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PH gov’t oks purchase of 32 units of Black Hawk helicopters


After the Notice of Award (NOA) was awarded to PZL Mielec of Poland late last year, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana stated on Sunday, Jan. 16, that the government will purchase 32 more S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters.

Lorenzana stated on Facebook that the NOA for the P32-billion project was given on December 28, 2021, and that it includes an initial logistics support package as well as training for pilots and maintenance staff.

The Contract Agreement has already been written, and the project will officially begin once a Notice to Proceed is issued.

“The delivery of these helicopters will start on CY (Calendar Year) 2023 (five units) while the remaining ones will be delivered in three batches as follows: CY2024 – 2nd batch (10 units); CY2025 – 3rd batch (10 units); and CY2026 – last batch (seven units),” Lorenzana posted.

Previously, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) completed a US$241 million purchase of 16 Black Hawk helicopters from the Polish aerospace firm (about P11.5 billion).

The first batch of six helicopters arrived in November 2020, followed by the second batch of five in June of this year, which was formally accepted, turned over, and blessed on October 13, 2021.

The final batch of five was delivered on November 8, 2021, and was formally accepted by the PAF on December 3, 2021.

“The lack of transport planes and helicopters have never been more acute during the pandemic and in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette. This was exacerbated by our aging Hueys that have become uneconomical to maintain. The 12 brand new Black Hawk bore the brunt of the work during these critical times,” Lorenzana said.

PAF S-70i aircraft are bringing relief supplies and rescue workers to areas devastated by Typhoon Odette last month.

They have also been used to transport COVID-19 vaccines in geographically distant places.

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