Lorenzana says gov't to buy 32 Black Hawk choppers
By Robina Asido
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced that a notice for the funding of the acquisition of additional 32 Black Hawk helicopters and six offshore patrol vessels was released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Monday.
Lorenzana said the "newly approved funding for capital assets acquisition" is P32 billion for the 32 units Blackhawk helicopters from PZL Mielec, Poland and P30 billion for six offshore patrol vessels with Austal.
"I would like to announce that last night, yesterday I received a notice from the DBM for the funding of the 32 Black Hawk helicopters, additional," he said during the change of command and retirement ceremony of the Philippine Air Force in Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Tuesday.
"I am very happy that before his term ends, we will be able to sign the contract for the 32 additional BlackHawk helicopters," he added.
Lorenzana was referring to Maj. Gen. Connor Anthony Canlas Sr., who assumed office as the new chief of the Philippine Air Force. He replaced Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes who reached the mandatory retirement age of 56 on Tuesday.
Canlas, in his assumption speech, said: ''My standing orders are mission first, safety always, strive for mission accomplishments and look after the moral and welfare of our personnel."
Lorenzana said Duterte wants to buy more BlackHawk helicopters so the PAF can retire the UH-1H choppers.
"When we were trying to convince the president to buy these BlackHawk helicopters many many years ago, I think in 2019, I tried to convince him to buy more, we started in 16. I signed the contract in Nov. 2019,'' said Lorenzana.
The following year, six BlackHawk helicopters were delivered and last week they delivered the last five, said Lorenzana.
''So we have now 16. Unfortunately one crashed, so we have 15," he said.
"Anyway the president added 'let's buy many so that we can retire the Hueys because many of the crew died because of these Hueys'," he added. DMS