Its The Cougar….

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bernama story below explained the whole thing. You heard it here first. Simon, you owe me.

Eurocopter Awarded Tender To Replace Nuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 (Bernama) — The Defence Ministry has agreed to acquire new helicopters from European helicopter manufacturers, Eurocopter, to replace the Nuri, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced Friday.

He said the ministry was now scrutinising the clauses in the agreement before signing it officially with the company concerned.

“I have been told that the Defence Ministry has identified Eurocopter as the replacement for Nuri.

“The Defence Ministry had received many applications from international aircraft manufacturers and suppliers,” Abdullah, who is also the Defence Minister, told reporters after attending a special briefing at Wisma Pertahanan, Jalan Padang Tembak, here.

On Sept 17, Abdullah handed over the post of Finance Minister to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and took over the Defence Ministry. Abdullah had once held the Defence Minister’s post from 1986 to 1987.

He said the selection of Eurocopter was based on the criteria stipulated by the Defence Ministry as well as the specifications of the helicopter.

“We go for the best. The selection was made without discrimination. The tender must be awarded properly,” he said.

Abdullah said the time had come for the Nuri helicopters to be put out of commission as it had been used for a long time and had been involved in several fatal accidents.

Meanwhile, when asked how he felt about assuming the Defence Minister’s post after 12 years, Abdullah said: “I feel good to be here again.”

Asked about his priorities for the ministry, he said they included building living quarters for military officers and other ranks throughout the country.

On weaponry, he said the Defence Ministry had no problems with the existing weapon system.

“In terms of weaponry currently, there is no problem but the armaments will be upgraded according to the country’s needs,” Abdullah said.

In another development, he said Datuk Tiki Lafe had been appointed to succeed Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye as Chairman of the National Service Training Council.


–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2205 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Quote “Abdullah said the time had come for the Nuri helicopters to be put out of commission as it had been used for a long time and had been involved in several fatal accidents”

    but Pak Lah, how come the Nuris will be given to the Army Air Wing?

  2. From what I gather from conversations with the Army folks the plan to hand over the Nuri to the AAW remain a plan only, just like the so-called 2010 transition plan….

  3. punye plan..haih..plan tahun 2000, implement 2004, barang pun dah obsolete..

    neway, kasi can la kat eurocopter, dah berape pulo tahun dok naik turun mindef nk lobi helicopter..sian die,..hehe

  4. I read once that one of the requirement was rear door, but cougar do not have one..ermm.that seem odd i still think AW101 i guess it just to costly for us..

    Marhalim: The rear ramp was in the original specifications but after the LIMA meeting, helicopters without rear ramp was allowed to bid for the deal as well those without retractable gears…


  6. I read in Air Forces Monthly (I think) that Denmark had trouble with their EH101s, due to the complexity of the machines. They sold it to the UK. So the EH101 or AW101 is not the best choice due to the cost and complexity. The NH90 would have been nicer than the Cougar, sure, but one has to look at the fly-away cost, and perhaps the Cougar was cheaper having been around for some time. God knows we have too many financial issues with purchasing many types in relatively small numbers… I digress.
    But how many helicopters have the same performance, range and payload capability as the S-61 whilst flying ‘only’ with 1400 shp T58s? Perhaps the S-92 would have been the better choice….it DOES have a rear ramp 🙂

    Marhalim: The Danes sold their choppers (the 2.1 version) to the UK as the British needed new airframes quickly to overcome operational issues due to Iraq and Afghanistan. In return they got the 3.1 version of the AW101 (new softwares and rotors). According AW rep, the Danes 3.1 version are the most advanced AW101 around but that is one of the reasons, MINDEF selected the Cougar. The AW101 was offered and re-offered with different configurations…

  7. I am confident that this decision too will flip-flop. Lebih-lebih lagi bila tukar PM. In any case, 12 new birds mana cukup? 2 ea. in each operational RMAF base pun sudah take cukup.

