Thursday, August 8, 2013

What went wrong with the PZL W-3A Sokol purchase as Combat Utility Helicopters?

The Philippine Air Force's new darling, the AgustaWestland-PZL Swidnik W-3A Sokol helicopter, received some serious flak when it was made as an example by President Benigno Aquino III of an irresponsible purchase by the defense department from the previous administration. In his State of the Nation Address (SONA), he said that the door gun was blocking the door opening for mounting and dismounting troops in a combat situation, thus is unsuitable for its intended role as a combat utility helicopter.


Philippine Air Force W-3A Sokols of the 505th Search and Rescue Group at Clark Air Force City.
Orders for more units is starting to become impossible due to some issues on the door opening.

The Department of National Defense (DND) also made a follow-on statement a few days later saying that the Sokol was indeed flawed for the said mission, and instead will be assigned as a search and rescue (SAR) helicopter for the PAF's 505th SAR Group. DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin even said that the 8 Sokols ordered from Poland will be the last order of its type, effectively killing hope for possible additional Sokols for the PAF in the near future.


One of the PAF W-3A Sokols during testing in Poland.

But is there really something wrong with the W-3A Sokol? Was it not really up to the PAF's standards as what was described by the president?

Budget and Pricing:
In 2008, the DND initiated a bidding for 8 Combat Utility Helicopters (CUH) with a budget of Php 3 billion (US$68 million), including an Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) package. The helicopters are to complement the venerable Bell UH-1H Huey, and may become its successor in the future. The new CUH shall be brand new, capable of night operation, capable of 3,000 lbs. minimum payload with full fuel, with side door gun mounts for M60D machine guns, and fast access for troops.  An initial bid failed with the only bidder, AgustaWestland was declared ineligible. A rebid was launched in the same year, with AgustaWestland and PZL Swidnik being the 2 bidders, but it failed again and made the government go for negotiated purchase.

As the DND went to negotiated purchase, only PZL Swidnik participated and has made the cut and a contract worth Php 2.86 billion for 8 PZL W-3A Sokol helicopters was made.


Reportedly AgustaWestland separately offered the AW109 helicopter to the PAF, but it did not met specifications although it met the budget.
Photo taken from deagel.com.

It was known that there were several companies interested in participating in the first bid attempt but did not submit a bid due to to the payload requirements that exceed the meager budget allocated by the DND. MaxDefense sources pointed that there were only a limited candidates that meet the specifications and budget allocated by the DND, as helicopter models like Bell's 412EP, Sikorsky's S-76, AgustaWestland AW139 and Eurocopter EC155 Enlarged Dauphin all far exceed the budget of approximately $8 to 8.5 million apiece. Only PZL Swidnik was able to deliver a product that can meet both the DND's specifications and budget, clearly winning the deal. If the DND allocated a larger budget that time, MaxDefense believes that the DND and PAF would have a lot more choices and may have even opted for another model.


Technical drawing of a W-3 Sokol with dimensions.
Drawing taken from PZL Swidnik webiste.


A comparison between a Bell 412 and AgustaWestland AW139 showing dimensions.
Drawing taken from EMQ Helicopter Rescue website


Door Opening Size:
The Sokol's design was derived from the old Soviet Mil Mi-2 Hoplite light helicopter. Soviet helicopter designs differ from those of Western ones, which include the absence of wide opening side doors. The Sokol have sliding doors on both sides but unlike most Western designs like the Huey, they are narrow and not aligned with each other with the port side at the forward part of the cabin, while the starboard side door is at the rear of the cabin. 

Just looking at the technical drawing above, it already shows how small the port side door is.

According to information provided by PAF sources, the Sokol's port side door opening is at around 36-37 inches (3 feet) wide. The starboard side door opening's width might not be totally different. In comparison, the UH-1H Huey used by the PAF has a sliding door opening 74 inches (more than 6 feet) wide, and have a maximum of 92 inches (more than 7.5 feet) wide when the forward suicide doors are opened. As expected, the Bell 412 has almost the same door opening dimensions as its older stablemate. But surprisingly the larger and newer Sikorsky S-70/UH-60 Black Hawk has a door opening size of 68 inches (more than 5.5 feet) wide only, or less than that of the Huey but still larger than that of the Sokol. The door opening size difference is too large between the Huey and Sokol, that it's even obviously easy to compare just by looking at the helicopters itself.

A technical drawing of a UH-1H cargo compartment showing dimensions.
Drawing taken from Globalsecurity.org.
Surprisingly, the Black Hawk's door opening is smaller than the Huey's at 68 inches wide, but still wider than that of the W-3 Sokol.
Drawing taken from GlobalSecurity.org.

From the beginning the PAF should have known the helicopter's door sizes and they could match it with their required door opening specifications, unless if the DND did not include such provision. Missing this provision on the requirement specifications will indeed make the Sokol eligible for the program, not the fault of PZL Swidnik and the Sokol helicopter.


Door Gunner:


A PAF W-3A Sokol shown with the swivel-mounted door gun. The size of the door with regards to the crew can be seen, as well as the gun's position. Make your own analysis based on this photo.

