In a bizarre turn of events, the Philippines has cancelled a contract for 16 Bell Helicopter 412EPIs for its air force just days after revealing the deal at the Singapore air show.

The cancellation was ordered by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte after the Canadian government – which had backed the deal for the Montreal-built aircraft – ordered a review into the acquisition.

Ottawa was concerned that Manila's air force planned to use the medium-twins for offensive operations, rather than utility transport missions, according to the government-run Philippine News Agency.

A letter officially cancelling the order was issued on 13 February; Bell unveiled the deal – actually signed in December 2017 – on 6 February.

The Philippines still intends to acquire new aircraft and is now looking at alternative suppliers, it says.