The Armed Forces of the Philippines is reportedly set to buy 16 Mi-17 medium-lift Russian helicopters worth $14.7 million each as part of its modernization program.
That would be P779 million each at the exchange rate of P53 to $1, or a total of $235.3 million or P12.5 billion.
The purchase will be made to coincide with the scheduled state visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Moscow this week.
“I am hoping and praying that before my remaining three years expire, that all of these things, especially the labeled ‘Horizon Projects’ of yours, will be completed during my term, President Duterte said during the 72nd anniversary of the Philippine Air Force at Villamor Air Base in July.
The President has vowed a full completion of the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the balance of his term.
Duterte was not just referring to the modernization of the Air Force. He meant the modernization of the entire Armed Forces including every service and every unit.
The Second Horizon phase of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program involves P139 billion worth of projects, including the procurement of utility vehicles, drones and other command and control fixed-wing aircraft.
Russia exported over 800 Mi-17s in 2006–2016, according to reports.
The Mi-17 is being marketed by Rosoboron, the marketing arm of the Russian Defense Industry and is being offered to the PAF through a third company, according to sources.
The offer includes not only the 16 units of helicopters but an additional chopper, free-of-charge for a VVIP (very, very important person), the source said.
However, sources within the AFP are concerned about the speed with which the contract is to be closed on the multi-billion-peso contract.