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4 new choppers for Air Force arrive in Clark


MANILA, Philippines—Two years since it placed its order, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) received four brand-new combat utility helicopters to upgrade its dwindling fleet of vintage “Huey” utility helicopters.
The four new combat utility helicopters from Augusta PZL Swidnik of Italy and Poland arrived in Clark Air Base in Pampanga Tuesday, according to PAF.
They are the first batch of a total of eight helicopters that the PAF ordered back in February 2010 for P2.8 billion.
The P2.8 billion covers the price of the eight “Sokol” helicopters (sokol means falcon in Polish), the pilots’ training as well as maintenance and technical support.
PAF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Miguel Ernesto Okol said the four Sokol helicopters will be assembled and will undergo test flights before a formal blessing and turnover.
The second batch of four other helicopters is expected to be delivered in the last quarter of the year.
Compared to the UH-1H Huey helicopters, Okol said the Sokol is a “more capable utility platform.”
It is night vision goggle-capable and equipped with autopilot equipment. While the Huey can carry only seven passengers, a Sokol helicopter can accommodate 10.
Okol said it has a maximum takeoff weight of 14,110 lbs. and endurance of three hours and 19 minutes and can reach a maximum range of 402 nautical miles in a single flight with an airspeed of 140.5 knots.
The Sokol is also fitted with gun mounts on both sides.
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5:19 am | Thursday, February 16th, 2012

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