MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines has signed a $624 million deal to purchase 32 Black Hawk helicopters from a Polish aircraft manufacturer. It is the largest military aircraft acquisition contract under outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte. The S-70i Black Hawks can be used for troop transport, combat operations and disaster-response. Due to financial constraints, the Philippines has struggled for years to modernize its military, one of the most underfunded in Asia, to deal with decades-long Muslim and communist insurgencies and defend its territories in the disputed South China Sea. The acquisition of the Black Hawks will allow the air force to retire its aging Bell UH-1 helicopters, which were used during the Vietnam War.
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