Nov. 11 (UPI) -- The first five of 16 Sikorsky S-70i helicopters purchased by the Philippine Defense Ministry arrived in Manila, the government's news agency there reported.
A sixth helicopter did not fit on the Russian-made Antonov-124 cargo plane and will arrive by ship in December, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.
The plane arrived at Clark Air Base, near Manila, on Monday.
The aircraft were manufactured in Poland by PZL Mielec under license by Sikorsky USA, a Lockheed Martin subsidiary. The plant employs 1,700 people and also manufactures components of the F-35 stealth fighter and HIMARS, Javelin and PAC-3 MSE missiles, a Lockheed Martin statement said.
The helicopters, in use by nine countries but the Philippines' first of the S-70 series, were purchased in a 2019 government-to-government deal between Poland and the Philippines, totaling $241.4 million.
The 10 remaining aircraft in the contract are expected to be delivered in early 2021.
The Sikorsky S-70, in service since the 1970s, is designated by the U.S. military as the Black Hawk, and is regarded as a medium-lift transport and utility helicopter. The "i" variant is the Polish-made version.
The new helicopters of the Philippines Defense Ministry will be used in combat missions, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, and help in the government's efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, government spokesman Arsenio Andolong said.