Philippines won’t buy Russian helicopters due to US sanctions – official

The Philippines will buy 16 Black Hawk helicopters from the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp for $240 million, shunning cheaper Russian equipment due to US sanctions on Russian military exports. The Philippines had initially agreed to buy 16 Bell 412 helicopters from Canada but the deal was scrapped in February after Canada expressed concern they could be used to fight rebels. The Philippines then considered several other helicopters including Sikorsky Aircraft’s S-70 Black Hawk, Russia’s Mi-171, South Korea’s Surion and Agusta Westland’s AW139, Reuters reports. Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the Air Force would sign a contract early next year for the 16 Black Hawks, even though the Russians offered the second lowest price. “It is very difficult to pay them because of the US sanctions,” Lorenzana told reporters at a security forum.