Japan donates P2.4B worth of spare parts for PAF ‘Hueys’
The defense department has secured a Japanese government grant of P2.4 billion worth of spare parts for the fleet of ageing UH-1H “Huey” combat utility helicopters of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
The Philippines and Japan exchanged notes on Wednesday at the Department of Foreign Affairs for the turnover by the Japan Ground Self Defence Force of spare parts and maintenance equipment to the PAF.
According to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the spare parts, worth ¥5.3 billion (about P2.4 billion), will make the Air Force’s Huey helicopters more mission-ready.
More air assets
The spare parts include airframe structures; dynamic power, control, rotor hydraulic, electrical and instrument systems, as well as accessory equipment.
Lorenzana said the provision of spare parts for the Hueys would result in more air assets for ground troops’ support, as well as for humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
The Air Force has a fleet of 30 or so Hueys, which it also uses in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.
Several deactivated Hueys in PAF’s aircraft boneyards may also be put back into operation with the new spare parts, according to Air Force officials.
Schedule of transfer
After Wednesday’s exchange of notes, the Department of National Defense and Japan’s Ministry of Defense will coordinate and finalize the details and schedule of the transfer, in the first quarter of 2019 at the earliest.
“We hope that this defense equipment transfer will contribute to further cooperation between Japan and the Philippines in such areas as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief as well as maritime security,” the Japanese Embassy in Manila said in a statement. —JEANNETTE I. ANDRADE
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