The Department of National Defense (DND) has signed a new deal with Polish manufacturer PZL Mielec to acquire additional S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters for the country’s military. 

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana officially inked the contract on Tuesday (February 22) alongside PZL Mielec President and General Director Janusz Zakrecki at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. 

Under the agreement, PZL will produce 32 additional Black Hawk helicopters for the Philippines. This new contract will also come with an integrated logistics support and training package for pilots and maintenance crew. 

According to Lorenzana, the delivery of these new units, which costs a total of $624 million, will start next year. 

“The delivery of these helicopters will start on CY (Calendar Year) 2023 (five units) while the remaining ones will be delivered in three batches as follows: CY2024 – 2nd batch (10 units); CY2025 – 3rd batch (10 units); and CY2026 – last batch (seven units),” he said. 

Just like the previously delivered Black Hawk choppers, these new units will be multi-functional – to be used in surveillance and disaster response. 

Lorenzana notes that once the helicopters arrive, they will replace the military’s old Huey choppers.

“Puwede na po nating i-retire ‘yung ating lumang ‘Huey’ helicopters ,” he said.

DND’s acquisition of these new helicopters is part of the administration’s ongoing Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program.

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Image credit: DND