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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Philippine Air Force May Consider ex-JGSDF UH-1H Hueys as Short Term Solution for CUH Project Delays.

With the Philippine Air Force (PAF) not proceeding with the acquisition of more Bell 412EPIs combat utility helicopters from Bell Helicopter Textron after the problems encountered with the Canadian government, other options are being considered for short to long term solutions.

Based on information MaxDefense received this past few days, as a short term solution, the PAF is actually considering the possibility of acquiring surplus Bell-Fuji UH-1H Huey combat utility helicopters from the Japanese government, as the type has been retired from the Japan Ground Self Defense Forces (JGSDF) for a few years now. It would be worth noting that the Philippines and Japan has agreed to transfer their stock of UH-1H parts to the Philippine Air Force in a separate agreement, and it would be expected to be easy to possibly approve a request to transfer surplus working airframes as well.

Take note that this is still a proposal and not an actual project.

A Bell-Fuji UH-1H Huey of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force. The JGSDF retired all its UH-1H and are currently stored in their bases.
Photo credited and taken from

According to a source from the PAF, these surplus Japanese Hueys are in even better condition that those actively used by the Philippine Air Force. And even if the PAF decides to only bring a few into service, it would definitely be a big boost for the fleet as the PAF's Hueys and other utility helicopters are dwindling in numbers despite the addition of 13 Bell-Dornier UH-1D Delta Hueys and Super Delta Huey helicopters delivered by Rice Aviation Services Inc (RASI) a few years ago (2 Deltas Huey helicopters crashed in separate incidents since then). It was mentioned years ago that the PAF needs at least 100 readily available CUHs, which means a fleet of at least 150 CUHs for the entire fleet.

An example of a Bell-Fuji UH-1H Huey.
Credits to Rico Swytech and Air-Britain Photographic Images Collection.

It is also worth noting that these Bell-Fuji UH-1H Hueys are different from the Bell-Fuji UH-1J Hueys, The Bell-Fuji UH-1H are similar to the bread and butter Bell UH-1H Hueys used by the PAF, while the Bell Fuji UH-1J are similar to the PAF's own Super Hueys and Super Delta helicopters. The JGSDF has not yet retired their UH-1Js, which will only happen a few years from now once a replacement becomes available.

MaxDefense also received confirmation that at least 2 other options previously discussed in our earlier blog were requested to submit a formal offer to the Combat Utility Helicopter (CUH) Technical Working Group (TWG). One involve a brand-new offer from a larger helicopter company. Since we believe the formal offer is yet to be provided, MaxDefense will keep the information for now until it is clear and confirmed good for public consumption.

Until then, keep tab of this blog entry which we will also use should this plan become a reality.


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