15 Februari 2012

PAF Gets 4 New Choppers

15 Februari 2012

PAF W-3 Sokol helicopter (photo : imagenesmilitares)

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Wednesday disclosed the arrival of four brand new Combat Utility Helicopters from the Augusta PZL Swidik of Italy and Poland on February 14, 2012.

The PAF hierarchy said the brand new helicopters arrived at the Clark Air Base in Pampanga, and is the first batch of the eight helicopters that the PAF is to receive from the Polish aircraft manufacturer.

Major General Catalino G. Dela Cruz, PAF Commanding General, said the delivery of the new helicopters is a welcome addition to the fleet of the PAF.

He said that the formal blessing and turnover of the PAF’s newest acquisition will be announced following the completion of assembly and rigid test flights to be conducted on the new helicopters.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Miguel Ernesto G. Okol, PAF Public Information Office director, the “Sokol” or Falcon in Polish, can be fitted with various equipment – depending on the mission – that makes it an ideal utility helicopter for the PAF.

It is NVG (Night Vision Goggle)-capable and is equipped with an SN 350 Autopilot, he added.
Compared to the Huey helicopters, he said the “Sokol” is a more capable utility platform.

Okol explained that while the Huey can carry only seven passengers, the “Sokol” can accommodate 10 passengers with a maximum takeoff weight of 14,110 pounds, an endurance of three hours and 19 minutes, and it can reach a maximum range of 402 nautical miles in a single flight, with airspeed of about 140.5 knots.

The “Sokol” is fitted with gun mounts for the M60D MG on both sides, and when utilized during search and rescue (SAR) or over water operations, it can be equipped with pilot-controlled Emergency Floatation Gear attached to the lowest portion of the aircraft.

It can also perform various missions other than combat to support the country’s peace and development efforts.

“The CUH project is worth P2.8 billion, and has undergone the rigid screening process prior to its procurement,” Okol said.

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