By Betheena Unite
The new airbus helicopter of the Philippine Coast Guard had its maiden flight Wednesday before it will be utilized in search and rescue missions, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.
Admiral Joel Garcia, Coast Guard commandant, led the inspection and the maiden flight of the one the two new airbus helicopters at the Coast Guard National Headquarters in Manila.
The two new equipment – H145 light twin engine helicopters – came from Germany and are part of the modernization program of the PCG.
The H145 is a 4-ton-class twin-engine helicopter equipped with high frequency radios, emergency flotation gear, fast roping, cargo sling, search light, and electro-optical systems. A total of P685 million was spent to acquire one unit of the aerial asset, which were purchased under the the Coast Guard’s Light to Medium Multi-Purpose Twin Engine Helicopter Acquisition Project.
Garcia said the helicopters will perform critical missions, including search and rescue, medical evacuation, maritime patrol, and maritime law enforcement.
Coast Guard personnel, who will man the newest helicopters, have already finished their comprehensive training in Germany last year, the commandant added.
Earlier, the organization disclosed that it will acquire two 94-meter multi-role response vessel, the future biggest patrol ships of the PCG.
The ships have maximum speed of not less than 24 knots and an endurance of not less than 4,000 nautical miles. Early this month, the Department of Transportation and the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. signed the contract for the supply and delivery of the vessels.
The vessels will be used in responding to maritime incidents in the country’s waters, up to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), such as search and rescue operations, maritime security operations, and marine environmental protection, among others.
The vessels are expected to be delivered to the country by 2022. The water assets are acquired under the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project, Phase II.