Black Hawks in April or May?

A US Army Blackhawk helicopter flies during Eks Keris Strike which comes under Exercise Bersama Warrior in 2017. US Army

SHAH ALAM: In two previous postings, Malaysian Defence wrote about the headwinds in the introduction of the four Black Hawk helicopters leased for the Army’s Air Wing or Pasukan Udara Tentera Darat (PUTD). The contract for the four helicopters was signed at LIMA 2023.

Now it appears PUTD is expecting the four helicopters to be put in service either in April or May. It must be said that the original plan was for the first two helicopters to be put in service by late last year with the other two in mid-this year.

PUTD commander Brigadier Mohd Zaki Abu with 882 Rejimen officers and soldiers posed for a group photograph in May 2023. Note the Nuri in the background. It is likely going to be mounted as a gate guard.

In an interview on Mindef (Ministry of Defence) radio, PUTD Directorate operations Staff Officer 1 Lt Kol Mat Ishah Ahmad, three days ago, revealed the expected delivery of the Black Hawks. He said PUTD will take delivery of the four Black Hawk UH-60A-Plus helicopter in early April or May.
Three PUTD pilots who completed the Black Hawk simulator training. The fourth person on the right is an AeroTree pilot. Abdul Halim Othman FB page.

Mat Ishah said the helicopters were part of a leasing programme. He said simulator training for the pilots were conducted in Turkiye in December and February this year.

He said although the helicopters were leased it will upgrade the capabilities of the air wing which include other assets like the MD Helicopters MD530G LSAH and AW109 light observation helicopters.

PUTD AW109LOH flying over the Army 91st anniversary parade in Segamat, Johor.

Mat Ishah was interviewed for the 29th anniversary of PUTD which is is held on March 11 every year. For this year’s celebration, for the first time, the parade will be held at PUTD camp in Kuantan. Previous ones were held at the Mahkota Camp in Kluang.

Army chief General TS Hafizuddeain Jantan was expected to officiate the anniversary parade where he will be honoured with the PUTD beret. The Army chief is also scheduled to officially open the new PUTD camp.

A close up of the MD530G LSAH taking part in the Army Day parade flypast.

It is interesting to note that even a PUTD operations officer – who is directly involved in the project – could not give an exact date for the delivery of the helicopters. However, his statement indicated that the head winds have eased some what. Whether or not this means the helicopters will be in service by May is beyond me.

— Malaysian Defence

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  1. Good to hear that the blackhawk leasing is out of the way.

    As the leasing is just for 5 years, PUTD need to start from now to plan on getting their own permanently owned Blackhawks.

    As per previous postings by Marhalim here, we know that buying outright used blackhawks to the same specs as the leased ones (including training and maintainence for 5 years) cost less than leasing.

    A buy of used blackhawks would be fine for a service life of 10-15 years (2026-2040). Around 2040 we could then look at next generation vertical lift systems such as the bell V-280.

    How much is the cost to buy used blackhawks to the same specs as the leased ones?

    Portugal bought 6 for USD47 million. The portugese contract includes the supply of material and tools, plus technical maintenance support from 2023 to 2026 and training for six pilots and 21 mechanics.

    To have 12 blackhawks will cost USD94 million. Can we get some cheaper? Probably yes by asking for some as offsets, for FA-50 batch 2 for example. South Korea is retiring its UH-60P to be replaced by Surion (giving local korean defence manufacturers jobs at the expense of retiring usable helicopters earlier)

  2. If & after we got these 4 choppers into service, is 4 units enough or there is plans to lease more?

  3. … – “Around 2040 we could then look at next generation vertical lift systems such as the bell V-280”

    Let’s see. I remember an article in the early 1990’s which said that by a decade and half the Osprey would he e replaced most rotary assets. By 2040 how many designs apart from the V-280 will actually be available? Remains to be seen.

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