Upgraded Nuri in Test Flight

Nuri M23-37 flying over Shah Alam during flight trials prior to LIMA 17.

SHAH ALAM: Upgraded Nuri in flight testing. In my post on the Nuri upgrade on October 14, 2016, I wrongly stated that the upgrade work on the Nuri will be done in Norway. In fact, the work was and being done locally, at the Airod hangar located inside the Subang airbase and next to it’s flightline.

The hangar was previously used by SME Aviation to build the Aerotiga trainer aircraft. Following the end of the program, Airod had repurposed it as the MRO facility for the Nuri and AW109 of the Army Aviation Air Wing (PUTD). Previously, these helicopters were maintained in one of the hangars in the main Airod complex next to the Subang airport.

Nuri M23-37 on a test flight on March 11. 2017.

Work to upgrade the Nuri – M23-37 – started in the last quarter of 2016, under the auspices of the Letter of Instruction for proof of concept for the avionics upgrade programme for Nuri helicopters, awarded at the DSA 2016 in April 2016

RMAF Nuri S61A4 M23-36 at the fly-past rehearsal on Feb 26, 2016. The 36 is still undergoing repairs after a hard landing some six months after the picture was taken.

The modification for the first aircraft involved the installation of new cockpit displays including a new flight management system and a search radar. Work on the aircraft apparently has been completed and the helicopter is currently undergoing flight tests as seen from some of the pictures here.

A PUTD Nuri helicopter carrying an Oto Melara 105mm pack howitzer for the firing exercise in 2016.

If all goes well, the helicopter is expected to be handed over to the RMAF at LIMA 17. And if RMAF is satisfied and funds are available, Airod could be awarded the contract to install similar modifications on all of the Nuri in its fleet and probably those under the Army Air Wing as well.

Nuri M23-37 over Shah Alam on March 11, 2017.

According to Airod, the modifications will

add new tactical capabilities and allow for standardisation of aircraft systems across the fleet. It will enable the aircraft to fly in day and night under all weather conditions as well as address obsolescence issues, subsequently, allow the RMAF S61A-4 NURI helicopter to expand its lifespan for at least another 15 years

Nuri M23-37 undertaking a test flight on March 11, 2017.

As for the other Nuri helicopter fitted with a digital cockpit -M23-36 – it is still undergoing repairs at the Subang airbase. The helicopter had a hard landing on Aug. 13, 2016, at Bukit Beruntung, Selangor, after it lost power while taking off from a field at the police training centre there. The aircraft was fitted with a digital cockpit from another vendor – Vector Aerospace – at the same hangar as the Nuri with the tail number 37.

A RMAF EC725 over Shah Alam on March 8, 2017.

Meanwhile, most of the RMAF EC725 Cougar fleet is currently undergoing its three-year inspection, it was revealed during a visit to the Airbus Helicopters facility in Subang on March 10. As the helicopters were delivered in small batches within a short period of time – November 2012 to early 2014 – their three-year inspection period came almost simultaneously since late last year.

RMAF EC725 Cougar M55-01 during a fly=past at Kuantan airbase on Jan. 24, 2017.

The mandatory three-year inspection takes a minimum of two months hence it is a crunch time for the BHIC Aeroservices Sdn Bhd, the company contracted for the Cougar MRO. BHIC Aeroservices is a joint-venture between BHIC Defence Technologies Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of public listed Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd, Prestige Pillar Sdn Bhd and Airbus Helicopters Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

EC120B M102-05 at the Airbus Helicopter hangar.

During the visit to Airbus Helicopters, journalists were allowed into BHIC Aeroservices hangar to see the Cougars undergoing their servicing. However, no photography was allowed at the hangar. We were told that some of the Cougars undergoing servicing are expected to be available for duties very soon.

Meanwhile, the fifth EC120B for Pulatibang 2 has been delivered to Airbus Helicopters to be fitted with a glass cockpit. The upgrading work on the aircraft is expected to take two months. Once delivered, Pulatibang 2 will have all of its five EC120Bs for flight training which is leased from Gading Kasturi Sdn Bhd. The fourth EC120B for Pulatibang 2 was delivered recently. For more on the Colibiris go here and here

PDRM AS355N Ecureuil 2 9M=PHG undergoing final checks before it is return to the service.