The DND specified that an M60 mount shall be installed on both door openings, which is usually a standard set-up on combat utility helicopters. PZL Swidnik was able to meet such requirement, but as discussed earlier the door opening is quite narrow at only 3 feet wide, and with the door mounted gun in operation, the gunner himself becomes an obstruction, not to mention the gun's swivel mount and the gun as well. 


This Sokol shows a machine gun mounted on the side window, keeping the door clear from obstruction.

An option done by other Sokol users was to mount the machine guns on the fixed side windows, and slinging them using a modified mounting attached on the sidewall on top of the window. This is not a permanent solution nor the best solution as the gunner's view is obstructed and the fixing is not as tough as the standard door mounted type. A video in Youtube of Polish W-3 Sokols in action in Iraq can be seen below. Take note of the said mountings: 




This is not the first time that such door gun position issue has happened. A similar case is present on PAF's Sikorsky S-76 helicopters, which were originally designated by the PAF as helicopter gunships and some as rescue helicopters. When the PAF opted to install door guns, the not-so-wide side doors of the S-76 is also present as the swivel mounted door guns and gunner were also blocking the door opening. But unlike the case of the Sokol, it was not much of an issue since the S-76 were not used as combat utility helicopters, so it is not expected to carry troops into combat as often as the UH-1H Huey.
The door gun of the gunship configuration of the Sikorsky S-76 in PAF service. Note the fixed swivel-type mount blocking the narrow side door openings as well.
Photo taken from Philskies.net forum.


Compare the Sokol and S-76 door openings to this PAF UH-1H Huey, with its doors opened and gunner present. Take note the space on the gunner's right hand side.

So in this issue brought out by the government, MaxDefense believes that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the PZL W-3A Sokol helicopter. It is a very nice helicopter, and is a great addition to the PAF. Even PAF pilots attested to its capability and power in previous news interviews. It was able to comply to the specifications and budget set by the DND and PAF.

So what's the problem?

In MaxDefense' opinion, the problem is not the helicopter, but from the DND and PAF. There were actually 2 problems that MaxDefense sees in this deal: one is that the specifications "probably" did not include the door opening size and space considerations of mounting the door gun plus enough space for troop insertion or extraction while the gun is in use; and two, the government did not allocate enough budget to make the bidding more competitive by opening it to more helicopter manufacturers and models. 

The solution? 

The DND and PAF's solution was to transfer the W-3A Sokols from combat utility helicopter duties to search and rescue missions. But MaxDefense believes that there are issues on this decision as well. In search and rescue, wide doors are also very important to have faster access for stretchers or rescuers using the hoists. Rapid egress and ingress is also required. So the same problem will happen when using the Sokol for SAR missions. Also, if the PAF decides to place them for SAR duties, it must allocate funds to "re-dress" the helicopters for such missions. Currently the Sokols are still covered by the manufacturer's warranty that keeps the PAF from making the changes from its combaat utility set-up.

A Czech W-3 Sokol in SAR configuration. Compared to the PAF's Sokols, the Czech model is well equipped for such missions, which includes powerful search light, rescue winch, a high visibility paint scheme, and probably some modifications on the cargo hold for stretcher accommodation.
Photo taken from Aviapacific website.
Instead, MaxDefense' opinion is for the Sokols to be used for other missions, specifically as a VIP transport or support helicopter for the Presidential Airlift Wing. VIP helicopters don't need the wide door opening requirement. Besides, the Sokol is a twin engine helicopter, is night flying capable, and is currently in basic configuration. These requirements are also needed for VIP helicopters. Once it's warranty is over, the PAF could easily refit its Sokols for VIP transport, and replace the Bell 412EP and complement the lone S-70A Black Hawk. MaxDefense sources indicate that the Presidential Air Wing is actually looking for new VIP helicopters, and MaxDefense believes that this is the right aircraft. The Office of the President could pay for the helicopter's transfer to the Presidential fleet, including refitting, and transferred budget could be used to re-open a bid for new, more compliant combat utility helicopters.


A Polish Air Force W-3 configured for VIP transport duties. This type of mission does not require wide door openings, unlike the combat utility or search and rescue missions which require them.

As for the 3 remaining PAF PAW Bell 412EP's, these helicopters would be better off as rescue helicopters with proper refitting for such duties. Or they could even be the basis of a possible deal to make the Bell 412 as the PAF's new combat utility helicopter to replace the venerable UH-1H Huey. MaxDefense sources indicate that the Bell 412EP is indeed a strong competitor should a new bidding for combat utility helicopter proceeds.


MaxDefense' opinion is for the PAF W-3A Sokols be reconfigured and transferred to the Presidential Air Wing as its new VIP helicopter transport, replacing the Bell 412EP which in turn can be made into rescue assets, or even a basis for a deliberate choosing of the Bell 412 as the next PAF CUH.







96 comments:

  1. The Bell 412EP is a interesting option for the PAF as next CUH.

    Is the PT Indonesian Aerospace (PT DI) a licensed producer of this? Maybe we can get a friendly price for this from our friendly neighbor.

