MANILA – The repair of the Philippine Navy’s (PN) AgustaWestland AW-109E helicopter that was involved in a mishap in Lal-lo, Cagayan last month, will take time due to the extensive damage it sustained, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday night.
“Tinitingnan pa (It is still being checked). Medyo extensive ang damage (The damage is quite extensive). It will take time for it to become operational with the damage it sustained,” Lorenzana said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) when asked whether the naval helicopter could be repaired and commissioned into service again.
He declined to comment on the exact damage sustained by the aircraft.
“I’ll ask the PN (about it),” he said.
Earlier reports said the helicopter’s rotors were among those damaged in the incident.
The PN’s AW-109E, with tail number NH-435, figured in a mishap at about 2 a.m. on September 26 as it was attempting to land on its designated station after returning from a mission in support of the Northern Luzon Command’s internal security operations.
The pilots and crew members sustained minor injuries and only stayed in the medical facility as a matter of medical procedure.
All four remaining AW-109E helicopters were later ordered grounded, pending the result of the investigation.
The PN has five AW-109s in its inventory, which were delivered from 2013 to 2016.
The Navy’s AW-109E contract for these five helicopters, including two armed units, is worth PHP1.33 billion.
The AW-109 “Power” helicopter is a three-ton class eight-seater helicopter powered by two Pratt and Whitney PW206C engines. The spacious cabin is designed to be fitted with modular equipment packages for quick and easy conversion between roles. (PNA)