At the same hangar, an AS355N Ecureuil 2 helicopter of the Police Air Wing was also undergoing final checks. The helicopter – 9M-PHG – was damaged in a hard landing near Kuching on July 6, 2010, although the crew escaped with minor injuries.

PDRM Air Wing AW139 9M-PMC seen at Leonardo hangar at Subang. PMC and her sister helicopter 9M -PMB is expected to be officially handed over to the police at LIMA 17.

Following a survey, it was decided the aircraft could be rebuild although it was already had seen service for two decades. It has been seven years since the hard landing and only now the helicopter is about ready to return to service. As usual, the wheels of bureaucracy takes a long time to get moving.

* updated throughout for clarity.

— Malaysian Defence.

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Shah Alam

21 Comments

  1. I’ve been watch bloomberg news few weeks ago and they said Malaysia export were increase double which include better economy like unemployement reduce, more affordable property, EV charging station, and others idk. However, still cutting military budget? What kinda budget planning is this? Hmm… i guess oil are anything but Australia never rely on oil for it’s economy.

    Reply
    Those are other things not connected with defence

  2. I’ve read that MMEA is looking for more helos for CSAR around Sabah west coast in the wake of fatal tragedy of capsized catamaran about a month ago

    I hope more AW139 (or the larger AW149) could be acquired for MMEA. These helos could be used in CSAR as well as offshore patrol and even courtesy flight from labuan to KK (since Labuan hospital still couldn’t handle major cases)

    Also, it might be tad overambitious a bit, but we could build a helo assembly plant in Malaysia. There are so much demands for helos not only for the military but also other agencies and private sectors and right now the government is keen on riding the aerospace bandwagon as the next stage of industrial transformation

    Reply
    While I agree that MMEA needs more helos, l totally disagree with local assembly. It will just increase the cost of the helicopters. Tiga Paku will definitely point out that a lot of used 225s available out there. Actually helicopters are expensive to maintain and operate, MMEA could well used cheap single engine fixed wing aircraft for SAR actually, one with a cargo door which can drop rescue raft for survivors and GPS markers for bodies.

  3. I agree with marhalim’s view on SAR.

    For initial SAR, we should use a small fixed wing aircraft, preferably with automatic optical search equipment like the VIDAR. These would have longer endurance and cheaper operating costs than a helicopter. A rescue pack with inflatable raft, food and aid kit can be hung under the wing on a pylon or just thrown out of the aircraft through an open door.

    http://scontent.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-15/s480x480/e35/c4.0.791.791/17075828_416376118709431_5397048589824294912_n.jpg?ig_cache_key=MTQ2MTc4NDI2NTk1NTg0NjIwOQ%3D%3D.2.c

    Afer the srvivor is found then a helicopter could be launched for the rescue.

  4. BTW why do they need 2 months to fit the simple plug and play Aspen Glass cockpits to the EC120? It should be just 1 week tops as the system already designed to fit seamlessly into the EC120. The system just has 2 small displays and uses all the existing wirings.

    This is the system that is fitted:

    https://www.aspenavionics.com/products/helicopters

    Reply
    Didn’t I say the wheels of bureaucracy moves slowly?

  5. Local assembly of aircraft will provide us with no future tangible benefits and the cost for setting up the assembly line and acquiring the rights for assembly will be pushed to the taxpayer.

    Rippie,

    It’s no revelation. For the past few decades the military budget is always the first to be trimmed when the economy slows down. The plain fact is that defence is not and never was a priority as we don’t feel the threat environment justifies it. There is a simple reason why Australia doesn’t [unlike Malaysia] ”rely on oil for it’s economy” …..

  6. Marhalim,

    Of course they are not connect to defence. The Gov got money for ECRL project, land development, and others. However, never had money for increase military budget? Even Indonesia GDP has slightly reduce but at least they got money for increase military budget.

