Philippines government has cancelled its order of purchasing Surion choppers from Korea Aersospace Industries (KAI) since the South Korean company has apparently failed in its bid to export the choppers.
Manila had opted to purchase United States’ Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in late 2018 and it informed the South Korean embassy in Philippines regarding the same, Yonhap quoted an official at Seoul’s arms procurement agency as saying Saturday.
“We cannot make assumptions regarding the Philippines’ decision-making, but various factors (including the chopper crash) appear to have influenced its final decision,” Yonhap quoted the official as saying Saturday.
The delay on the part of KAI came after the marine variant of the chopper, MUH-1 Marineon crashed at a military airport in the southeastern city of Pohang in July last year, killing five of the six Marines aboard and injuring the other. A team of civilian, government and military experts cited defects in the rotor mast of the MUH-1 as the cause of the crash.
The company is yet to be notified of Manila’s decision, the news agency quoted an official as saying.
“We have not been informed that anything has been finalized. Though Manila has said it has placed priority (on the US chopper), it has yet to sign any contract (with the US firm). It is too premature yet to conclusively say that (the competition) is over” Yonhap quoted the official as saying.
The South Korean Army has resumed operation of its Surion choppers on Monday, months after they were grounded following the crash of the MUH-1 marine variant of KUH-1 Surion helicopter in July. An MUH-1 Marineon crashed at a military airport in the southeastern city of Pohang on July 17, killing five of the six Marines aboard and injuring the other
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