MANILA, Philippines - The purchase of 21 refurbished Huey helicopters will help the military better secure the 2013 elections, a defense official said Monday.
The helicopters will improve the Philippines Air Force's security and travel missions nationwide during the election period, according to Fernando Manalo, Department of National Defense (DND) undersecretary for finance, munitions, installations and materiel.
Six potential bidders have secured bid documents for the P1.26-billion project.
Bids will be opened by the DND's Special Bids and Awards Committee-1 on December 4.
The Air Force only has 16 Huey helicopters operating. It needs at least 51 units, according to Manalo.
"With the present national security condition, the acquisition of additional combat utility helicopters to augment the existing UH-1H 'Huey' fleet is imperative," he explained.
"The PAF's primary helicopter is the Huey, which falls under the light lift category. Having been the workhorse of AFP tactical operations for many years, the Huey fleet has succumbed to natural attrition due to structural stress and aircraft accidents," he said.
"Utility helicopters are deployed all over the Philippines and have proven to be the most effective platform for the internal security operations and the Internal Peace and Security Plan campaign," Manalo added.