The Philippine Army has revealed that the donation of a single Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm Bo-105 light utility helicopter to its Army Aviation Regiment will further enhance the service’s ability to carry out humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) missions.
The Bo-105 – which wears the tail code ‘223’ – was donated to the Philippine Army by Dornier Technology Inc and was handed over to the service during a short ceremony at Fort Ramon Magsaysay in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, on October 26. Col Xerxes Trinidad – a spokesperson for the Philippine Army – outlined how the recently donated helicopter will be used in operational service. “The donation of the cutting-edge Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm Bo-105 will be an additional mission-essential equipment for the Army Aviation that will support the Army units and other government agencies during disasters and calamities in the country,” he said.
Lt Gen Romeo Brawner Jr – commander of the Philippine Army – explained that the Bo-105 will help improve the capacity of the Army Aviation Regiment, adding that the service will continue to push for the expansion of its base support facilities and the acquisition of additional air assets, including armed reconnaissance helicopters; medium-lift multi-mission rotorcraft and special mission aircraft.
Developed by West Germany during the Cold War years, the Bo-105 light, twin-engine utility helicopter completed its maiden flight on February 16, 1967. The type saw a great deal of export success and remained in production until 2001 with Eurocopter (which acquired Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm in 1991).
The Bo-105 has seen operational service with more than 20 different air arms, including the Heeresflieger (German Army Aviation), which retired the type in December 2016; the Swedish Air Force, where it was known as the Hkp 9 before the final examples were retired in 2010; and the Republic of Korea Army, which continues to operate the type. The Bo-105 has also served within the ranks of the Philippine Armed Forces, with more than seven Bo-105Cs being employed by the Philippine Naval Air Wing from March 1975 until 2013, when it was replaced by the AgustaWestland AW109E. The Philippine Coast Guard currently operates four Bo-105Cs, which entered service in June 1999.