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The Philippines Department of National Defence (DND) has signed a contract to acquire 32 additional S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters.

The value of the deal stands at around $624m. The helicopters will be purchased from Poland’s PZL Mielic.

The contract signing took place during a ceremony held at the DND Building in Camp Aguinaldo.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana signed the contract on behalf of the DND, and PZL Mielec president Janusz Zakrecki represented the Polish firm during the ceremony.

With the additional units, the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) fleet will increase to 48 helicopters, including the 16 units that were delivered earlier.

The last batch was handed over late last year.

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The scope of the deal also covers an integrated logistics support package, as well as training for pilots and maintenance crew.

Lorenzana said: “This is a continuing relationship between our countries. The Philippine Air Force is very happy with the Black Hawk helicopters.

“Hopefully, the delivery of these new utility helicopters will start soon. I think we will not be here anymore to receive these helicopters, but nonetheless, we will be happy to see the improvement of the capability of the Philippine Air Force.”

In December 2021, PAF pilots started S-70i Black Hawk flight simulator training in Brunei to learn how to use and maintain the new helicopters.