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Philippines releases funds for Black Hawk acquisition

An order for 32 additional Lockheed Martin S-70i helicopters in utility configuration will bolster the Philippine military's utility, transport, and disaster-relief operations. (Lockheed Martin)

The Philippine government has released initial funding to acquire 32 additional Lockheed Martin S-70i Black Hawk utility helicopters from Poland.

The announcement of PHP3.98 billion (USD68.70 million) for the acquisition of the aircraft was announced in the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) by the Philippine Department of Budget and Management. The SARO was made public on 8 August 2022. The sum is likely a down payment for the aircraft.

According to the SARO document, the acquisition of the new aircraft will cover the “funding requirements for the Additional Utility Helicopters (Black Hawk) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization [Program] (RAFPMP)”.

The initial funding was released nine months after the Philippine government issued a notice of award to the Sikorsky subsidiary PZL Mielec of Poland to acquire the 32 aircraft. The order was awarded on 28 December 2021, and the deal is worth PHP32 billion (USD552 million). This also covers an initial logistics support package and training for pilots and maintenance crew.

A government source confirmed the acquisition of the new aircraft to Janes , and suggested that that new procurement could be a provision from a previous acquisition of 16 S-70i helicopters from Poland.

The order for 16 S-70i was placed in 2019 to meet the PAF's ‘combat utility helicopter' (CUH) requirement under the ‘Horizon 2' phase of the RAFPMP. Deliveries of these aircraft were completed in November 2021.

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