SHAH ALAM: Fight the horde. The Army is set to receive the first batch of MD Helicopters MD530Gs light scout attack helicopter, early next year, it newly appointed head Jen Hasbullah Nawawi said today. He says the helicopters will be received in batches.
He says testing of the helicopters – six ordered in 2015 – will be conducted in the United States. He says the testing could have been done in Malaysia but it will be more expensive.
Speaking after his inaugural speech to the Army today at the Sg Besi camp, Hasbullah says the Army was satisfied with the delivery schedule.
I was told that the testing and qualification of the G-model will be conducted by the manufacturer together with the US Army as the aircraft is the latest variant of the light scout attack helicopter. The previous variant was the F-model in service with the Afghanisatn Air Force.
As the US is also supplying the G model to the Lebanese Army the testing and qualifications of the G-model could not come sooner.
Readers of Malaysian Defence however would know that the previous defence minister had stated that the helicopter would have been delivered in late 2016/early 2017. However, all of those proved to be incorrect.
The shifting delivery times of the MD530Gs was the reason I have not posted any updates on the helicopters as I do not want to look foolish. Late last year, I was told that the helicopters will be delivered by mid-2018 by a source which was quickly contradicted by another when I asked for confirmation.
At the Singapore airshow in February, I was told that the Army Air Wing MD530G project team including pilots and maintainers would only be leaving for the United States in late June which meant that the helicopters – at least two – could only be delivered by late 2018 or early 2019. The statement by the Army chief today confirmed my assumptions.
Lets hope the testing and qualifications goes on schedule otherwise the delivery dates will have to be shifted yet again.
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