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Philippine Air Force receives final batch of S-70i Black Hawk helicopters

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has taken delivery of five more Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters, the service disclosed on 9 November.

The airframes arrived at Clark Air Base on 8 November and were flown in via an Antonov An-124 transport aircraft.

The batch of five aircraft is part of a USD241 million contract for 16 helicopters that was ordered by Manila in 2019. The first batch of six airframes was commissioned in December 2020.

However, one of the airframes was lost in June 2021 after a fatal crash that killed all six personnel who were onboard the aircraft.

The Black Hawks were procured under ‘Horizon 2' of Manila's military modernisation blueprint known as the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.

Selected airframes are progressively being deployed to take on close-air support, troops insertion and evacuation, search-and-rescue, tactical airlift, and logistics duties with the PAF's 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing.

Separately, the Armed Forces of the Philippines's (AFP's) Eastern Mindanao Command announced on 5 November that it has been assigned four Black Hawks to enhance the formation's combat and humanitarian assistance capabilities.

Two of the airframes have been deployed at the AFP's Davao Air Station, with the remaining two deployed at Lumbia Airport. The aircraft will bolster the AFP's operations in the region, including in the ongoing fight against the communist insurgency led by the New People's Army, the AFP added.

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