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    1. Reportedly the PAF has already considered that, but from MaxDefense sources, there is another possible source. Stay tuned for more info.

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    2. Does these mean another CUH acquisition for PAF?

      -captdiegogarcia

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    3. How about the CH53 that hs been posted in the Israeli defense ministry website? Can we afford the operational cost for these

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  2. Maybe they should have made a deal with Russia for Mi-17, Mi-28's or Mi-35's. At least with MI-17, they give you a basic transport helicopter. The other option would be to ask for Europe to see if you can buy some NHIndustries NH90 or AgustaWestland AW101

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    1. Nicky, I highly doubt the AW101 and NH90, not just because of the purchase price, but most of all because of the operating cost. If the PAF can operate such aircraft, then there is no doubt the PAF can have F-16 class fighters. From what MaxDefense gathered, the PAF is looking for a 1:1 replacement for the UH-1H, so we're possibly looking for a small helicopter model with a capacity to carry at least 10-13 troops.

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    2. Then the best option would be the Mi-8/17 for Troop transport. Even the Royal Thai Army is buying Mi-17 cause they can transport more troops than a Blackhawk and a Huey combined. If I were PAF, look at Mi-8/17 for Troop transport.
      Here's more info
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mil_Mi-17

      Company info
      http://www.russianhelicopters.aero/en/helicopters/military/mi-817.html

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  3. why not use it as attack heli than sar purposes,this heli's are equipped w/ good armaments.

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    1. it's only currently equipped with 2 door guns. Read the blog to further understand the situation of the Sokol.

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    2. It's a good chopper for rescue and combat operation for the PAF, We must use all new resources we've got, the Chinese are coming near to us.

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  4. Convert all 8 Sokols for VIP purposes? Such a silly conclusion. A huge waste of money and asset if i ever saw one.

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    1. Obviously you did not read the whole blog. I indicated that the PAF is reportedly looking for a new fleet of VIP helicopters. Currently the PAW has 4 VIP choppers but it normally operates 5 (4 Bell 412EP and 1 S-70A) plus at least 2-3 Sokols. That's almost 8 helicopters. It's not a waste because my proposal is to divert the funds allocated by the Office of the President to buy new VIP helicopters, and just "buy" the Sokols from the PAF.

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    2. hate to say it, but i agree VIP is the best role for Sokols during warranty period

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    3. Waiting for confirmation on the budget to be allocated by the Office of the President for 2 "medium-sized" Presidential transport helicopters. Why not just buy-back the Sokols so the PAF could restart the CUH program?

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  5. That would be a good alternative option since there is an existing budget for VIP helicopters and we could use the current inventory of VIP's for combat and utility missions . That is , all necessary changes are made to suit the requirements from civilian use to military. Then the PAF can now actually focus on their intended requirements for a true combat utility helicopter. Again , we should always practice diligence and wisdom on a given limited resources .

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  6. Very enlightening post. How about the KAI Surion as the next CUH?

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    1. Surion is an interesting platform, it would be replacing the Korean Army's UH-1 Huey and MD-500 light scout helicopters. Reportedly KAI also offered the Surion as recently as last month.

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  7. The Sokols should just be converted into full-fledged attack helicopters rather than making them VIP transport, with its twin engine it surely can carry a lot of rockets, guided missile etc..

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    1. the warranty just started so PAF cant really make mods on the Sokols. Warranty would be void if you add on armaments.

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  8. I knew that helicopter is pointless from the very start. Blame the Timawa not the Dnd. It was them who choice that helicopter for such long time.

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    1. Why? Do you think DND people relied on Timawa on their procurement decesion? It is not the door that is the problem, the problem is the current administration. This administration is implying that all transaction done during the past administration were full of defects.

      The best thing they should do is to invite experts on ways to transfer those gun mounts without sacrificing the integrity of the chopper's structure or we could stick with the old hueys...

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    2. doors became a big issue with this helicopters, hindi naman ako nkakita ng helicopters natin na nag land ng walang ground security,and never our choppers were used the way in the "we were soldiers" movie. let us not think so narrowly on things that doesn't count most, on the field the choppers came always late, what is important is the availability to bring supplies and troops. somewhere in mindanao in 2004, one soldie was seriously wounded, it took another day to lift him out of the area, and sad to say that soldier did not survived, and no size of the door that we always argue with became a problem at that moment rather the availability of that door.

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    3. The problem on this chopper is that they are being utilized as VIP transport and SAR Helicopter without being properly evaluated and tested in actual field combat. SAR configuration has been tested while the actual combat evaluation? I dont think so. AFP/DND should evolve on this matter in fact DND personnel have gone to Poland for final evaluation and yet it should have been corrected for asking for a bigger door configuration. Let's evolve from the UH-1 mentality.AFP/DND can adjust their operational standard operation from what they have chosen on their tiny budget.

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    4. Agree! Sometimes people in the current administration is just too narrow minded. In the first place, some of the people in the position right now were also the same people who were responsible for arriving such decision. The most important thing for them to do right now is to make ways how these choppers can be made useful.

      In my opinion, those Sokol's were bang for the buck. The supplier delivered what's stipulated in the contract and only for that door these people are bitching for Christ sake.

