FIC and Maritime Helicopters Tenders

An armed Airbus H145M. Airbus

SHAH ALAM: FIC and Maritime Helicopters Tenders. The Defence Ministry has issued on July 19, open tenders for the purchase of fast interceptor craft and maritime helicopters tenders for the RMN. As usual only potential bidders will have access to the requirements and other stuff as the ministry do not publish the bid documents publicly as per usual practice.

However, Malaysian Defence had reported before on the FIC requirements previously. Read Here.New Interceptor Boats Wanted. There are many shipyards capable of producing the FIC for the RMN though personally I would prefer it to be a enclosed one unlike the open top version currently in service. RMN is getting 18 of these boats, to be based mostly in Sabah.

One of the Penggalang class FIAC procured from BYO Marine Sdn Bhd.

As for the maritime helicopters, I have been tracking this one since late last year after I had heard talk of RMN wanting six utility helicopters instead of ASW ones. The RMN had apparently had given up hope of getting the ASW helicopters and had floated the idea for utility helicopters, to be based permenantly in ESSCOM AOR.

An Italian military HH-139 or AW139 equipped with specialized equipment. Wikipedia

At LIMA 19 earlier this year, I was told that Leonardo was offering the AW139 while Airbus the H145M, both to be armed and configured for the ISR and utility roles, just as RMN wanted. These helicopters, although capable, could not be upgraded in the future for ASW work though.


An armed Airbus H145M. Airbus

In an interview this morning, RMN Chief Adm. Reza Sany said they were looking for three utility helicopters, to be based at ESSCOM AOR for troop transport and utility roles. He said the budget allocated for the program was RM220 million.

RMN Skn 501 Super Lynx helicopter firing the Sea Skua during Eksesais KerisMas. The helicopter is also not equipped with ASW equipment.

Hopefully, the 2020 budget will allocate the funds for the maritime helicopters and FIC and their contracts duly signed by early next year with deliveries taking place in 2022.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2149 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Very interesting. It means one problem will be solved; the RMN will have a platform better suited for transporting PASKAL and various stuff which is hard to do with the Lynx and Fennec because of weight and space limitations.

    The bad news is that the requirement for ASW helos will remain unfulfilled. The LCSs will have the ability to detect contacts at certain ranges but their ability to engage contacts will be limited to the range of their onboard torps. As an interim solution we can continue using the Mk300s with coordinates provided by the ship but it’s not an effective way of doing things.

  2. Actually it is good for RMN to source brand new helos even for utility purpose because it’s stupid to utilize Super lynx simply for mercy flights or personnel/vip transport

  3. Questions that needs to be answered

    1. Will there be a duplication of capability for the FIC and helicopter with other services? Does the FIC have the same capability as MMEA Penggalang class boats? Is the utility helicopter requirement can be performed by the TUDM EC725? If the needed capability is the same, isn’t it better for MMEA or TUDM to get additional FIC and Helicopters instead?

    2. For the FIC. What is the main tasks for this? Is the current size of the CB90 important so that it could be carried on board LPD or MRSS? Would the troop carrying and beaching capability like the CB90 important?

    3. Is the helicopter to be able to be stored on board ships? Is folding blades a requirement? Or would it be mainly based ashore?

  4. Given that they will be an RMN organic asset and that there will be no ASW configured helos anytime soon; we can safely assume that the new helos will be embarked on ships and not just from shore.

    The LCSs hangar has been enlarged to accommodate a Cougar but just how marinised is a Cougar (the OEM no doubt will say it is) and can its blades be folded? Given that just a handful will be bought and that the Cougar is already operated by the RMAF logic would dictate the RMN also gets Cougars. Unfortunately logic doesn’t always enter the equation.

    Given that the RMN needs the helo to perform service specific roles like transporting PASKAL and acting as the “eyes and ears” of the mother ship; it makes sense for them to be RMN owned. Having them owned and operated by the RMAF would lead to issues. The RMAF would also question why funding for these helos should come out of its budget when they’re mostly performing roles for the RMN.

