The five S-70i Blackhawk Utility Helicopters at Clark Air Base in Pampanga. | Photo by the Philippine Air Force

Five new S-70i Blackhawk Utility Helicopters arrived Monday to boost the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) heli-lift capability and help in the delivery of more services across the country in less time.

In a post on social media on Tuesday, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) said the five choppers, the latest in the family of Black Hawk multi-mission aircraft, arrived on June 7 from Poland aboard an Antonov transport plane at Clark Air Base in Pampanga.

S-70i Blackhawk Utility Helicopters being unloaded from the Antonov transport plane at Clark Air Base in Pampanga. | Photo by the Philippine Air Force

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They are built in Poland by Sikorsky Aircraft subsidiary PZL Mielec. Their arrival increased the PAF’s multi-utility mission helicopters to 11. The first batch of six was delivered in late 2020, the PAF said.

Interviewed by the state newswire service Philippine News Agency (PNA), PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Maynard Mariano said the brand new Blackhawks are part of the 16 helicopters ordered by the country from Polskie Zaklady Lotnicze Sp.z.o.o.

“With the latest delivery, the PAF now has 11 Black Hawk utility helicopters. Meanwhile, the third batch of five helicopters are scheduled to be delivered before the end of 2021,” Mariano said.

All ordered helicopters are worth P11.5 billion, procured through a government-to-government transaction in 2019, he said.

Mariano said these helicopters can be applied with suitable equipment to meet a variety of missions.

“The recent arrival of the five Black Hawks will further boost the heli-lift capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and will help the government deliver more services in more areas in less time. In the past few months, the Black Hawks transported vaccines and PPE (personal protective equipment) sets to the remotest areas of Batanes, Bicol, and other parts of the country,” he added.

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handles the online presence of Palawan News as its social media manager. When she has free time, she travels and writes about her adventures.