SHAH ALAM: The Joneses… More Blackhawks for the Philippines. The Philippines government in Manila signed a contract for 32 Sikorsky S70i Blackhawk helicopters for $624 million (RM2.6 billion) today (February 22, 2022). The deal for helicopters will also include an integrated logistics support and training package for pilots and maintenance crew, GMA newspaper reported.
It further reported that
“The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is very happy with the Black Hawk helicopters,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said during the signing ceremony held at the DND building in Camp Aguinaldo.
“Hopefully, the delivery of these new utility helicopters will start soon. I think we will not be here anymore to receive these helicopters, but nonetheless, we will be happy to see the improvement of the capability of the Philippine Air Force,” he added.
Lorenzana signed on behalf of the DND, while Mr. Janusz Zakrecki, PZL Mielec President represented the Polish company during the ceremony.The PAF also previously purchased 16 Black Hawk helicopters from PZL Mielec of Poland, with the final batch delivered and received in November 2021.
The first batch of six units was delivered in November 2020, followed by the second batch of five units in June 2021.
“Unfortunately we lost one in July due to accident. That is acceptable risk of flying helicopters at night during bad weather,” the Lorenzana said.
When the new batch of Blackhawks are delivered by 2026, PAF will have a fleet of 47 Blackhawks, allowing it to retire the remaining Vietnam era Bell UH1-Huey helicopters from service. PAF also operates up to eight Bell 412EP helicopters purchased in 2014 which would be supplemented by 16 more examples in 2018 but canceled after Canadian politician express opposition to the purchase. The Philippines then purchased the 16 Blackhawks in 2019.
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