PAF to accept 6 brand new combat choppers

By Priam Nepomuceno

December 9, 2020, 9:05 am

<p>A Polish-made Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopter<em> (Photo courtesy of Department of National Defense)</em></p>

A Polish-made Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopter (Photo courtesy of Department of National Defense)

MANILA – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will formally accept into service on Thursday six Polish-made Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters delivered last month.

The acceptance, turnover, and blessing ceremonies will be held at 9 a.m. at the Haribon Hangar, Clark Air Base, Angeles City, Pampanga, PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Aristides Galang said in an advisory.

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will be the guest-of-honor, Galang said.

The first five units of S-70i were delivered via the Antonov An-124 heavy aircraft to Clark Air Base last November 9 while the sixth arrived aboard a ship on November 27.

The six helicopters are part of 16 units acquired from Polish company Polskie Zaklady Lotnicze Sp.z.o.o and manufactured under license from Sikorsky USA for a contract price of USD241 million.

The helicopters were 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.

Earlier, DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said the remaining 10 units of the Polish-made S-70i Black Hawks would be delivered in early 2021.

"The remaining 10 units are expected to be delivered within the first quarter of 2021," he added.

Andolong added that the S-70i would boost the AFP's capability to conduct various operations, including combat missions, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response, and help in the government efforts against the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

The Black Hawk, designated as a medium transport helicopter, is capable of flying at speeds of 224mph/361kph and has a range of 290 miles/460 km. (PNA)