PZL Mielec to Sign a Major Black Hawk Helicopter Deal in January

Filipino S-70i Black Hawk helicopter.
Photo. 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing (Public Domain)

Secretary of the Department of National Defence in Philippines (DND; Filipino: Kagawaran ng Tanggulang Pambansa, KTP), Delfin Lorenzana, hopes that the state would be able to sign further armament procurement deals by the end of the month. In particular, the above refers to two procurement projects: six OPVs, and 32 S-70i helicopters, manufactured at the PZL-Mielec facility in Poland.

Lorenzana’s statement has been published by the Filipino state media outlet - PNA. It was back in December last year when the Philippines signed a contract concerning two missile corvettes, ordered at the South Korean Hyundai Heavy Industries shipbuilding facility, with a pricetag of USD 550 million. Soon after the aforesaid contract was signed, Lorenzana announced that another two contracts that could be finalized in January would concern acquisition of six seagoing OPVs from Austal (Australia), and 32 S-70i Black Hawk helicopters, delivered by PZL Mielec (Poland). The funding had been previously approved by the government, in amounts of USD 590 million, and USD 630 million correspondingly.

The announced S-70i procurement may turn out to be a major export success for Mielec. Back in 2019 Manila ordered 16 helicopters as such from Mielec, with a pricetag of 240 million dollars. 6 of them have been handed off in 2020, another 10 have been supplied this year. In early 2021 the President of Philippines, Rodrigo Duerte, approved procurement of another 15 Polish Black Hawk helicopters - and the news was circulated by the local press. The above would mean that in total, Philippines would procure 31 helicopters as such.

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The government in Manila seems to have changed its plans over the last 12 months - this could be caused by the growing Far Eastern tensions. Ultimately, 48 Black Hawk helicopters are to be contracted in total, over the course of two orders. The announced decision on increased quantity seems to prove the customer satisfaction as well.

Recently, the PZL-Mielec facility owned by Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin has been enjoying growing interest in the Black Hawk helicopter platform manufactured there. Back in November 2021 Romania signed a framework agreement for up to 12 helicopters for its government. Six maritime SAR, and three land-based S-70i Black Hawks were contracted in December. During the very same month, Poland also placed an order concerning another four aircraft for its SOF component, increasing the total quantity of Black Hawks ordered to 11 - eight for the SOF, and three for the Police.