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08:27 AM, December 9, 2018
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Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk (image: Lockheed Martin)

Philippine Air Force will add 16 Black Hawk helicopters from the United States (US) and T-129 ATAK from Turkey to its fleet, country’s Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

"I think finally the Air Force technical working group has come up with a recommendation that the Black Hawk is the best option that they will buy, probably by next year," Philstar quoted Lorenzana as saying Friday.

Lockheed Martin’s helicopter unit Sikorsky, AgustaWestland AW139, the Korea Aerospace Industries' Surion utility helicopter and Canadian-made Bell 412 were being considered as potential contractors.

"We have limited money for that. We have only $240 million worth and the original pricing of this aircraft for the (Bell 41) we can get 16," he added.

Talking about the deal with Turkey, he said, “The Air Force has also chosen the T-129 ATAK helicopter. I think we can only get less than 10, maybe eight."

International online magazine The Diplomat earlier reported that the Philippines has identified the T-129 ATAK multirole combat helicopters to address the requirements of the Philippine military.

The upcoming government-to-government deal between the Philippines and Turkey would serve as a landmark deal for the defense relationship between the two countries, according to the report.

Philippine officials, however, have yet to formally announce the deal, Philstar report said.

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