The Philippines will acquire eight new attack choppers that will be equipped with laser designators capable of firing laser-guided rockets.
Among the international helicopter manufacturers that participated in the pre-bid conference of the Department of National Defense attack helicopter program were the Boeing Company, Eurocopter Group, AgustaWestland NV and MD Helicopters.
The four aerospace companies have acquired the required bidding documents.
The DND attack helicopter program has a budget of $80 million and will be sourced from the General Appropriations Act and the AFP Modernization Act Trust Fund of 2000.
“These helicopters shall be capable of performing close air support during day and night, and navigate safely during inadvertent instrument meteorological condition. Furthermore, they shall be equipped with armaments and avionics system highly suitable for said flying operation conditions,” documents obtained by the Philippine News Agency disclosed.
On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the purchase of eight Sokol helicopters from Poland would be the last by the Department of National Defense (DND) since they could not be used in combat, after all.
“I understand helicopters because I’m a combat officer. The first thing I noticed was, why do you have to remove the machine gun before you can get inside it? The entrance is too narrow, it’s all wrong,” said Gazmin, a former Army Special Forces commander.
The $65 million deal with Augusta PZL Swidnik of Italy and Poland for eight Sokol helicopters had been signed, sealed and delivered when he assumed office in July 2010, Gazmin said.
“We just had to make the payment,” he said.
The eight Sokol (Falcon in Polish) helicopters were delivered in two batches in 2012.
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