KUALA LUMPUR: As I write this, Discovery Channel Megastructures programme is highlighting Super Copters, most notably the AgustaWestland EH101.
The EH101 is Malaysian Defence readers favourite helicopter for the RMAF Nuri replacement programme.
It is one of the most capable helicopters around apart from the NH90 and the Sikorsky S92 (which is not included in Malaysian Defence poll of course)
The Chinook is much too big for the role intended for RMAF, maybe the right one for the Army Air Wing, while the MI-17 is simply too old.
EH101 is of course is the most expensive, easily costing around US$30 to US$40 million dollar per example for the baseline version and as high as US$50 million for the CSAR version.
Last time I checked US$50 million is RM170 million. If we were to buy 10, it is already around RM1 billion and that just for the helicopters alone, not training and other things.
Perhaps it is the price we pay for Malaysian Defence. No I am not favouring the EH101, actually for its intended role in RMAF, the NH90 meets the role.
But since I am the one for economics of scale, buying the EH101 seemed smart as the Army Air Wing needs the same capabilities for its air mobile ambitions. Again we might need the Chinook for heavy lifting but since our immediate neighbour is using the same Boeing aircraft, we should keep our options.
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