Hopes Fade of Selling Helicopter to Philippines

By Yang Seung-sik | December 12, 2018 10:25

Korea's prospects of selling its first homegrown helicopter, the Surion, to the Philippines are dimming as the island country inclines toward buying a tried-and-tested U.S. model instead.

A high-ranking military officer here said Tuesday, "The Philippine government gave higher grades to the U.S.' UH-60 Blackhawk than the Surion in fuselage evaluations. We're trying hard to sweeten the deal by adding more incentives, but it looks like everything is pretty much set."

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the country concluded that purchasing Blackhawks is the "best option."

A Surion helicopter costs around W2.5 billion and the Philippines could purchase 10 with its allocated budget, the officer said, but Sikorsky offered to sell it 16 Blackhawks for the same price (US$1=W1,131).

But a staffer at the Defense Acquisition Program Administration claimed the fuselage evaluation "does not constitute a final decision."

Failure to clinch the deal caps a dismal year for Korea's defense industry. In September, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute failed to win a major contract to supply trainer jets to the U.S. Air Force, while a joint fighter jet development project with Indonesia is on the rocks after Jakarta failed to pay for its end of the deal.

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