Russia capable of supplying any of PH helicopter needs

MANILA — Russia is capable of supplying any helicopters to the Philippines, including various models of its Moscow Mi-17 medium twin-turbine transport.

Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev made this statement when asked if Manila really has a contract with Moscow regarding the purchase of these helicopters.

“Russians and Filipinos are working on that. So, I (would) like to remind you that Russia produces the best helicopters in the world,” he said during the press conference with select defense and foreign journalists in Makati City Tuesday.

The Russian envoy added that Moscow is ready to deliver these helicopters once an agreement is forged or signed.

“So, we are ready and I hope we’ll supply Russian helicopters to the Philippines. So, both sides are actively working on that and I’m sure we are on the right track. I believe that in the near future our Philippine partners will use Russian helicopters,” he stressed.

When asked how many helicopters Russia can provide, Khovaev said both sides are still working on the matter and it is still too early to give figures yet.

“It’s too early to talk about that. It’s a subject of bilateral talks,” he pointed out.

Khovaev, however, said exact numbers to be acquired are dependent on the Philippine side.

“It’s up to you, it’s up to you Filipinos. We are ready to supply as many as you want,” Khovaev stressed.

The Mi-17 has a crew of two pilots and one engineer and has a length of 18.465 meters and a height of 21.25 meters. It has a maximum speed of 280 kilometers per hour and a cruise speed of 260 kilometers per hour.

Earlier, the Department of National Defense (DND) said that the Philippine Air Force has an ongoing requirement for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to acquire a helicopter with heavy-lift capability which will be used for its humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions.

Initial studies indicated that the Russian-made Mi-17 seems like a good fit for the PAF’s heavy-lift helicopter requirement as it is powerful enough to carry around 34 fully-equipped troops or lift a howitzer.  Priam Nepomuceno / PNA –