Philippines Pursues Helicopter Deals with Russia, Turkey, and Poland

Marawi crisis UH-1H helicopter.

Marawi crisis UH-1H helicopter.

“The Philippines will proceed with the acquisition of 17 helicopters from Russia despite the latter’s conflict with Ukraine…”

The accompanying article from the Philippines-based looks at the Philippine government’s decision to purchase 17 military transport helicopters from Russia.  The article notes that the deal was made before the Russian invasion of Ukraine and, for the Philippines, the invasion does not affect the status of the deal.  The article asserts that the fulfillment of the deal would ultimately depend on Russia, which has been subject to sanctions since its war in Ukraine began.  The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has only expressed concern about, but not condemned, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In addition, on 9 March, Turkey’s pro-government Daily Sabah reported that the Philippines received six attack helicopters from a Turkish company.  Like the Russian helicopters, the helicopters from Turkey are intended to enhance the Philippines’ surface strike system.  They are capable of being deployed in the South China Sea, where the Philippines has territorial disputes with China.

Besides Russia and Turkey, reported on 22 February that the Philippines acquired 16 Black Hawk helicopters from Poland and is under contract for the purchase of 32 more.  The Philippines Air Force (PAF) noted that the helicopters would be used in humanitarian emergencies, as occurred when Typhoon Odette caused the deaths of more than 400 civilians in Visayas and Mindanao in December 2021.  In addition, the PAF may use the helicopters for aerial surveillance, including of pirates and terrorist groups like Abu Sayyaf, which have been active in the south of the country, kidnapping both foreign tourists and Philippine citizens.


“Philippines keeps $12.7-billion chopper deal with Russia despite Ukraine conflict,” (largely centrist Philippine based media outlet), 10 March 2022.

The Philippines will proceed with the acquisition of 17 helicopters from Russia despite the latter’s conflict with Ukraine, the Department of National Defense (DND) said. In a statement, DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the deal and initial payment for the project were made even before the start of the crisis in Ukraine.

Source: “Philippines receives 1st batch of Turkey-made attack helicopters,” (Turkish pro-government news source), 9 March 2022.

The Philippines has received the first batch of Turkey-made attack helicopters, the country’s air force announced. The country had ordered six helicopters designed and developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). The Philippines – which is buying the six choppers worth approximately $280 million (TL 4.1 billion) – is the first country abroad to use the ATAK.

Mariano said the Turkish-made attack helicopters are expected to enhance the “surface strike system” of the Air Force.

Source: “Philippines, Poland firm sign deal for 32 Black Hawk helicopters,” (largely centrist Philippine based media outlet), 22 February 2022.

The PAF said the set of helicopters would boost the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ capability for various operations such as humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions. The defense chief added that the Black Hawk helicopters, as well as the country’s 15 Sikorsky 70i, were helpful during the onslaught of Typhoon Odette in parts of Visayas and Mindanao.

Image Information:

Image: Marawi crisis UH-1H helicopter.
Source: Philippines Information Agency
Attribution: CC BY 2.0