Duterte OKs acquisition of 15 Black Hawk helicopters
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the acquisition of 15 Black Hawk helicopters, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced on Thursday.
“The President has approved the acquisition of 15 Black Hawk helicopters as part of plans to slowly address the growing heli-lift deficiency of our Armed Forces and decommission all Huey helicopters,” he said in a press briefing.
The incident in Bukidnon was the 4th crash since July last year, Nograles said, and the President wants to “end all these tragic deaths.”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier ordered the grounding of all UH-1H “Huey” helicopters of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
The number of 15 Black Hawk units is only “indicative” and can still change depending on available funds, Nograles said.
Nograles said the actual number of units actually needed for a fleet of 55 helicopters to cover the country’s over 7,000 islands, but Duterte allowed only 15 due to budgetary constraints.
He expressed hope that a supply agreement would be signed before Duterte’s term ends in June 2022.
The Philippine government has an existing order of 16 Black Hawk S-70i combat utility helicopters (CUHs) from Polish company PZL Mielec. Six units were already delivered.
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