LANGKAWI: LIMA 2015 opened today with a boom, literally outside the hall but inside its all quiet with one show daily headlining “No Contracts at LIMA” on its opening day edition.
A little gloss was added to the show today however through the courtesy of the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia – better known as Bomba – when the director-general Datuk Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim announced that they had received the approval for the procurement of the two “heavy weight” helicopters.
Wan Mohd Nor described the “heavy weight” helicopters as in the 8-tonne category, which the industry referred to as “Super Medium Weight”. Examples of the helicopters in this class are the Agusta Westland AW189 and the Airbus Helicopters H175. Weststar Aviation currently operates a number of the AW189 for the oil and gas industry. Industry sources indicated that the AW189 was the preferred solution.
Wan Mohd Nor spoke about the helicopters to the media after witnessing the contract signing for support and maintenance for the Bomba Air Wing with Airod Sdn Bhd. The three year contract is worth RM102 million. The Air Wing currently operates 7 helicopters and Airod had been supporting the fleet since 1998.
He stated their experience during the recent major floods in the east coast revealed the need for bigger helicopters with more range and carry capacity. He said the tender for the new helicopters will be issued soon and the machines are expected to be delivered in 24 months time.
In my preview of LIMA 2015, I stated that the commercial helicopter operators will not be buying new aircraft this time around due to the low oil prices. I am wrong. Weststar Group is scheduled to sign for four helicopters, three from Agusta Westland and one from Sikorsky.
Meanwhile, Radimax Group Sdn Bhd has teamed up with BAE Systems to offer the River class patrol vessels to meet the requirements of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency. If selected the PVs will be built at its 50 per cent owned subsidiary, Labuan Shipyard and Engineering Sdn Bhd.
Seven River class PVs are currently in service with the Royal Navy, Brazilian Navy and the Royal Thai Navy. Three more River-class Pvs were ordered by the RN last year. Radimax Group was formerly known as Realmild Sdn Bhd which was supposed to carry out the cancelled Lekiu Batch 2 project.
Meanwhile on the tarmac, the Army displayed the M134D mini gun installed on one of its Air Wing AW109. The gun fitted on the right hand side of the cabin.
* An earlier version of this post stated that the PVs were known as Amazon class.
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