SHAH ALAM: During the presentation of the 2024 budget, PMX announced that the RMAF will be getting 12 new helicopters for its operations. Industry sources told Malaysian Defence that the new helicopters will be configured for CSAR and utility work which was the same basic requirements for the Nuri replacement programme.
RMAF chief General TS Asghar Goriman Khan confirmed to the media yesterday that the new helicopters will be configured for CSAR and utility work. He also said the helicopters need to be armed as well. He said while the RMAF already operates 12 Airbus EC725 AP helicopters, an open tender for the new helicopters will be held next year.
Anyhow, the general did not say anything about the budget for the new helicopters, but I believed it will be around RM1.6 billion. This was the contract price for the EC725s, which I think had set a precedent for the new contract. It could be higher, but it will not be lower than the previous contract.
It must be noted that Eurocopter (the name of the company before its changed to Airbus) had put a bid price of around RM1.3 billion for the Nuri replacement tender but somehow the contract price went up by around RM300 million when the contract was signed.
From the story:
Abu Bakar said a total of seven offers were received with the bidding pricing including delivery charges. The pricing offered by Eurocopter (Code tender: T521/07/A/006) was Euro 233,345,390.
If Airbus could maintain the pricing for the new contract, I believed that it will be the favourite to win it. It is also the incumbent and RMAF will have no problems in operating the new ones even if it’s now designated as the H225M.
Yes, used Black Hawks will be cheaper – with the RM1.6 billion budget we could probably get 30 or 40 machines – but I do not think the RMAF will accept used airframes for its tender.
It must be noted that for the Nuri replacement programme, the Leonardo AW101 helicopter started as the favourite despite its hefty price tag. The EC 725 came late into the picture as it initially did not meet the specifications as it lacked a ramp (which was tweaked after consultations with the industry). It was for this reason even the Boeing Chinook and the Sikorsky S-92 were in the mix.
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