The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has received five more Sikorsky-S70i Black Hawk helicopters and welcomed four new ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) into its inventory on Wednesday (October 13).

National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana led the blessing, turn-over, and acceptance of the new aircraft held at the Clark Air Base, Pampanga.

“With five more Black Hawks, the Philippine Air Force can now better provide prompt and sustained day and night tactical heli-lift and combat and non-combat search and rescue operations,” Lorenzana said.

PAF Commanding General Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes was also present during the ceremony to officially receive the choppers and the new aerial systems. 

The arrival of the new UAS platforms – delivered by the US Military – will boost the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) domain awareness and border security capabilities said the US Embassy in the Philippines. 

These will be used primarily to “provide additional capabilities in unmanned Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR), and in support of counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.”

Meanwhile, the five new Black Hawk choppers are from Lockheed Martin company PZL Mielec. It’s the third and last batch of helicopters to be delivered by the Polish manufacturer to the Philippines with the previous two arriving late in 2020 and early in 2021.

With this, the total number of Black Hawk choppers delivered to the Philippines climbs to 16. 

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Image credit: Department of National Defense (DND)