    On the FIC I would think that an important consideration is for it to have a more robust hull than the CB90. A problem in eastern Sabah waters is that floating driftwood can damage the hull, especially when the boat is moving at high speeds. Another problem is garbage getting stuck in the water jets.

    Floating timber will damage any ship even big ones

  5. After tender closed,get a MP to ask MINDEF in Dewan on companies and its offering, a repeat like that LCA.

  6. BTW this is not a RFI, but basically a bona fide RFQ. But no official statement on the requirements to the public.

    Where is the public accountability of kementah? Walk the talk please.

    @ azlan

    To get 3 cougars at the budget is quite a stretch, but the budget is more than enough for say customised AW139s. BTW the budget is not enough for even 1 ASW helicopter, as the phillipines wildcat cost about RM250 million each.

    On the FIC, no high speed boats can withstand a collision with driftwoods. Same issue for garbage. Anyway i would prefer TLDM to replace the current CB90s with brand new CB90s.

    The requirement is said to be 18 FICs with a budget of RM440 million, that is about USD4.8 million per boat. From the budget i dont think the FIC is to be used to actually replace the CB90, but an additional requirement. The Larsen & Toubro fast interceptor craft for example, costs about USD3.8 million each. It is a 30m long boat with a speed of 45 knots. Equipping this with aselsan 30mm RCWS and LMM missiles would make it a powerful combattant in the littoral arena.

  7. @Marhalim
    Your picture does raise an interesting point. With MMEA tasked to do offshore interception, what does TLDM have any need for interceptor speedboats as well? Then what is the job of Marine Police? There isn’t that much money so why duplicate other Forces roles?

    As for the marine choppers, something is better than nothing but that doesn’t in any way solve their need of ASW. Like saying I am hungry and want to eat lunch but instead spend it on a boba drink. Sure its something but it still doesn’t make me full. It doesn’t solve their problems of lacking ASW (which I have highlighted before and perhaps should have spend that money on ASW kit for their existing choppers).

  8. although a let down on not getting ASW heli for our LCS but its better than nothing…plus its in ESSCOM which in need for those.

    hope we will know more soon about the tender

    Mr marhalim,any news about MMEA OPV??

  9. Nimitz,

    Yes and I hope that if it happens the MP asks the right questions. I also hope that the MP doesn’t adopts the position that we should have got something simply on the basis that it was cheaper, without taking into account the various factors. No point going simply on the basis that cheaper is better only to encounter others costs at a later period that results in it not being “cheaper” in the long run.

    For the FICs obviously the main tasks will be to perform patrols and interceptions. Beaching will be less of a requirement compared to speed, range, endurance, sea keeping and the ability to carry the needed amount of people for intercepts and boarding. It goes without being said that the hull will be locally produced but not the engines and other things. Hopefully NVGs are also bought for use with the FICs and we coordinate their use with the Scaneagles and other assets. We rarely did/do beachings with our CB90s.

  10. Understand tomorrow is the FIC tender briefing in KK. However, my sources tell me that the tender is categorised for ‘Pembekal’ and not ‘Pembuat’, which means that anyone with the Pembekal license can participate. This surely means an outright purchase from overseas boat builders, similar to the CB90 purchase.

    If my info is correct, local shipyards can say sayonara to this tender la……

  11. @ api69

    Thank you for the info.

    Do share any news from tomorrows briefing with us here.

  12. Actually having more FIC is logical. There is no overlap of roles. The FIC would mainly be used by two categories of personnel. The ordinary sailor doing patrolling in ESSCOM who needs the speed to catch up or to intercept inbound / outbound unauthorised speed boats equipped wirh 3 or even 4 outboards. The second category would be Paskal usage in ambush position out at sea or chasing after known bandits
    So there is no overlap n the navy requires such boats.

  13. @Api69
    CB90s are good news if this is true, better than the standard bot pancung since it could mount light autocannons.

