Duterte OKs acquiring 15 new military choppers after deadly crash: aide

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 04 2021 12:41 PM | Updated as of Feb 04 2021 01:46 PM

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President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the acquisition of 15 new Black Hawk helicopters for the military after a Vietnam war-era chopper crashed in a southern province last month killing several soldiers, an official said on Thursday. 

The President last Jan. 23 said he was "hurt" when he heard about the Huey helicopter crash in Bukidnon that killed 7, including 5 military officers, and that he would look for funds to replace the air assets.

"The President wants to end all these tragic deaths. Our servicemen and their families deserve better," said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
 
The "Hueys," short for the UH-1H and UH-1D models, are Vietnam War-era helicopters that were refurbished. They serve as the main workhorse of the Philippine Air Force.

Their replacement will be "part of plans to slowly address the growing heli-lift deficiency of our Armed Forces, and number 2, decommission all Huey helicopters," Nograles told reporters in an online briefing.

The Philippines needs a total of 76 choppers, he said, quoting the defense department.

"While the President initially agreed to acquiring 55 new helicopters, that number has been managed and in fact reduced to 15, owing to the challenges we currently face," said the official.