Philippines to acquire 32 new Black Hawk helicopters: Lorenzana

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2022 04:07 PM

MANILA — The Philippines is buying 32 new S-70i Black Hawk helicopters to boost its disaster response capabilities, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Sunday.

In a statement, Lorenzana said the government issued a notice of award to Poland's PZL Mielec on Dec. 28 for the project that includes logistics support and a training package for pilots and maintenance crew.

The project costs P32 billion, he said.

"The contract agreement is now being drafted, after which I will issue a notice to proceed to officially commence the project," Lorenzana said.

The defense chief said the first batch of the helicopters, composed of five units, will be delivered in 2023. The remaining batches will be delivered in the succeeding years: 10 units in 2024 and 2025, and seven units in 2026.

"The lack of transport planes and helicopters have never been more acute during the pandemic and in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette," Lorenzana said.

"This was exacerbated by our aging Hueys that have become uneconomical to maintain," he added.

Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) was the strongest storm to enter the Philippines in 2021, causing widespread damage in Visayas and parts of Mindanao. Authorities say the typhoon left more than 400 people dead.


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