Air Platforms

Philippines to receive Cobra helos from Jordan

24 May 2018
While Jordan is upgrading and retaining 12 Cobras for its own requirements, it is donating others to foreign air arms. The Philippine president has announced that his country is to receive two. Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen

The Philippines is to receive two Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters donated from Jordan, national media reported on 22 May.

The procurement was announced by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, but no further details were provided.

Jordan currently fields 27 AH-1E/F Cobra helicopters, including 16 that in 2014 were donated to the country by Israel. Of these 27, 12 (presumably the donated Israeli platforms) are being upgraded for continued use by the Royal Jordanian Air Force. Of the remaining 15 Cobras, at least three are known to have been donated to Kenya, with two now to be transferred to the Philippines.

Although a relatively old helicopter by today's standards, the 1970s-era AH-1E/F Cobra is still a highly potent attack platform. Designed specifically for the ground-attack role, it is equipped with a chin-mounted three-barreled M197 20 mm Gatling gun, and carries unguided 70 mm rockets or BGM-71A tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided (TOW) air-to-surface missiles, and the two crew members sit in an armoured cockpit.

Having already proved itself on battlefields around the world, including throughout the Middle East, the Cobra should provide a welcome boost to the Philippines’ combat capabilities.

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