MANILA -- With Japan's donation of UH-1H "Huey" helicopter spare parts to the Philippine Air Force (PAF), additional rotary winged assets will be activated and put into service soon.
This was emphasized by PAF commander, Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez, during the blessing and turnover of the UH-1 spare parts and maintenance equipment donated by the Japanese government.
"With the initial spare parts given us, we will be able to immediately recover two UH-1 and the remaining spare parts that will be delivered this year, a maximum of five UH-1s, will be placed on full mission capable status," he said in the ceremony held at the Haribon Hangar, Clark Air Base, Pampanga.
Aside from reactivating these additional assets, Briguez said the Japanese donation of UH-1 spares will be a great help for the PAF's "Huey" fleet which are hard at work combating terrorism and conducting internal security operations aside from playing major roles in humanitarian assistance and disaster response and the coming national elections.
The PAF is known to operate around 20 plus units of Huey helicopters in its fleet.
"This (Japanese donation) is indeed another blessing for the continued leveling up of our capabilities. We owe an enormous and profound debt to God and the many outstanding individuals who significantly offered this blessing. To our Commander-in-Chief, President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Secretary of National Defense, Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, former and present CSAFP (Chief-of-Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines), and former Chiefs of the Air Force and most especially to the Japanese government for their continued trust and support to the PAF," Briguez said.
"Rest assured that with all these spares, the PAF will (be) all inspired and committed to perform its missions. We shall continue to demonstrate such first (rate) versatility in pushing the boundaries of available technology in our modest resources to be better equipped and more responsive. And we shall carry on with much commendable qualities in bringing the Air Force mission to higher purposes," he added.
As this developed, PAF spokesperson Maj. Aristides Galang said the turnover of the spare parts was done last March 11 when Air Force representatives visited Iruma Air Base in Saitama, Japan.
He added the formal signing of the donation of the spares was completed on March 12 at the Japan Ministry of Defense facility with Defense Undersecretary Raymundo Elefante representing the Philippine government with the PAF chief serving as witness.
Spares donated consist of airframe structures, dynamic power, control, rotor, hydraulic, electrical and instrument systems aside from other accessory items.
Galang said the initial spares were picked up by a C-130 cargo aircraft while the remaining items will be transported via Philippine Navy ship sometime this August.
Meanwhile, Lorenzana thanked the Japanese government for the spare parts donation worth 5.309 billion yen (about PHP2.5 billion) .
“With these latest spare parts and maintenance equipment for our UH-1H helicopters (from the Japanese government), the Philippine Air Force could now start the restoration of several ‘Huey’ assets parked in its hangars back to operational status again. With more UH-1H flying our skies, our capabilities would be enhanced,” the defense chief said.
He added that this makes the Philippines the first ASEAN member state to receive Japanese excess defense equipment.
“Moving forward, I sincerely hope that this increasing and growing Philippine and Japanese defense alliance and close partnership would expand further in the years to come,” Lorenzana added.
The turnover ceremony is the conclusion of the discussions and agreements between Manila and Tokyo in 2017, when Japan’s Defense Ministry first signified intent to donate excess UH-1H parts and maintenance equipment. (PNA)