PZL Mielec, a Lockheed Martin company has signed a contract award with the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) to manufacture 32 additional S-70i Black Hawk utility helicopters for the Philippine Air Force.
Delivery of all 32 aircraft by 2026 will dramatically increase the operational capacity of the Philippine Air Force to perform search and rescue missions, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and troop transport across the archipelagic country.
The Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines Delfin N. Lorenzana signed the contract with Janusz Zakręcki, president, general director of PZL Mielec. The contract signing took place February 22 at the Department of National Defense headquarters.
The Philippine Air Force’s 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing will receive all 32 aircraft in a utility configuration. Each aircraft will be equipped with a fully integrated digital cockpit with four axis coupled flight director, color weather radar, integrated vehicle health monitoring system (IVHMS), cabin troop seats, and a 9,000-pound (4,082 kg) cargo hook. Pilots and maintainers will receive training both in the U.S. and the Philippines.
“In the aftermath of Typhoon Odette (Rai), the Philippine Air Force has shown the world how its recently acquired Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk fleet, designed and built to the toughest military standards, can quickly and reliably deliver emergency personnel and supplies to island populations across a large maritime area,” said Jason Lambert, vice president for Sikorsky Global Commercial & Military Systems.
Said Janusz Zakręcki, PZL Mielec president and general director: “Our Polish workforce is committed to build and deliver the next fleet of 32 Black Hawk aircraft on schedule, with the support that ensures these multi-role vehicles will protect and save lives while serving the Philippine people for decades to come.”
The Philippine contract for 32 aircraft is the largest single order of Black Hawk helicopters for PZL Mielec since S-70i aircraft production began in 2009. The contract signing comes two months after PZL Mielec, based in southern Poland, completed deliveries of 16 S-70i Combat Utility Helicopters on schedule to the Philippine Air Force 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing in December 2021.