Arming the AW109s: the Easy Way

SHAH ALAM: THE Philippine Navy (PN) has taken the normal route or the easy way in weaponising or arming its AW109 helicopters unlike our own Malaysian Army. They simply used gun pods which is already certified for the helicopter by the manufacturer.

According to a Janes report, the two of the PN’s AW109s had been weaponised and are now ready for deployment on board its Pilar (Hamilton and Hero)-class frigates.

For the full story go here.. The Philippine Navy procured five AW109s, with two examples weaponised or armed.

Philippine Navy armed AW109s.
Philippine Navy armed AW109s.

According to the same report “The weaponised versions carry two 12.7 mm machine gun pods, each with launchers for three 70 mm laser-guided rockets.” It did not specify the type of gun pod but most likely it is the FN RMP LC.

The Philippine Navy AW109. Note the gun pods.
The Philippine Navy AW109. Note the gun pods.

From the FN website: The RMP LC is a self-contained airborne weapon system that includes a .50 cal FN M3P (1,100 RPM) combat-proven machine gun, 250-round ammunition box, firing actuator and cocking device in one casing, allowing outstanding performance in all environments. The FN RMP can also accept guided or unguided 2.75” rockets.

The FN RMP LC gun pod.
The FN RMP LC gun pod.

It is also likely the Philippine Army which also bought 8 AW109s will go the same route as its sister service when it come to weaponise their helicopters.

As reported before, the Army has also armed some of its AW109s. Instead with gun pods like the RMP LC, a number of the PUTD AW109s – at least six – are armed with a 7.62mm Gatling gun fitted inside the cabin.

A visitor posing with an Army AW109 LOH fitted with a mini gun at LIMA 2015
A visitor posing with an Army AW109 LOH fitted with a mini gun at LIMA 2015

The Gatling gun armed AW109s are now based in Semporna, Sabah as part of the security build-up in response to the 2013 incursion in Lahad Datu and the continuing kidnap for ransom activities. Apart from the AW109s, RMAF Nuri and Cougars operating in the ESSCOM area will also be armed with pintle mounted machine guns.

A Nuri armed with a 12.7mm machinegun during a visit by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammudin Hussein in late 2014.
A Nuri armed with a 12.7mm machinegun during a visit by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammudin Hussein in late 2014.

The Nuri will be armed with the 12.7mm machine-gun while the Cougars with FN MAG. Once RMAF Blackhawks are deployed to the area, they will also be armed with the Gatling guns.

By the way, I am not disparaging the Philippine Navy in any way for taking the easy way. Far from it, the easy way is probably the best thing in most human pursuits.

— Malaysian Defence

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