PAF to acquire 8 Falcon choppers from Poland (Feature)

July 6, 2010 9:59 pm 

By Ben Cal

MANILA, July 6 –- After years of delay, the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) modernization program will finally blast off early next year when it gets the first delivery of eight Falcon combat helicopters it ordered from Poland.

Lt. Col. Miguel Ernesto G. Okol, PAF spokesman, told the PNA on Tuesday that the total package deal for the eight Falcon helicopters amounts to P2.8 billion, part of the P150 billion allocated by Congress in 1995 during the Ramos administration for the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) 15-year modernization program.

“Papers for the purchase of the helicopters are now being processed in time for the delivery early next year,” Okol said.

He said the package deal signed between the PAF and Falcon Sokol, the Polish manufacturer of the choppers, includes training of pilots and crew and other logistics.

PAF chief Lt. Gen. Oscar H. Rabena said the acquisition of these new helicopters will boost the capability of the Air Force not only in combat but also in rescue and mercy missions during disasters.

Falcon combat helicopters are armed with GSz-23L gun, Strzala-2 air-to-air missiles, and Polish Gad fire-control system. Each chopper is also equipped with armored crew seats.

The Polish Air Force, Navy and Army have in their arsenals the Falcon combat helicopters.

Helicopter gunships are being used extensively by the PAF supporting ground forces in the government’s counter-insurgency operations.

At present, the Air Force has a squadron of 520 helicopter gunships and a fleet of UH1H “Huey” helicopters in its arsenal. (PNA)



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