Its Black Hawks for PUTD

A US Army Blackhawk helicopter flies during Eks Keris Strike which comes under Exercise Bersama Warrior in 2017. US Army

SHAH ALAM: Its Black Hawks for PUTD. The Army Air Wing will be equipped with four Black Hawk helicopters soon, Army chief General TS Zamrose Mohd Zain said today. Speaking at the Army Air Wing’s – Pasukan Udara Tentera Darat (PUTD) – 28th anniversary parade at the Kem Mahkota, Keluang, Zamrose said the helicopter could be delivered by this June.

Zamrose was quoted by Air Times as saying that the deal for the helicopters was waiting for the issuance of the Letter of Award by Defence Ministry. As there was a leasing tender for them, it is likely that the four Black Hawks will be used ones.

From Air Times:

KLUANG, 11 Mac – Panglima Tentera Darat, Jeneral Tan Sri Zamrose Mohd Zain hari ini menyatakan Tentera Darat Malaysia (Tentera Darat) akan memperolehi 4 buah helikopter Black Hawk.

Beliau menyatakan perkara tersebut semasa menyampaikan ucapan bersempena Majlis Perbarisan Penghargaan Panglima Tentera Darat Ke-28 dan Hari Ulang Tahun Pasukan Udara Tentera Darat (PUTD) ke-28 di Kem Mahkota, Kluang, Johor.

“Dengan cadangan dan sokongan dari PUTD, kita telah dapat meyakinkan pihak Kementerian Pertahanan Malaysia untuk mendapatkan 4 buah lagi Blackhawk,” katanya.

Malaysian Defence has posted previously that the PUTD wanted the Black Hawks for its tender to lease four helicopters as it had the capabilities it required unlike the AW139s, already leased by the RMAF.

Malaysian Defence was told that the AW139s was the firm favourite for the Army leasing tender as the helicopter is already in service with RMAF and RMN. This was for the sake of commonality; Malaysian Defence was told. It appears that PUTD insistence that the chosen helicopter will be capable of doing things that the previous helicopter (Nuri) had done before had won the day.

In his speech, Zamrose alluded to the insistence. “With the decision to choose the Black Hawk, I hope in the future there will not be any allegations (dakwa-dakwi) that the Army chief decided on the helicopter. I must state here it was the PUTD which had chosen the helicopter.”

It is unclear however which company won the tender and how much. As I reported earlier:

A check with the Eperolehan website today showed that six companies had filed their bids for the tender. The lowest bid was listed at RM187 million while the highest was RM405 million. What is interesting that one of the companies had a bid of RM264.7 million for the contract. It is interesting as this was the same figure of the contract for the leasing of four AW139 for the RMAF. One must wonder whether this bid was from Weststar Aviation Services Sdn Bhd, the company that won the RMAF contract which is also a leasing deal. It is likely.

Meanwhile, according to Istana Negara, the Army deputy chief Lieutenant-General DS Mohamad Ab Rahman will take over from Zamrose.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam


  1. Blackhawk + Little Bird in army’s like that hollywood movie 🙂

  2. I would have been very surprised if the AW139 was selected given its limited lift capacity compared to a larger platform. Yes it can under sling a 105mm gun as others have insisted but that would be a case of stretching things a bit too far.

  3. dundun – ” Hopefully the army could add to the figure to at least 12”

    Do they have the manpower, infrastructure and funds to operate 12? Or will it take a while to acquire. That’s the question. They have already allocated resources to the 6 Little Birds and 10 A109s; the Army Aviation Corps never had much resources in the first place.

  4. Blackhawks was quite a surprise. If it was a decades ago I doubt the Blackhawks would be in the radars.

    I guess The more a country found themselves in a hot soup the more American weapons they would buy.

  5. zaft – ”I guess The more a country found themselves in a hot soup the more American weapons they would buy”

    It was not the case of anyone finding ”themselves in a hot soup” but a case of Black Hawks being offered and fitting the bill of what the Army Aviation Corps wanted in terms of lift capacity and internal space….

