Procurement: Huey Returns to Asian Jungles

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July 12, 2006: The Philippines is getting another 30 used UH-1 helicopters from the United States. The Philippines already has fifty of these helicopters, which are refurbished to give them another decade of useful life. Some 90 percent of the current fifty UH-1s are operational, and the Filipinos have been pleased with the performance of these aircraft. The Philippines could get more of these UH-1s if it was willing to pay for refurbishment costs. But because it costs over a million dollars per aircraft, the Philippines only takes the UH-1s that the U.S. has agreed to pick up the refurb costs for. Even at that, the UH-1s are expensive to operate, costing nearly a thousand dollars per hour in the air. While the Philippines pays its crews and maintenance people less, fuel and spare parts cost the same as they do in the United States. There, the U.S. Army has retired over 700 UH-1s during the last five years, and is phasing out this Vietnam era design completely. Many police, fire and other governmental organizations are glad to get their hands on these retired helicopters. Even with the refurb cost, the UH-1s are still effective, and a bargain at the price (free from the government, plus refurb expense).
The Philippines has used its UH-1s to fight Communist and Islamic rebels.

 


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