TURKEY TO SELL COMBAT HELICOPTERS TO THE PHILIPPINES
In addition to the Black Hawk helicopters the Philippine Air Force will acquire as a replacement for the canceled combat utility chopper deal with Canada, Philippine Defense Secretary, Delfin Lorenzana said the military will also be purchasing new attack helicopters from Turkey.
Global aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin, through its helicopter unit Sikorsky, had earlier offered the Black Hawk helicopter to the
Air Force. Other options considered were the Agusta Westland AW139, the Korea Aerospace Industries’ Surion utility helicopter and the nowcanceled Canadian-made Bell 412.
“We have limited money,” Lorenzana told reporters at the sidelines of a forum in Makati City December 7. “We have only $240 million and at the original pricing of [the Bell 412] aircraft, we can get 16. Initially, we can acquire 10 of the Surion and also the Black Hawks.”
International online magazine, The Diplomat, earlier reported that the Philippines has identified the T129 ATAK multirole combat helicopter as addressing the requirements of the Philippine military. Lorenzana also confirmed that the Air Force will be acquiring attack helicopters from the Turkish Aerospace Industries. “I think we can only get less than 10, maybe eight,” Lorenzana said.
The upcoming government-to-government deal between the Philippines and Turkey would serve as a landmark for the defense relationship between the two countries, according to the report. Philippine officials, however, have yet to formally announce the deal.
Turkey sat down with Pakistan last year and signed a $1.5 billion agreement for the sale of 30 T129 ATAK helicopters but last week, the deal looked to be in trouble after the U.S. administration intervened. In order to sell the helicopters to Pakistan, Turkey has to get an export license from the Pentagon because British Rolls-Royce and U.S. Honeywell partnership engines were used in the helicopters. The permission is not yet been given. Turkey is also in talks over the T129 ATAK with the Kingdom of Morocco.