    If the numbers are good, we really should look into local production as TLDM needs new units and replace the old ones. Give it to the smaller, civilian shipyards to make with TLDM overseeing the project stages so no delays and overruns can happen unnecessarily. The other services could use CB90 platform as well for quick interception with something better armed/protected than what pirates/insurgents have.

  14. …..

    Yes I would prefer new CB90s but unfortunately not going to happen. I was not suggesting that a hull can totally withstand damage from drift wood when moving at high speeds but perhaps an important consideration would be for a stronger hull. For some reason – probably because what they’re hulls are made of – CB90s are prone to damage from drift wood.

    …, – “the budget is not enough for even 1 ASW helicopter”

    Which is why we’re not getting any and why they’ve specified a non ASW configured platform.

    joe – “perhaps should have spend that money on ASW kit for their existing choppers”

    Adding ASW gear on the Mk300s would lead to power supply issues as well as issues related to weight and space. Which is why very few Lynx users have gone down this route.

  15. – “Equipping this with aselsan 30mm RCWS and LMM missiles would make it a powerful combattant in the littoral arena”

    First we have to ask why are we buying it? If indeed we are buying it for use in ESSCOM then we can surmise that it will be primarily employed as a fast reaction asset; for patrols and intercepts.

    Ideally it would have NVGs for the crew and some level of ballistic protection (in the form of lightweight panels) against small arms fire. We trialled an OWS on the CB90s but never ordered any. I see it more as a patrol and intercept platform (especially when working with the Little Birds and Scaneagles) rather than as a “combatant” per see.

    joe – “It doesn’t solve their problems of lacking”

    Of course it doesn’t but it solves one problem : the need at times to carry “x” amount of people and equipment from Point A to Point B; a problem with the Mk300s and Fennecs. It may not be configured for ASW but if fitted with radar and ESM can also be embarked on ships to complement a ship’s sensors.

  16. @…
    >”This surely means an outright purchase from overseas boat builders, similar to the CB90 purchase.”

    On the surface, at least it’s a more open tender than normal practice.

    We shall see…


    Unfortunately we have a need for utility helis as well as ASW helis. At least this fulfills some requirements.

  17. Lee – “So there is no overlap n the navy requires such boats”

    Actually there is a duplication of roles. Given the nature of the threat the MMEA should be the primary organisation tasked with safeguarding ESSOM’s waters but it doesn’t have the resources.
    No doubt the RMN does have a need for FICs but that doesn’t change the fact that the MMEA should be the lead organisation.

    Ideally there shouldn’t be a Marine Police but plans to do away with it, during Badawi’s time, were dropped.

    Correction : An OWS was never trialled on the CB90s. It was a deck mounted Giat 20mm mount; also trialled on a Marine Police boat.

  18. “Yes and I hope that if it happens the MP asks the right questions.” I don’t have the slightest idea who is the right MP that can pose that right questions. Hopefully this FIC & marinised utility heli aquired will be on;time,specs,budget,after sales support. For the heli,my personal favorite is Viper and Seahawk

    Viper is an attack helicopter, cannot buy the Seahawk with the budget allocated

  19. @ azlan

    The malaysian lynx is Mk100.

    I am also in the opinion that additional FIC should be under MMEA, not TLDM if interdiction and patrol is their main task. IMO TLDM would need an equivalent to its current CB90 for use in GSP, and as a seaborne IFV for the paskal forces, but not tasked primarily as FICs. Why i think another CB90, or something around that line would be ideal.

    @ marhalim

    You can actually get 1 and a half used Seahawk from US EDA with the budget allocated. Or another out of the box choice, used AW139 pimped out with IR supressors, inlet barrier filters, missile approach sensors, chaff flare dispensers and updated cockpit EFIS for use with night vision goggles. TLDM could probably get 6 of them if going with the used route.

  20. Nimitz,

    If the MP doesn’t know the right questions to ask; he/she must take the trouble and initiative to do some research and ask the right people. If they can’t do that, they shouldn’t be asking questions.

