Govt opts for US copters over Rus­sian

Gulf Times - - PHILIPPINES -

The Philip­pines will buy 16 Black Hawk he­li­copters from the Siko­rsky Air­craft Corp for $240mn, shun­ning cheaper Rus­sian equip­ment due to US sanc­tions on Rus­sian mil­i­tary ex­ports, the Philip­pine de­fence chief said yes­ter­day.

The Philip­pines had ini­tially agreed to buy 16 Bell 412 he­li­copters from Canada but the deal was scrapped in Fe­bru­ary af­ter Canada ex­pressed con­cern they could be used to fight rebels.

The Philip­pines then con­sid­ered sev­eral other he­li­copters in­clud­ing Siko­rsky Air­craft’s S-70 Black Hawk, Rus­sia’s Mi-171, South Korea’s Su­rion and Agusta West­land’s AW139. De­fence Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana said the air force would sign a con­tract early next year for the 16 Black Hawks, even though the Rus­sians of­fered the se­cond low­est price.

“But it is very dif­fi­cult to pay them be­cause of the US sanc­tions,” Loren­zana told re­porters at a se­cu­rity fo­rum.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump signed a law last year pun­ish­ing Rus­sia for its 2014 an­nex­a­tion of Crimea from Ukraine, its sup­port for Syria’s gov­ern­ment and its sus­pected med­dling in the 2016 US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, an ac­cu­sa­tion the Krem­lin has de­nied. US al­lies, like the Philip­pines, buy­ing weapons and equip­ment from Rus­sia, the world’s se­cond largest arms ex­porter, would also be pe­nalised and could see the trans­fer of those arms dis­rupted.

The S-70 is clas­si­fied as a util­ity he­li­copter.

The Philip­pine air force is also seek­ing to ac­quire up to 10 at­tack he­li­copters next year.

The Philip­pines is spend­ing 300bn pe­sos ($5.6bn) over the next five years to up­grade its de­fence ca­pa­bil­ity, re­plac­ing World War Two-era war­ships and Viet­nam War-vin­tage fight­ers and he­li­copters.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Qatar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.