The Philippines Philippines Armed Forces has scrapped a deal to buy 16 Russian military transport helicopters because of fears of U.S. sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). A former Philippine defence secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, said late on Tuesday the 12.7 billion peso ($227 million) deal to acquire the Mil Mi-17 medium transport helicopters had been cancelled. The decision to buy the helicopters was approved last month by former President Rodrigo Duterte, before their terms in office ended on June 30, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday citing Philippine officials. Philippine government officials were not immediately available for comment.
The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. The bill was passed by the Senate on 27 July 2017, 98–2, after it passed the House 419–3. The bill was signed into law on 2 August 2017 by President Donald Trump, who stated that he believed the legislation was “seriously flawed”. The bill provides sanctions for activities concerning: (1) cyber security, (2) crude oil projects, (3) financial institutions, (4) corruption, (5) human rights abuses, (6) evasion of sanctions, (7) transactions with Russian defense or intelligence sectors, (8) export pipelines, (9) privatization of state-owned assets by government officials, and (10) arms transfers to Syria.
If the Philippines went ahead with the deal, it could have angered Washington, as it has a bad relationship with Russia. U.S. security officials are aware of Manila’s decision to make the deal and may offer a similar helicopter deal for the Philippines’ military. A Philippine military official said the deal was “in the process of closing” following the decision to cancel it. An official said on condition of anonymity that Russia could appeal against the cancellation of the deal, but there was little chance that the Philippines government would reconsider its appeal. Russia had earlier this year assured the delivery of Mil Mi-17 medium transport helicopters to the Philippines. Sovtechnoexport also denied the impact of the Russo-Ukraine war on the delivery.
The Mil Mi-17 (NATO reporting name: Hip) is a Soviet-designed Russian military helicopter family introduced in 1975 (Mi-8M), continuing in production as of 2021 at two factories, in Kazan and Ulan-Ude. It is known as the Mi-8M series in Russian service. The helicopter is mostly used as a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter, as well as an armed gunship version. Developed from the basic Mi-8 airframe, the Mil Mi-17 medium transport helicopter was fitted with the larger Klimov TV3-117MT engines, rotors, and transmission developed for the Mi-14, along with fuselage improvements for heavier loads. Optional engines for “hot and high” conditions are the 1545 kW (2070 shp) Isotov TV3-117VM. Recent exports to China and Venezuela for use in high mountains have the new Klimov VK-2500 version of the Klimov TV3-117 engine with FADEC control.