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Additional Utility Helicopters (S-70i Black Hawk) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force

 As part of its continuing need to improve its mobility capabilities to address the lack of enough air assets and the ageing of existing air assets, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) raised the requirement for the acquisition of a second batch of S-70i Black Hawk Combat Utility Helicopters (CUH) to replace the retired fleet of Bell UH-1D/H Huey, and complement the existing fleet of Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk and Bell 412EP combat utility helicopters operated by the PAF's 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing.

This led to the Additional Utility Helicopters (S-70i Black Hawk) Acquisition Project, which is being pursued as part of the 2nd List of Horizon 2 phase projects of the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP).

The project may be alternatively called as the Combat Utility Helicopter (Phase 4) Acquisition Project, 

The S-70i Black Hawk, these examples bound for the PAF. Photo c/o Polish Embassy in the Philippines.


Summary:

Combat Utility Helicopter (Phase 4) Acquisition Project

Note: Edited as of 25 May 2023.


* End User: Philippine Air Force (205th Tactical Helicopter Wing)

Quantity: 32 helicopters


* Modernization Phase:
 2nd List of Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP


* Project ABC:
 Php32,000,000,000.00


Acquisition Mode: Negotiated Procurement (Government-to-Government) with Polish Government, with US Government approval

* SARO Release:
 
   - SARO-BMB-D-21-0013898 dated 27 December 2021 worth Php1,600,000,000.00 for 5% of contract sum as initial payment
   - SARO-BMB-D-23-0017462 dated 25 May 2023, released 25 May 2023, worth Php4,128,000,000.00 for 13% of contract sum as 2nd MYOA milestone payment
 
* Winning Proponent:
 Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. (thorough its Polish subsidiary PZL Mielec)

Product for Delivery: Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk International


* Contract Price:
 approx. 
Php31,753,846,153.00

* First post by MaxDefense: 23 January 2021

* Searching Hashtag: #PAFCUHAcquisition #PAFCUHPhase4Acquisition #PAFAdditionalUtilityHelicoptersAcquisition

Status: Decision to acquire more S-70i Black Hawk helicopters made as the PAF was forced to retire its fleet of UH-1 Huey helicopters after several accidents between 2019-2020. SARO for 5% initial funding was released on 27 December 2021, with NOA released in favour of PZL Mielec on 28 December 2021, and Contract Signing most likely made January or February 2022. 



Overview:


The Philippine Air Force decided to retire its fleet of Bell UH-1 Huey combat utility helicopters after several fatal and non-fatal crashes between 2019-2020.

The Philippine Air Force has been using the Bell UH-1 Huey for decades, with the first units said to have entered service with the PAF in 1967 with the first four (4) UH-1D transferred from the United States. More than 100 more units arrived over the next 4 decades, mostly with the newer and improved UH-1H Huey. Despite the high number of units delivered, the PAF only has less than 40 units in service by 2010.


A PAF Bell UH-1H Huey during training exercises. Credits to original source of photo.


While the PAF acquired the PZL Swidnik W-3A Sokol, Bell 412EP and the Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk in its earlier CUH acquisitions, the PAF's recent acquisition of Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters was found to be the most logical choice for repeat orders.

This was due to their capability vis-à-vis their price, support by the Polish government, and previous issues with the W-3A Sokol's design and performance.

While the Bell 412 remains a viable option, the previous issues that led to the cancellation of the acquisition of 16 Bell 412EPI in favour of the S-70i Black Hawk remains a roadblock, as the acquisition of 32 more helicopters still falls within the administrations of both Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.


The PAF Bell 412EP CUH. Credits to original source of photo.


Sikorsky's Polish subsidiary, PZL Mielec, was able to completely deliver the 16 S-70i Black Hawk helicopters to the PAF as of November 2021, and were the entire procurement as very satisfactory.

A decision to pursue additional S-70i Black Hawk helicopters was decided by the PAF's Technical Working Group, with negotiations proceeding in early 2021.

The Department of National Defense expects a Notice of Award (NOA) and Contract Signing to be made by January 2022, and start of deliveries to proceed by late 2023 or early 2024.


The Sikorsky PZL Mielec S-70i Black Hawk. Photo credited to PZL Mielec's website.


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U P D A T E S:
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27 January 2021:

MaxDefense Philippines sources confirmed that the Philippine Air Force submitted a report to Senate on the status of their UH-1 Huey helicopter fleet, and certain Senators have committed to support the acquisition of replacement helicopters.

Support for funding for more or less 40 new combat utility helicopters have been made by certain Senators to be included in the FY2022 defense budget.

Funding for another 20 helicopters was also committed by these Senators at a later date.

Photo credits to PAF.

===============

14 April 2021:

The Department of National Defense has signed an Implementing Agreement of Defense Acquisition with its Polish counterpart on 07 April 2021, which was meant to support the acquisition of more S-70i Black Hawk helicopters from Sikorsky's Polish subsidiary PZL Mielec.

DND Asec. Jesus Ray Avilla signs the Implementing Agreement between Poland and the Philippines on 07 April 2021. Photo credits to Polish Embassy in the Philippines.

===============

07 December 2021:

Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that the Department of Budget Management (DBM) has approved the release of Php32 billion for the acquisition of 32 Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters for the Philippine Air Force from Sikorsky's Polish subsidiary PZL Mielec. This is an additional project under the 2nd List of Horizon 2 phase.

===============

28 December 2021:

Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana mentioned during the contract signing of the Corvette Acquisition Project, that they are expecting the Contract Signing for the acquisition of 32 Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters for the Philippine Air Force to be happening by January 2022.

He also said that this project, together with the OPV Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy, could be among the last AFP Modernization projects to be signed under the Duterte administration.

One of the PAF's new S-70i Black Hawk helicopters during induction on December 2021. Photo credits to DND.
===============

29 December 2021:

The Department of Budget Management (DBM) has released a new SARO dated 27 December 2021 with an amount of Php1.6 billion for the initial funding requirements of the project.

This represents 5% of the Php32 billion project cost for the acquisition of 32 S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters.

It remains to be seen if 5% is enough for the initial funding, as this would be dependent on the Terms of Reference (TOR) agreed upon by the DND and Sikorsky / Lockheed Martin / PZL Mielec.

It is also possible that a separate SARO would be released to complete the rest of the initial funding, which is normally 15% based on past experiences in other projects.

===============

16 January 2022:

Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed that a Notice of Award has been released last 28 December 2021 for the Additional Utility Helicopters Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force in favour of Sikorsky's Polish subsidiary, PZL Mielec.

32 S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters will be delivered to the PAF in 4 batches: 5 units in 2023, 10 units in 2024, 10 units in 2025 and 7 units in 2026.

The contract is being finalized and the DND intends to release the Notice to Proceed immediately thereafter to officially start the contract implementation.

===============

25 May 2023:

The Department of Budget and Management has released a MYOA payment for the project, with SARO-BMB-D-23-0017462 dated and released on 25 May 2023 and worth Php4,128,000,000.00, or 13% of the project's contract sum.

MaxDefense PH is expecting that PZL Mielec is probably scheduled to start delivery of the 1st batch, which was previously indicated by former Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana as 5 units for 2023.

Screengrabbed from DBM 2023 SARO.

===============
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First post and edit: 29 December 2021
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource

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