The Department of National Defense (DND) on Sunday expressed its gratitude to President Rodrigo R. Duterte for his readiness to purchase more helicopters to replace the ageing UH-I “Huey” combat utility helicopters of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong issued this statement in the wake of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s announcement last Friday to acquire more helicopters for PAF and decommission its ageing assets to protect the lives of military personnel.
“The DND expresses its sincerest gratitude for President Duterte’s approval of the purchase of more helicopters for the PAF to replace the ageing Hueys,” he added.
Andolong also pointed out that PAF received six modern S-70i “Black Hawk” late last year which is part of the 16 units ordered from Polish company Polskie Zaklady Lotnicze Sp.z.o.o. and manufactured under license from Sikorsky USA.
The entire order is worth USD241 million or about PHP11.5 billion.
The remaining 10 S-70is are expected to be delivered this year.
The “Black Hawks” were procured through a government-to-government transaction with Poland.
The negotiations were completed in 2019.
The acquisition of the S-70i combat utility helicopters was part of Horizon 2 of the AFP Modernization Program.
“With the President’s announcement of his intention to acquire more helicopters, we see it as a positive development as the procurement of additional combat utility helicopters (CUH) can now proceed smoothly and without delay because it came from the President himself,” he added.
All PAF UH-Is were ordered grounded following the Jan. 16 mishap in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon on January 16, killing five military personnel and two militiamen. (PNA)