Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Philippine Air Force carries out flight demo of controversial helicopters

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City--To prove that there is nothing anomalous in their deals, the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Philippine Air Force (PAF) had carried out flight demonstrations of their newly acquired helicopters.

One of PAF’s latest acquisitions, the refurbished UH-1 helicopters was used during the flight demonstration of the Philippine Air force with the media.

It is included in the controversial 1.2 billion peso deal of the Department of National Defense.

From Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, chosen media personnel rode in the UH-1 and UH-1H choppers to go to San Mateo Rizal.

The news team first rode in the old UH-1H helicopter on the way to San Mateo; and then tried the refurbished UH-1 helicopter going back to the Camp Aguinaldo. The whole flight took them more than thirty minutes.

Through the flight demonstration, DND and PAF wanted to prove the refurbished UH-1 helicopters are not defective.

There were also allegations that the transaction of DND with the dealer of the helicopters, the US-based company Rice Aircraft Services Incorporated and Eagle Copters was anomalous.

This was denied by the DND.

  "There is no truth in everything she said. No one in the dnd officials is involved in the alleged commissions" said DND Under-Secretary Fernando Manalo, Chairman of DND-BAC.

From supposed 21 UH-1 helicopters to be delivered according to the contract, only seven helicopters were delivered and accepted by the Philippine Air Force.

Because of this, the DND partially terminated the contract with the said company in April because of the failure to deliver the 21 refurbished Huey helicopters on time.

Undersecretary Manalo said, rigid inspections and strict procedures were done before accepting delivered helicopters.

  "There is a checklist with 200 items which should be looked into first. It undergoes a tedious process before a helicopter is accepted" said Manalo.

The additional air assets will be utilized by the AFP in different missions such as combat operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, and not just limited to training operations.

This was the second time that the PAF and DND conducted flight demo of the newly acquired choppers.

The first demo was conducted last March in Villamor Airbase using 2 newly acquired refurbished Huey UH-1D, immediately after the controversy broke out to the media.

DND Secretary Voltair Gazmin himself rode the controversial chopper on the way back to his office to show the media his confidence to the newly acquired air assets .

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