    Also yeah, regional balance are stability for they country and it’s neighbour which include economy. If Saudi want to sell it’s F-15 to us then they make sure follow this 2 condition:

    1. They must have approved from US Congress in order to sell US made jet to other nation. Rather 2nd handed or not.

    2. Make sure they country and it’s neighbour stable. Including Economy stable.

    However, Saudi are now war with Insurgent Shia Houthi in Yemen which highly chance Houthi would destabilize Saudi by targeting it’s key structure like oil production. If they success then Saudi economy will be cripple and if they sell US made jet to other nation then highly chance that Iran gonna steal it and reverse engineered quietly. What this to do with us and the selling of Saudi jet? If you not understand well here’s the answer: F-15SA has been used mostly Saudi which they are become their highly assets and very advance jet in their Air Forces. So, US Congress will need Royal Saudi Air Forced with F-15SA. So, if they want to sell then they approved by US Congress. Also yeah, F-15 are costly. Many people won’t agree that Malaysia buying F-15.

    Reply
    Please note that Indonesia defence budget for 2017 is lower this year. it was lower also in 2016. If the Saudis want to sell their F-15Cs to Malaysia (though very unlikely) it is likely the US will approve it. Why? The Singapore F-15SGs are way more advanced than the Saudis F-15Cs.

  7. Do our EC725 have electronic warfare system (lwr, rwr, maw) n countermeasure dispenser? Seems like it doesnt have it.

    And is it better for army aviation to use h225m or aw139m or aw149 in the far future? Since h225m is essentially our air force ec725 and both aw139 n aw189 (149 commercial version) are used by our civil agencies.

    Reply

    H225M is the new designation for EC725 which is still used by RMAF. The RMAF Cougars are fitted for but not (paid) fitted with the DAS.
    As for which new helicopters the Army should get, it will depend on the requirements which AFAIK its not yet set on stone

  8. Marhalim is absolutely right. In the unlikely event that Saudi decides to sell/transfer/donate/gift F-15s; there is no reason why the U.S. would object. It’s not as if a few F-15s will alter the regional balance of power or will contain technology not already in use by others in the region.

    The real issue about the F-15s is not the politics or the bureaucracy involved but rather the fact that the RMAF has no need for another heavyweight twin engine fighter and that introducing F-15s in service will increase the RMAF’s logistical/support footprint.

  9. Talking about fighters, Rafale and Gripen will be performing at LIMA. Typhoon will not.

    Reply
    Typhoon have not taken part since 2013.

  10. For this year’s LIMA, the russian aerobatic team will be using the SU-30SM as their mount. So lets see if the TUDM SU-30MKM team could outdo the russians this year!

    Reply
    It will difficult actually as the Russian team will perform with five aircraft while the MKM demo will be a single aircraft

  11. “the RMAF has no need for another heavyweight twin engine fighter and that introducing F-15s in service will increase the RMAF’s logistical/support footprint.”

    This is true, for another matter one of the RMAF’s MRCA picks will have capabilities that the F-15C will not have.

    The F-15C will remain a competitive fighter for years, has a good user base and is being extensively upgraded by many of these users.

    However, no F-15C has ever been upgraded to perform any kind of air to surface roles and the RMAF will still need to acquire something else to fill those roles. Therefore the F-15C is not a good fit for our situation.

  12. I agree that Saudi F15 is going to be logistical problem, being a dedicated air superiority fighter, TUDM needs an MRCA, but in our dreams, just imagine the orbat of TUDM if we accept the F15C

    18- Sukhoi MKM
    8/12? – F15C
    8/12? – Tyhpoon or Rafales( new MRCA)
    8 – F18 Hornets
    Etc etc

    Just brings cold sweat to would be intruders. Just thinking out loud and my boyish dream

    Reply
    Cold sweat also for those who will responsible to maintain them and prepare the budget

  13. Rippie …..
    Gov push more budget on infrastructure (Rail,road, port) is needed to improve Economic (GDP), More higher GDP means more defense Budget for future.

    Mahalim …
    about MMEA aircraft, how about getting more amphibious aircraft which can use for SAR, aerial firefighting. if sea state is good even can landing at sea to perform SAR. we need large amphibious aircraft like (China AG600) to help to bushfires. current MMEA Bombardier CL-415 seems small.

    Reply
    With our budget, I do not think we should go for more amphibious aircraft. If they increase it perhaps they can consider more CL 415s now manufactured by Viking Air.

  14. ……,

    Unfortunately, Anatoly Kvochur won’t be there; retired years ago. In the Langkawi heat he use to wear nothing but his underwear beneath his flight suit. Not sure if Viktor Pugachev is still in the Russian Knights. He played a part doing MKM conversion training for our pilots in Russia.

