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PAF, DND hold flight demo of Huey choppers

/ 06:17 PM July 14, 2015

MANILA, Philippines — To prove that its aircraft were “mission capable,” the Philippine Air Force and the Department of National Defense conducted on Tuesdaymorning, a flight demonstration of its recently acquired Huey helicopters.

Six UH-1H helicopters from Villamor Air Base flew to Camp Aguinaldo in formation to demonstrate the capability and functionality of the aircraft.

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“We want to clarify certain issues coming out in the media. So we thought of bringing these seven UH 1H helicopters and two UH 1D to see their capabilities,” said Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

The helicopters were part of the P1.2-billion helicopter deal with an American firm which the DND later partially terminated for failure to deliver the units on time.

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Before the partial termination of the deal with the Rice Aircraft Services, an American firm, a newspaper report claimed that the aircraft were “defective.”

The purchase of the 21 helicopters was supposed to boost the capability of the Philippine Air Force.

Maj. Gen. Galileo Gerald Kintanar Jr., chief of staff of the Philippine Air Force, said the demonstration was to present to the media their two reliable work horses.

“These were the subject of controversy as of late… We hope that these will help us correct any wrong perceptions that may form in the public’s mind,” he said.

Some members of the media were selected to ride the aircraft as part of the demonstration to show that the helicopters were functioning and safe.

Gazmin himself has ridden the two different helicopters as he assured that the aircraft were all operational and functional.

As to allegations that there was a 15 percent kickback in the P1.2 billion helicopter deal, the defense secretary brushed these claims off as lies.

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“Those are all lies. The allegations must be substantiated, but there are none,” he added.

The demonstration flight lasted for less than 30 minutes, with six helicopters going around the airspace of Camp Aguinaldo.

“We assure that our Hueys are fully mission capable,” Kintanar added.

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TAGS: Armed Forces of the Philippines, bidding, defective aircraft, Department of National Defense, flight demonstration, Galileo Gerald Kintanar Jr., Government contracts, Helicopters, Huey helicopters, irregularities, Kickback, news, Philippine Air Force, procurement, Rice Aircraft Services, UH 1D, UH-1H, Villamor Air Base, Voltaire Gazmin
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