Quantcast
Latest Stories

Defense chief says purchase of 8 Sokol choppers from Poland is last

By

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—”Of what use is a combat helicopter if you cannot use its machine gun?” President Aquino asked in his State of the Nation Address on Monday.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the purchase of eight Sokol helicopters from Poland would be the last by the Department of National Defense (DND) since they could not be used in combat, after all.

“I understand helicopters because I’m a combat officer. The first thing I noticed was, why do you have to remove the machine gun before you can get inside it? The entrance is too narrow, it’s all wrong,” said Gazmin, a former Army Special Forces commander.

The P2.8-billion deal with Augusta PZL Swidnik of Italy and Poland for eight Sokol helicopters had been signed, sealed and delivered when he assumed office in July 2010, Gazmin said.

“We just had to make the payment,” he said.

The eight Sokol (Falcon in Polish) helicopters were delivered in two batches in 2012.

The contract was finalized during the last months of the Arroyo administration when Norberto Gonzales, the national security adviser, was also defense secretary.

When the first batch of four choppers arrived in March 2012, the PAF hailed the addition to their depleted air assets.

The Sokols were supposed to replace the Vietnam-vintage UH-1H Huey helicopters the PAF used in search and rescue, medical evacuation and combat utility missions.

But in his Sona on Monday, President Aquino said the helicopters could not be used to ferry soldiers to combat zones because the machine guns were mounted at the door, blocking entry and exit.

“If you are a soldier entering the fray at the height of battle, of what use is a machine gun that is set aside and unable to fire? Did no one think about this before the contracts were signed? Why was this even approved in the first place?” Aquino said.

Gazmin said he had not made up his mind whether or not to order an investigation and go after those responsible for the purchase of the Sokols even if these did not meet the PAF’s requirements.

“We’ll study that. I cannot answer that question yet,” he said.

He said the helicopters would be used in search and rescue missions and the DND would proceed with the acquisition of attack helicopters. “But no longer the Sokol. We are looking at other brands of aircraft and helicopters.”

Related stories:

Sokol helicopter deal signed before Gazmin’s term

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/451365/sokol-helicopter-deal-signed-before-gazmins-term

Second batch of Sokol choppers delivered to PAF

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/315841/second-batch-of-sokol-choppers-delivered-to-paf

AFP air upgrade hits snag: ‘Lo-bat’

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/438629/afp-air-upgrade-hits-snag-lo-bat

Aquino vows to beef up Philippines’ air power

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/436579/aquino-vows-to-beef-up-philippines-air-power


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Benigno Aquino III , Defense , Department of Defense , Global Nation , Government Procurement , Helicopters , Philippine Government , Philippine president , Poland , Security , Sokol helicopters , Voltaire Gazmin




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Ex-PBA player Bryan Gahol dies in road mishap
Advertisement

News

  • Napoles tags over 100 officials in pork scam – Lacson
  • Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Sandigan junks Marcos family claim to Paoay property
  • Sports

  • Caguioa blasts ‘no heart, soft’ Ginebra on Twitter
  • San Mig Coffee grinds out win over Alaska to force decider
  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement