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Rotorcraft Asia 2019: First H125s for Philippine police arrive

22nd March 2019 - 11:00 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Hong Kong

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Two H125s destined for the Philippine National Police (PNP) now have arrived in the Southeast Asian country. After being assembled, tested and formally accepted by the PNP, these H125s are two of four helicopters that will eventually fly on police business around the Philippines.

The PNP’s single-engine helicopter acquisition project saw Airbus Helicopters scoop a PHP452 million ($8.9 million) contract in December 2017 for two H125s, and these have now been delivered in disassembled condition.

Not long after that particular contract was awarded, Airbus Helicopters won a second tender worth PHP450.5 million in July 2018 for an additional two H125 rotorcraft.

The General Appropriations Act had approved the purchase of four single-engine helicopters in two lots. Yet the PNP still has a requirement for a third batch of single-engine helicopters, and a budget of PHP780 million has been provided for three single-engine aircraft.

These aircraft additions are badly needed by the Air Unit of the Philippine National Police - Special Action Force (PNP-SAF).

Up until last year, its ageing rotary-winged fleet includes three AS350 BA, two Bo 105, two R44 Raven I and one R44 Raven II helicopters, but few, if any, are considered airworthy.

The most recent addition to the PNP-SAF fleet was a Bell 429 that was formally commissioned into service on 16 April 2018. The contract with Bell, worth PHP435.8 million ($8.6 million), was awarded under the police’s twin-engine helicopter acquisition project in June 2017.

The PNP will also need a couple more twin-engine aircraft in the future.

Airbus Helicopters also scored success with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). Under its maritime disaster response helicopter acquisition project, the PCG ordered a first H145 aircraft that should arrive this year.

On receipt of the order, believed to have been placed last July, Airbus said that the PCG’s H145 will be fitted with ‘high-frequency radios, emergency flotation gear, fast roping, cargo sling, searchlight and electro-optical systems to perform critical missions including search and rescue, medical evacuation, maritime patrol and law enforcement’.

A notice to proceed for a second H145 was issued to Airbus Helicopters last November, and this aircraft should be delivered in early 2020.

These helicopters will normally operate from land, but they need to be capable of flying from patrol vessels too. The PCG will utilise them for search-and-rescue tasks as well as law enforcement.

The PCG’s helicopter fleet is woefully insufficient, with only a solitary and old Bo 105C flying. In 2017 the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee approved the acquisition of seven maritime disaster response helicopters for the PCG. 

See Airbus at Rotorcraft Asia at Stand UM1. 

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