Did We Missed It?

Nuri helicopter

KUALA LUMPUR: Not many of us realised it, but the Nuri’s first flight 50th anniversary was celebrated on March 11. With the Nuri expected to soldier on until 2020, we should also be celebrating the Nuri’s 50th year in RMAF service by 2014/2015 period or it will be forgotten as the aircraft has become some sort of an embarrassment to all of us, through not fault of the aircraft itself.

Despite its reputation and some down time, the Nuri is the only aircraft which embodied the RMAF vitriolic slogan “Sentiasa Di Angkasa Raya “In the Skies Forever”. Like the old soldier, the Nuri will not retire, it will just fade away….

–Malaysian Defence

Sea King Helicopter Celebrates 50th Anniversary of First Flight
Story Number: NNS090318-14
Release Date: 3/18/2009 5:08:00 PM

From Naval Air Systems Command Public Affairs

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) — The H-3 Sea King helicopter community celebrated the 50th anniversary of the aircraft’s historic first flight March 11.

The Sea King is a twin-engine, all-weather, amphibious helicopter used for numerous roles that include anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, search and rescue, transport, communications, airborne early warning and executive transport.

“The Sea King was the Jack of all trades and master of all,” said Capt. James Wallace, Support and Commercial Derivative Aircraft (PMA-207) program manager. “It’s saved thousands of lives, protected fleets of ships, recovered astronauts and has flown the President of the United States from 1961 to today.”

The Sea King was built in four countries, the United States, England, Italy and Japan and is operated by more than 20 countries around the world. More than 1,500 military and commercial versions have been built worldwide.

Currently, there are three Sea Kings still in the Navy inventory, all based here for search and rescue missions.

“Once the Sea King is finally retired from U.S. Navy service, it will still continue to serve for years to come,” said Wallace. “We’ve received many queries from countries wanting to buy our retired Sea Kings for their own fleets.”

PMA-207 continues to support many active H-3 Sea King foreign military sales customers around the world.

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About Marhalim Abas 2225 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. The aircraft has not become an ’embarrassment’. What has become an ’embarrassment’ is the fact that the government expected an aircraft first ordered in 1968 to operate without any upgrades. [Apart from the weather radar installed years ago] The same government that decided that tanks and MLRSs play a more crucial peacetime role than the Nuri. The situation is only made worse when opposition figures make ill informed and ludicrous statements concerning our defence needs.

  2. very much agree with you sir azlan and may i add the same government seems to have a dismall attitude towards a preventive maintenance culture.

  3. Perhaps our very large VIP fleet should be sold off? The S-70s, after a minor conversion, could be used to support PASKAL or Gerak Khas. Instead of flying VIPs, the AS-61Ns could be used for SAR work, freeing up the overworked Nuris. The 2 VIP configured CN-235s could be given to 21 Squadron instead of flying our VERY, VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE.

    Marhalim: If you recall I made the same suggestion on the S70 when the tender for the Nuri Replacement programme. It seemed that none of the services were interested in light twins (helos in the same class as Blackhawk) yes they are as expensive as the medium twins but they have smaller footprint which is good for our AOOs. As for the rest of your suggestions, its seemed reasonable but the powers that be seemed oblivious to reasonable suggestions….

  4. Our MMEA got 3 AW139 costing more than 200mil USD. God knows how much it spend on the 2 canadair amphibians and the 2 dauphins it got now as the costs was never metioned to the public.

    For 200mil USD, you can get 20 units of Mi171Sh or V5 with upgraded cockpits and FLIR for the RMAF, not just a paltry 3 helo’s. Thai army recently bought some brand new Mi171’s for 8.5mil USD apiece.

    And the same goverment that approves the grand spending of MMEA cannot see that the Nuri replacement is more urgent than what MMEA needs.

    Or they just think about their pockets, not the national interests?

    Marhalim: Its National Interest alright….
    Sad… very sad.

