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Philippines to acquire Mi-17 transport helos

The Philippine Air Force will start receiving the first batch of 17 new Mil Mi-17 helicopters by the end of 2023. (Russian Helicopters)

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is expected to begin receiving the first tranche of 17 new Mil Mi-17 twin-engine multirole transport helicopters from Russia by the end of 2023, amid the continuing Ukrainian conflict.

On 10 March Philippines Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement to the media that the contract and the initial down payment for the Mi-17 acquisition project had been completed before Russia began its military operations in Ukraine.

β€œWe are upholding our contractual obligations and are taking note of the circumstances that may affect the project. At present, the onus of fulfilling the compliances and deliverables under the contract rests on the side of the Russian proponent.”

Lorenzana said that the delivery of a first batch of helicopters is expected within 24 months from the contract award. He also confirmed that the deal for 17 Mi-17s, which meets a PAF's long-standing requirement for heavy-lift helicopters, is worth PHP12.7 billion (USD243.6 million) and was signed in November 2021 and that the down payment followed in January 2022.

The programme is funded through state budget and money under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP).

Lorenzana did not confirm which variant of the Mi-17 the PAF will receive, although it is likely to be the Mi-171, the export version of the Mi-8AMT.

The PAF identified a requirement to procure heavy-lift helicopters in the 1990s. However, past efforts to procure the Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy transport helicopters were abandoned because of a lack of funding.

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