Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said late Monday that five of the 16 Polish-made Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters acquired for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) have already arrived in the Philippines, with another one expected to be delivered via sea next month.
“Yes, the five arrived in Clark (Airbase 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,” said Lorenzana.
Part of Horizon 2 of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (AFPMP), the procurement of the 16 helicopters — acquired from Polish company Polskie Zaklady Lotnicze Sp.z.o.o and manufactured under license from Sikorsky USA with a contract price of around P11.6 billion — was made possible through a government-to-government transaction with Poland, with the negotiations completed in 2019.
On November 7, the Antonov plane took off from Rzeszow-Jasionka Airport in Poland 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,” Lorenzana 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 COVID-19 pandemic. (PNA)