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PAF welcomes supply deal boosting helicopter fleet

MANILA, Philippines - The Air Force welcomed yesterday the defense department’s confirmation of a winner in the long-delayed UH-1 helicopter acquisition project.

Air Force spokesman Col. Miguel Okol said the 21 helicopters to be acquired from two North American firms would boost their disaster response and security capabilities.

“That will definitely be a welcome addition to the fleet. We expect to increase our tactical helicopter lift capabilities as well as increase our support for national development,” he said.

The STAR earlier reported that a joint venture of two North American companies has bagged the deal to supply 21 UH-1 or Huey combat utility helicopters for the Air Force.

The joint venture of American company Rice Aircraft Services Inc. and Canadian firm Eagle Copters Ltd. won the contract for the supply and delivery of the Huey helicopters.

The government has allotted P1.26 billion for the acquisition of the Hueys, considered as the workhorse of the military’s operations.

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Defense Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez previously said the helicopters would be bought for about P1.25 million less than the approved budget.

The Air Force will use the helicopters for search and rescue efforts.

The winning bidder is required to start the delivery of the helicopters within six months.               





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