U.S., Turkey choppers selected for purchase by Philippine Air Force

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(File photo) Department of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana being interviewed by the media over issues on South China Sea dispute

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 7) — The Philippine Air Force (PAF) may soon have more combat utility and attack helicopters in its arsenal.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Air Force's technical working group (TWG) has already recommended two helicopter types for purchase: the U.S.-made Sikorsky Black Hawk combat utility helicopter and the Turkish T129 ATAK attack helicopter.

"The PAF TWG has come up with recommendation that the Black Hawk is the best option that we will buy so we will pursue that," Lorenzana said. 

With President Rodrigo Duterte having previously slammed the United States for refusing to sell attack helicopters in the Philippines, Lorenzana said that the Black Hawk is mainly used for transport.

"Black Hawk is actually not an attack helicopter. It's a combat utility transport. So pwede natin lagyan ng machine gun magkabila (We can put machine guns on both sides) but it's not really for attack, its for bringing air supply troops," he said.

With its limited budget of $240 million, Lorenzana estimates that they can purchase around 16 Black Hawks and 8 T129 ATAKs.