“I don’t know if we can afford that now, because of this pandemic. We have [been] channeling a lot of funds to the fight against COVID-19,” National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in an interview with CNN Philippines, June 3.
“As I have been telling the media recently, the 1.5 billion dollar, six units of Apache attack helicopter, and the 0.5 billion dollar cost of the six Viper helicopters, [are] too expensive for us,” he said.
“The money that was given for purchase of attack helicopters is only 13 billion pesos, and if we buy the Apache we can only buy 1, if we buy the Viper we can only buy 2,” the defense chief explained.
He added that the said attack helicopters are also expensive in terms of maintenance.
“So we are looking for other platforms that we could buy with the money we have. If we could buy six attack helicopters from other sources with the money we have, I think that would be more attractive than buying the American attack helicopters,” Lorenzana said.
He added that they are looking at the Turkish TAI T129 ATAK attack helicopter.
Secretary Lorenzana said that 6 units of the Turkish helicopter can be acquired with the budget that they have.
“It is under negotiation. We have not yet signed any contract, because we are looking at their equipment further to ensure that what they have is what we need,” he noted.