Deliveries of new Black Hawks for PH Air Force start with 5 choppers
MANILA, Philippines—The first five of a batch of 16 brand new Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters have been delivered to the Philippines, according to the Department of National Defense (DND) on Monday (Nov. 9).
The helicopters were flown from Poland by a Russian Antonov heavy transport plane last Nov. 7 and unloaded at Clark Air Base in Pampanga on Monday (Nov. 9). There was a brief stop in Kuwait. A sixth unit was expected to arrive in December aboard a ship.
The DND said the Antonov could carry only five units “and as a result a sixth was loaded on a ship.”
The other 10 units were expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2021.
The helicopters were part of the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) combat utility helicopters acquisition project worth P12.1 billion. The Black Hawks were procured through a government-to-government transaction.
The helicopters, the DND said, “will greatly boost the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ capability to conduct various operations, including combat missions, humanitarian assistance and disaster response.”
The Black Hawks, the DND added, would also “help in the government’s efforts against COVID-19.”
The deal for the Black Hawks replaced the contract for 16 Bell 412EP helicopters from Canada.
President Rodrigo Duterte ended the deal for the Bell helicopters from Canadian Commercial Corp. after the Canadian government ordered a review of the purpose for which the aircraft would be used, whether for military offensives or transport missions.
The Black Hawks that are being delivered were built by PZL Mielec, a subsidiary of the American defense company Lockheed Martin.