SHAH ALAM: AW139s for Nuri Replacement. It appears that the RMAF had decided on the Leonardo AW139 twin-engine helicopters to replace the unofficially retired Nuri fleet. Four AW139s will be taking over the role soon, RMAF chief Gen. Ackbal Abdul Samad said today.
Speaking to the media at the closing of Eks Paradise at the Kuantan airbase, Gen Ackbal said AW139s will be introduced as a short term solution prior to the procurement of new helicopters for RMAF in the next RMK. As reported previously in Malaysian Defence, the AW139s was shortlisted together with second hand Black Hawks offered by a subsidiary of a public listed company for the Nuri replacement tender.
Based on the numbers – 4 – it is likely that at least two helicopters will be based at Butterworth and Kuching airbases under a performance based contract where RMAF will pay by the hour rates for an available helicopter. The second is the spare.
It is unclear however which company had offered the AW139s it may well be Gading Aerospace, the company which won the tender for RMN MUH tender.
Ackbal also said he will have further talks with Kuwaiti officials on the possibility of RMAF acquiring second hand F/A-18 Hornets to be retired from the Kuwaiti Air Force. The discussions are expected to take place at the Dubai Airshow which starts on Nov. 14, where the candidates for the UAV, MPA and FLIT/LCA tenders are also expected to take part.
The RMAF chief said further discussions with the Kuwaitis were necessary as they need to find out whether Kuwait was willing to sell the Hornets. It is also likely that the general will want to know the price of the aircraft and the other items they were willing to sell with them, things including spares and other items.
It must be noted that even if the Kuwaitis were willing to sell their Hornets to Malaysia, permission must be granted by the US. Anyhow I will be very surprised if there is money to buy the Hornets within the next five years.
— Malaysian Defence