SHAH ALAM: A LOCAL aviation company, Gading Aero Sdn Bhd, is claiming that its sister company, Galaxy Helicopters Sdn Bhd had received a contract from the Home Ministry to supply a number of Agusta Westland AW139 medium size helicopters to the PDRM’s Air Wing.
Both companies are under the Gading Group, which according to its website is located in Hulu Kelang, Selangor. The group also operate a hangar at Subang airport for its aviation-related operations.
I am using “a number” as the entry at the company’s own website stated two different figures. The page featuring Gading Aero claimed Galaxy Helicopters had received a contract to supply six AW139 helicopters to PDRM.
However on the Galaxy Helicopters page it was stated that “Malaysian Ministry Of Home Affairs awarded Galaxy Helicopters a contract to supply two Agusta Westland AW 139 helicopters for Royal Malaysian Police Air Wing”.
I called the contact number listed on the website and the man who answered said that Galaxy Helicopters indeed received a contract for six AW139 helicopters. However, as I have yet to get an official confirmation on the contract, I will leave it as that.
Industry sources told Malaysian Defence however that the contract for the deal was expected to be signed at the upcoming GPECAsia 2015 exhibition to be held at PWTC on Oct 21 to 23.
It must be noted that another company from the Gading Group, Gading Kasturi Sdn Bhd, was awarded the contract to supply six Airbus Helicopters H120 light helicopter and a single simulator for the RMAF flight training school in Alor Setar. The contract was signed at LIMA 2015.
If indeed the contract has been awarded to Galaxy Helicopters, it appears that AgustaWestland had manage to score a coup over its main rival Airbus Helicopters. It was generally expected that PDRM will be getting a new batch of light helicopters from Airbus either a new batch of H125 ( the new name for the Ecureil) or the H135.
The Air Wing operates around 8 Ecureil light helicopters from the 11 it received. The first two was delivered in 1990. Since 2008, the police had stated a requirement for some two dozen or so, light and medium size helicopters for its Air Wing. The medium size helicopter is mainly for troop transport and utility role while the light helicopter is for patrol as well as utility duties as well.
The Air Wing’s lack of troop transport capability was exposed during the Lahad Datu incursion.
As the AW139 is a medium-size twin engine helicopter, the light helicopter requirement remains open and perhaps this will be fulfilled in the future, though this may well be later rather than sooner.
The Air Wing is not expected to have any difficulties in absorbing the AW139s as a number of these machines are already operating in Malaysia, both in the government (APMM and Bomba) and the private sector. A full mission simulator of the AW139 is also operating at the Airod facility in Subang.
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