Sikorsky will formally propose its S-70 Armed Battlehawk to Philippines air force for attack helicopter requirement and Turkey’ T 129 is another option on the table.
Sikorsky’s proposal for six helicopters would build on Manila’s order for 16 S-70 in a combat utility configuration, says Jon Rudy, regional executive at Sikorsky, a unit of Lockheed Martin.
The 16 S-70 are being produced at the company’s PZL Mielec unit in Poland. Deliveries for the order, which Sikorsky sealed in early 2019, will commence in the fourth quarter of this year and will be completed in 2021.
“We believe that Armed Battlehawk is compelling for the Philippines air force… in that it is going to have 100% baseline commonality with their combat utility helicopters,” says Rudy. “So you can imagine the economies that are associated with support, training and logistics.”
As with Manila’s baseline S-70 (also designated as UH-60s) the Armed Battlehawk would be produced at PZL Mielec. If necessary, the armed version can be reconfigured for other missions, such as transport and humanitarian relief.
Joe Palumbo, UH-60 programme director at Sikorsky, adds that the helmet-based targeting system available for Armed Battlehawk offers pilots the ability to engage targets precisely.
Sikorsky will offer the Armed Black Hawk on a direct commercial sales basis. The other two US helicopters in contention, the Bell AH-1Z Zulu and Boeing AH-64E Apache, are being offered under Washington’s Foreign Military Sale (FMS) mechanism. But Philippines said; Bell AH-1Z Zulu and Boeing AH-64E Apache are over their budget.
Manila has also flirted with the Turkish Aerospace T129 ATAK. They believe that Turkey has a better solution for their needs. However, that US government export restrictions related to the type’s US-built LHTEC T800 engines would complicate any T129 buy. Turkey is still working on an alternative engine in TAI ( Turkish Aerospace Industry ) to overcome the difficulties on their path to export T 120 Atak to other countries like Azerbaijan, Georgia, Pakistan, Libya, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Tunis, Algeria, Indonesia and Philippines.