Five brand new Sikorsky S70-i Blackhawk helicopters worth $241 million that are intended for the use of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) have finally arrived in the country from Poland.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the first batch of the Blackhawk choppers were flown to Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Pampanga on Monday via an Antonov (An-124) heavy transport plane which left Rzescow-Jasionka Airport, Poland last Saturday, November 7.
“The Blackhawks will greatly boost the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ capability to conduct various operations, including combat missions, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, and help in the government’s efforts against COVID-19,” Lorenzana said.
With the delivery, the Defense chief noted that five out of the 16 Blackhawks procured by the government under the Horizon 2 of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP) are already in the country.
“The aircraft that flew in the helicopters could only accommodate five units,” he said.
A sixth chopper was loaded on a ship which is expected to arrive in Manila on December 2, 2020, he added.
Meanwhile, the remaining 10 units are expected to be delivered within the first quarter of 2021.
The 16 helicopters had a total contract price of $241,461,699.39. They were acquired from Polish company Polskie Zaklady Lotnicze Sp.z.o.o, and manufactured under license from Sikorsky USA.
The helicopters were procured through a government-to-government (G2G) transaction between the Philippines and Poland, with the deal officially completed in 2019.
The Blackhawk combat utility helicopter is capable of flying at a speed of 224 miles per hour or 361 kilometers per hour. It also has a range of 290 miles or 460 km.
The Philippine Air Force has yet to announce when the new choppers will be commissioned into service and the units to which these will be assigned.