      The next time we intend to buy, we will not be taken seriously.

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  9. Door no problemo solution just aroud the corner palakihin ang door door lng ang prolema d masulusyonan.dalhin nyo sa pagawaan ng jepney madiskatehan yan ay yayay.dio porsanto mga tamad mag isip.

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    1. Wow surprised by your idea, its actually good.....if we're talking about jeepneys.

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    2. such a nonsense comment, he cannot even distinguish jeepneys from helicopter.

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    3. What im trying to say laki lng ng door d masolusyonan ng airforce mga walang guts you are afraid to try wag nyo na isipin warranty nyan door lng yan.para lumaki acetelynin nyo na yan.

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    4. The warranty is not just for the door but for the ENTIRE aircraft. Its just basically the same as car warranty in concept. You cant just use gas cutters for this problem!

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    5. Anumang problema may solusyon kailangan lng indigenous na diskarte diskarte diskarte alngan nman ipa reconfigure pato sa pzl swidnik poland.indigenous na diskarte kailangan.parehas din kung sa taga pzl pato ipagawa diskartehan din lmang nila ito.dito nlng bakid d ba marunong dumeskarte mga taga airforce kawawa nman.

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    6. @ Anonymous 6:36 PM, madali lang mag salita ganito ganyan lang yan ang gawin hinde lahat ng bagay nakukuha sa "diskarte" kaya may tinatawag na "Research and Development"una wala naman yata sa PAF yun blueprint ng Sokol na yan, kung ginawa ng PAF yun sinasabi mo? tapos na apektuhan yun structural integrity ng ng buong helicopter sasagutin mo ba yun? kaya mo ba palitan yun Sokol? sa tingin mo ba hinde naisip ng PAF yan idea mo?

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    7. A ganun ha panu yan hinde madeskartehan ang door.lalung lalu na d madiskartehan gumawa ng isang buong indiqenous na chopper

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  10. so the question is...how does Poland use this helicopter?if its the main gun problem then maybe we can just install gunpods and use this our attack heli.I don't think Pnoy will use a helicopter that have a hint of the previous admin.baka bumagsak.do youthink the door is made in such a way because of GMA

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  11. Yea VIP for the Sokols although it would be hard politically. At least til new CUHs arrive. Only then will we see Sokols officially be moved into VIP.

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    1. Sokol never serve its final purpose. VIP transport as it may now coz officials are enjoying to ride with. Why not field in actual combat operation to test its capability. Believe on doers, Talkers delivering too much shit in our country. AFP is not a showbiz industry that are full of rotten tomatoes here and everywhere. We don't need to sensationalize a thing about this Helicopter. Field it, and then evaluate that's the right thing to do.

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    2. PAF sources have no qualms on the Sokol's capability. They also know of the fixed window mounting similar to Polish Sokols. It appears that PAF itself and DND are divided in the issue.

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    3. when these choppers were doing evac early this year in davao and last year's pablo's aftermath air force officials were on high praises because these choppers perform very well.

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    4. The helicopters themselves perform very well. No doubt about that. The issue here is if the Sokol could effectively perform combat insertions and extractions for troopers.

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    5. The next question here also Did they put the Sokol into such field condition? A Sokol pilot already confirmed they haven't gone far from that.

      And how many combat insertion this Sokol chopper undergone? compared to the UH-1? How does UH-1 insertion during and night operation differ from Sokol. Wew! too many fuzz about this chopper. They are not there yet. More Confirmed insertion and extraction are from VIP and SAR operation. ^_^ funny to confirmed about this Sokol Bruhahaha.

      Die those who criticized the Sokol cause you ain't gonna taste the full potential of this helicopter.

      Pity to our PAF pilots cause they are sandwiched and at lost on this political nightmare inside AFP/DND/PAF.

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  12. I've read from another source that the US Marines aviation group are replacing their current inventories of UH- 1N CUH and their AH1-W Supercobra gunship with the same redesign & reengineer platform. Their reason is commonality of parts for both aircrafts. This would be a good time to look into the possibility of purchasing these thru the foreign military assistance agreement. Since the PAF are familiar with the UH 1 family and perhaps a good reason to actually acquire a bonafide attack helicopter. It's time to have this type of air support that packs a lot of firepower and could provide protection to the pilots & crew specially for the ground troops . Perfect for our type of operations and terrain.

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  13. I agree with Oplan X in that we should decide to standardize with the H-1 platform. Am sure our expanded MFS can be used to purchase the UH-1N/UH-1Y and the AH-1Z. We may then build the capabilities to support the platform.

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  14. The United States Marine Corps uses an updated Bell UH-1Y combat utility helicopter with its 4 blade rotor and twin engines would be ideal for Philippine service.The UH-1Y mounts Browning MA-2 50 caliber machine guns in the door. The U.S. Marines operate 2 to 4 UH-1Y Hueys with 2 to 4 AH-1 Cobra II attack helicopters as an ideal maritime attack team. The UH-1Y can also be used in a SAR mode.

