Manila has only budgeted $256 million for the purchase of six attack helicopters, meaning that the country could buy only one or two choppers.
As reported by major media outlets, the Trump administration has recently cleared Philippines to buy six Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian or six Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters.
But as reported by Iquirer.net, Philippine’s Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana said on May 13, 2020 that the two Foreign Military Sales (FMS) package for attack helicopters offered by the US are too expensive for the country.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said that the Foreign Military Sale package for the AH-64E is worth up to $1.5 billion while the order for AH-1Z will cost up to $450 million.
These packages are not final, and may be adjusted upon the request of the Philippine government.
However, Lorenzana said that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has only budgeted $256 million for the purchase of six attack helicopters, meaning that the country could buy only one or two choppers.
Last year, the country selected the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T129 attack helicopter but the sale has been held up as Turkey needs export approval from Washington for certain parts.
Built by Boeing, the AH-64E stands as the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter. To date, more than 400 AH-64E model Apaches have been delivered worldwide. The AH-64E is designed and equipped with an open systems architecture to incorporate the latest communications, navigation, sensor, and weapon systems.
According to Bell, the AH-1Z is designed to operate – and destroy targets – in the most extreme environments. The US Marine Corps is replacing the two-bladed AH-1W with the AH-1Z, which features a new, four-bladed composite rotor system, performance-matched transmission, four-bladed tail rotor, upgraded landing gear and a fully integrated glass cockpit. The AH-1Z is equipped with an integrated advanced fire control system and the capacity to support multiple weapons configurations.
Photo credit: Lance Cpl. Dalton S. Swanbeck/U.S. Marine Corps and Nicky Boogaard via Wikipedia