MANILA – Five of the 16 Polish-made Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters acquired for the Philippine Air Force have arrived in the Philippines, with another one expected to be delivered via sea next month.
"Yes, the five arrived in Clark (Air base in Angeles City, Pampanga) aboard an Antonov heavy transport plane (An-124). The sixth was loaded on a ship that will arrive on Dec. 2," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a message to the Philippine News Agency late Monday.
The 16 helicopters, acquired from Polish company Polskie Zaklady Lotnicze Sp.z.o.o, were manufactured under license from Sikorsky USA and had a contract price of USD241,461,699 (around PHP11.6 billion).
The project was procured through a government-to-government transaction with Poland. The negotiations were completed in 2019.
The acquisition of the Polish-made S-70i Black Hawk combat helicopters is part of Horizon 2 of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (AFPMP).
The Antonov plane took off from Rzeszow-Jasionka Airport, Poland on Nov. 7 and arrived at Clark Air Base on Monday.
"We will wait for the PAF to designate the commissioning date and unit whey will be assigned," he added.
Meanwhile, DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the remaining 10 units of the Polish-made S-70i Black Hawks will be delivered early next year.
Andolong added that the S-70i will greatly boost the AFP's capability to conduct various operations, including combat missions, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response, and help in the government's efforts against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. (PNA)