  15. zulu,

    F-15Cs will be a logistical nightmare not because it’s an air to air fighter but because it will add a new type to our inventory and we’ll have no choice but to create a new support/training infrastructure.

    What will bring ”cold sweat” to potential aggressors will not be when we add another tupe, in small numbers into service but when we start basing procurement less on political factors.

    savvykl,

    The downside with amphibious aircraft is that they require detailed checks after each water landing to avoid corrosion issues. For our needs; amphibious aircraft really offer no tangible benefits over non amphibious ones. We’re not like Greece or other countries which have bad forest fires over large distances; there’s – for our needs –
    not much we can’t do with a heli or a fix wing non amphib that we can with an amphib aircraft. We operated a pair of HU-16 Albatross in the past [ex Canadian] but they had a very short service life. They were fitted out for VIP work.

  16. Indon C-212 or polish PZL M-28 skytruck would be nice for MMEA. It could double as patrol aircraft, SAR and even searching mission since both had high wing profile and offers excellent downward visibility

    Reply
    I prefer the Cessna Caravan

  17. Marhalim,

    If you really want to report something, probably closer to the truth would be better.

    “fly in day and night under all weather conditions”
    There is not much all weather so to speak of until the frames are reengined. Truth will be “day and night in fair weather condition”. H1 themselves is a downstream integrator and has little to no control over component OEM. Good luck with the infamous Euronav mapping system.

    “their three-year inspection period came almost simultaneously since late last year”
    This happens due to fucked up planning and continuously flying one machine due to various of reason the one supposed to take over is U.S. Had been their proud tradition regardless which frame.

    “Following a survey, it was decided the aircraft could be rebuild although it was already had seen service for two decades.”
    The survey means that Capex is off limit, but there is surplus OPEX. But funny thing is, talking about Opex, 2 of the 5 remaining light twins has been cannibalized to feed the 1.5 frame that are still serviceable. While Capex sees 2 brand new medium twin “rescue helicopters” fitted with leather seats and couldn’t get all 5 yet to be 2 decade old light twins available at all.

    “BTW why do they need 2 months to fit the simple plug and play”
    Not as easy as plug and play, the installation takes a week. This also involve if AF’s lessor Gading’s lessor XXX pays in full to kick start the work. And also the other way round, if AF has paid Gading in full and Gading paid XXX in full.

  18. @ m

    Thank you for the insider information you shared here,

    “Not as easy as plug and play, the installation takes a week. This also involve if AF’s lessor Gading’s lessor XXX pays in full to kick start the work. And also the other way round, if AF has paid Gading in full and Gading paid XXX in full.”
    As what i said before, 1 week tops should be the lead time, not 2 months. Wow i thought Gading bought the helicopters from XXX (it is quite a famous company in helicopter buy and sell scene…), not just leased. So gading is technically a “middlemen” to the foreign XXX company?

    “The survey means that Capex is off limit, but there is surplus OPEX. But funny thing is, talking about Opex, 2 of the 5 remaining light twins has been cannibalized to feed the 1.5 frame that are still serviceable. While Capex sees 2 brand new medium twin “rescue helicopters” fitted with leather seats and couldn’t get all 5 yet to be 2 decade old light twins available at all.”
    So the cat is out of the bag that the police “rescue helicopters” (why does the police needs rescue helicopters anyway?) is a thin cover for personal transports for police bigwigs…

    “This happens due to fucked up planning and continuously flying one machine due to various of reason the one supposed to take over is U.S. Had been their proud tradition regardless which frame.”
    While that happens the said helicopter squadron recently got praised as the best squadron in TUDM…

    “There is not much all weather so to speak of until the frames are reengined. Truth will be “day and night in fair weather condition”. H1 themselves is a downstream integrator and has little to no control over component OEM. Good luck with the infamous Euronav mapping system.”
    IMO the excuse that heli one is just an integrator does not make sense. They are the one who chooses the avionics that is proposed. I prefered the previous EFIS systems, the former Cobham EFIS. The nuri should be able to be flown all weather with new avionics installed, probably need to redo the operationg manuals to increase the reserve power availability by probably reducing gross weights and putting manuvering limitations. BTW the sea king with similar engines has been serving in all weather SAR missions for as long as one can remember.

