2 brand new choppers, 1 LCU delivered to AFP
CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines — Two brand new combat utility helicopters and one landing craft utility (LCU) have been delivered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, an addition to its transport assets amid efforts to build a minimum credible defense.
The two Bell 412 EP combat utility helicopters arrived here last week, Air Force spokesperson Colonel Enrico Canaya told reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Air Force founding anniversary.
Last year, the Philippines signed a contract of eight Bell helicopters from Canada worth P4.6 billion.
“It is still undergoing the acceptance process,” Canaya said.
The aircraft would have to undergo technical inspection before it will be commissioned to the Philippine Air Force. The delivery of all the helicopters is seen to be completed within the year.
Canaya likened the Bell choppers to Huey choppers in the Air Force inventory.
He said the Bell combat utility helicopters are “more powerful than Hueys” and is ideal for “heavy lift operations.”
In terms of capacity, it can carry up to 14 troops.
The choppers would also help in disaster response in carrying troops and cargoes, Canaya said.
Once commissioned to the Air Force, they will be housed at the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing but their deployment is not yet identified.
LCU for the Philippine Navy
The South Korean government, meanwhile, donated a transport ship for the Philippine Navy.
Navy chief Vice Admiral Jesus Millan, said the ship arrived last May 30 and is a naval shipyard in Cavite. It was shipped to the Philippines at the cost of P16 million.
Millan said the ship still has to undergo repairs worth about P26 million.
“It will be a big boost for [humanitarian assistance and disaster response] operations and troop transport,” he said.
There are five LCU in the Navy inventory but only three are operational.
“Kung tutuusin halos kaparehas din ng mga naunang LCU pero pag nagawa itong needed repairs mas maganda yung capability niya mas bago sya na model,” Millan said.
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