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Philippines progresses plan to procure 32 new S-70i Black Hawk helicopters

Manila has made further progress with its plan to procure 32 additional new Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana disclosed on 16 January that a notice of award (NOA) was issued to PZL Mielec of Poland on 28 December 2021 for the airframes.

The indicative contract value for the project is PHP32 billion (USD624 million) and it will include a logistics and training package for pilots and maintenance crew.

The Philippines ordered an initial batch of 16 S-70is in 2019 for USD241 million.

The airframes were first delivered to the PAF's 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing in November 2020 with the last five helicopters inducted in December 2021. One of the airframes was lost in a June 2021 crash.

Airframes that are in service are for roles such as close-air support operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, and medical evacuations.

A contract agreement for the 32 additional airframes is being drafted, after which a notice to proceed will be issued to PZL Mielec to officially mark the commencement of the programme, said Lorenzana on his official social media channel.

The PAF is expected to receive the first five airframes under this programme in 2023, with a further 10 aircraft to be delivered in 2024. Subsequently, the next 10 helicopters will arrive in-country in 2025 with the final batch of seven scheduled for delivery in 2026.

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