Russia asks the Philippines to honor the contract to buy Mi-17 helicopters

Russia called on the Philippines to honor the contract to buy 16 Mi-17 helicopters that Manila unilaterally announced to cancel because of fear of US sanctions.

Russia and the Philippines signed a contract in November 2021, under which Moscow will sell 16 Mi-17 helicopters to Manila and donate one more with a total value of 12.7 billion pesos.

The helicopters are manufactured by Russia’s Sovtechnoexport and the first ones are expected to be delivered within two years.

However, in July 2022, former Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and the country’s ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez confirmed the administration had terminated the contract.

The decision was made by former President Rodrigo Duterte before leaving office in the middle of this year amid concerns that the Philippines may be subject to Western sanctions or lose funding to fight the Covid-19 epidemic and restore the economy.

Russian Ambassador to Manila Marat Pavlov told reporters on the evening of October 19 that the Philippine government had not officially informed Russia of the cancellation of the contract and that the Russian company was producing helicopters after receiving the payment. Pay first from the Philippines. In addition, Philippine pilots have also undergone Russian training.

“We are ready to fulfill all our obligations as a reliable partner of the Philippines in the field of military-technical cooperation. We believe that the Philippine side is also the same,” said Mr. Marat Pavlov.

He added that the manufacturer was ready to deliver a helicopter under the contract in June, but “unfortunately” the Philippine government did not accept it. Manila has not commented on the Russian ambassador’s comments.

The Russian side can appeal the termination process, but the Philippine government is unlikely to change its mind. Manila is negotiating with Moscow to get back its $38 million deposit.

The Russian Mi-17 helicopter was originally ordered by Manila for use in combat, search and rescue operations, as well as medical evacuations in the Philippines, a country prone to frequent typhoons and disasters.

The Mi-17 helicopter is a new variant of the legendary Mi-8 helicopter, they are equipped with a new engine with greater capacity and a reinforced airframe to meet the increased cargo load requirements.

In addition to the transport capacity, the Mi-17 can also carry rockets, machine gun pods, and even anti-tank missiles to support ground fire, thereby turning them into light attack helicopters.

The noticeable difference between the improved Mi-17 helicopter compared to the original Mi-8 is that it adds 2 more filters in front of the engine’s air intake.

In addition, the tail rotor of the Mi-17 is arranged on the left instead of the right like the Mi-8 to increase the stability of the helicopter, due to the new engine having a larger capacity.

The mi-17 helicopter has a crew of 3; a length of 18,465 m; a rotor diameter of 21.25 m; a height of 4.76 m.

The empty weight of the Mi-17 helicopter is 7,489 kg, and the maximum take-off weight is 13,000 kg.

The aircraft is equipped with 2 Klimov TV3-117VM engines with a capacity of 1,633 kW (2,190 hp) each for a maximum speed of 250 km/h, a flight range of 960 km, and a ceiling of 6,000 m.

The cargo compartment of the Mi-17 helicopter can accommodate 30 fully armed soldiers.

When necessary, they can carry 1,500 kg of weapons under 6 mounts including bombs, rockets, external machine guns, and anti-tank missiles.

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