PZL–Świdnik SA, an AgustaWestland company, is pleased to announce that the first four Sokol helicopters for the Philippine Air Force were officially handed over to Voltaire Tuvera Gazmin, Secretary of National Defense, by Mieczysław Majewski, President of PZL-Świdnik, during a ceremony held today at Clark Air Base 40 miles northwest of Manila. The aircraft will now enter operational service with the Air Force performing troop transport and a range of utility duties.
Mieczysław Majewski, President of PZL-Świdnik, said at the ceremony “It gives me great pleasure to hand over these four Sokol helicopters to the Secretary of National Defense, Voltaire Tuvera Gazmin, as it marks the completion of a major contract milestone, but more importantly it also marks the start of a long partnership with the Philippine Air Force as these helicopters enter active service. We look forward to supporting the Sokols in service and expanding our partnership with the Philippine armed forces in the future.”
The helicopters are the first batch of Sokol combat utility helicopters to be delivered as part of contract signed between PZL–Świdnik SA and the Philippine Air Force in 2010. The contract includes a total of eight Sokol helicopters plus ground support equipment, spare parts, support services and training for aircrew and maintainers. Aircrew and maintainer training for the initial batch of aircraft was completed last month in Poland before the aircraft were air freighted to the Philippines.
The Philippine Air Force’s Sokols are equipped with navigation and avionics systems including a Night Vision Goggle compatible cockpit, allowing it to operate day and night in all weather conditions. This 6-tonne class helicopter can transport up to 11 troops in the cabin or can lift up to 2,100 kg (4,630 lb) using its external cargo hook. The aircraft can also be fitted with a M60D machine gun on each side of the cabin.
Powered by two engines, each rated at 662 kW (888 shp) for take-off, the Sokol has a maximum speed of 259 km/h (140 knots), can fly 745 km (402 nm) or stay airborne for over 4 hours using its standard fuel tanks.
PZL-Świdnik is Poland’s only helicopter company with the capability to design, develop and manufacture its own helicopters. It has its own Research and Development Centre and with 3,500 employees is also the biggest aerospace manufacturer in Poland. PZL- Świdnik has been part of the AgustaWestland group since 2010.
AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, has the widest and most modern range of rotorcraft to meet the vertical lift requirements of commercial and military customers worldwide. In the military sector AgustaWestland has the most capable helicopters in production today for naval, attack, utility and combat SAR missions. 24/7 customer support and a full range of training solutions enhance availability and safety whatever the mission.
AgustaWestland has its main operations in Italy, the UK, Poland and the USA, but has a global presence through its network of industrial partners and an ever expanding network of regional headquarters, customer support centres and authorised service centres.