This press release is being done to rectify the assertions of Atty Dodo Dulay in his column Flipside, in The Manila Times, on July 21, 2015 entitled “Gazmin’s plunderous blunder.” Atty Dulay alluded that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) only used two (2) helicopters during the flight demonstration “because the other five (5) are still inoperable due to defects and missing parts.” These statements are not only misleading, but do not reflect the true state of the seven (7) UH-1D helicopters of the PAF.
The PAF used only two (2) helicopters during the flight demonstration last July 14, 2015 to show to the media and the public the basic similarities as well as main differences of the two variants of the Hueys or UH-1 helicopters. All 7 UH-1Ds and 2 UH-1Hs flew from Villamor Air Base, Pasay City to General Headquarters, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, evident that all the 7 UH-1D helicopters were operational and fully mission capable. Media personnel boarded the helicopters during the flight demo from GHQ to San Mateo, Rizal and returned back safely to GHQ.
The UH-1D helicopters are as good as, if not superior to, the existing UH-1H helicopters of the PAF. It has components that are more advantageous than the UH-1H. Among these are the rotor blades, synchronized elevator, airframe, flight controls and instrumentation. The UH-1D is fitted with composite blades, both main rotor and tail rotor, which provide more efficient lift and thrust, respectively. The composite rotor blades also have longer life spans than the metal blades and can be overhauled. The elevator horn of its synchronized elevator is also a conditional-change item compared to the time-change component of the UH-1H. The UH-1D airframe has undergone a Structural Life Extension Program (SLEP), resulting to a reinforced and more integrated airframe as compared to the honeycomb panel of the UH-1H, which has been encountering discrepancies, and is a major consideration during flight maneuvers. The flight controls of the UH-1D have additional buttons that provide for easier access for the pilot to actuate switches which are located in the central pedestal of the UH-1H. Lastly, the instrumentation of the UH-1D provides additional features such as the engine vibration analyzer and the torquemeter, which help detect engine vibration and monitor excessive power application in terms of torque attained. The UH-1H helicopters do not have these features. Hence, the UH-1Ds have higher safety margins and better overall economic value.
The UH-1Ds are refurbished; they are not brand new. Nonetheless, their procurement required a minimum remaining time of at least 50% on all major components and parts, which was a key feature that was scrutinized by the PAF Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee. This provision assures the utilization of the UH-1Ds for at least five (5) years (at an average of 200 flying hours per year per helicopter) prior to their next scheduled major inspections.
Discrepancies prior to acceptance, and during the initial operations of the refurbished units are anticipated and normal. Nevertheless, the contract entered into covers warranty provisions whereby defects are either replaced or repaired by the proponent at no expense to the government. This process has been observed and done on the UH-1Ds whereby defects have been promptly addressed, which has contributed to their high operational readiness status today.
On the other hand, Congressman Biazon was cited in the same article that: “there were no guns mounted on the supposedly combat mission capable helicopters”. It should be noted that the flight demonstration on 14 July was not a combat mission but just a public test display. UH-1D aircraft can be mounted with machine guns, which the PAF has more than adequate supplies, both for the current inventory (UH-1H) and the newly refurbished UH-1D helicopters. (PAF-PIO)
Public Information Office,
Headquarters Philippine Air Force
Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base, Pasay City
Telefax: (632) 853-5023 local: 6629/6529