Philippines delays the purchase of AH-1Z Viper or AH-64E Apache attack helicopters offered by the United States under the two Foreign Military Sales (FMS) package, according to INQUIRER.net.
Philippine’s Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana also said that the American offers are too expensive for the country.
“The money allotted to buy attack helicopters is only P13 billion ($256 million),” he said.
Also, the minister stressed that if the Philippines bought the American helicopters, the country could buy only one or two units. This was the reason, he said, that the Philippine military looked for other countries that can supply attack helicopters with more units than what the allotted funds could buy if these were bought from the U.S.
Last month, in dual announcements, the U.S. State Department approved potential foreign military sales for six of both helicopters to the Philippines, which plans to modernize its attack rotorcraft fleet, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announcements.
One possible sale concerns six AH-64E Apache helicopters and associated support equipment. Another concerns six AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and related equipment. The value of the estimated AH-64E sale is $1.5 billion; the AH-1Z sale is estimated to cost $450 million.
The offers came despite the Philippine Air Force’s selection of T129 ATAK helicopters of the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for its attack helicopter acquisition program. The Turkish supplier, however, is still trying to obtain an export license from the US government for subsystems because of sanctions imposed by Washington against Turkey for purchasing weapons from Russia.