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All Eight ROK Navy AW159 Wildcat Naval Helicopters Now Operational

Naval Forces News - South Korea
All Eight ROK Navy AW159 Wildcat Naval Helicopters Now Operational
The Republic of Korea Navy (ROK Navy) announced that four more of its newly acquired AW159 Wildcat maritime helicopters are now operational, meaning the entire fleet is now ready for combat operations. The ROK Navy acquired eight AW159 last year in two batches in June and December, respectively. The first four were deployed in February this year with Incheon-class frigates.
ROK Navy AW159 Wildcat helicopter ASW exercise frigate Gwangju 1A ROK Navy AW159 Wildcat maritime helicopter conducting an ASW exercise for the first time with Incheon-class frigate Gwangju. Picture: ROK Navy
"The remaining four were deployed at a front-line fleet and put into maritime operations today," the ROK Navy said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the ROK Navy the deployment of the Wildcat in operation is expected to further enhance its ability to counter North Korean submarine threats, thereby enhancing its three-dimensional operational capability.
ROK Navy AW159 Wildcat helicopter ASW exercise frigate Gwangju 3The Wildcat deploying the Thales FLASH dipping sonar
The AW159 is a new generation multi-role military helicopter that has now replaced Lynx helicopters in service with the Royal Navy and British Army. The Wildcat has been ordered by the Philippine Navy as well.

ROK Navy Wildcats are fitted with a Seaspray 7400E radar offering 360 degrees coverage, Thales FLASH dipping sonar, sonobuys, Blue Shark lightweight torpedoes and 12.7mm machine guns. In January 2014, DAPA announced it will equip its Wildcat helicopters with Spike NLOS missiles to provide a stand-off attack capability for engaging targets such as ground artillery and small vessels. The helicopters are expected to operate from the ROK Navy's Incheon-class guided missile / coastal defense frigates. These will be used for search-and-rescue missions, anti-submarine warfare and surveillance.

In response to the North's growing submarine threats, the South's Navy plans to acquire a dozen more new anti-submarine warfare helicopters in a 900 billion-won (US$782 million) program. Leonardo Helicopters, the manufacturer of the AW-159, hopes for a repeat order. Other candidate models include Sikorsky's MH-60R and NHIndustries' NH-90.