The Philippine air force is looking to follow a decision on eight utility helicopters by also acquiring one Lockheed Martin C-130H and three smaller transport aircraft.

The service has decided to buy eight W-3 Sokol combat utility helicopters from Polish manufacturer PZL Swidnik, it says, adding that the budget is 3 billion pesos ($65 million). Deliveries will start later this year.

"The contract is signed and the government is funding it from the 5 billion pesos that the Philippine president, Gloria Arroyo, released a few years ago for the service's modernisation programme," the air force says.

It also says it is "going to acquire a refurbished C-130H" and three smaller transport aircraft that can each seat between nine and 12 passengers. These are required to meet troop transport requirements, especially to Mindanao, it says, referring to a major city in the southern Philippines, which is a hotbed of activity by Muslim insurgents.

The air force uses a mix of older fixed-wing aircraft that includes two operational C-130Hs, plus two Fokker F27s and 12 GAF Nomads, as listed by Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.

The service has yet to start the bidding process for the planned new fleet of small transports, saying: "We are still waiting for the funds to be released." The budget for the purchase is 920 million pesos, it adds.

Source: Flight International