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  15. I wondering why you guys make a big fuzz out of it. If you can't mount the gun then by all means change your tactics. The helicopter is there already and you have to use whatever is available. The air force needs everything that it can get hold of with its hands. Why not use this as your attack helicopter or as your naval helicopter. Not so sure if Pnoy is willing to have this as his presidential fleet since he's the one bashing the acquisition of the said heli.This is way too expensive to transport the generals whose doing nothing

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    1. Actually the PAF can mount a side firing gun as I indicated in the blog, by installing them on the fixed window similar to what was shown in the embedded video. For now the PAF can't do anything since they are still under warranty so they can't change them for any configuration yet. As it is, the Sokols are still employed as CUH. So far, the PAF will have many helicopter requirements soon like a SAR platform, more CUH, Presidential transport, and attack. If VIP is not the course, then SAR would be acceptable but PAF need to have the Sokos modified for it.

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    2. @Paul Ole, because it's really is a big fuzz. Obviously you're not a soldier or atleast doesn't get the scenario the PAF wants to apply this CUH. They want this heli to provide transporation to soldiers in an actual hostile environment. They want the helicopter not only to be armed but to have an active defense at all times. But for the Sokols, and at the crucial moment of transporting our soldiers, you need to deactivate the guns at the door for the soldiers to enter. That part is the big fuzz. That is also why they call it Combat Utility and not mere transport helicopter.

      -captdiegogarcia

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    3. hahaha you're kidding right? what is the wight of an M-60 machine gun? even max laurel handles it by one hand. actually they can remove the gun if they really wanted to or choose not to..depends on the situation. if they land far from hostile then they can remove..

      what i mean is that, do you really have to remove the guns? do you mean to say that every time soldiers ingress, they do by school or swarm to the door? if they land in hostile ground other soldier would cover while some of them enters and so on..

      Paul Ole is right, while at warranty we change tactics..

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    4. No kidding... you all say "they do this" or "they do that" thinking we know better. The DND have spoken and that was their findings. It's their lives on the line here not yours or mine.
      Changing tactics is saying already that the CUH be designated to mere transport. The question is why buy CUH in the first place? By a less expensive transport then.
      Listen to Pnoy's SONA and the DND's explanation on this issue. If you still think you 2 "non-soldiers" are the wiser than the DND then maybe you could be a better Secretary than Gazmin hahaha.
      Im not kidding LOL
      Oh and the DND were right on this.

      -captdiegogarcia

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    5. well I think you don't have to be a soldier to analyze this one. sorry to say but its just common sense. just remember that there's also a lot of political issue with the acquisition so you don't know whether they base their opinion on this. its the PAF that put up the requirements in thefirst place, so I'm sure theyr going to make anothr mistake if we have a bidding again
      -major headache

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    6. @-captdiegogracia, don't say that you who are in the higher ranks know every thing! that is where the problem originated because of your arrogance, at the first place sino ba nag conduct ng test and evaluation ng helicopters na yan? mga civilains ba? your statement will just go back to you.

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    7. if using a common sense in solving this issue would be better than secretary gazmin, then so be it. this problem doesn't need a rocket scientist.

      please read major headache's reply and those written above. we'll be better of then.

      -general problem

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    8. Politics is part of the problem, no question about that. But the helicopter could survive such attacks from the political front if there is really no issue about the access. If the PAF pursues to use it as a CUH, there is still a solution which is to mount the machine gun on the side fixed window. It may not be as effective as a door mounted one (which gives better visibility and wider angle or fire) but it is better than nothing.

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    9. i agree. just make the best of it. it fly's ok right? then just mount it with rockets and gatling gun and M60 machinegun then all is well. stop crying. at least these are new choppers not like what PNP had, some fake brand new.

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  16. Is the PAF's lone Blackhawk a gift from US or did we purchase it?
    Interesting cause in light of the CUH, what better way to have than the blackhawks, right?
    Would it be more expensive for the PAF to maintain 1 Blackhawk. Are they suppose to ask US for more or something? Assisted purchase perhaps. Cause a BATTLEHAWK seemed the more appropriate heli for PAF's AH/CUH requirements.

    -captdiegogarcia

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    1. The 2 Black Hawks were bought from the US together with 12 AUH-76 gunships, 2 S-76A SAR helicopters and 2 S-76A VIP transports.Compared to Sokols and Hueys the Black Hawk are more expensive to maintain and operate. So the possibility of getting lack Hawks for CUH or gunships is slim.

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    2. Are the blackhawks that expensive, even the export version that PZL make?

      -captdiegogarcia

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    3. The S-70i made by PZL is cheaper than the Sikorsky-made model by removing several systems. But operating costs for the S-70i is not that far from the US made variant. It's still a Black Hawk afterall.

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  17. The question is, would a Blackhawk serve more purpose than a Bell? The problem with Filipinos is that you always settle for less. Since there is still no war going on, why not slowly procure the Blackhawks?

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    1. It seem that the export version of blackhawks are more cost effective (that's the tagline) than the US version. But still expensive none the less for the meager budget that we have. The major concern is really the price. Since we cannot procure directly a Blackhawk what the PAF/DND does is try to list the specific minimum requirements they have and base their purchase on those thru bidding so they could get the lowest price.
      Pnoy's admin is all out in its support to the military modernization but even these must take a backseat to alleviating socio-economics problems. So the bulk of the budget goes there.

