A line of UH-1s at the Rice plant in Olivehurst, California (Image © Rice Aircraft Services, Inc.)

Philippines terminates big Huey order, blacklists North American suppliers

The Philippines have terminated the contract for the delivery of 21 ex-US Army UH-1D “Huey” (Iroquouis) helicopters. The choppers were to be refurbished by US based Rice Aircraft Services together with Eagle Copters of Canada, but the North American suppliers have now been blacklisted by Manilla for not living up to the deal.

The Philippines already “partially terminating” the contract on 27 March 2015 due to failure to meet the delivery schedule by Rice Aircraft Services, but according to Philippine sources it is now the end of it all.

The contract was awarded just before Christmas 2013 and called for the complete refurbishment of the choppers which are commonly known as Hueys. The aircraft became an icon of US operations in the war in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s. Modernised versions serve many civilian operators and armed services today – including the US Marine Corps.

Rice Aircraft Services/Eagle Copters were to deliver the aircraft fully operational but unarmed to the Philippines, but critics already wondered why the Pacific nation was buying older versions of the Huey in stead of the newer H-model. The Philippine Air Force is already operating those UH-1Hs from almost all of its 15 air field facilities throughout the country. Officially it has 44 Hueys on strength, but it is widely believed only half of them are airworthy. Eight similar Bell 205s serve primarily as search-and-rescue helicopters.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A line of UH-1s at the Rice plant in Olivehurst, California (Image © Rice Aircraft Services, Inc.)