President Duterte approves acquisition of 15 Black Hawk helicopters

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, during a press briefing on February 4, said that President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the acquisition of 15 Black Hawk helicopters.

“The President has approved the acquisition of 15 Black Hawk helicopters as part of plans to slowly address the growing heli-lift deficiency of our Armed Forces,” Nograles said.

Nograles added that President Duterte also approved the decommissioning of all Huey helicopters.

“Maalala niyo po, pito sa ating mga mahal na sundalo ay pumanaw noong may nag crash landing na isang Huey helicopter sa Bukidnon, January 16. This was the fourth such crash since July of last year and the President wants to end all these tragic deaths,” he said. “Our servicemen and their families deserve better.”

“We have a heli-lift capability need of 55 helicopters to cover over 7,000 islands with a total land area of 300,000 square kilometers,” he said. “The Department of National Defense (DND) in fact says that we actually require a total of 76 helicopters, and while the President initially agreed to acquiring 55 new helicopters that number has been managed and in fact reduced to 15 owing to the challenges that we currently face.”

The Philippine government has an existing order of 16 Black Hawk S-70i combat utility helicopters (CUHs) from Polish company PZL Mielec. Six units were already delivered.