Thursday, August 15, 2019

Philippines set to activate Army Aviation Regiment, acquire new aircraft

The Sikorsky HH-60M MEDEVAC Black Hawk, a priority asset the PA wanted to have. 

The Philippine Army (PA) Chief of Plans Col. Romulo Manuel confirmed this to local media on 14 August 2019.

Col. Manuel also confirmed that the PA will be acquiring an initial 4 to 8 helicopters for the new unit, and existing Army Aviation pilots are now undergoing re-training in preparation for these new assets. More helicopters will be acquired gradually to beef up the new unit.

The PA currently has an Army Aviation Battalion attached to its sole Mechanized Infantry Division, and currently operate light observation and liaison aircraft like the Cessna 206, Cessna 172 and Cessna 150. It previously has twin engine fixed wing aircraft but are now non-operational. It also has no helicopters in its fleet.

Filipino defense page MaxDefense Philippines confirmed to Asia Pacific Defense Journal in an online interview that the PA was interested in acquiring helicopters that can be used for combat utility, close air support, training, medical evacuation, and combat search and rescue to reduce reliance on air assets of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

According to MaxDefense, among those in the forefront of their wish list is the Sikorsky HH-60M MEDEVAC Black Hawk, which would be used to extract wounded troops from the battlefield to the nearest combat hospital. The PA is also interested in training helicopters based on the Robinson R-44 Raven, as well as a surveillance and reconnaissance fixed wing aircraft like the Cessna Grand Caravan ISR that is already in service with the PAF.

[1] Philippine News Agency
[2] MaxDefense Philippines

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