SHAH ALAM: RMAF’s latest aircraft, Airbus Helicopters H120/EC120, made its public debut albeit at the Subang airbase today. The helicopter, the first of five light helicopters, will be used for basic rotary wing training at the Kolej Tentera Udara in Alor Setar.
The first training course using the new helicopter is expected to start next month, RMAF chief Jen Roslan Saad said. Asked whether the Alouette helicopters which had been for used training for at least three decades would be phased out soon, Roslan said it will be done in stages as more “EC120s are delivered”.
He said the helicopters will be cleared for duty after approval from the air force’s Directorate General Technical Airworthiness (DGTA). The first aircraft is expected to carry the serial number, M102-01, once the approval was given.
Roslan said the three digit number is reserved to aircraft used by the RMAF but owned by private companies. The first aircraft to used the new serial numbers are the two Beechcraft Super King Air 350 leased from Aerotree Defence Services Sdn Bhd.
He was speaking to the media after presenting excellence awards to RMAF personnel and flight squadrons. 10th Squadron which operates the Airbus Helicopters EC725/H225M won the best squadron award for the second year running.
The H120/EC120 helicopters are supplied by Gading Kasturi Sdn Bhd under a RM120 million PFI deal. At LIMA 15 in April, Malaysian Defence reported that “the LOI was issued for “the helicopter rental services” of six Airbus Helicopters H120 (formerly known as EC120) to replace the Alouette III.The RM120 million deal was awarded to Gading Kasturi Sdn Bhd, a little known aviation company. According to the company’s website, Gading Kasturi is a joint venture cooperation between Gading Sari Holdings Sdn Bhd and Mycopter Aviation Services Sdn Bhd.”
According to the company website, Gading will provided total engineering & logistics support to five Airbus EC120B helicopter and one EC 120B simulator through Company Own Military Operates (COMO) concept for its basic helicopter flying school. The program also involves in house upgrading of the EC120B to fully glass cockpit and NVIS.”
Meanwhile, Roslan said the second A400M, M54-02, is scheduled to fly home by late December, pending full acceptance tests being conducted at the Airbus Defence and Space facility in Seville, Spain. He said the first aircraft, M54-01, has been certified operational. The hangars built for the A400M unit, the 22nd Squadron were also fully operational.
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