply with the specifications requested by the contracting party.
Manalo did not give the exact time frame for the post-qualification checks but said that it is now ongoing.
AgustaWestland was selected by the DND as the possible supplier of its two ASW helicopters late in 2015.
Manalo said AgustaWestland offered the Philippines its brand-new AW-159 "Wildcat" anti-submarine helicopter.
The AW-159 (previously called the Future Lynx and Lynx Wildcat) is an improved version of the Westland Super Lynx military helicopter.
It is ordered for the British Army and the United Kingdom's Royal Navy.
It has a crew of two, has a maximum speed of 291 km/h (181 mph), range of 777 km (483 miles), ferry range of 963 km (598 miles) and an endurance of one and a-half hours (fours hours and 30 minutes if fitted with auxiliary fuel)
The AW-159 is fitted with forward firing CRV7 rockets and machine guns, pintle mounted machine gun, Sea Skua missiles and Sting-Ray torpedoes and depth charges.
The ASW helicopter project is one of the seven military modernization projects which President Benigno S. Aquino III has given DND the green-light to go into a "multi-year contract" last November.
Projects placed under the "multi-year contract" include the two missile-armed frigates, eight amphibious assault vehicles, two long-range patrol aircraft, six close-air support aircraft, munition for the brand-new FA-50PH jet fighters and surveillance radars.
Manalo earlier said payment from the seven projects will run from 2015 to 2018.
Granting of the "multi-year contract" will allow to pursue the military modernization program beyond Aquino's term, he added.
The total value of the seven projects is about PHP44 billion.
The AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat at the Farnborough International Airshow on July 14-20, 2014.