National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed during Senate plenary discussion on January 16 regarding Department of National Defense (DND)’s 2019 budget that they are acquiring Black Hawk helicopters for the Philippine Air Force.
“Yes senator, we are acquiring the Black Hawk helicopter. This is a product of Lockheed Martin that is being made in Poland,” Secretary Lorenzana said when asked by Senator JV Ejercito to confirm the said acquisition.
Senator Ejercito said “the Black Hawk is really one of the workhorses of the US Armed Forces that is very reliable. I’m glad that when I read the news.”
“But my only concern is that it is built by Lockheed Martin but it will be produced and manufactured in Poland,” the senator said.
The senator further said that the reason why he raised the concern is the Philippines had a bad experience recently on choppers acquired from Poland which are the Sokol helicopters.
“As of the moment out of the eight acquired Sokol helicopters only five are flying because three already crashed even without enemies,” the senator added.
Lorenzana explained that the Black Hawks will be built in Poland but will be certified by Lockheed Martin Sikorsky.
“The Lockheed Martin of USA bought a plant (PZL Mielec) in Poland and transferred the technology of manufacturing the Black Hawk. So these are actually American products manufactured in Poland, so the certification will be coming from Sikorsky (a Lockheed Martin Company),” Lorenzana said.
Lockheed Martin Sikorsky is manufacturing the S-70i Black Hawk international export version in Poland.
“The Sikorsky S-70i BLACK HAWK is ready now to deliver its legendary and best in class mission performance. Backed by a world class training and support infrastructure, the S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter has been configured by our team of military aviation experts to deliver the right capabilities for the right mission. From basic utility, to advanced combat search and rescue missions, the BLACK HAWK is ready now,” Lockheed Martin Sikorsky says in S-70i product page.