The Philippine government authorized the purchase of 32 additional S-70i utility / combat helicopters for USD 623 million, after the Notice of Award (NOA) was issued to PZL Mielec of Poland late last year, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced Sunday. The Philippine Air Force (PAF) earlier procured 16 Black Hawk helicopters, also from the Polish aerospace manufacturer, worth $241 million.
The first batch of six helicopters was delivered in November 2020, followed by the second batch of five in June last year which was formally accepted and delivered on October 13, 2021. The final batch of five helicopters was delivered on November 8, 2021 and formally accepted by the PAF on December 3.
The S-70i, manufactured by the renowned Polish firm PZL Mielec, is a state-of-the-art international military version of the famous Sikorsky Black Hawk family, in use in a wide variety of roles and in a multitude of Armed Forces around the globe, with more than 4,000 units manufactured.
The contractual agreement is reportedly currently being drafted, after which the project will officially commence with a Notice to Proceed.
Deliveries will begin in 2023, with the first batch of five units. During 2024 and 2025, lots two and three, consisting of 10 units each, will be delivered. Finally, the last seven contracted units will be delivered in 2026.
The present purchase follows the Black Hawk’s strong performance during its short but demanding operational history in the Philippines.
«The lack of transport aircraft and helicopters has never been more acute (than) during the pandemic and in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette. This was compounded by the aging of our Hueys, whose maintenance has become uneconomical. The 12 brand new Black Hawks bore the brunt of the work during these critical times,» Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.