The Philippine Air Forces said that UH-ID helicopters delivered and turned over to them are now flyable and mission ready. “The units that have been accepted comply with the technical specifications and operational concept set by the PAF, hence they are mission capable,” PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya said today in a briefing at Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.
Seven of the 21 delivered UH-IDs from Rice Aircraft Services, Inc. are now in service, while another one is undergoing acceptance testing. Six others are undergoing flight tests and the remaining are in various stages of assembly.
“The PAF, however, opted to deploy these newly turned over units to Central Luzon and Manila areas for endurance flights, training and other missions to make it accessible to technical representatives and take advantage of warranty claims,” Lt. Col. Canaya said.
He added that “their parts are not obsolete and available in the market just like the parts for the existing fleets of UH-1Hs the PAF is currently maintaining.”
“Eight of the UH-1Ds have more powerful engines similar to the PAF rescue helicopter, the Bell 205, which has a better lifting capacity, the UH-IDs had structural improvements compared to the honey-combed components of the UH-1H and many others,” Canaya explained.
“Both aircraft have the top speed of 124 KIAS (knot indicated airspeed) but when you are flying UH-IH model, you can feel the aircraft starting to shake or shiver when you are approaching speeds up to 82 to 90 knots. But in the UH-ID, you can feel no vibration and even if you are cruising at speeds of 110 KIAS,” Major Aristides Galang of PAF’s 210th Tactical Squadron said.