The first five of 16 Sikorsky S-70i helicopters purchased by the government for has been delivered to the Philippine Air Force.
The helicopters were procured in a 2019 government-to-government deal between Poland and the Philippines, worth $241.4 million. The remaining ten aircraft in the contract are expected to be delivered early next year. The aircraft are manufactured by PZL Mielec a subsidiary of Sikorsky.
The medium-lift transport and utility helicopter S-70 Blackhawk, in service since the 1970s, is designated by the United States military as the UH-60. The S-70i international military variant is made in Poland.
The helicopters were flown into Clark Airbase near here by a Russian-made Antonov-124 cargo plane on Nov 9, the Department of National Defence (DND) said. The sixth aircraft will arrive by sea in December.
The new helicopters of the Philippines Defence Ministry will be used in combat missions, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, and help in the government’s efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, the government said.
The S-70i can fly at a maximum cruise speed of 277km/h and has a maximum range of 459km with no reserve. The AEO (All Engines Operating) service ceiling of the helicopter is 13,200ft. The Royal Brunei Air Force operates 12 S-70i Blackhawks. –shp/mgm (Photo: Philippine DND)