      -captdiegogarcia

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    2. As I said earlier, its more on the operating cost than the purchase cost. A Black Hawk's operating cost is quite high compared to simpler helicopters like Bell 412, and it will greatly affect the operating budget of the PAF.

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  18. Hi Max, what happened to the 21 hueys that we're supposed to get?

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    1. The re-bidding/negotiation is on the way. I think its re-bidding.

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  19. is it the PAF pilots who were complaining or it is just Gazmin?

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    1. The pilots may not be complaining, as they just sit in the cockpit. The ones complaining are those riding the helicopters, including generals and government officials.

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    2. Kadiri talaga mga politicians at top brass, palibhasa pushing pencils na lang sila kaya may time at effort na magtalo-talo. Buti na lang mga pilots ng PAF walang reklamo. Sa galing at talino nila,kaya nilang paliparin at imaximize and capability ng anomang asset meron sila just to get the mission done. In the last analysis, it boils down to the guys on the ground and those on the pilot seat.

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    3. For the first place the one using the equipment should be consulted since they are the ones to use it. As them are you comfortable or in your experience is this aircraft applicable. I guess the decision always goes to the top brass and those who sits in the office whole day.

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  20. you Pinoys are so funny.....

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    1. This does not happen just to Pinoys, for example, Americans are deep into this problems as well. They make weapons that their armed forces doesn't need, and waste money.

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    2. for example the RAH-66 Comanche the US waste 7 billion USD for it.

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  21. Since SONA was mentioned here ...

    In order for one to survive one needs air and water (Of course there are other essentials but I'll keep it to only two examples). It is NOT an either/or choice.

    In order to survive, a nation needs economic development and an armed force to protect the gains of that economic development. It is NOT an either/or choice.

    During his last SONA, the president of this country mentioned the need to allocate the money available between "guns and food" to keep it simple. This is all well and good but I am bothered by the plain lack of leadership manifested by this guy in making that statement.

    First, it is not a choice between guns and food. The country needs both. Period.

    Second, this president does not seem to appreciate the fact that the country in all its history never spent adequately for its own defense. There is just this incredible lack of foresight in past leaderships and now THIS leadership. Spending for defense is loooonngg overdue.

    Third, leadership is about hard choices. If a thousand Filipino families have to go hungry in order for the country to buy, equip and operate one fighter jet then heck so be it.

    Fourth, leadership is recognizing the fact that you can not "save" everybody, refer to three above. If a sufficiently equipped (in its broadest sense) defense force can ensure the survival of this country for the next generation of Filipinos then the sacrifices of the present generation will have been worth it.

    On another note these same people keep mentioning their aim for a "MINIMUM CREDIBLE DEFENSE POSTURE." This always cracks me up. MINIMUM what and CREDIBLE to whom?!! You are either ready to fight for what you got or not. You do not go around telling everyone, "Hey, I've got a MINIMUM DEFENSE CAPABILITY and it is CREDIBLE so you better watch out!" By the way credibility is in the eyes of the observer, you can not tell him to make that up in his mind. It is so funny it hurts. Really, they should stop making hollow declarations and come up with a coherent long term plan for the defense of this country and just quietly implement it.


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    1. For the first place in accordance to constitution, we need to follow what is more important, the sovereignty of the state, imagine if we feed all the poor and needy they will not learn to lift themselves. Foremost it is the primary responsibility of the parent to feed their family and not the state. There is an allocated budget for each and THEY should not meddle with the other budget but instead use their own allocated budget properly.

      Help the ones that helps themselves, make Filipinos responsible, throwing thrash on rivers and canals and then flood comes and then govt cleans it then people blames gov't? What kind of mentality is that can you just be responsible, we don't have sense of patriotism that is why many are migrating, no one care about his country after all, all they they just rally but actually some of them are not responsible too.

      Japan is a very good example, they were bombed and destroyed and yet they recovered fast? Whats the difference between us and Japan? Japanese people buys their own goods, loves their own language and they believe they should not be left behind. They have pride for their country so they are very responsible.

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  22. Mr.Anonymous,

    I'd like to share you this quote by Theodore Roosevelt .“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
    ― Theodore Roosevelt
    First & foremost give credit where credit is due. For the past 40 years the Philippines has never undergone this type of re modernization of the AFP at this grand scale . The current approved budget of 75 billion PP may be a " drop in a bucket " compared to let say China but certainly a huge " aguinaldo" for the fighting men & women of the AFP. This is a big morale booster for these patriots who would lay their lives for their country.
    Now for that phrase " Minimum defense credibility " it was used more of a strategy to let the RP allies & the rest of the world, how a big country like China is imposing its might against smaller nations like the Philippines. The main goal is to create a credible deterrent force to safeguard the sovereign territories of the Philippines not to be an offensive force. You've certainly made a bold statement & quiet honestly I can see where your coming from however ,it is something that you say when something seems like a good idea but it would be difficult to do.

