Air Force needs choppers with heavy-lift capability: DND

There is an ongoing requirement for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to acquire a helicopter with heavy-lift capability, which will be used for its humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions, the Department of National Defense (DND) said Thursday.

DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong issued the statement in response to reports claiming that the Philippines will acquire at least 16 Russian-made Mil Moscow Mi-17 medium twin-turbine transport for the country’s military aviation service.

“In line with the government’s independent foreign policy and so as to ensure that we acquire the best possible aircraft under the most advantageous terms, the Technical Working Group of this project has carefully done research on available platforms being offered by several countries that could possibly meet the PAF’s technical specifications,” Andolong said in a message to reporters Thursday.

Andolong said an initial study indicates that the Mi-17 seems like a good fit for the PAF’s heavy-lift helicopter requirement as it is powerful enough to carry around 34 fully-equipped troops or lift a howitzer.

“This capability will be invaluable when there is a need to fly first-responders, supplies, relief goods and heavy equipment to disaster-stricken areas. We are waiting for the return of the SND (Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana) before proceeding with the acquisition,” the DND spokesperson added.

The Mi-17 has a crew of two pilots and one engineer and has a length of 18.465 meters and a height of 21.25 meters.

It has a maximum speed of 280 kilometers per hour and a cruise speed of 260 kilometers per hour.

The Mi-17 has a range of 800 kilometers and a service ceiling of 6,000 meters. PNA.GOV.PH