13 Februari 2010

W-3A Sokol Will be Delivered This Year and C-130H Will be Upgraded

13 Februari 2010

C-130H of the Philippine Air Force (photo : Pbase)

Air Force Buys 8 Polish Helicopters for P3b

The Air Force has decided to acquire the combat utility helicopters being offered by the state-owned PZL-Swidnik of Poland and is expecting delivery of eight units this year.

Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Oscar Rabena told reporters the eight W-3A Sokol helicopters would cost P3 billion or roughly P375 million each.

The Web site of PZL-Swidnik describes the W-3A Sokol as a twin-engine helicopter that seats two and can transport up to 12 passengers. It is classified as a multi-role helicopter capable of search-and-rescue, firefighting and law enforcement roles.

At least four combat versions of the Sokol [Polish for Falcon] were used by the Polish forces fighting in Iraq.

The helicopters are used in a variety of roles by the Polish Navy and Army, the Czech Republic, Myanmar, Vietnam, Germany and South Korea.

“The [helicopters] will increase our operational readiness,’’ Rabena said, adding that the Air Force submitted the purchase contract last week.

“[Air Force] and Defense officials began working on this project on May 17 last year.”

The eight Polish helicopters aside, the Air Force would also buy three light lift aircraft and an upgraded C-130H, Rabena said.

The military’s aging aircraft fleet was recently highlighted when a Nomad plane carrying Air Force 3rd Division commander Maj. Gen. Mario Lacson and seven other personnel crashed into a subdivision in Cotabato City. A resident was also killed.

Armed Forces spokesman Romeo Brawner said the military had so far spent P29 billion since 1995 for the military’s modernization program.

(Manila Standard Today)

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