Monday, March 2, 2015

PHL Air Force Assembling, Testing Newly Aquired Refurbished Huey Helis

UH-1 Huey of the PAF (photo : Timo Maceren)
Clark Airbase, Pampanga- Philippine Air force is now in the process of assembling and testing their newly acquired refurbished Huey Helicopters.

DND conducted bidding of these choppers last 2013. Lone bidder Rice Aircraft Services failed to meet DND's requirements due to some irregularities in it's submitted documents. Because of three consecutive failed bidding, DND considered negotiated procurement as it's last option.

   “It could be a negotiated acquisition. What is best for the government. All process will be above board.” Undersecretary for finance  Fernando Manalo said on a press conference after the opening of bids.

See: Negotiated procurement- next option after three failed biddings for refurbished choppers

Before the said acquisition, Philippine Air force have 76 Huey choppers in it's inventory. 33 of those are beyond repair, 22 needs funding to be able to fly again and only 21 are operational; barely meeting PAF's target of 75 operational Huey helicopters.

Because of the shortage, Department of National Defense (DND) through AFP Modernization Program opted to open the bidding for the acquisition of 21 refurbished Huey Choppers.

  "We are already familiar with this kind of aircraft because we are using it for a long time. There are scores of countries who are using it, plus it's spare parts are still available for another 20 years. We needed to tighten our belts due to scarcity of funds." said PAF Vice Commanding General Gabriel Dimatatac.

“While we wanted to buy choppers from Bell, but given the present situation we need 75. We get 20 storms a year and this is one of the primary equipment we use during disaster, that's why we needed these refurbished choppers to be able to respond quickly." added Usec Manalo.

UH-1 Huey of the PAF (photo : Timo Maceren)
14 out of twenty-one ordered refurbished Bell UH-1 Iroquois or "Huey" Helicopters were delivered October last year by US based Rice Aircraft Services and Canadian Eagle Copters. The contract price was Php 1.25 Billion.

Meanwhile, To ensure the availability of its UH-1 "Huey" helicopter fleet for combat and humanitarian disaster response missions, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) is allocating the sum of Php20,239,984.58 for the acquisition of electrical, instrument and fuel system requirements for the aircraft.

The Air Force is known to operate 20 to 40 models of the UH-1Hs. The "Huey" is the primary combat utility helicopter of the PAF and is used for fire support, re-supply, evacuation, transport and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

Submission and bid opening is on March 11, 9 a.m. at the PAF Procurement Center Conference Room, Villamor Air Base, Pasay City according to Philippine News Agency (PNA) report posted in their website.

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