PAF looking for new helicopter suppliers after scuttling of P12-B deal with Canada

February 18, 2018 - 7:59 PM
Philippine Air Force Bell 412EP helicopters, file photo. The PAF is looking for new suppliers after a P12-B deal for Canada to supply choppers was scuttled on Canada's reluctance to have its aircraft used for combat operations. FILE PHOTO

MANILA – With the cancellation of the Bell 412 EPI contract from Bell Helicopter and Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), the Philippine Air Force (PAF) is now looking again for possible suppliers capable of supplying it with aircraft with similar capabilities.

The possible suppliers and their respective countries will be determined by the research of the technical working group, PAF head Lt. Gen. Galileo Gerard Kintanar said Saturday.

This would follow the same procurement process instituted for the Bell 412 EPI contract, he added.
“As of now we do not want to speculate. the (technical) working group will look into (for) any solution from the east and western countries,” Kintanar said.

The Department of National Defense (DND) earlier issued a notice to CCC terminating the contract for the supply and delivery of 16 units of Bell 412 combat utility helicopters for the PAF.

In a statement, DND public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong said this is in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive and pursuant to the Government Procurement Law (RA 9184) which authorized contract termination for the convenience of the government.

The move comes after the Canadian government ordered the review of the PHP12-billion deal between the DND and CCC after receiving reports that the Philippines is planning to use the helicopters against rebel forces.

“While the combat utility helicopters being purchased are primarily for thepurpose of transporting personnel and supplies, the Department believes that it does not owe the Canadian government any justification for an outright purchase of equipment from a privately-owned company,” Andolong said.

He also stressed that the DND will continue to pursue the modernization program, and will look into procuring the combat utility helicopters from other countries in lieu of the Bell 412.