SHAH ALAM: Black Hawks for Nuri replacements? Back in 2015, we were told by the-then Defence Minister that the RMAF will be getting four Black Hawk S-70 helicopters gifted from Brunei. That news were tempered somewhat when it was revealed later that the Black Hawks were not to be gifted after all and we need to pay a relatively small amount to get them.
The Black Hawks for free story came unraveled in 2016 and though the Defence Ministry never say it officially, the project was over before the end of the year. Five years down the road, it was apparent the RM58 million or so needed for the initial payment of the helicopters and the yearly maintenance costs had doomed the project from the start.
RBAF S-70A Blackhawk helicopter. USAF photo
Any how, remember the leasing tender to replace the Nuri which came out last year? It appears one of the companies which took part in the leasing tender had offered Black Hawk helicopters. For starters, they are not offering the Brunei Black Hawks but ones that had been retired by the US military and had been bought by aircraft leasing companies like the ones offered by Florida based Jet Lease
The ex-US military, UH-60A Black Hawk, listed for sale or lease on Jet Lease website. Jet Lease
Jet Lease website have a number of Black Hawks for sale or lease ranging from a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter for sale at US$3.3 million and leasing for US$61,000 to another one priced at U$6 million and a lease listing of $100,000.
Another UH-60A offered for sale or lease on Jet Lease website. Jet Lease
I was told that the Black Hawk offer was one of two shortlisted for the leasing deal with another proposal for the Leonardo AW139 helicopter.
Weststar Aviation Leonardo AW139. Picture used for illustration only. Weststar
I was told further that the Black Hawk offer was ranked higher than the AW139 as it is not a commercial (technically) helicopter.
MMEA Leonardo AW139 landing onboard a ship. APMM
Apparently the AW139 did not score points by having other services flying them. It did help that the company which offered the Black Hawks is on the right side of the current political divide. It may face a rougher ride in the near future though, if the political musical chairs are rearranged again.
The cabin of the UH-60A offered for sale or lease by Jet Lease. Jet Lease
So will we have the Black Hawks gracing the skies to replace the Nuris? Your guess is as good as mine.
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