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Military buys 8 new choppers

MANILA, Philippines – The military has purchased eight brand new combat helicopters worth nearly P400 million to modernize its air fleet needed to protect the country.

Brig. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, chief of the Armed Forces Modernization Program Management Office, said the first four helicopters will be delivered to the country in November while the other four will be given in 2012.

“These will be deployed wherever they are needed. Their category is for combat utility, search,and rescue response to calamity relief operations.

These can also be used for short-range patrol,” Devaratura said in a media interview in Malacañang.

He said some of the twin-engine combat utility helicopters may be deployed to guard the country’s territorial waters in West Philippine Sea or South China Sea “if necessary.”

“The presence of the military is sovereign patrol. You have 200- mile exclusive zone that we can patrol,” he said.

With the arrival of the brand new helicopters, Deveraturda said the military plans to have two more squadrons of armed helicopters in the near future.

Meanwhile, Deveraturda said the newly acquired cutter from the United States Coast Guard named Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Rajah Humabon is expected to arrive in the country in “not more than 30 or 45 days.” The ship may be commissioned by August or September for sea patrol, he added. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)

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