    Saya ni geram dengan zoomie mentality yang mencengkam RMAF. Nak jual habis semua fast jet sebab memang tak guna.


  8. I think EC 725 is a good choice. The AW101 is ideal but all that capability comes at a cost. Besides, it is “fair” that Eurocopter gets it after all they spent promoting the helicopter and bringing it here for demonstrations not just once. None of the other candidates were as persistent.

  9. Let me look up that AFM article again on the reasons why the Dane AW101s were sold to the UK. I read in there that the Danes wanted to get rid of the copters, and it just so happened that the UK needed more AW101 airframes to meet the shortfall in the helicopter force in Afghanistan rather. If so, then both the Danes and the British were lucky 🙂

  10. I think this is good buy considering that the army has purchase A109 and Fennec. At least for once a right coice has been made and they are from the same source and Eurocopter willingness to invest in Malaysia is another plus point. In terms of servicing and maintenance will not be an issue. Hope more Cougar will be bought from the initial batch of 12x.

    Maybe in near future Tiger will be bought as well.

  11. Let’s change the discussion slightly. Which heli would YOU have chosen, and why? To simplify things, let’s look at the selection. We have:
    EC725 Cougar
    Mi38 (ok, this one if prob a rank-outsider)
    What else? Anyway, my choice? S-92, new technology, good performance and payload or bulk-carrying capability (the Nuri IS voluminous, I am sure most of you would agree.) What’s YOUR choice? Indulge us (hope Marhalim will be ok with this).

    Marhalim: My personal choice? The Blackhawk of course, as I had explained before with the amount of money we are going to allocate for the project, we could get about 24 Blackhawks. Of course, it is smaller than the Cougar and even the Nuri but rather than 12 helos, I would prefer 24. Of course, the other light twins like the AW139/149 or the NH90 are also good options though latter is far too expensive for its size. I believe the NH90 is as expensive as the Cougar.

  12. There was the AW109, the Fennec, the Scorpene subs now the Cougars…. I will not be suprised if the choice for PUTD’s attack helo would be the Tigre…. Don’t forget the Airbus A400…. A package deal would be more benificial to both countries I guess… Some of our Paskal members are French trained as well…..

    On the selection of the Cougar, I guess it’s the best in terms of ability and cost…. I would have preferred the Merlin though but I guess it’s just to costly… As for American helos, I don’t favour them much as everything the Americans want to sell to you needs to get their congress’s approval….. Remember how badly the Indonesian F16s (spare parts wise) were affected when the Americans imposed sanctions….

  13. S-92, the notorious Vaporhawk. The Canadians are really displeased with the lack of progress on their birds.

    The Blackhawk is too small for the CSAR mission. This is why the USAF specified a bigger bird for their CSAR-X program which was won by Boeing with the massive HH-47. In addition to hauling the mission specialists (PJs etc,) you need to haul their gear and have capacity to recover crew members who may not be ambulatory. Then you need self-protection measures including door and ramp guns etc. So you wind up with 4-5 crew……

    The AW101 Merlin is expensive. There is little doubt about that but it has already been identified as the most effective Joint Personnel Recovery platform by the UK’s tri-service Joint Helicopter Force due to the capacity, persistence and flying characteristics. This is from several years of active operational experience in shooting wars. One of the biggest assets that the Merlin brings to the game is it’s unusually great endurance thanks to the supersize internal fuel tanks. This was originally to give it persistence in the ASW mission but has proven to be a real benefit to the utility HC3 variant.

    Mike….A109 is from Agusta/Finmeccanica. Built at their Vergiate factory.

    sevven….fair has nothing to do with procurement. By that token we should have SH-2G Seasprites!

    We buy French/UK because they don’t have severe restrictions on commisions for major military items. Uncle Sam will generally sell you major systems on FMS only.


