Philippine Air Force

PH Air Force retires 10 UH-1D ‘Huey’ helicopters

Jairo Bolledo
PH Air Force retires 10 UH-1D ‘Huey’ helicopters

AIR FORCE ASSET. A file photo of a Huey helicopter.

Rappler.com

President Duterte first mentions his desire to decommission the Huey choppers after the deadly crash of a UH-1D in Bukidnon

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Friday, October 15, announced that it had already retired ten of its “Huey” helicopters. 

In a Friday statement, the PAF said Air Force chief Lieutenant General Allen Paredes led the decommissioning and non-utilization ceremony of the 10 UH-1D “Huey” Helicopters at Haribon Hangar in Clark Air Base in Mabalacat, Pampanga. During the ceremony, two fire trucks gave traditional water cannon Salutes to the newly decommissioned choppers. 

Decommissioning means that a certain military asset or equipment has already finished its time of service and will no longer be used for military operations. According to the PAF, the choppers were used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines for heli-lift operations. 

The arrival of Black Hawk choppers also contributed to the retirement of the UH-1D, according to an Air Force officer. The last batch of Black Hawk choppers arrived earlier this week. 

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“[They] were aircraft na who have served its purpose and dumating na po ‘yung ating mga bagong aircraft, the Bell 412, then ang ating mga Black Hawk. The purpose really of the delta (UH-1D) was more an interim solution for our mga challenges before on relief transport. So it’s about time that we decommission the delta,” PAF spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Maynard Mariano told reporters in a pooled interview. 

(They were the aircraft that already served its purpose and our new aircraft already arrived, the Bell 412, then the Black Hawk. The purpose really of the delta was more an interim solution for our challenges before on relief support. So it’s about time we decommission the delta.)

Lieutenant Colonel Mariano said that the UH-1D choppers would be stored by the PAF: “They will be in storage. That’s why it happened in Clark because the 410th Maintenance Wing will be putting them in storage.” 

The Air Force spokesperson added that the retired Hueys will not be sold since they were donated to the military. 

Earlier this year, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his desire to decommission the Huey choppers of the PAF after the deadly January crash of a UH-1D in Bukidnon. The crash killed 7 passengers, including PAF, Army, and Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit personnel.

Following Duterte’s remarks, the Department of National Defense said they would need more time to find replacement choppers. In February, Duterte approved the acquisition of 15 Black Hawk Helicopters. 

However, in June this year, one of the newly acquired Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Tarlac and killed at least six people. – Rappler.com

Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.