Lockheed Martin's Polish subsidiary, PZL Mielec, signed a contract with the Philippine Department of National Defence on February 22 for the manufacture of 32 additional Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk multi-role helicopters. All 32 are scheduled for delivery by 2026.
The additional helicopters will considerably increase the operational capacity of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to carry out search and rescue, humanitarian and disaster relief missions, and to transport troops across the country. The first batch of five will be delivered in 2023, followed by a second batch of ten in 2024, a third batch of ten in 2025 and a final batch of seven in 2026.
The contract was signed at the headquarters of the National Defense Department of the Philippines by the Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines Delfina N Lorenzano and Janusz Zakręcki, President, CEO of the Polish Aviation Works in Mielec. All 32 helicopters will be delivered to the PAF’s 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing in a universal utility configuration. Each helicopter will be equipped with a weather radar, digital map, seats for soldiers in the cabin and a load hook with a 9,000lb (4,082kg) capacity. Pilots and ground crews will receive training in both the US and the Philippines.
"Our Polish employees are committed to building and delivering another fleet of 32 Black Hawk helicopters on schedule, with support that ensures that these multi-role aircraft will protect and save lives, serving the Philippines for decades," said Janusz Zakręcki, President and CEO in chief of PZL Mielec. In the aftermath of typhoon Odette (internationally named Rai), the PAF showed the world how their recently acquired Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopter fleet can transport emergency personnel and deliver humanitarian aid quickly and reliably for islanders scattered over a large maritime area,” said Jason Lambert, vice president, Sikorsky Global Commercial & Military Systems.
The Filipino contract for 32 helicopters is the largest single order for S-70i Black Hawk helicopters for PZL Mielec since the start of their production in 2009 and the contract itself was signed less than two months after PZL Mielec completed deliveries of an initial 16 of the type to the PAF in December 2021. With the additional helicopters, the PAF can finally retire its elderly fleet of UH-1H Hueys.