The claim: The Philippines has purchased six Bell AH-1Z Vipers and Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters.
The video’s title says: “GULAT ANG MUNDO!!! Bumili ang PAF [Philippine Air Force] ng Anim na Bell AH-1Z Viper at Boeing AH-64E Apache Helicopter.” (THE WORLD IS SHOCKED!!! The PAF purchased Six Bell AH-1Z Vipers and Boeing AH-64E Apache Helicopters.)
The video also says: “Inaprubahan ng US State Department ang Foreign Military Sale (sic) ng anim na Bell AH-1Z Viper at anim na Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter sa Pilipinas. Ang pag-apruba para sa pagkuha ng parehong platform ay naaprubahan, ngunit isang uri lamang ang pipiliin ng Pilipinas sa kampanya nito upang gawing moderno ang attack helicopter fleet nito at ang mga nauugnay na kakayahan nito.” (The US State Department approved the sale of six Bell AH-1Z Vipers and six Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters under its Foreign Military Sales to the Philippines. The offer of both platforms was approved but the Philippines is choosing only one type for its attack helicopter fleet modernization campaign and related capabilities.)
Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a video posted by a YouTube channel that has 8,690 subscribers. The video itself has accumulated 5,296 views as of writing.
The facts: In May of 2020, DefenseNews reported that the US State Department had approved a potential sale of six units each of the AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters or the Boeing-made AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. At the time, however, the US’ Defense Security Cooperation Agency reported that the Philippines was still considering the offer, and that no sale was final. The Philippines was also considering the Turkish-made T129 ATAK at the time.
The helicopters: The Bell AH-1Z Viper is a twin-engine attack helicopter designed and produced by Bell Helicopter. According to the Bell Helicopter website, the Viper has a maximum speed of 200 Knots-Indicated Air Speed (KIAS) and has a max gross weight of 18,500 lbs. The Viper is the only attack helicopter in the world with fully-integrated air-to-air missile capability. It also has high-tech sensors that allow pilots to identify, track, and assign targets.
On the other hand, the Boeing AH-64E Apache is a twin attack helicopter. The Boeing website describes the Apache as “the world’s most advanced, proven attack helicopter for the U.S. Army and a growing number of international defense forces.” Some of the Apache’s features include a Fire Control Radar (FCR) and Radar Frequency Interferometer (RFI), which reduces the helicopter’s exposure times for target acquisition and weapon delivery. The helicopter also has a Cognitive Decision Aiding System (CDAS), which allows the aircraft to examine potential threats, its destination, and suggested routing to accomplish the mission safely and on time.
New reports: As of 2023, there have been no new reports regarding the Philippine Air Force’s purchase of either of the two types of helicopters initially approved by the US. Neither the Department of National Defense (DND) nor the Philippine Air Force has made any official announcements regarding the deal.
For credible updates on purchases and acquisitions made by the PAF or military, visit the official Facebook pages of the DND and the PAF, or visit their official websites here and here. – Katarina Ruflo/Rappler.com
Katarina Ruflo is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.
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