The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will acquire eight new combat helicopters in 2010, to increase the air force’s air combat capability, and for the speedy deployment of troops and military supplies.

The PAF will acquire these additional helicopters at an estimated cost of US$64m from PZL Swidnik, according to

The PAF and the Department of National Defense (DND) officials began working on the project on 17 May 2009.

Air force commander General Oscar Rabena said at the rate they are going in the anti-insurgency campaign, the arrival of the helicopters will greatly improve their combat air support.

Combat utility helicopters are the backbone of the AFP in inserting, extricating and moving troops and military supplies in various operational areas all over the country.

“This will also increase our search and rescue capabilities,” Rabena said.

Philippines Armed Forces will fund the helicopter acquisition, under the Philippine capability upgrade programme.

The PAF will also acquire three light lift aircraft and upgrade its C-130 H cargo plane.

“Both projects are expected to increase the PAF’s operational responsiveness in support of peace and national development,” Rabena said.