  14. The RMAF are trying to ditch the Army co-op and transport mission in a bid to be more zoomie. Were I the CoA, I would most certainly embrace that role as it puts the Army front and center in just about any military activity and would certainly get a ton more exposure and operational use than a fast mover and ultimately be easier to justify than the 2% systems we are putting money into like MLRS and SAMs.

    The Army is for resisting having the whole lift mission being pushed into their lap when they should be embracing it and demanding lots of ringgits for doing so. Instead, they have their ambitions set on attack helicopters, which are about as useful as a poke in the eye and even more expensive.

    Why…with all the money we are saving in fuel subsidies, we could afford a bunch of rather nice shiny new utility birds.

  15. saya rasa jumlah yang dibeli belum cukup. Saya cadangkan supaya 12 unit eurocopter di jadikan peranan sebagai helikopter CSAR untuk TUDM. Manakala tugas helikopter pengangkut diserahkan kepada PUTD dengan pembelian helikopter Mi17v5 sebanyak 36 unit. helikopter penyerang tiger juga untuk PUTD sebanyak 12 unit. Manakala untuk helikopter anti kapal selam untuk TLDM, boleh pertimbangkan AW101 sebanyak 6 unit.

    Marhalim: If they really want to buy Russian, most probably they will wait for the Mi-38, if it really comes. From the conversation I had with the army’s brass. the mi-17s in what ever version is clearly not wanted, they would rather fly the Nuri.

  16. for SAR purpose, I believe Cougar is the best, however Nuri is our jack of all trade heli. it was and still function as heavy lift heli, special mission operation, welfare flight, troop and VIP transport, C&C, intell com and so on (no wonders the accident & crash). may be the armed force should focus on what they are buying like certain helicopter for certain function with specific equipment and electronics. it can be from one manufacturer for the guarantee of consistent support and logistic network. i believe that is the best way instead order one type but has to be everything.

  17. The Cougar certainly looks good based on advertised capability but with limited user base, cost of maintenance may be hefty. As mentioned in many posts above, it may be over specified for roles other than CSAR/SAR. Also I saw an artilce on on line portal that sugests that the choice was made purely on paper evaluation without calling for in country user trial etc. Seems odd for such an important purchase. Any comments?

    Marhalim: As far as I could remember, there have never been an extensive local user trials (like those conducted by foreign countries) for any military equipment even for the assault rifles, so the comment was factually correct but wrong in the Malaysian Defence context. It had been flown here for short demonstration flights at least three times I believe. Any adverse comments from the losing manufacturers should not be taken whole heartedly. All of them had done the same things. The AW101 was too expensive, even though it was the RMAF choice. The Cougar was the second best thing especially when the Mahathirism factor came into the picture. No, the Old Man was not involved in the selection but it was his policy that was followed by Pak Lah that resulted in the choice of the Cougar. It was as simple as that.

  18. I believe the EC725 totally new design although it looks like the Super Puma. But with new rotor, blade, full glass cockpit, avionics & navigation system and engine it makes a whole lot of difference.
    If you can’t have the best I guess you have to stick the second one.
    First user was France and recently Brazil will be ordering 50 of it. Not too sure but I think Saudi & Turkey could be using the Cougar as well.

  19. It’s not the Royal Malaysian Airforce who gets to decide what they want. It’s the politicians at Putrajaya, the broker…someone like Razak Baginda and finally the defense contractors themselves.

    Naive to think that it is the Generals/Admirals who makes the final say.

    The most powerful person in Mindef is not the general, but the Defense Minister and the Secretary General themselves.

    I hope EU Anti Corruption agency investigates Eurocopter for its dirty dealings here. They can start with Yarrow Shipyard which sold the Navy the expensive frigate and move on to Navantia etc.

    Since our politicians cannot be prosecuted here, then better chance to prosecute the companies which allow themselves to get into these crooked deals in the first place.

    The French have their hands dirty with the Submarine and now this?

    Marhalim: Technically, I believe since our laws dictate that any purchase made through a local company, which in turn gain commission through the deal, those companies I believe are in the clear.

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