26 November 2016
PAF W-3A Sokol (defence.pk)
According to the Philippine media, the Air Force of the Philippines decided to abandon the operation of the remaining six have helicopters of the Polish production of PZL-Swidnik W-3A Sokol, after which took place November 8, 2016 this type of helicopter crash, which became the second case the loss of Filipino W-3A in the four years of operation .
In this case, the helicopter W-3A (side number 310 926) Philippine Air Force crashed on November 8, 2016 at Sabang on Palawan Island, reportedly for “technical reasons” (engine failure). On board the helicopter were four crew and nine passengers member, including several high-ranking officials of the Philippine National Police – including the National Police Operations Department Head Philippines Camillio Kaskolan, his deputy Nestor Begonia and Chief of Staff Amador Corpus, as well as head of the local police district 4B Vilben Mayor . All of them were sent by helicopter from the administrative center of Palawan’s Puerto Princesa Sabang in the province for inspection prior to the imminent arrival of the Minister of Justice of the Philippines Lourdes Serena to wait there for a meeting of the ASEAN Ministers of Justice. The helicopter made an emergency landing and fell, four passengers were injured and hospitalized.
Before, the other helicopter W-3A (side number 310 921) Philippine Air Force crashed as for technical reasons, August 7, 2014 in Marawi in Mindanao, while two stationed aboard were injured . It is reported that the operation of the W-3A helicopter in the Air Force of the Philippines accompanied by repeated failures.
The contract, worth 2.858 billion pesos (77 million dollars) for the purchase in Poland, eight helicopters W-3A Sokol production PZL-Swidnik plant (later acquired the company of AgustaWestland, now Leonardo) to Philippine Air Force program for Combat Utility Helicopter (CUH) was signed August 28, 2009 when the administration of former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, with the active participation of the then Minister of national Defence Norbert Gonzalez. This contract then surprised many, since the W-3 is a second-rate limited-edition machine in fact the manufacturer on the market, and the Philippines became the first foreign customer of W-3 helicopters for a long time after the failure of the canceled contracts 2004-2005 PZL-Swidnik Iraq and Vietnam. The helicopters were delivered to the Philippines from February 2012 to February 2013.
The W-3A helicopter were purchased to replace worn but effective in combat use veteran helicopter Bell UH-1H, but, as reported, the Philippine military were disappointed with the inability of “Sokol” correspond to combat the level of the good old “Iroquois”, and Polish helos were transferred to the 505th search and rescue group Air Force in Manila, where actually used mainly for transport.