Two brand new Bell helicopters from Canada and one landing craft utility from South Korea have been delivered to the Philippine military. The Bell 412EP combat helicopters acquired from Canada arrived last June. The two helicopters were displayed during the recent celebration of the Air Force’s 68th anniversary.
“They can be used for disaster response and for the airlifting of troops and cargoes,” Air Force spokesman Col. Enrico Canaya said in an interview.
The helicopters were acquired through state-run Canadian Commercial Corp. The air assets can conduct assault support and close air support operations and can accommodate 15 people including the pilot.
“We will check if they (supplier) complied with the technical specifications. We will also conduct test flights. If the requirements are satisfied, we will accept the helicopters,” Canaya said.
The Philippines and Canada signed a contract for eight Bell 412EP combat helicopters worth P4.8 billion on March 28, 2014.
The delivery of the eight helicopters will be completed in 2017. Meanwhile, Navy chief Vice Adm. Jesus Millan said the landing craft utility donated by South Korea arrived last May 30.
Millan said the vessel is now in a naval shipyard in Cavite to undergo machinery and equipment repairs.
“Once it becomes operational, it will boost our troop transport support and HADR (humanitarian and disaster response) capability,” the Navy chief said.
Millan said while the vessel was donated by South Korea, the Philippines had spent around P26 million for shipping costs.
The Philippine Navy has five landing craft utility but two of them are undergoing maintenance.
South Korea has donated 16 rubber boats and 200 computer units to the Philippines, one of its allies during the Korean War and one of the weakest in the region in terms of military might.
It also vowed to provide a Pohang-class corvette to the Philippines, a development seen as a sign of the two countries’ growing defense cooperation.