PHL considering to buy 10 to 12 Korean Surion helicopters

The Philippines is considering to buy 10 to 12 Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) KUH-1 Surion transport utility helicopters months after the deal to buy 16 Bell 412EPI combat utility helicopters from Canada was scrapped.

ROK Army Korean Utility Helicopter KUH-1 Surion. KAI photo

“We’re evaluating. The Air Force has a technical working group,” National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said in South Korea as quoted by Manila Bulletin.

“I’m not looking the price. We’re considering what we really need. If we bought 16 Bell 412 helicopters, it could be equivalent to 10 to 12 Surion. The Surion helicopter is bigger. It can accommodate 16 passengers while Bell can carry seven,” he explained.

President Rodrigo Duterte, before ending his three-day official visit in South Korea on June 5, visited South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) where he was presented with a Surion helicopter and other military weapons and equipment.

Before visiting the South Korean MND, Duterte said during the meet and greet event with Filipinos in South Korea that “dito magpunta ako, I’m trying to, maybe the day after tomorrow, I’m going to [check], bibili tayo ng mga helicopters.”

“Alam mo, originally meron na tayo. Nag-order tayo ng Bell [412EPI helicopters] sa Canada. Sabi nila: Mag-deliver kami ng Bell helicopters pero you cannot use it against your own citizens,” the President said. “So anong pag-gagamitan ko niyan? Para evacuation ng mga wounded, mga ‘may sakit, parang air ambulance. Mag-bili ako 23 air ambulance? Saan ako maghanap ng patay ikarga ko diyan p***** i** 23 ‘yan.”