Watch: Philippine Air Force Buys 10 Brand New Combat and Attack Helicopters (Video)
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) bought 10 brand new helicopters, which were turned over this Monday, August 17, 2015 via a blessing ceremony at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. The said choppers are composed of eight Bell-412EP Combat Utility Helicopters (CUH) helicopters and two AW-109E attack helicopters. Watch the video below of a portion of the said event.
“Today, the Philippine Air Force is truly fortunate to have its inventory these 10 aircraft for deployment, that would boost its operational capability and readiness to address multi-role air operations.” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said, who was the guest of honor of the event, adding that the modernization of the country’s armed forces is a long process.
Also present in the said event are Italian Ambassador Massimo Roscigno, Canadian Ambassador Neil Reeder, and US Ambassador Philip Goldberg. Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado, who was also present, told reporters that the new helicopters will not be used for the surveillance of the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea.
The Bell combat helicopters reportedly cost P4.8 billion and came from Canada. They will be used for the internal security operations of the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing. However, three of them will temporarily be used by the VIP guests of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, which will take place this coming November.
On the other hand, the AW-109E attack helicopters cost P3.4 billion and were supplied by AgustaWestland, an Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturing company company. These choppers are armed with 2.75 inch rockets and a 50-caliber machine gun, and will be used by the 15th Strike Wing in Sangley Point, Cavite. Six similar choppers are set to arrive later this year.
The PAF has been using Bell-412EP helicopters for decades as presidential choppers, which have two engines and autopilot systems. Ten pilots attended training in Texas for the new arrival, while ten more local co-pilots were trained here in the Philippines. For the AW-109E choppers, selected pilots underwent training for several months in Italy.
Credit: Philippine Air Force (PAF) Facebook via Inquirer
As part of the modernization process of Philippine Air Force under the Aquino administration, more brand new military aircraft are also expected to arrive this year. This includes two CN-212i Light Lift Aircraft from Indonesia, two additional C-295 medium lift aircraft from Spain, and 2 of the twelve FA-50 lead-in fighter aircraft from South Korea.