    In the past opposition MPs – who are now in government – had a tendency not only to ask the wrong (some downright lubricous and preposterous) questions but also to form the wrong conclusions based on what others has done and paid without taking into consideration the varying factors involved.

  21. Just came across this from the STAR. Explains everything and confirms my observations as to why I though we’re getting what we’re getting.

    “It is fast and able to go to areas where other bigger ships and vessels cannot not. For example, on shallow water. It will be able to intercept hostile ships of vessels faster. The FIC will be placed on the east coast of Sabah,” he said.
    Meanwhile, the maritime operation helicopters were more of a utility aircraft to transport personnel”

    No doubt this doesn’t answer all our questions but based on what we know; we can make some accurate assessments.


    Bell claims that the Cobra is the most marinised attack heli and I’m sure there’s truth to this statement; given its long association with the USMC. It was offered to us in the late 1990’s and I remember being fascinated with the cockpit mock up at Heli Asia1997. The Bell marketing guy had actual Cobra experience in Vietnam.

    The AAC’s Apaches encountered corrosion issues when initially deployed on Ocean and our Mk300s (purpose built helos) had corrosion issues when deployed for extended periods in the Gulf of Aden.

    In an ideal world the 3 helis we’re getting will be the same type as the ASW configured ones we still plan to get in the future. The RMN’s Air Wing is small with limited resources. Operating 3-4 different types will stretch its resources to the limit. With the allocated budget however, our options for the 3 are somewhat limited.

  22. The cost of plthe philippines buy of 16 blackhawks have been revealed. The contract value is USD240 million.

    So theoretically we can buy 3 basic blackhawks (with budget to spare) for the TLDM utility helicopter requirement. There is a marinised version of the normal blackhawk, the MH-60S. The disadvantage of a normal blackhawk is the landing gear configuration with wheels at the tail end of the helicopter. So it is difficult to land on small landing pads.

    The budget for the three helicopters is only RM220 million, the other RM200 million is for the FIC.

  23. After some internet search.

    Thailand was the first export customer for the MH-60S

    2x MH-60S cost USD58 million inclusive of spares, support and training.

    So while the basic blackhawk is comparatively cheap, the marinised one is not. It has automatic blade folding mechanism, folding tail boom, common cockpit with MH-60R Seahawk.

  24. @ marhalim

    So the FIC budget is just RM200 mil? That is barely enough to buy the BYO Penggalang! The BYO yonca onuk MRTP16 costs RM13 million each, according to the MMEA contract. So lets wait for the list of possible candidates of the FIC to come out.

    On the helicopters, yes the budget for helicopters is RM220 million, or about USD52 million. IMO more than enough for something like AW139, or even brand new blackhawks. But not for something like the MH-60S knighthawk.

  25. For the TLDM FIC requirements

    My favourite vessel for this would be the alucat M18 AMC (armored modular craft) aka jehu class. It is desgned to be an IFV boat for coastal forces. 6 crew and up to 25 troops. Top speed more than 40 knots. Cost? Finland bought 12 for 34 million euro (usd 38 million), so probably can be done for the allocated budget.

  26. @…
    I see the Finns took the roof mounted MG quite seriously. I thought it was a joke with our Marine Police new PCs!

    The Alucat looks underarmed for its size. A 20/30mm RWS at the bow would make it right.
    Still no matter its alucat or CB90s or something similar, I just hope it isn’t bot pancung!

  27. …..

    All references to it, including those by its OEM, call it a Super Lynx “Mk300”.

    I did a report on its order for AFM years ago, in which I referred to it as a ‘Mk300”. The only thing the editor did was to confirm that we had indeed ordered Super Lynxs and not the older variant.

  28. @…
    Interesting info. Then certainly TLDM’s FIC mustn’t lose to MMEA bot in terms of firepower.

  29. @ azlan

    You did a report for AFM?

    The correct UK MOD designation for it is Westland Super Lynx Mk100.

