SHAH ALAM: Another helicopter tender. In late October, I received an email asking me why I had not written anything on a tender for helicopters for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA). The answer was simple I was not aware about it. As it was the tender notice – published in June 2022 – only appeared in the Home Ministry and MyProcurement websites instead of the more user friendly Eperolehan site.
A check today on the Eperolehan website showed that the tender is still not listed there though it is still live on the Home Ministry tender page. Anyhow the tender was supposed to close on July 20 but had been extended to August 19. It is also interesting to note that the expiry of the tender was listed on January 15 2023 which is 45 days away only.
One has to wonder whether the procurement board of the Home Ministry has the time to decide on the winning bid due to current political situation. If it had done so before the parliament was dissolved, it is now just waiting for the new minister to sign it off. However, if that not done in time and the tender is time expired, hopefully it will be renewed as soon as possible.
Anyhow, from the notice, we know that the MMEA is looking to procure four helicopters for search and rescue and other roles. Thanks to industry sources, Malaysian Defence can reveal that the competition is down to two makes only, the Airbus H175 and the Leonardo AW189.
Why AW189 and H175 then? It is because the specifications called for a super medium helicopter – up to 8 tonnes and an endurance of five hours. Only the AW189 and H175 meet that requirement.
Anyhow, in Malaysia two AW189s are already in service, with the Bomba air wing. The two helicopters, ordered in 2016 via TPG Aeronautik Sdn Bhd, was delivered in late 2018. The procurement also led to the introduction of a AW189 flight simulator training at PWN Excellence Sdn Bhd, a local company offering flight sim training of Leonardo helicopters.
That said the use of the H175 helicopters by the Hong Kong Government Flight Service for SAR missions has shown their capabilities in many dramatic footages which can be seen on You Tube.
When the four helicopters are delivered to MMEA – likely in two-years time – its rotary fleet will increase to seven. The air wing currently has three Leonardo AW139 (delivered around 2010) and three Airbus AS365 Dauphin helicopters in service since 2007. Apart from the Bombardier CL-415 amphibians, of course
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