President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the acquisition of air assault Black Hawk helicopters, a Cabinet official said Thursday as part of efforts to modernize the Philippine military.
Fifteen new choppers will be acquired by the Department of National Defense to allow the Philippine Air Force to finally decommission its fleet of Huey helicopters, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.
The Vietnam war-era Hueys or UH-1H are the PAF's work horse and figured in several crashes.
The number of Black Hawks on order, however, is subject to change depending on negotiations, Nograles noted.
"The President has approved the acquisition of 15 Black Hawk helicopters," Nograles said during a Palace press briefing. Black Hawks are kused for combat and utility.
Duterte gave the green light to acquire the new military air assets after seven people were killed in an Air Force chopper crash in Bukidnon in January. Nograles said the January crash is the fourth since July of 2020 and the President wanted to put an end to such "tragic deaths."
Earlier, the Philippine Air Force received one of two C-130 Hercules cargo planes from the U.S., boosting its mission capability.