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Last Black Hawk batch arrives

The helicopters are now set to undergo checks before these are formally accepted by the force, Mariano told reporters

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Photographs courtesy of Philippine Air Force

Five more Black Hawk helicopters have been delivered to the country, completing the batch of 16 ordered from Poland, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) said Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Maynard Mariano, PAF spokesperson, said the five were brought in by an Antonov transport plane that arrived at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga around 10:45 a.m. Monday.

The helicopters are now set to undergo checks before these are formally accepted by the force, Mariano told reporters.

The five are the last of 16 Black Hawks which the Philippines acquired from Polskie Zaklady Lotnicze Sp.z.o.o for US$241.461 million, or about P11.6 billion, through a government-to-government transaction with Poland.

Should these pass the upcoming checks, the PAF would only have 15 Black Hawks in its inventory.

It can be recalled that one Black Hawk crashed during a night-flying proficiency training last June 23, killing all six PAF personnel onboard.

Recently, the PAF detailed two Black Hawks to its unit in Western Mindanao and four to Eastern Mindanao to support anti-insurgency, anti-terrorism, and humanitarian operations.

Mariano said the PAF plans to acquire more such helicopters, after several aging UH-1 “Huey” choppers were retired from service.

In December 2020, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said there was a big chance of getting 16 more Black Hawks.

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