DND studying US attack helicopter offers

The Department of National Defense (DND) will evaluate the United States’ offer to sell two types of top-of-the-line attack helicopters to the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said they will also determine if the attack helicopters being offered by the Americans are brand-new equipment or old ones.

“We will study the US offer. Baka used na naman mga ito (Maybe these are used ones again),” he said in a message to the Philippine News Agency late Tuesday.

Last April 30, the US State Department issued a “determination” approving a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Philippines of six AH-1Z attack helicopters and related equipment for an estimated cost of USD450 million.

On the same date, another one was issued for the possible sale of six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and related equipment for an estimated cost of USD1.5 billion.

However, Lorenzana said the PAF is more interested in acquiring around six Turkish Aerospace Industries T-129 choppers for its attack helicopter program which has a budget of around PHP12 to PHP13 billion.

“Yes, the PAF is intent in (acquiring) it,” he added.

The PAF is looking for dedicated but affordable attack helicopters to beef up its fleet of lightly-armed choppers like the MG-520 and AW-109E which are being used for counter-terror and ground support missions. PNA.GOV.PH