The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) has received four new S-70i Blackhawk helicopters to enhance its aviation capabilities, particularly in performing intensive military combat operations, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief during natural disasters.
The helicopters, which are made by PZL Mielec, are the most recent addition to the Black Hawk multi-mission aircraft family, which had previously purchased Sikorsky, the Black Hawk’s original manufacturer.
The choppers were received Thursday (November 4) by BGen. Maurito L. Licudine, the Deputy Commander of EastMinCom, and LtCol. Omar FridzKhan S. Alpa, the Officer-in-Charge of TOW-EM/Group Commander of Tactical Operations Group 11.
These new EastMinCom aviation assets arrived a week after Jorge Madlos alias “Ka Oris,” a Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) leader, was killed in an encounter with EastMinCom security troops in the Impasug-ong hinterland in Bukidnon, on October 30, 2021.
These air assets can be configured according to specific missions including troops transport and air assault, command and control, border patrol, search and rescue, disaster response, cargo lift, and VIP transport.
LtGen. Greg T. Almerol, the EastMinCom chief said the new air assets will improve the troops’ mobility in the fight against the communist terrorist group (CTG), including their ability to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, especially since troops in Eastern Mindanao have always been on the frontlines during natural disasters.
As part of its enhanced focused military operations against the CTG, Almerol claimed it will assist the army in achieving their goal of terminating the local communist armed war by 2022.
“The arrival of these Black Hawk choppers happened at a very opportune time to aid our hardworking troops in the pursuit of genuine peace and development in Eastern Mindanao,” Almerol said.
He stated that new air capabilities will undoubtedly boost the conduct of military operations on land and sea against the CTG and other terrorist organizations.
President Rodrigo Duterte was hailed by Almerol for his continuing support in upgrading military capabilities, saying that the president has always been receptive to the military’s requirements in order to preserve the country’s and people’s interests.