President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the acquisition of 15 Black Hawk helicopters to slowly address the growing heavy-lift deficiency of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and decommissioning of its Huey helicopters.
The decision comes on the heels of a recent crash landing of a Huey helicopter, the fourth crash in the last seven months. The Huey helicopters are actually long overdue for phase out as they are more than 60 years old. The number of helicopters to be purchased may still change depending on the cost. The President had initially approved the 55 black hawk helicopters proposed by the Department of National Defense (DND) but had to reduce it to 15 due to budget constraints.
In December 2020, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) received the first six of 16 Polish-made Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters which were ordered in 2019. The remaining 10 are expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2021. These helicopters are part of the Horizon 2 of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program and were procured under the USD 241.5 million government-to-government contract with Poland.
(Sources: Philippine Daily Inquirer; Business Mirror; The Philippine Star)