PH defense, military execs check Russian helicopters for purchase

by Inquirer | March 16, 2020

Philippine defense and military officials visit Moscow, Russia early this month to inspect the heavy-lift helicopters that the Philippine military was reportedly planning to acquire. PHILIPPINE EMBASSY IN RUSSIA FACEBOOK PAGE

 

MANILA, Philippines—Philippine defense and military officials were in Russia recently to inspect the heavy-lift helicopters that the Philippine military was reportedly planning to acquire.

The Philippine delegation, who were in Moscow from March 3 to 7, included Assistant Defense Secretary Josue Gaverza Jr. and other Air Force officials, said the Philippine Embassy in Russia on a Facebook post.

The officials met with representatives from Sovtechnoexport and visited the Ulan Ude aviation plant in connection with the potential acquisition of Mi-171 helicopters.

“The delegation members, majority of whom are veteran air force pilots, also visited the training center for pilots and maintenance crew, where they had the opportunity to try the pilot simulator systems used for flight training of the aircraft,” the embassy post said.

Photos from the embassy showed the Philippine officials observing the manufacturing and assembly lines of the Mi-171 choppers.

The delegation also met with Ambassador Carlos Sorreta during which possible defense and security arrangements with Russia were discussed.

The post did not state how many helicopters were being considered to be bought from Russia, but said the first batch was expected to be delivered by mid-2021. President Rodrigo Duterte had approved the purchase of heavy-lift helicopters, according to a memo from the Office of the President dated Sept. 18, 2019.

Duterte, who has been pursuing stronger ties with Moscow since he took office in 2016, announced in January that the Philippines is buying 12 cargo helicopters from Russia.

But a senior official familiar with the acquisition said the deal involved 17 helicopters worth P12.7 billion.


By Frances Mangosing, March 16, 2020