An additional five Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk battlefield utility helicopters have been delivered to the Philippine Air Force (PAF), after being rolled off the Polish production line.
The five helicopters were delivered to the Asian nation by an Antonov Airlines-operated An-124-100M heavy-lift strategic transport – registration UR-82027 – which arrived at Clark Air Base in Pampanga on June 7. The Philippines had announced an order for the 16 Black Hawks on December 22, 2018, with the country’s Department of National Defense (DND) signing a contract, worth US$241.4m, with Lockheed Martin’s Polish subsidiary, PZL Mielec, for the purchase of these helicopters.
This latest delivery brings the total number of Black Hawks delivered to the PAF to 11. The first six arrived at Clark onboard an An-124 on November 9, 2020. Lt Col Maynard Mariano, a spokesperson for the PAF, said the third and final batch will comprise the remaining five helicopters, adding that it is due to arrive in the Philippines before the end of 2021.
He noted that the first five examples have already allowed the Philippine government to deliver more services across a wider area in less time. “In the past few months, the Black Hawks transported vaccines and personal protection equipment to the remotest areas of Batanes, Bicol and other parts of the country,” he added.