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  23. Kayang kayang solusyonan yang simpleng problema na yan ng ating PAF. Standard Operating Procedure lang sa gunner, tatabi siya at ng MG pag labas ng mga sundalo habang nagpapaputok. Pigilan niya yung lumalabas kung kailangang siyang magpapaputok sa direksyon ng labasan.

    Ang mas permanenteng solusyon ay ilipat ang MG sa may bintana tulad sa Blackhawk.

    Para sa akin, bago bumili ng mga bago at mamahaling helicopters isaayos muna lahat sa A-1 condition lahat ng helicopters ng AFP - Huey, S-76, Bo-105, MD-500, Puma, etc ng safe ang ating mga sundalo. At gawin dito sa bayan natin para magdalubhasa ang industriya natin at kumita.

    Para sa mga bago, dapat standardize lang sa 3 modelo across sa AFP services for economies of scale and maintenance. At gawing local assembly lahat tulad noong panahon ni Marcos gamit ang Bo-105. Nauna pa nga tayo sa Indonesia nyan pero ngayon napag iwanan na tayo. Kailangang patatagin natin ang ating pagsulong sa interes nating mga Pilipino.

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    1. very true. matalino talaga si Macoy. eh pabagal bagal pa tayo sa local defense industries or SRDP. whats the hicup? kailangan fast track na ang SRDP ulit, we are getting behind but have the know how.

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  24. sir any news regarding the purchase of kai fa50?

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  25. ..hay.. sna gumawa nlng cla ng helicopter d2 sa pinas,, yung indgenous ba.. atleast mura at mrming trbaho.. patulong lng sa mga foreign manufcturers o local mn lng.. godbless..

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  26. ..v-22 osprey nlng pra wlang reklamo.. joke.. ibigay niu kaya kay brp alacaz at del pilar pra may air assets naman yung mag kumareng yun.. o di kaya gawing gunship bukod sa vip transport.. kung ok lng.

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  27. Huey II na lang. Let's upgrade all our old Hueys and continue with the Huey II upgrade program started by the airforce. It's cheaper, more cost-effective with very significant savings in operational costs. Our pilots would only require minimal training and transition from the old one to the new upgraded version. It's virtually getting a brand new aircraft using our old Huey airframes. It has an increased payload capacity, range and transport capabilities. MTBO is greatly reduced especially for the new transmission. Increased life by a factor of 5. No need to overhaul in 20 years.

    Considering it was $3M in the US in 2004, and pegging inflation at 5% per year, each unit would be around $5M. Upgraded engines and transmission with 9,000 new parts. Read the details in the links posted below.

    http://www.bellhelicopter.com/MungoBlobs/926/98/rb_Q3_08.pdf

    http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2004/March/Pages/Armys_Old3618.aspx

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  28. converting the 8 sokol into a rescue helicopters is way too many, why don't they convert it into an attack helicopter. para matulongan naman ang mga naaambush na tropa.

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  29. converting the 8 sokol into a rescue helicopters is way too many, why don't they convert it into an attack helicopter. para matulongan naman ang mga naaambush na tropa.

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  30. 1 sokol helicopter crash today and all passenger survived the crash. ang tibay ng airframe. i wont mind the machine gun placement issue. at least this helicopter demonstrated the crew and passenger protection.maybe it has to do with the airframe layout unlike the huey where both side doors are exactly opposite each other unlike the sokol which are not. i hope the govt will consider again the additional purchase of this helicopter in the future.

    renbios

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    1. ikaw man kung tumalon ka from that height mabubuhay ka parin... the fact its brand new kelan lang binili... tapos nag crash na kagad... a year before this meron ding problem about sa battery ng chopper na to..... that speaks a lot about its reliability... maybe its another flying coffin.. mas matibay at reliable pa yata yung mga huey dyan remember Vietnam era pa yung mga huey natin... ikaw nalang magpalipad nun... after 2 years baka sakali tigok ka na... ang damipa naman nagre commend nyan sa timawa hehehe... akala mo kasi kung sinong madudunong..

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    2. To be fair, let us wait for the investigations to finish. From my observation of the video, it looks like it was thrown out of balance by a crosswind. It doesnt look like engine failure or any mechcanical failure to me. But I might be wrong so lets see what their findings are.

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    3. to me it looks like some type of mechanical/system failure.. light gust/or crosswind will not cause a heavy heli to fall that smooth.. the type of wind that could cause a heavy heli to loose control is the type of wind that can cause trees to bend over.. eh yung papaya trees nga sa ibaba pa easy easy lang... kung sudden gust yun like sa bagyo you would see the tail or what not flipping back n forth as the pilot tries to recover... eh smoth na smoth nga yung pag bulusok nya... ehhh hehehe... saka yung pilot nya bakit ganun sumagot... hangin what daw... I would expect better answers from supposedly technically know how people...

      mahirap din naman paniwalaan kung sila-sila din mag investigate.. they might just try to cover it up... with some story... anyway even pnoy hates this aircraft.. sino kaya ang magiging tagapagtangol nila... hehehe

      anyway buhay naman nila yun... wag lang sila hihingi ng pera pambili ng bago... they should first test the competency of their people... pati yung mga namumuno... ang siste ba pag bibili ng anumang bagay... parang magcompare lang ng features.. ito mas maganda to kasi ito meron nun ito wala... para lang palang namimili sa daan hehehe.. eh sabi nila midnight deal daw ito... totoo kaya yun...

