, MANILA: The Armed Forces of the Philippines Wednesday formally received three refurbished UH-1H helicopters from Singapore, increasing the number of working military choppers to 34.

Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jose Reyes said that the three UH-1Hchoppers, the first batch of 20 choppers acquired from Singaporean Technologies Aerospace under the Armed Forces Modernization Program, will surely boost the counter-insurgency efforts of the military.

“This (acquisition) will greatly add to our capability in addressing emergencies during times of calamities and disasters as well as greatly enhancing the ongoing military operations against the enemies of the State,” Reyes said.

According to the Air Force, the three choppers will be deployed to the Philippine Air Forces' 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing based in the central city of Cebu.

Huey helicopters are normally used in counter-insurgency operations, rescue operations during disasters and calamities and transport and evacuation of troops and personnel. They can also beused in combat missions since they are equipped with M60 machine guns

UH-1H choppers can also be used for other missions which include search and rescue, medical evacuation of patients and socio-economic activities.

Reyes said that the acquisition program started May 2003 where it underwent rigorous processes mandated by the AFP Modernization Law Republic Act 9184), which was passed by Congress in 1995 withan aim to enhance the capabilities of the military for a period of 15 years.

“The procurement directive for the acquisition of these choppers was issued July 13, 2003 and the first Stage Bid Submission was conducted in September that same year,” Reyes said.

The total price for the 20 units of refurbished helicopters is 659.8 million pesos (17.8 million US dollars), with each unit costing 31.419 million pesos (0.56 million dollars).