  19. @…
    “As what i said before, 1 week tops should be the lead time, not 2 months. Wow i thought Gading bought the helicopters from XXX (it is quite a famous company in helicopter buy and sell scene…), not just leased. So gading is technically a “middlemen” to the foreign XXX company?”

    To be fair, these are civil regs. Mod needs to pass both internal QA and DCA plus a transaction in millions, 2 month to deliver is about right for Malaysian standard. BTW, Gading is only sub leasing the last one, if the deal is indeed down to 5 frames.
    In a completely not intended way, AF is actually getting a bang of the buck out of this deal. Gading is running on a thin margin and providing availability and asset quality that AF can never dream of if doing it on their own. Lets wish they can stick around long enough.

    “So the cat is out of the bag that the police “rescue helicopters” (why does the police needs rescue helicopters anyway?) is a thin cover for personal transports for police bigwig”

    139s seems to doing such role in our gov fleet.

    “While that happens the said helicopter squadron recently got praised as the best squadron in TUDM… ”

    Labuan team maybe, Kuantan team definitely no, but either way, it is relative to AF’s standard… But with such powerful full automation beast, the pilot has just one job, to push buttons. No too hard to be the best when it comes to display. Anyways, Marhalim deleted my previous comment, guess some part of the answer is off limit.

    “IMO the excuse that heli one is just an integrator does not make sense. They are the one who chooses the avionics that is proposed. I prefered the previous EFIS systems, the former Cobham EFIS. The nuri should be able to be flown all weather with new avionics installed, probably need to redo the operationg manuals to increase the reserve power availability by probably reducing gross weights and putting manuvering limitations. BTW the sea king with similar engines has been serving in all weather SAR missions for as long as one can remember.”

    It makes a lot of sense, thats how the industry works. If you worried too, please pray hard to whichever god you believe in, that they at least op for the EN7. BTW, helicopter has very little to no “reserve power” in practice, unless you do nothing but level flight. Yes, the 64s still a beast, but it does not pass today’s safety standard. In general helicopter engines are only getting marginal upgrade in gross power. The fact remains today, frame and the gearbox just can’t keep up with the power increased. What makes the difference is the engine’s ability to retain max power for longer and under pressure. “Tweaking” can overdrive the engine only happens in car world, not in aviation.

    “BTW the sea king with similar engines has been serving in all weather SAR missions for as long as one can remember.”

    To say that is equal saying a parang is just a fine warrior’s choice and should be the issued weapon for our servicemen. And sea king for its name sake is flying over sea, and sea is flat hence the term sea level. That should give some hint.

    Reply
    The police has in recent times mostly used its aircraft for VIP use, that’s why the King Airs were purchased.

  20. @ m

    1) ec120
    i thought the ec120 is under dgta (military unlike the dca civil) regulations as is the aerotree aircrafts? what i know is most of the helicopters are bought outright by gading, so when you mention leased i was ca
    .ught unaware. as for the costs, for the lease to tudm, i think gading got quite a good margin (rm137 million) for it, and would be a win-win situation to both parties (tudm with increased availability hours, gading with profits)

    2) s-61
    i never said any “tweaking” for more power. the engine is old, and no one has done any new engine and transmission swap for the s-61 yet. but increasing the reserve power (the margin of used and available power) can be done, by reducing the empty weight (junking all the 50’s heavy avionics, airframe weight reduction etc), more efficient rotor blades (carson), fin modifications (blr fastfin, in development but gone quiet lately) and modifying the operating envelopes (the SOP of how can the helicopter can be flown).

  21. @ …
    civil reg is to protect the asset value. To be fair, this latest attempt is the most professional I have seen in the last 20 years, in relative to Malaysian standard of course. 137 mil is not that much if you consider multiple flights 6 days a week and every missed flight a charge of 20-30k.

    61s,
    to make it simple, put on reduced performance itself is considered negative in this industry. No one with dignity will claim this is “an improvement”. It is like saying putting on NVG goggles turns any frame into night ops capable.
    Replacing gauges with screens sounds logic to be lighter but it is not. Additional wires are just as heavy. Screens and computer make noise and heat. You will then need to cool them down. For older helicopters power supply also need to beef up. Unless is top tier integrator that can combine major functions into a few computers. Off the shelve approach like H1 is just gonna piece boxes together.

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