  5. The Dauphins and AW139s will go a long way in taking some strain of the Nuri fleet. Apart from its traditional roles, the Nuri squadrons still have an SAR tasking. I’m still totally against the Mil17Sh. Whilst its certainly cheaper than a Dauphin, it operating costs are much higher. The same with many Russian products, due to the fact the engines have a much lower mean time between failure [MTBF] than Western types. The Mil-17 also need more maintanence hours for every hour of flying than a western type. According to Dzirhan in another forum, the RMAF is currently very unhappy that the Russians are slow in meeting contractual obligations with the Su-30s and are blaming it on Thales. This is a case of history repeating itself as several years ago, the Indian Air Force had the same problems.

  6. The problem that i understood about the russion from other foreign forum is that yes they will sell u cheap but once u bought it, be prepare to shell out more money for upgrades and special maintenance that seems to occur every 2-3 years as opposed to western products that normally occur between 5 years. Having said that i am still in favour that we have two tier supply system, one from eastern block and one western one. Read me out here:-

    1) I tend to agree that although the western products tend to last longer, it is in my believe that it comes with all sort of strings that practically bind us defenceless. In a conflict say with our southern neighbour, i personally believe,we will be the hardest hit with any arms embargo. Not to say that the eastern block would not do the same but recent conflicts in the balkans even in middle east tend to say that they will stick with their customers..so long as the money is coming though not 100% support.

    2)In terms of spare parts, India and China have somewhat come to some form of self reliance when it comes to items such as teh sukhoi jet, MIL choppers etc. Though quality is suspect, it does gives us alternatives

    3) The defence fraternity seems to have alot of complains about serviceability of eastern products, but i heard also they had many complains about western products such as the BAE Hawk, aug steyr etc. Yes the eastern products tends to need more care but considering the acquisition price of about 1/4 to 1/2 less than similar western products, i say let us have an attitude change when it comes to maintenance culture first.

    4) The western expensive products could be the tip of the spear while the similar eastern products could be the back bone.

    Marhalim: IMO, our biggest problem is our lack of regard for maintainence issues, in all level of society not just defence. Thats the main reason, I only planned for the purchase of war stocks for my Tenth Malaysian Plan. Yes we can buy a lot things even for RM5 billion but if we do not allocate enough money to maintain the new and legacy equipment all of those money will be wasted. That had happened before during the economic crisis of 1997. Suddenly two years after getting our new shiny Hawks, Hornets and Fulcrums, we ran out of money to even fly and maintain them. We had not prepared ourselves for such a shock. I see this sad state of affairs from occurring again. With the operational budget being cut even with the arrival of new hardware (Sukhois and PT91M) one wonder how the Armed Forces will prevail this time around.

    I am no financial expert but I believe if we were to spend RM5 billion on new things I think we need to spare at least RM1 billion annually to maintain them for at least twenty year plus the extra money needed to maintain the legacy systems. And the amount is on top of the money we need to pay for our soldiers and operations……..

  7. Probably a lot will disagree with me but I dont believe our southern neighbour is a threat. I would be more worried about our other neighbour. The neighbour who was against the formation of Malaysia. The same neighbour who in the past has tried to assert its position as the ‘big boy’ of ASEAN. Indonesia may be a Muslim country, but in terms of culture, history and trade, Singapore and Malaysia have a lot more in common to bind them.

  8. Based on my limited experience in project costing, you would normally commit around 10 to 20% of the purchase price annually as normal wear and tear maintenance cost with additional 3-5% annually as reserve for upgrades between 4-5 years time.

    And my limited exposure with Gomen econmic boys and girls in the past for other economic projects, these does not seems to be factored in properly.

  9. Eastern vs western stuff has always been a serious debate among us. But consider this:
    1) who has enforced more embargo because of championing democracy over the world? (it has to be their brand of democracy, no consideration for any variation of it)
    2) who has always stated “we are not against Islam” but their action proves otherwise? (it has to be their version of Islam, regardless what Islam actually is)

    Hopefully those authority can actually take these into consideration in their purchasing decisions. Hopefully…

    As regard to equipment maintenance, we should put Peugeot/Alfa/conti fans in charge. Those people know the virtue of preventive maintenance first hand! 🙂

  10. Our fascination with Singapore speaks more of our own insecurity and envy than any real threat posed to the nation. As a smaller nation with minimal resources they have created a military that is heads and shoulders above our own. In every metric they are superior from the amount of money they spend to the reservist system they have built and ultimately our own inability to prevent ‘national interest’ from further eroding the value of our expenditure, they are a painful reminder of where we have gone wrong and how much better we could be. Should we engage in a shooting war with them, we would suffer disproportionately.

