PZL Mielec Sells Another 32 Black Hawk Helicopters
Lockheed Martin's/Sikorsky's PZL Mielec company has signed an agreement concerning the delivery of 32 S-70I Black Hawk helicopters for the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The contract has a value of USD 624 million.
According to the Filipino PNA outlet, the agreement has been concluded by and between the head of the Filipino MoD, Delfin N. Lorenzano, and Janusz Zakręcki, President at PZL Mielec. The contract concerns delivery of 32 S-70i Black Hawk helicopters with a logistics support package and training - both for the aircrews, as well as the ground personnel. The price for the acquisition has been defined as USD 624 million which translates into 2.5 bn. zlotys.
Lorenzano noted that delivery of 32 new Black Hawk helicopters, along with the prior acquisition of 16 examples, would allow Manila to fully replace its obsolete UH-1H Huey fleet. He noted that the helicopters manufactured in Mielec would be used for a plethora of missions, including reconnaissance and disaster response. Lorenzano added that the Air Force of the Philippines is greatly satisfied with the new aircraft. The Black Hawks have proven their worth when responding to the Odette typhoon in December last year. They were also used to distribute COVID-19 vaccines in remote areas. The Philippines had procured 16 helicopters as such in 2019, with deliveries happening over the last 2 years. One of the aircraft crashed in June last year, during a night flight training sortie.
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The deliveries of the new lot of helicopters would be taking place between 2023 and 2026. 5 aircraft are expected to be delivered during the first year, 10 aircraft in 2024, 10 in 2025, and 7 in 2026. The contract with the Philippines is one of the most significant export contracts that has been signed by the Polish defence industry in recent years. It shall be viewed as a major success for the PZL Mielec facility.
In the release that the company issued, information has been published stating that 32 helicopters would be received by the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing of the Filipino Air Force - this unit has been operating the Black Hawks for some time now. The aircraft delivered would have a universal configuration. Each of the helicopters is to feature a weather radar, digital map, seats for the troops, and a cargo hook that can handle payloads of 9,000 lbs. The pilots and the ground crews would be trained both in the US, as well as the Philippines. Janusz Zakręcki, President and General Director at PZL Mielec said that "Our Polish employees are obliged to manufacture and deliver another fleet of 32 Black Hawk helicopters, as per schedule, with the support that would ensure that these multi-role aircraft are there to protect and save lives, serving the Philippines for decades to come".
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S-70i Black Hawk helicopters are also operated by the Polish SOF Component (4 procured in 2019, and another 4 in 2021), and by the Polish Police - 3 aircraft. Last year, a framework agreement was signed by and between PZL Mielec and Romania, concerning delivery of up to 12 helicopters. 6 aircraft have been ordered so far. This is a result of a competitive procurement procedure that involved Airbus, and Leonardo, alongside the PZL Mielec company.