Russian envoy optimistic on chopper deal with Philippines
MANILA, Philippines — Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev is optimistic that Manila would soon enter a deal with Moscow for the purchase of combat helicopters.
“Both sides are working on that. I believe the outcome would be positive. Our Philippine partners will get the best helicopters,” he told reporters in a press conference in his Makati residence on Tuesday.
There were reports in late September that the Armed Forces of the Philippines would buy 16 units of Mil Mi-17 heavy-lift helicopters from Russia.
Khovaev did not confirm if this was the same deal that they are looking to enter into but expressed readiness to supply the Philippines with much-needed air assets.
“We are ready and I hope we will supply Russian helicopters for the Philippines… I’m sure we are on the right track,” he said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said last week that the purchase for Mi-17 is still under study.
“There is an intention to (buy) their heavy-lift helicopters Mi-17. Evaluation and discussion with the Russians are ongoing. We believe that these platforms are ideal for combat operations, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster response and mercy missions,” he told INQUIRER.net. /kga
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