Black Hawks, Still Waiting For You

The red paint denotes that the Portugal Air Force Black Hawks will be used for fire-fighting. PAF.

SHAH ALAM: The Army is still waiting for the leased Black Hawk helicopters, said Army chief TS General Hafizuddeain Jantan today adding that he will be discussing with Aerotree Sdn Bhd officials on the new delivery schedule for them.

He said the company had also agreed to assume the Liquidated Ascertained Damages (LAD) payments for the delay in delivering the helicopters.

“After discussions with the Ministry of Finance and the Defence Ministry, we agree for continuation of the project even though it has been more than six months after the original delivery date,” he said during an interview at the Army’s showcase at DSA 2024 exhibition.

Army TS General Hafizuddeain Jantan (left) and his deputy Lt Gen Tengku Fauzi Tengku Ibrahim at the interview on May 9 at DSA 2024.

The first of four helicopters were supposed to be delivered last November. Aerotree was awarded the RM187 million leasing deal in May last year and the public ceremony of the contract award was conducted at the end of the month at LIMA 2023 exhibition.

Hafizuddeain said the new delivery dates will be announced later. Asked what would happen if the new schedules were not adhered, he said that it will be purview of the ministry to decide on the next course of action.

He said the Army has suffered opportunity loss as they were unable to conduct operations with the helicopters based on the original schedule.

Malaysian Defence had exclusively written on the delay of the helicopter delivery early this year.

It is interesting to note that industry and military sources met at the DSA 2024 exhibition are still saying that the headwinds for the introduction of the Black Hawks remained strong.

– – Malaysian Defence

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  1. If I am the army, I would want

    – full transfer of the Blackhawk ownership, at no cost, to the PUTD at the end of the lease period as the Liquidated Ascertained Damages for the delay (now 6 months). Even with that, i believe Aerotree will have profit from the lease contract.

  2. Does Aerotree still provide the target towing services with Banshees and a Learjet?

  3. … – ”If I am the army, I would want”

    Well I’m not the army and I can’t assume what the army would want but based on what little I know I would assume that the army might not want the Blackhawks as permanent assets.

    The risk is that the penny pinching bean counters might use that as an excuse to delay getting new helicopters. There is also the possibility that the army might end up getting something other than Blackhawks as a Nuri replacement; if that happens it would be in the unenviable position of having to support 12 brand new helis and 4 aged Blackhawks; on top of 10 A-109s and 6 Little Birds.

  4. Hallelujah for the Brazilian army but it already has several other types of rotary platforms in service. In sharp contrast whatever is selected for the Malaysian army’s Aviation Corps will be it main utility type and the most numerous.

    It’s like your mention of how ”even” Italy has AW139s. Yes but it also has the EH101 as its main rotary lift type.

  5. The Lima Blackhawks are the smart option for used. Im not surprised Brazil and more will go for them. We should quickly make a move too otherwise we be left with the worst ones.

  6. A pity then. Good if we could get 14 new utility medium choppers as what PUTD wants but realistically what are their chances? If its not forever waiting for budget, by miracle chance if budget was given will it be enough for 14 or more than likely much less than desired, and once money is given will it be funneled to the Chiefs more favoured KJA program?

    With too many headwinds for brand new 14, I prefer the more easier doable route of getting 14 used Lima Blackhawks with a eye for upgrade to M/(N?) spec in 5 years time.

  7. On another issue.

    The first thing which comes to mind when local UASs are mentioned is CTRM but as far back as 15 years ago there were already various local companies engaged in UAS development including Sapura which sold a few to Thailand and is no longer in the business. Ultimately CTRM could not get Aludra to do what we needed in terms of range and endurance so Scaneagle entered the picture. I remember having a close look at Aludra MK 1 in the early 2000’s [cant remember if it was DSA or LIMA] and noticing that its sensor was a Pensonic video cam. We were in the sane level of UAS development Iran was during that period.

    Fast forward to 2024 there are even more companies in the game offering stuff which has improved so in theory we might not have to rely on Mavics or other commercial systems as part of the low end solution as there are a number of locally designed UASs with similar performance. Remains to be seen how things pan out. There are already 2 companies – Mindmatics and Lestari [its design has a sensor in the nose unlike the Shahed 136 which lacks one] which have come up with loitering munitions. Limited range and loiter time but it’s a good start.

    We’ve been very slow getting into the unmanned platform game but hopefully this will change.

    I’m of the opinion that every infantry unit down to section level should have an integral UAS capability [cheap and expandable commercial systems] and same goes with artillery batteries; not regiments. Every RMN ship should also have a UAS to supplement its onboard sensors and embarked helo [if it has one] and yes there is space on the LCS and other ships. As clearly demonstrated UASs and loitering munitions are more effective when used alongside other assets and distributed in a decentralised and flexible manner.

    Much has been written about Ukraine but it’s not generally known that at the time of the invasion the country already had an expansive/advanced UAS industry in the form of companies and start ups involved in UAS production and R@D. This was a result of the earlier Donbas campaign when the Russians deployed UASs very successfully at a tactical level and the Ukrainians weren’t able to do much about it; thus they made UASs a priority. Another factor which played a large part in the Ukrainian’s favour was is that they have a very advanced IT industry with large numbers of engineers, tech people, etc. This has enabled them to modify the commercial UASs they get and even custom build their own using parts sourced from the open market.

    As it stands UASs and loitering munitions are evolutionary not revolutionary; their impact is at the tactical not operational and strategic level. They also don’t replace but supplement artillery, mortars and gunships. No doubt in due time we’ll see missile equipped UASs engage manned aircraft [the Russians first did trials as far back as 2021] and equipped with clinger measures. We are already seeing UASs equipped with sonobuoys and eventually torps to supplement other ASW assets but whether they will be “game changers” [a term loosely applied] remains to be seen. We’ve already seen UAS deliver medical supplies.

  8. Seems like the army are proposing to cancel those blackhawk lease deal. I wonder what they gonna if it indeed cancel. Lease AW139 like the airforce did?

  9. No idea, the next course of action. The AW139 was one of the losing candidates in the leasing tender which was awarded to the Black Hawk

  10. “Lease AW139 like the airforce did?”
    No way, the requirement was for an undersling and most (if not all) civvie AW139 doesnt have that feature. The more likely route is to go for another vendor to lease Blackhawks (surely there are plenty of leasors out there).

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