02 Juli 2015
Bell 412EP no 691 and 693 for the PAF 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing (photos : PhilStar, Pinoy Aviators)
AFP gets two brand new helicopters, transport ship
CLARK AIR BASE, Pampanga – Two brand new Bell helicopters and one landing craft utility have been delivered to the military, a development seen to enhance the armed forces’ transport capabilities.
The Bell 412EP combat helicopters acquired from Canada arrived last week while the landing craft utility from South Korea was delivered last May.
The two helicopters were displayed during the celebration of the Air Force’s 68th anniversary here.
“They can be used for disaster response and for the airlifting of troops and cargoes,” Air Force spokesman Col. Enrico Canaya said in an interview on Wednesday.
The helicopters have not been formally accepted by the Air Force because it still has to undergo tests and inspections.
“We will check if they (supplier) complied with the technical specifications. We will also conduct test flights. If the requirements are satisfied, we will accept the helicopters,” Canaya said.
The Philippines and Canada signed a contract for eight Bell 412EP combat helicopters worth P4.8 billion on March 28, 2014.
The helicopters were acquired through state-run Canadian Commercial Corp. The air assets can conduct assault support and close air support operations and can accommodate 15 people including the pilot.
The delivery of the eight helicopters will be completed in 2017.
Landing Craft Utility
Meanwhile, Navy chief Vice Adm. Jesus Millan said the landing craft utility donated by South Korea arrived last May 30.
Millan said the vessel is now in a naval shipyard in Cavite to undergo machinery and equipment repairs.
“Once it becomes operational, it will boost our troop transport support and HADR (humanitarian and disaster response) capability,” the Navy chief said.
Millan said while the vessel was donated by South Korea, the Philippines had spent around P26 million for shipping costs.
The Philippine Navy has five landing craft utility but two of them are undergoing maintenance.
South Korea has donated 16 rubber boats and 200 computer units to the Philippines, one of its allies during the Korean War and one of the weakest in the region in terms of military might.
It also vowed to provide a Pohang-class corvette to the Philippines, a development seen as a sign of the two countries’ growing defense cooperation.