SHAH ALAM: Cheap, upgrades Sea Kings for sale. The U.S Department is selling up to a dozen refurbished S-61 Sea King helicopters.
From The Drive.
The General Services Administration (GSA) is already auctioning off the first five S-61Ts – with the U.S. civil registration numbers N107WK, N122WU, N375WS, N575AW, and N898WC – each of which has a starting bid price of $500,000. This does not meet an unspecified reserve price for a final sale, though. The State Department plans to sell its remaining fleet of these helicopters, 13 in total, via GSA within six months, according to the Department’s Press Relations Office
The article further said:
The State Department S-61Ts were based on donor airframes that came straight from Navy. That service had retired the bulk of its Sea Kings in the 1990s, but did continue using them in very limited numbers into the late-2000s. The State Department obtained other SH-3s from the Bone Yard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. The very last of Navy’s SH-3s had originally rolled off of Sikorsky’s production line in the 1970s, though many did receive significant upgrades in the decades that followed.
Sikorsky developed the S-61T conversion process with Carson Helicopters, which involved a major overhaul of the airframes, as well as the addition of significant upgrades. The updates included a new main rotor assembly with five Carson composite material blades, a glass cockpit, improved avionics and other mission systems, and modular wiring assemblies to rapidly install additional systems per the customer’s request.
The State Department had agreed to purchase up to 110 S-61Ts when it signed its contract with Sikorsky in 2010. The specific requirements for the Air Wing’s helicopters included adding missile approach warning sensors, decoy flare launchers, added armor for the crew, and provisions for door-mounted GAU-17/A Miniguns.
As you are aware RMAF is also operating a single Nuri which had undergone an upgrade program. The status of the second one remained unclear. Originally it was planned that all of the Nuri still in service will be upgraded but it is looking more unlikely at the moment.
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If we still want to fly the Nuri’s.
Buying those would be a quick cheap way to have additional helicopters, already upgraded. Those helicopters are even equipped with MAWS and chaff and flare dispesnsers, item even our EC725 lacks.
Look at the grey boxes behind the cockpit and on the tail. Those are chaff/flare dispensers.
Look at the cockpit diferrences
If we can snap them up at around USD2-3mil a piece it would be a steal!
Lets see how long it takes civilian operators to snap them up.
If TUDM & TDM doesn’t want the Nuri chopper platform, even if they were a steal, getting them is moot.
If upgrading our Nuri is going to cost more then this helo bid price, I say go for it.
Our non flying Nuri (I saw 3, if not 4 non flying Nuri sitting in TUDM Kuching Base for almost a year of not more) could be use for parts or for reserve.
The initial auction is for 5 S-61T. There will be another 13 S-61T left if the first 5 is sold.
My thoughts? Go for it if PUTD wants it. Then all remaining nuris and associated spares and support equipment passed to PUTD. Heli VIP tasks passed to PUTD. TUDM to be all EC725/EC225 heli fleet.
Sea King at UK and now at US is phasing out. Thus, the maintenance going be high soon. I think RMAF should just keep 6 to 10 Nuri and using normal operation cost to do life extension without any upgrade. The rest will be spare part. I dun see the new government will upgrade it but try to get a cheaper workhorse from Russia. It suitable for the army but not for the airforce. Just keep 12 H225m + limited Nuri for it own operation.
Will require US approval.
With our palm oil will be banned for biodiesel use in Europe, estimated around 500tonne to 700 tonne per year loss of sale as currently EU nation imported around 1.8 million tonne, with 60-70% use for food. That is equivalent of USD200 million a year loss of revenue.
So buying more European military hardware may not be in the flavour for the next 2 to 3 years at least. I personally feel that the Nuri though still full of life, should not be further extended its usage more than the next 5 years. Thus if possible and if budget permit, a replacement from the US or maybe even Korean (KAI Surion) should be considered instead
Most of the Surion components come from EU as well
Actually other countries phasing out can be a good blessing, as there would be huge amouts of unused spare we can get for free if we ask politely.
Surion is just a dressed up Eurocopter Puma.
I’ve been saying this previously and I’d like to reiterate my point again.
RMAF doesn’t need for nuri 1:1 replacement. Unlike the old days where almost all government agencies relied on RMAF for heli transport, nowadays other agencies had their own aviation fleet with their own helicopters;
the police, bomba, mmea, even the army.