  6. You are so right Zaft, Blackhawks will also be used by Malaysia’s most powerful closest ally, Oz. In this crazy world it’s better to commonality with ‘the west’. Some may not like it but Malaysia is a democracy and we have much more in common with them than the dictatorships. When push to shove, Australia will have your back.

  7. Tom Tom – ” In this crazy world it’s better to commonality with ‘the west’.

    What you reckon we been dong for decades now? Our main security partners are the U.S. and Australia not China and Russia; we’re not a NATO country or part of the blue eyed alliance but the MAF follows NATO standards in a lot of things; etc.

    Tom Tom – ”When push to shove, Australia will have your back.”

    Of course; like during the Confrontation. It’s in Australia’s interest to help us and to continue having us in the FPDA and other things.

  8. “It is unclear however which company won the tender”
    Hmm, I thought it was quite clear which company at least since you alluded that in the previous article; “It appears that one of the six companies which bid for the Army helicopter lease is the same company that offered the Black Hawks”.

    But congrats and a fitting final present from the outgoing chief to the incoming one. Cost wise, as we know from previous chopper leases it won’t be cheap, prolly will cost nearly as much as buying new S70is, but long term will help TDM to save money for the eventual buy.

    Which, once PUTD can run their own fleet will have a better understanding of the Blackhawk’s capabilities to meet TDM needs, will hopefully whet their appetite further to outright get Blackhawk when comes time to buy.

    “They have already allocated resources to the 6 Little Birds and 10 A109s”
    They could stand down some of the A109s and keep in reserve, then transfer the personnel over to run the Blackhawks, neither will we buy a down outright so we could start in batches of 4 choppers and moving more men & resources over when a new batch arrives. We need to start moving away the A109 from utility transport role as they arent suited for it.

  9. Blackhawks are also used by Thailand, Philippines, and Turkey. If Indonesia follows through with their intent to get the Blackhawks, Malaysia’s choice of Blackhawk should improve interoperability with partners and friends. What happened to the 2 VIP Blackhawks that was supposed to be “de-VIPed” to utility configuration?

  10. Why suddenly opted for blackhawks? What’s the commonality the army chief talked about when half of the fleet now composed of Leonardo helos? Why not consider AW149 for commonality 🤔

  11. ” We need to start moving away the A109 from utility transport role as they arent suited for”

    When was it ever used as a “utility transport”? It was/is used as a liaison, medevac, recce, light transport and for other things but never as a “utility transport” per see.

  12. Azlan, yes, Australian has changed a lot in the 39 years I have been here. It used to be the snobbish anti Asian enclave of Europeans but really started to evolve with the lifting of the White Australia Police by the Labor government until PM Gough Whitlam.
    Modern Australia now truly considers itself an Asia Pacific country, and SE Asia is its neighbourhood. We (as in my Australian side) don’t take China disturbing the peace lightly, and as you know are on a huge military buildup. Our military expenditure is now going to rise to 2.5% GDP or thereabouts. The is talk about us buying US Raider stealth bombers, but the biggest unconfirmed news is that we will be getting 5 US Virginia class SSN (probably second hand) in 10 years by the 2030s and then get a brand new fleet of 8 SSN(R) of UK design by the 2040s. All together for a whopping 170 billion AUD!

  13. Buying helos from the same variant for all services may be a good bargain – looking in a perspective of commonality. Army Aviation needs an operational platform that is suitable for the operational needs tailored for army mission. Really hope the Blackhawk can deliver the requirements. The Army should focus more on enhancing Army Aviation capabilities. As quote before the Army Force Multiplier.

  14. It is ironic that we are going to lease 4 Blackhawks when not too long ago we are offered the same numbers for free by Brunei.

  15. Let see if the leasing cost is more than getting Brunei Blackhawks outright (USD 15 million)

  16. It will as the cost include insurance, maintenance and spares. Anyhow, the Brunei Blackhawks was supposed to go to RMAF. The main reason for them not taking the Blackhawks was the cost of the maintenance.

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