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  31. mr anonymous, have you seen the video? i dont think so. my earlier post describe the airframe strength of the sokol compare to huey because all passenger survived the crash. kung sa huey with all passengers kayanin kaya? subukan mo sumakay sa huey at ako naman sa sokol.baka ikaw pa ma unang ma tigok. tapos sabihin mo flying coffin? first accident pa lang ay zero casualties na. it demonstrate the ruggedness of its airframe compare to hueys. even the former director of philvocs was a victim of huey crash.

    renbios

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  32. Its LTE or loss of tail rotor effectiveness...

    from wiki
    Many factors affect the onset of LTE, but no matter which way it occurs, the clues are present:
    1. An environment of low airspeed, and a demand for power.
    2. An unintended yaw that may even be opposite to pedal input.

    number 1 fits the situation..

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  33. based on the wiki.. its pilot error.. he probably applied to much power to climb pagdating nya dun sa mapunong lugar... eh mabagal speed nya no vane effect on the tail.. the increased torque overpowerd the tail rotor and caused the tail to spin in the opposit direction counter clockwise... clockwise kasi yung rotation ng main rotor blades..

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    1. so? pilot error yun.

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    2. mukhang ganun nga siguro.. but not the only possible reason..

      when you throttle too fast too much.. it takes time for the blades to speed up kasama dun yung tail rotor since its connected to the engine through a gearbox... but the torque is immidietly present... so medyo may delay before the tail rotor generates the opposing thrust.. so mag spin ka talaga kung hindi dahan dahan at alalay.. logic namn na kung nandun ka na sa tree line at kabahayan.. eh mag climb ka.. so he must be applying throttle/collective at the time of the spin...

      Delete
  34. We are really some thing kind of special. The people who decides to choose military aircraft (FW or RW) are mostly not the user of such. Secondly, we do not put also considerations oh how we can maintain it alone efficiently in country. So in the long run, at the later time many fault are noted. To bad it is to late.

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  35. Why not reconfigure it to the armed version?
    Sokol Rmed version looks good and its a good addition to our "attack helicopters"

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  36. What went wrong is it came from the previous administration, its more on politics than anything. Like other projects from the past administration, it was cancelled and rebid, for the sake of accomplishment to brag.

    The Sokol fits the budget and performance it can give. Its the same DND that got the sokol, the only difference of today is people running it and it includes the policy, so i dont think its a mistake and not researched and tested before it was bought.

    The door gunner is just an excuse, remember that most of our helicopter no longer lands on hot landing zones, before it lands, the landing zone is already secured and clear.

    You can put the gunner on the window like of those on blackhawk if needed.

    It was transferred to Search and Rescue, why is it being used as politician's transport?

    Why not turn it into an attack helicopter, just add a side rack and a target sight and it is an attack helicopter, capable of carrying more weapons than the AW109 attack helicopter.

    Why was the sokol attack helicopter was cancelled, where a door gunner is not a necessity? the sokol attack variant can carry more weapons than AW109?

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  37. I am visualizing a solution and i have come up with this consept. Why not convert it into a helicopter gunship for air support. Just imagine the AC-130 spectre which have high caliber side guns (ex. A bofors and a 20 mm gun) the same consept kicks in with the sokol choppers. Just retain the M 60 machien gun on the door side and put some guns on the window side
    (ex. 40 mm semi auto grenade launcher or a 50cal heavy machien gun) and since the sokol can hover. it will be a perfect escort/support chopper for a search and rescue mission on a hot battle zone.

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    1. There's no need for that now. The 505th already accepted the Sokols as their SAR helicopter.

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    2. There's no need for that now. The 505th already accepted the Sokols as their SAR helicopter.

      Delete
  38. It's 2016, hindi nyo pa ba na realize kung bakit nilipat ni Pnoy ang Sokol from CUH to SAR? simple lang, political motivated. GMA admin start the Sokol program, and our current president hates her for all eternity. yung isang aksidente ng Sokol sinadya yun. para palabasin na may "problema" nga ito, which is wala naman. Just check all the facts everything that GMA projects lahat tabla pati yung sa Laguna flood control project na cancel, pero ano ipinalit nila?? wala di ba? I suggest na ituloy ang Sokol chopper pero dapat ung specification ng door nito ay mai correct na at idagdag ang KAI KUH-1 Surion para sa Marine or sa Army support.

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  39. So many problems with our defense acquisition. Maybe we need to get out of the box. Maybe we can procure UH-60 Blackhawks thru FMF. FMS is a fucked up thing. They say it is a graft free, and i don't believe in that. Why we buy an antiquated UH 1 helicopters when we can buy Blackhawks at a lower price? US Embassy & JUSMAG in cahoots with AFP generals may have the answers.Do you believe US embassy & JUSMAG is our friend?

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