The Department of National Defense (DND) for the Philippines will begin the acquisition process for two brand new anti-submarine helicopters this week. It will be the first time the small republic has sought to procure helicopters for such a mission.
The two anti-submarine helicopters will primarily be “ship-based with mission-essential equipment,” said Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, a spokesperson for the Philippine Navy.
The invitation to bid on the P5.4-billion ($120 billion) contract, which will include integrated logistics support, will be opened to both local and foreign rotorcraft manufacturers. A pre-bid conference to familiarize potential contractors with the requirements has tentatively been scheduled for April 24 at the DND’s Camp Aguinaldo headquarters in Queson City.
The proposed acquisition of the two helicopters, however, did not come without controversy. Rep. Rodolpho Albano III of the Philippines House of Representatives wanted his legislative colleagues to scrutinize the need for the aircraft more closely if not cancel the process altogether – before moving forward with bid invitations.
“What do we need those anti-submarine choppers for?” asked Albano. “Do communist guerillas and the remaining [religious] separatists possess submarines, or are we preparing for a possible confrontation with China?” He went on to suggest that the money could be put to better use equipping ground soldiers with new uniform clothing items.
The deadline for submission of a bid is April 24, with delivery of goods required within 730 days of contract award.