Philippines confirms acquisition of 17 Mil Mi-17 Hip helicopters from Russia

A Mil Mi-17 Hip helicopter. Photo c/o Wikimedia Commons. 

The Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) has confirmed to local media that it has signed a contract to purchase 16 new Mil Mi-17 Hip transport helicopters from Russia.

During an interview by the local press, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that a contract has been signed between the DND for the acquisition of 17 Mil Mi017 Hip helicopters on November 2021.

Also, the Philippine Government has released the payment for the initial deposit as agreed in the contract as of January 2022.

He also confirmed that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) is expected to receive the first batch of the helicopters in 24 months, which is around January 2024.

Questions arose on the possibility of delivery problems for the helicopters considering Russia being sanctioned by the United States under its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), as well as economic and defense sanctions by major Western and Asia-Pacific countries for its invasion of Ukraine on February 2022.

Secretary Lorenzana confirmed that the deal with Russia will proceed as part of its contract obligations, as the contract has been signed 3 months before Russia invaded Ukraine.

The PAF has selected the Mil Mi-17 Hip for its heavy lift helicopter requirements with a budget of PHP12.8 billion (US$256 million). 

The Russian helicopter competed against other designs, specifically the larger American-made CH-47F Chinook from Boeing which was said to be far more expensive.

Philippine defense page Philippine Defense Resource confirmed that the initial deposit worth 15% of the contract price was released as early as May 2021, but the project encountered delays due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Once delivered, this would be the first major Russian-made aircraft in the PAF and the first major Russian-made defense equipment for the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Previously the AFP only operated a few donated transport trucks from URAL and GAZ, and AKM rifles donated by the Russian Government.

[1] Philippine News Agency

[2] Philippine Defense Resource

[3] ABC News

Philippines confirms acquisition of 17 Mil Mi-17 Hip helicopters from Russia Philippines confirms acquisition of 17 Mil Mi-17 Hip helicopters from Russia Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on March 15, 2022 Rating: 5

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