    The manufacturer calls it a Super Lynx 300 (no Mk in there) for all those powered with the CTS-800 engine. So thailand super lynx is also Super Lynx 300 but with UK MOD designation of Super Lynx Mk110, Oman Mk120, Algeria Mk130.

    There is where the confusion lies.

  30. If you have been following news from Navy, this two purchase have been clear 2 years ago. Partially due to some service bought the wrong asset.

    These helicopters have nothing to do with AWS. That will be a separate news. The first LCS is not ready for another 2 years anyways. All navy chopper “embark” from ship as required, there no need to assume.

    “Utility” has been the wrong term quoted again and again by multiple source.

    MMEA does not have a combat role. This also tells you what is the classification of the threat.

    Puma has been on the board for more than 50 years and its predecessors has been an OG machine for the last 30 years.

    LCS hanger is built to operate S Puma.

    There is a reason why AW139 is not selling for anything serious.

  31. Mk300 or Mk100 huh?

    Super Lynx 300 refers to latest generation of Lynx, as Westland in 1998 launched the Super Lynx 300 program. Malaysia placed an order for six Super Lynx 300 in 1999, whereby become its launch customer. The version of RMN Lynx is AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 Mk100. Thai Navy’s is AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 Mk110 while Oman is Super Lynx 300 Mk120. Latest Super Lynx 300 version belongs to Algeria with Mk130 & Mk140.

  32. …..

    Years and years ago. A few on the RMAF; as well as RMN aviation related stuff. Short reports for the news section.

  33. m – “These helicopters have nothing to do with AWS. That will be a separate news”

    Indeed, it’s a separate contract, for a separate requirement, which doesn’t do away with the requirement for ASW configured helos at a later date.

    m – “ All navy chopper “embark” from ship as required, there no need to assume”

    Azlan – “Given that they will be an RMN organic asset and that there will be no ASW configured helos anytime soon; we can safely assume that the new helos will be embarked on ships and not just from shore”

    Well that puts paid to that then.
    We won’t have to “assume” anything.

  34. I always wonder, if we are looking for a landing gear such as the Fennec during the days, why don’t we choose the Huey instead. The Huey has got better capacity and classy military look. In my opinion the Fennec is always meant for the public security agencies such as the police due to it’s size.

  35. It seems that the Super Lynx Mk 300 has a glass cockpit and the Mk 100 doesn’t. Both have the engine upgrade.

    Does that clear up anything?

  36. @ chua

    You are just adding to the confusion.

    TLDM super lynx mk 100, which is also a variant of the super lynx 300 has a glass cockpit.

    There is no super lynx mk 300. Full stop.

    Cockpit pic of TLDM super lynx

    Super lynx 300 brochure. The TLDM lynx is in there too.

  37. irsa,

    It depends on one’s requirements and budget. For some a Huey would be too small and for some a Seahawk would be too small – depends.

    Some even fitted TOW on their Fennecs for want of anything better. We wanted a lightweight platform to conduct training, liaison, SAR and surveillance; we added a radar, ESM, searchlight and hoist. Not the most ideal of solutions but that what was we could afford.

  38. @ azlan

    ” Not the most ideal of solutions but that what was we could afford ”

    Same can be said for the Lynx too.

    As for the Fennec, we even fitted a MPA mission system to link all the mission computer, radar, AIS and other systems onboard the helicopter into one single mission controller. Possibly the most advanced maritime fennec in the world. All that stuff added plenty of weight to the fennec, and consumes a lot of electrical power.

  39. on ASW helicopters

    Washington has approved the potential sale of 12 MH-60R helicopters to South Korea

    According to details released by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 7 August, the potential sale has an estimated contract value of USD800 million and includes combat systems and a support package for all 12 airframes.

    South Korea has requested for 12 examples of the aircraft type. The airframes will each be installed with the APS-153(V) multi-mode radar, T-700-GE-401C engines, airborne low frequency sonar system, AN/AAS-44C(V) multi-spectral targeting system, and embedded global positioning and inertial navigation systems.

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