Category Archives: Helicopters

Black Hawk Helicopters for the Philippine Air Force?

Front view of a Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk Helicopter. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In January 2019, the Philippine Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana revealed that the government will be buying Black Hawk helicopters from Sikorsky’s plant in Poland1 which makes the S-70i version of the aircraft. A month earlier in December 2018, Lorenzana revealed details of the acquisition which was for 16 aircraft worth USD 240 million (PHP 12.67 billion), or approximately USD 15 million (PHP 792 million) each.2

’The Black Hawk’
The S-70 is a medium Transport and Utility helicopter built by the company Sikorsky Aircraft. It first flew in 1974 and entered service with the United States (US) Army in 1978 which designated it as the UH-60.3

It was then named as the “Black Hawk” after a Native American Tribe as is the tradition with US Army Helicopters.4 Since then the Black Hawk has become one of the most commercially successful military helicopters ever with over 4,000 units sold all over the world in 28 countries.5
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The T129 Attack Helicopter for the Philippine Air Force?

Front view of a T129 Attack Helicopter. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

During the Singapore Airshow in February 2018, the Turkish company Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) claimed that they were in “advanced discussions” with several countries including the Philippines for the possible purchase of their T129 ATAK Helicopter.1

Then towards the end of 2018, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana finally confirmed that the Philippines intended to buy approximately eight (8) T129 helicopters.2 Purpose built Attack Helicopters tend to generate a lot of interest among my defense page’s followers just like other major attack aircraft like the A-10 Warthog, so let’s take a closer look at the T129.
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The KUH-1 Surion Helicopter for the Philippines?

A KUH-1 Surion Helicopter. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Near the end of the official three (3) day State Visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to South Korea in June 2018, he visited the aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) where he was shown the KUH-1 Surion Helicopter. Duterte also got to ride the aircraft for around five minutes and was reportedly impressed by it, but left it to the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Philippine Air Force to review the proposed acquisition of the aircraft.1 2

Other government officials later added more details about the possible acquisition, with Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana putting the number to be purchased to be as low as eight (8) while National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon Jr. putting it to be as high as twelve (12).3 With this, let us take a closer look at the Surion.
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Surion Helicopter Problems up to July 2018

A menacing front view of a KUH-1 Surion helicopter of the Republice of Korea Army. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

I decided to break this off from another blog about the KUH-1 Surion helicopter I was writing because I thought that it was getting too long and I was presenting too much information already to comfortably read in one sitting. With this blog, I will be discussing the problems that were publicly revealed about the aircraft up to the time of writing.

’Problems, Problems, Problems’1 2
The first of the number of problems that the Surion has encountered over the years were the Cracks that were found on the left side of the aircraft near the Vibration Absorption Devices and on the Windshields as first reported by the South Korean media in May 2016.
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AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopters for the Philippine Air Force

An AH-1 Cobra Helicopter of the Jordanian Air Force. Photo courtesy of the United States Air Force (USAF).

During his speech at the 120th Anniversary of the Philippine Navy last May 22, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he sent his National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon Jr. to Jordan to facilitate the negotiations and the release of two AH-1 Cobra helicopters.1

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana later added in an interview that two Philippine Air Force Pilots were sent to Jordan and they reported that the helicopters for transfer were in “good condition”.
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The H145 for the Philippine Armed Forces?

An H145 Helicopter of the German State Police equipped with a Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) Sensor. Photo courtesy of the official Airbus Helicopters website.

A couple of months ago, the aircraft company Airbus Helicopters Philippines Inc. (AHPI) conducted a local media event at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to showcase the helicopters they were offering to our armed forces. AHPI said that they already briefed the Technical Working Groups (TWG) of the Department of National Defense (DND) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) about the aircraft.1

The company presented at least two aircraft, the H130 and the H145M. The H130 is a smaller and lighter aircraft designed more for the light transport role while the H145M is a bigger and heavier aircraft with a clear military role in mind, hence it would seem to be better suited for our armed forces.
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Hip or Hind Helicopters for the AFP?

An Mi-35 Hind Helicopter of the Czech Air Force. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
An Mi-35 Hind Helicopter of the Czech Air Force. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In his speech during the 48th Anniversary of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing last September 2016, the new President Rodrigo Duterte dropped a bombshell and possible major shift in the policy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) when he revealed that he had received offers with generous financial terms from Russia to provide us with weapons and military equipment. He then said that he will be sending personnel from the Department of National Defense (DND) to go there and explore these options.[1]

A couple of weeks later, a supposed insider from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) revealed anonymously to “The Manila Standard” news publication that the government is reportedly considering the purchase of two to four Mi-17 or Mi-24 Helicopters from Russia for the price of between USD 12 to 17 million each.[2] This is a very interesting report because if it does push thru, it will be the first major military equipment buy by the Philippines from Russia.
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