PAF looks for possible sources of combat utility choppers

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is now identifying possible sources of combat utility helicopters capable of meeting its specifications, an official said on Wednesday.

“We are going to talk to them to one by one so the Philippines, in this case, the Air Force will get what is best for our conditions,” PAF chief Lt. Gen. Galileo Gerard Kintanar said in an interview.

Possible sources of the PAF’s combat utility helicopters include South Korea, Italy and even Russia, Kintanar said.

“We sent a team there (Russia) just to look [at] the helicopters that they have offered, we have tried it,” the PAF chief added.

Kintanar hoped that the contract for the combat utility helicopters will be finalized within the year.

Once finalized, the aircraft deal will replace the country’s cancelled 16 Bell 412 EPI order from Bell Helicopter and Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) last February.

The move came after the Canadian government ordered the review of the PHP12-billion deal between the Department of National Defense and CCC following reports that the Philippines is planning to use the helicopters against the insurgents.

“While the combat utility helicopters being purchased are primarily for the purpose of transporting personnel and supplies, the Department believes that it does not owe the Canadian government any justification for an outright purchase of equipment from a privately-owned company,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong earlier said. PNA