On Monday, the first batch of the Philippine Air Force’s newly-acquired Sikorsky S-70i Blackhawk combat utility helicopters were delivered at the Clark Airbase.
Five of the 16 units ordered arrived via the Antonov An-124 Ruslan cargo aircraft, while one unit is en route to the Philippines via sea. The shipped unit is expected to arrive on December 2, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed to the Philippine News Agency via text message.
Meanwhile, the remaining ten units are expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2021, according to a report from Inquirer.net.
As of the moment, the first batch is undergoing inspection prior to its formal acceptance with the PAF’s 410th Maintenance Wing and the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing spearheading the process.
The Blackhawks were manufactured and flown from Poland on November 7 and had a technical stop at Kuwait. The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Manila’s Facebook page posted frequent updates on the helicopters’ delivery process.
“The purchase of 16 S-70i combat-utility helicopters manufactured by the Polish Aviation Works-Mielec (PZL-Mielec) is an excellent example of cooperation between our two countries,” Jarosław Szczepankiewicz, CDA of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Manila.
The procurement of these helicopters is part of the PAF’s Combat Utility Helicopter Acquisition Project under Horizon 2 of its modernization program. The approved budget for the project stands at over Php19 billion, according to MaxDefense Philippines.
Photo from Department of National Defense