At most RMAF would only need additional 6 EC-725 for critical missions while they could maintain the existing nuri fleet for less important tasks (VIP transport, cargo transport, humanitarian effort or medevac). If anything, it’s the navy that need more helos to shoulder these less important tasks off the super lynxes which are wearing fast
The Super Lynx fleet has only flown 10000 hours since its introduction in 2004
TUDM does not need the Nuris or additional s-61t if CAP55 2 Skuadron for helicopter is to be firmed up.
But for PUTD, i dont know. They do have a need for helicopters to support the logistics trail and for howitzer movements. But are they looking for airmobile (heliborne) operations with 10 PARA or any other infantry units? We currently dont have the helicopter numbers to transport even 1 battalion at 1 go.
I am for the PUTD to have blackhawks for its utility helicopters. But adding S-61T to the Nuris would be a workable plan too as we already have the human resources and knowhow to operate the nuri/s-61.
If new government choose to buy Russian helicopter , which model it could be ?
Its likely the Mi 17
Agreed on your point that its the TLDM which are in need of more choppers, especially when their new LCS vessels gets commissioned and if 2nd batch SGPV & MRSS are greenlighted. At least 1 chopper should be based onboard each ship with hangar facility if possible. I have suggested for TLDM to take on the RMAF Nuris as temporary measures but I got a lot of flak for that. So I might as well not say anything more.
Yes its cheap..its upgraded and so the saga continues…and these type of mentality that created a ROJAK rmaf
Look at a positive side..the admin just want to ” pancing ” some of us wether ar we fickle minded just because its nuri…we use before…its upgraded n its cheap…my advise betterfollow thru what we have bought…the super puma ..scrap all the old machines no doubt its still deployable…
Buying these recon Nuris for the Army make sense. Look at the history of this heli. Its proven to be reliable n rugged too.
Plenty of use for the army to transport soldiers to do cut offs , medivac n resup misdions for soldiers in our jungle
You got a lot of flak because to convert nuris to maritime ASW helicopters, you will need to spend a lot of money into the airframe. If you really need to convert a plain heli into a ASW version, it is better to convert a used EC225 rather than nuris, as cost to buy and intergrate all those maritime search radars and dipping sonars are the same. BTW it is cheaper just to buy a used ASW helicopter rather than convert one. Israel and spain are buying used seahawks from us navy for their own navies.
If you buy S-61T for PUTD for example, you can use the helicopter as is for troop transport or logistics missions. No need to spend tens of millions more, just a new coat of paint will do.
It all depends. Adding more used hornets or S-61T for PUTD is IMO would be good call. Hanging on to MiG-29 or the Hawks and MB-339s not so.
Even if you buy brand spanking new helicopters instead of S-61T, it will be used for the same tasks, ie hauling ass. Hanging on to MiGs requires millions of investment that would create a fighter probably on par with hornets, while buying used hornets cost less than to upgrade the MiGs.
IMO nuris to us can be like the B-52 to the americans.
They are even planning to retire the B-1 first and continue using B-52s way past 2050, probably it airframes will reach 100 years in service.
Remember for a helicopter, the fatigue limit is mostly on the rotor blade which is infinitely replacable unlike an aircraft which its fatigue limit is mostly in its wings, which are complicated and expensive to replace.
For the S-61, commercial units has been flown past 45,000 hours. Almost all of our nuris have just 1/3rd of that time. I believe, if we can hoarde S-61 spare parts from countries that has just retired them like UK (they have tons of carson rotor blades), australia, japan and canada, given our experience and knowhow of the nuri, we can safely fly the S-61 at least to 2050 if not more.
Have these Seakings been upgraded with any Israeli systems?
IMO, i would have like the whole armed forces using the sikorsky s70 series.
UH-60M for army
MH-60R for navy (for frigate)
MH-60S for navy (for MRSS)
UH-60M (CSAR version) for air force
Plus the MD530G with light attack reconnaissance role for army.
New buys of helis are all from s70 series.
At the same time, sell the aw109, ec725, aw159 and as555.
Or use these 4 helicopters until their end of service life and replace with the s70 series.
Then again these will take quite a big amount of money, but maybe we can achieve it within 20 years.
