Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana has announced plans to purchase UH-1H and MD500 helicopters from the Republic of Korea.

The Philippine Information Agency added that Lorenzana also revealed plans to carry out Joint Visual Inspection (JVI) in the fourth quarter of this year.

It will be carried out by a team made of the Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ representatives.

The JVI will follow ‘strict biosafety protocols’ that are in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The acquisition of the UH-1H and MD500 helicopters is said to be in the exploratory phase. Details of the timeline and quantity have not been finalised.

In a separate development, the last two of the six new Embraer Defense and Security A-29 ‘Super Tucano’ close-air support aircraft landed at Clark Air Base near Manila.

Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong as saying: “The two remaining Super Tucanos arrived yesterday (Thursday).

“The first aircraft touched down at 1304H (1:04 pm) and followed by the other at 1327H (1:27 pm).”

The helicopters are expected to boost the 15th Strike Wing of the Philippines Air Force (PAF).

The first four of the A-29 helicopters were delivered last month after the initial delivery schedule was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a part of the agreement, PAF pilots will be trained by Embraer pilots for two months.

Last month, the US delivered four A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to the Afghan Air Force as part of the Nato-led Resolute Support Mission.