SHAH ALAM: It appears that another maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) programme is likely to be tender out – no time frame yet – to meet the requirements of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).
I havent got much details on the requirements apart from that the MMEA is looking for two aircraft. And no, this not connected to the RMAF requirements as a law enforcement agency, MMEA maritime patroller requirements are mostly likely for surveillance and border monitoring and other utility roles as well as search and rescue. Hence the term of maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) is more apt to described the programme though clarity sake I will still use the MPA term for the programme.
CN235 MPA of TNI-AL displayed at LIMA 2015.
It is also likely that the MMEA programme is more exciting to local players as it will probably not be an international tender like the RMAF one. For the record MMEA already has two aircraft – the Bombardier CL415s – which are equipped with the Swedish MSS 6000 Airborne Surveillance System.
PDRM Super King Air 350 on finals at Subang airport. The aircraft is fitted with an unknown type of ISR equipment. Note the radome under the belly.
Anyhow based on the little things I know about the programme, I am assuming that a large number of aircraft could be offered from Super King Airs to even a modified ATR or Q400. I believed the latter ones are too expensive for the programme unless MMEA allowed for second hand airframes to be offered.
Saab 340 MSA.
Yes I know a Cessna 206 fitted with an ISR equipment could also do the job but realistically it will not have much chance to win the deal. Of course a MALE drone could do the same job at a lower cost than a manned aircraft but it will not make the cut as well if the requirements say otherwise.
Cessna 206 StationAir equipped for ISR. Textron picture.
Anyhow, a few months back, the MMEA announced that they will be getting up to four helicopters soon. It appears that it will be a medium type likely to be the Leonardo AW139.
MMEA AW139 M72-03. Apart from its duty with APMM, the helicopter is also used for various other duties. Picture taken in late 2013. Malaysian Defence
I was told that initially the helicopters would be purchased outright like the six helicopters already in service – three AW139 and three Dauphin (these were originally to be leased like the CL415s) but it was decided recently that the new helicopters will be leased instead.
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