Feared From US Sanctions, Philippines to BUY $240 Million USD, USA MADE NOT Russia 16 Black Hawk, Turkish 10 ATAK Helis

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Generation 5 - Black Hawk Utility Helicopters from USA' Lockheed Martin / Global Aerospace and Defense Company

The Philippine Air Force has chosen to acquire the Black Hawk helicopter as replacement for the canceled combat utility chopper deal with Canada, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the air force would sign a contract early next year for the 16 Black Hawks, even though the Russians offered the second lowest price.

"But it is very difficult to pay them because of the U.S. sanctions," Lorenzana told reporters at a security forum.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed a law last year punishing Russia for its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, its support for Syria's government and its suspected meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, an accusation the Kremlin has denied.

U.S. allies, like the Philippines, buying weapons and equipment from Russia, the world's second largest arms exporter, would also be penalized and could see the transfer of those arms disrupted.

"I think finally the Air Force technical working group has come up with a recommendation that the Black Hawk is the best option that they will buy," Lorenzana told reporters at the sidelines of a forum in Makati City Friday.

Global aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin, through its helicopter unit Sikorsky, earlier offered the Black Hawk helicopter to the Air Force.

The options considered were the following:
·      *  Russia's Mi-171
·      Canada’s AgustaWestland AW139
·      The South Korea Aerospace Industries' Surion utility helicopter
·      *  Canadian-made Bell 412
·      US’ Lockheed Martin’s s-70 Sikorsky Black Hawk

The Philippines had initially agreed to buy 16 Bell 412 helicopters from Canada but the deal was scrapped by Canadian Government in February 2018 after Canada expressed concern they could be used to fight NPA terrorist group rebels operating in the Philippines for already 50 decades.

We have limited money for that. We have only $240 million worth and the original pricing of this aircraft for the (Bell 41) we can get 16," Lorenzana said.

"Initially, the Surion we can get 10 because of the money and also the Black Hawk," the secretary said, adding that the manufacturers of the Black Hawk changed its offer so that the Philippines could get 16 choppers.

Lorenzana also confirmed that the Air Force will be acquiring attack helicopters from the Turkish Aerospace Industries.

"Its name is also 'ATAK' it's an attack helicopter... I think we can only get less than 10, maybe eight," Lorenzana said.

International online magazine The Diplomat earlier reported that the Philippines have identified the T129 ATAK multirole combat helicopters to address the requirements of the Philippine military.

The upcoming government-to-government deal between the Philippines and Turkey would serve as a landmark deal for the defense relationship between the two countries, according to the report.

The Philippines is spending 300 billion pesos ($5.6 billion US Dollar) over the next five years to upgrade its defense capability, replacing World War Two-era warships and Vietnam War-vintage fighters and helicopters.

The Philippines just recently acquired 12 light fighters from South Korea, logistics ships from Indonesia, and armored vehicles and ship-borne missiles from Israel.

Philippine officials, however, have yet to formally announce the deal.

Recommended for further readings :

Economic times - https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/philippines-to-buy-us-helicopters-not-russian-due-to-us-sanctions-official/articleshow/66987463.cms

PhilSTAR - https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/12/09/1875458/paf-buying-us-black-hawks-not-russian-helicopters

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