    As far as I am concerned, if we are embargoed by the US and go to war with Singapore, it would be merciful release since they are respectively our No.1 and 2 trading partners, accounting for 50% of our trade.

    Singapore is the bogeyman of the ultras, used to scare a segment of our demographic, to justify the de facto stranglehold of a small clique on the Army and beyond that, the Armed Forces. IMO, the only service not subject to this is the Navy which has traditionally had a rational view of its role in the security of our nation. It is also the only service with a holistic outlook.

  11. Singapore’s threat perceptions are very different from Malaysia’s. Singapore was the first in the region to have an offensive outlook. The whole idea of ensuring the SAF has a qualitative edge over the MAF and TNI is to form a powerful deterrent. I feel that we have other things to worry about than going to was with Singapore. As Mister T pointed out, if Malaysia ever finds itself in a position where the US is in support of Singapore, Malaysia is s*****d. And so what if the US refuses to provide us with the sourcs codes as part of any future fighter deal. No amount of Eastern sourced weaponry would save us in such a scenario. A study of history will show that relations with Indonesia have been fraught with more security challenges.

  12. I believe in a shoot out with our southern neighbour, our strategic military assets would be destroyed within 1-2 minutes. I tend to see our only saving grace is a long guerilla warfare where later due international pressure, a “peace plan ” would come into affect. This is where the Batalion Infantry Standard programme will be crucial. The standad platoon fire power need to be lighten but 3 times more deadly in order to achieve this.

    i agree that Singapore has been made a bogeyman….yep with hundreds of hitech missiles and a philosophy of first strike on foreign soil among other things… i would happily make them bogeyman too. Ithink the feeling may be mutual overthere..we are also their bogeymen

    AFAIK direct and indirectly more than 80% of our export will go through singapore medium. More than 70% of our process petroleum products come from singapore and if i am not mistaken even for a plane to land in KLIA also would need to be directed from singapore.

    It has been that way since the formation of the Negeri-Negeri selat back ages ago where Singapore has been made the centre of everything. Even after Malaysia’s independence the bloody brit back then still maintain it that way. I dont see it changing for at least another 50 years or singapore suddenly sink to the bottom of the sea due to global warming.

  13. Marhalim, I noticed 2002 post by you in the Key Publishing Forum about Anatoly Kvothur. I was there when he flew a KNAAPO Su-30 at LIMA 2001. Do you know if that was his only visit to LIMA?

    MArhalim: I believe he came back for the 2005 edition. Those who interviewed him spoke about he smelled of vodka even before flying. His eyes sparkles when he talks about flying and planes in general…..

  14. Dont know about the vodka. I can tell you he was drenched in sweat when he took off his G suit. Because of the weather at LIMA he was only wearing his underwear inside his G suit. He’s no longer flying for Sukhoi though. Their chief test pilot is Viktor Pugachev.

  15. interestingly, we seems to miss a critical issue here, i.e stop the fingure pointing blame game of buying western or easten assets but lets realistically evaluate how effective is our defence industrial players like Airod and Zetro (not to mention other minor contractors with DPA etc) to have contributed to our economy and sustain our combat readiness.

    Marhalim: Yes we need to look at how our industry is helping but the defence sector but we also need to clean on how in the first place the equipment is purchased in the first place. Otherwise the same things will keep repeating itself again and again. How can you fix the supporting things when the main things are not done right. We must realistic, money for defence is in short supply so we must make the best out of it. We cannot spent the little money that we have so we can be friends with everybody. We need to take a stand, western or eastern, good or bad but not rojaklah……

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