Just my sekupang.
When you talk about future rotorcraft, something 20 years from now, why do you want to buy new “old” helicopters when the future is this?
…. have a very strong point. Vertical lift concept is evolving with the US taking a lead with their Tilt rotor and X2.
Money save getting commercial used heli for medium term use could be channel for other desperately needed item.
Hmm true the future platforms are coming.
Just that if possible i want a one platform for all services to use as they will be logistically and maintenance wise solid. As all 3 services will have same training for flight crew and ground crew and spare parts.
I just dont know yet how the future platforms will be configured in the future. At the same time, hoping that they wont cut and shelved the programmes.
If you ask me, i want something proven and wont be a burden to our men and women to use. Then again, i lack a lot of information and knowledge.
Thanks for the reply. Not many ppl like to discuss about this kind of things.
The ideal plan is to have all services using a common helicopter platform.
The problem is that new helicopters (like NH90 etc) are very expensive. And helicopters unlike fixed wing p aircrafts can have long service lives with little issues. US army frequently rebuilds its apache and chinook instead of buying new.
Just want to share an example with sweden. They want to replace their supposedly “old” super puma with advanced new NH90s. Read what happened
And the swedish super puma? Can it be considered old when it was just bought in 1988? And to make matters worse the highest houred super puma just clocked 7000 hours when retired, when commercial super pumas fly 3x that and still be used. So the buy is just to get “new feel” helicopters, and wasted millions instead on expensive helicopter price and high operating costs.
Look at this commercial super puma for sale. 1990 built, and has 24,733 hours of flying time.
The issue is that, how many people understand what i am talking about?
Unless that vertical lift platform looks like it is from a sci-fi movie, has high speeds current helicopter lacks etc etc, IMO there is no harm to use current helicopters as is, or even get used helicopters.
It would be great if we can standardise the Forces choppers to just Blackhawks for overland and Seahawks for maritime usages. The problem is, we can’t even afford to buy and operate them. We can’t even afford to buy 2nd hand Blackhawks from Brunei. So it is telling how much focus are being put to the chopper requirements by the various Forces.
It is not that we cannot afford the brunei blackhawks, it is a conscious political choice not to allocate money to get those blackhawks. If we can spend billions on 4 LMS ships, we are more than able to afford those blackhawks (which is probably just 1% of the LMS cost). Just that those blackhawks are not a priority in the eyes of the leaders back then.
Operating cost comparison (from US Forest Service official hourly flight rates)
Helicopter – hourly cost (USD) – fuel consumption (gallon per hour)
EC225 – $3,898.73 – 183gal
S-61 – $4,009.10 – 170gal
S-70 blackhawk – $3,896.44 – 160gal
I consider “not to allocate money” is the same as no budget for it. If they didn’t budget to buy them, it is the same as having no money to buy them (ie I want to watch a cinema movie but I didn’t plan for it now my money got used up for something else so I cannot afford to watch in cinema).
It wasn’t in the focus of the Forces leaders and government back then so let’s see if things change or remain the same. I’m not sure if the Brunei Blackhawk offer is still up but this should seriously be considered.
You used the word “afford”.
We can more than afford to buy and use those ex brunei blackhawks, irrespective that we did not take up the offer or put aside any budget for it.
If you talk about affordability means can we make the purchase, sure we can. Our economy is near Trillion Ringgit. We can even “afford” for a Gerald R Ford carrier if we chose to ignore everything else and the needs of the other Forces as well. You have to keep in view though even if our economy can support the purchase, but if our expenses is high and we have no money to buy then it becomes unaffordable to us. With our economy down, this lack of affordability grows wider.
Hence my take on the lack of “affordability” to get the Blackhawks, but I hope they now will reconsider Brunei’s offer if it still stands.
just an update on the S-61Ts
The 1st 5 units has already been sold.
if anyone is interested, the rest of 13 helicopters are on auction until 30 May 2019 (about 3 more days from now). As of my posting of this, all 13 helicopters has 0 bids. Opening bid is USD650k.
The lowest houred helicopter is around 10,000 hours, and highest 14,000 hours.
Final update on the S-61Ts
All of them has been sold. Lost opportunity for us? Or a sign for us to move on from the nuri platform?