SHAH ALAM: Fennec emergency landing. An Airbus AS 555 SN Fennec light twin engine helicopter from Squadron 502 of th RMN air wing made an emergency landing during a routine flight at the Lumut naval base today (June 28, 2021).
A release from the RMN base stated that the crew of the helicopter – which was on a routine operational mission – survived the 12 noon mishap. They were sent to the Armed Forces hospital in the base for further observation. It also said an inquiry board has been set up to investigate the mishap, the first major one involving the six Fennecs since they were put in service in 2004.
The six Fennecs operated by the 502 Squadron with roles ranging from training, transport surveillance, medical evacuation, search and rescue, fire support and special operations missions.
Based on the pictures of the Fennec – tail number M502-03- I am guessing that the helicopter made the emergency landing within one kilometer from the Air Wing headquarters and airfield where it also operates the Leonardo Super Lynx helicopters of which six are in service.
Armed with a pintle mounted GPMG and snipers, the 502 Squadron had fielded the Fennec during Ops Fajar, the Malaysian operation mounted off Gulf of Eden to protect civilian shipping from Somalian pirates.
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hope is not a total lost……
Looks bad. How many years has RMN been using the Fennec?
Since 2004. As for helicopter crashes, it doesnt look that bad.
To much burden by this small number of this helis, should RMN increase the numbers?
Well done to both pilots. Everyone is safe though landing is hard enough to break the skids. More trainning on engine failures to be practised. My ex heli copter friend from RMAF use to tell me skilled pilots can land a Nuri onto a badminton / tennis court
Our Fennecs are probably the most configured anywhere : radar, ESM, hoist, searchlight, FLIR, pintle mounted GPMG etc. Telling in that we wanted the most out of it in order to do various things
It also worth remembering the Fennec played a major role in the Gulf of Aden. In the pic its small size is very apparent and is a major reason the RMN pushed so hard for a medium lift platform to better perform roles such as resupply and lifting PASKAL teams; the Lynx also having limited cabin space and lift capacity.
Far – “should RMN increase the numbers?”
What do you think?
Lee – “can land a Nuri onto a badminton / tennis court”
Indeed. As you’re aware; some of the jungle landing spots were extremely small/narrow. Apart from the pilot and co pilot the AQM; viewing things from the opened cargo door (often on his knees) also played a very important role by relaying instructions.
@Far de Man
“RMN increase the numbers?”
Yes and no. Their numbers are surely small but can the type still fulfill TLDM needs and roles of today & foreseeable future? If they needed something bigger with longer range in the medium chopper segment, then having more Fennecs will only go so far to fill that gap.
Rather than running a diverse fleet of choppers, having a highly flexible medium sized chopper that could be configured for all roles would be better suited to our small but highly varied requirements.
“Rather than running a diverse fleet of choppers, having a highly flexible medium sized chopper that could be configured for all roles would be better suited to our small but highly varied requirements.”
Unlike others, the navy needs to take into consideration the ship size and helicopter it can take. Even the Kasturi helideck is small for the Lynx. Future add of bigger and more capable helicopters for the navy should also cater for size of future ships.
It’s tight but just nice for the Lynx. Nuris however have to land at an angle. There were plans to extend the deck over the Y position but it never happened.
Another issue is that the hangars are cramped; making it hard to performed needed maintenance inside and also to store and support stuff.
The Fennec was a compromise. We wanted a small platform to perform the training and other roles and only wanted to spend so much. The RMN would like something larger than the Wildcat for the ASW role and the penalty of having to support 3 different types is one it’s willing to incur.
Ed – “Future add of bigger and more capable helicopters for the navy should also cater for size of future ship”
It was reported that the hangars on the LCS were enlarged to cater for the possibility that they would have to accommodate Cougars. As it stands the deck of the Lekius and LCSs are wide/large enough to accommodate a medium size platform; sufficient given that the largest helicopter the RMAF would ever operate would be a medium size platform.
The Kedah & LCS classes have hangars big enough to fit up to Seahawk sized choppers so fitting the Blackhawk is not an issue. As for those with only a helideck, these are only good for touch n go stops as choppers aren’t really meant to be kept outside open to marine weather & seawater. The S-70i has auto hover abilities making it a perfect chopper for that role. As the Kasturis weren’t meant to embark choppers anyway, I see no problems.
“the penalty of having to support 3 different types is one it’s willing to incur”
Not a too-long wait when the AW-139 begins to fly for them. Unlike the air force and army, the navy requirement seems a bit harder to fulfill mainly because of where they need to operate from. How would you go about this?
Ed – “Not a too-long wait when the AW-139 ”
If it gets a ASW configured helo in the coming years and if it’s not a Wildcat (I hope it isn’t due to operational requirements inherent in ASW) and if the Fennec is still operated; 4 types.
Ed – “How would you go about this?”
Assets are prone to salt corrosion and have to regularly land on a deck of a moving, rolling and pitching ship; hard to do even in the best of conditions.
The only thing the RMN can do is to down to minimum the number of types operated and to maintain a high training and maintenance/support standard.
The RMN Air Wing is a small organisation with only so much resources; as you’re fully aware.
I’ve been inside the hangars if the Lekiu and Kedah. I would be very – pleasantly – surprised if a Seahawk/Backhawk can be accommodated. One of the out of place things I saw in Jebat’s hangar was an exercise machine.
The Kasturis were intended to embark choppers but only for limited durations. In the late 1980’s a Nuri and Alo 3 were in one of the Saktis for a trip to the Philippines (the ASEAN meeting) and during Ops Tugu a Nuri was embarked on one of the ex USN LSTs for a considerable period. People will be surprised to hear that even CNs in the past has corrosion issues from regular landings on Layang Layang.
A caveat I would like to add is the seagoing Blackhawk, the Seahawk, has folding rotors and hinged tail capability.