When September Ends

SHAH ALAM: When September Comes, thats when the Blackhawks will be delivered to us, says Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein when asked about the Brunei helicopters  last April.

Malaysian Defence report on Apr 16, 2016. DSA 2016 Day 2.

Hishammudin was asked about the Blackhawks after the contracts signing ceremony at the DSA 2016 show at PWTC here. The four Blackhawks according to him would be delivered in September instead.

I have to report however, even When September Ends, the Blackhawks will not be with us as the deal to purchase the helicopters from Brunei has been cancelled by the Finance Ministry, inexplicably as the cost was too high.

Army Air Wing and US Army pilots and crew posed for a photo with a Blackhawk helicopter. US Army picture.
Army Air Wing and US Army pilots and crew posed for a photo with a Blackhawk helicopter during Keris Strike 2016. US Army picture.

As no one will comment on record  on the cancellation of the deal – it was made by the PM so it will be up to him to announce it had been nixed – I will have to rely on what various industry sources are telling me.

The sources however cannot give the exact cost of the proposed purchase of the Blackhawks so I cannot be sure how it became too costly. As I had reported before, the asking price of the Blackhawks was only some RM58 million.

Asked whether the amount was for USD15 million (RM58.3 million) Rothiah said the amount was correct but it had not been finalised yet

Perhaps too many things had been proposed for the Blackhawks as add-ons, that in the end it became too costly to buy. 

It had happened before with the proposed purchase of Mark V SOC boats from the US.

PUTD Nuri helicopter lands next to a US Army Blackhawk during Keris Strike 2016. US Army picture
PUTD Nuri helicopter lands next to a US Army Blackhawk during Keris Strike 2016. US Army picture

As Brunei was taking out some of things installed in the Blackhawks, there were things that needed to be replaced.

Whether or not this was the reason the purchase price got higher, is beyond me.

With the cancellation of the Brunei Blackhawks, it is likely the plan to convert RMAF VIP Whitehawks into utility helicopters has also been delayed or cancelled altogether. 

The Army Air Wing also has to rely on the mini-gun equipped AW109s in Sabah until the MD-530Gs are delivered next year. Four of the AW109s are already stationed in the ESSCOM AOR.

— Malaysian Defence

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