SHAH ALAM: Dutch Upgrading their PC-7s. As you are aware, the RMAF is scheduled to retire its fleet of Pilatus PC-7 Mk 1 turbo-trainers and its Alouette light helicopters, this year. However, the service have yet to confirm the actual retirement dates though from the look of it, these aircraft are basically retired.
The PC-7 is replaced by the newer version – the Mk 2 – while the Alouettes are being replaced by the EC-120Bs.
Interestingly, another user of the PC-7 Mk 1, the Netherlands Air Force have decided to upgrade its 13 aircraft fleet. Details are sparse but the first aircraft has recently upgraded with a new glass cockpit by Pilatus itself.
The Dutch had only started the using the PC-7 in 1989 so perhaps their aircraft are in a much better condition than ours which had been in service since 1983. Around 30 Mk 1s are believed to be still on RMAF’s list from the original 44.
Perhaps, instead of just retiring the Mk 1, we could upgrade some of them just like the Dutch ones, so they could still be a feasible ab-initio trainer for the Kolej Tentera Udara in Alor Setar, Kedah where raw recruits are trained to be pilots.
I was told several years back that in the late 90s, RMAF was mulling whether or not to exchange the Mk 1s for brand new Mk 2s. The idea apparently did not work out as we then in 2001 decided to buy new Mk 2s and retained the Mk 1s.
Perhaps the idea could be revived again so we can have extra Mk 2s instead.
Anyhow, the famed German small arms manufacturer, Heckler and Koch, has come up with a new design to replace its own G36 to meet it’s armed forces requirements.
The HK433 looks like a winner, I am guessing many operators and wannabes are already dreaming of getting their own guns!
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