The Philippines grounded its entire fleet of Black Hawk helicopters Thursday after one of the new aircraft crashed during a night-time training flight, killing all six on board.
Three pilots and three airmen died when their S70-i went down near the Crow Valley training range north of Manila on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.
"The entire Black Hawk fleet are grounded while the incident is being investigated," Lorenzana said.
The country ordered 16 of the multi-role aircraft from a Polish firm that made them under licence from the Sikorsky division of US defence manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
Eleven have been delivered since late 2020.
The government bought the Black Hawks to replace the air force's ageing fleet of Bell UH-1H helicopters, commonly known as the Huey.
Many of them were acquired as surplus from the United States, Manila's longtime military ally.
Lorenzana said the Black Hawk fleet has been used for humanitarian assistance and disaster response, including flying Covid-19 vaccines to remote areas of the archipelago nation.
The Philippine military is also fighting a long-running communist insurgency across the country and Islamic State-linked militants in the south.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.