The Philippine government may purchase United States- instead of Russian-made helicopters. The switch has become more likely after Manila scrapped its earlier order for 16 Russian choppers.
In an online media forum Monday, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said in an online media forum, the scrapping of the order was largely precipitated by the Russian-Ukraine war.
“While there are sanctions expected to come our way, from the United States and western countries, obviously it is not in our interest to continue and pursue this contract,” Romualdez said.
The scrapped Russian Chinook helicopters may be replaced by heavy-lift US choppers the Philippines needs for its its armed forces for movement of troops and disaster response.
Romualdez said he understands the United States has offered to try to come up with a similar price the Philippines was to spend for the Russian Chinooks. “In other words, at a special price,” he shared.
The envoy said the US deal offers maintenance services and helicopter parts. The purchase contract with Moscow was inked in November 2021 under the Duterte administration.
The Russian deal called for the purchase of 16 Mi-17 Russian military transport helicopters with an additional unit of Soviet era heavy-lift aircrafts to be included at no extra cost.
The Department of National Defense earlied said it has formed a committee to formalize the withdrawal from the contract with Russia worth P12.7 billion or about US$244.2 million.
Romualdez said the government, however, may still avail of “a supply of other the country may need from Russia to replace the helicopters” to be paid from the US$38 million paid to Russia as down payment for the helicopters earlier ordered.