Maritime Utility Helicopter Tender Result Soon

A S-76D of the Japan Coast Guard.

SHAH ALAM: It appears that the search for Maritime Utility Helicopter (MUH) for the RMN is expected to end anytime soon. Yes the tender for the MUH – issued almost 12 months ago – is in the final stages and the result is expected to be announce, though the actual time remained hazy.

The lockdowns imposed by the Covid 19 pandemic had delayed part of the process, I was told. As for the numbers,

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.

MMEA AW139 M72-03. Apart from its duty with APMM, the helicopter is also used for various other duties. Picture taken in late 2013. Malaysian Defence

The tender was originally published on July 19 before it was cancelled and a new one reissued shortly after with changes to the bidders eligibility.Maritime Utility Helicopter Tender.

Airbus H145M fitted with a gun pod and rocket pod with FLIR for targetting and ISR role.

I was told of the helicopter that was shortlisted but I will not name it as the contract has not been awarded. For the record I had previously reported that at least three helicopters could be offered for the MUH tender, they are (in alphabetical order) Airbus H145, Leonardo AW139 and the Sikorsky S-76.

A Bell S-76C of Hevilift Group operating from Labuan airport for the O&G industry. Malaysian Defence.

It must be noted that the MUH tender is separate from the helicopters being sought for RMN for Op Benteng duties.
Meanwhile, the contract for the multi engine conversion unit (MECU) for RMAF has been awarded to Aerotree Defence Services Sdn Bhd. The notice of letter of award was published on Aug 21. The contract for the year 2020 is RM497,000.

RMAF Super King Air 350 M101-01

As you are aware the MECU training has been conctracted to Aerotree from 2012 to 2017 with two Beechcraft Super King Airs. The contract lapsed in late 2017 and Aerotree had conducted the contract on a monthly basis up to late 2018. Once lapsed the MECU training had to be conducted on a B200T of No 16 Squadron.

RMAF Beechcraft B200T from No 16 Squadron at the flypast rehearsal on Feb 25, 2016.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2203 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. My bet on AW139/149 cuz that helis apparently appeared on kd rajawali wall props not long ago..

  2. A Sikorsky S-76 unit cost is USD $12-15mil which puts it in the ballpark as the slightly bigger and better performing S-70i. IMHO why not get S-70i instead. The allocated RM220mil is more than plenty to buy 3units and if top up another 20mil they could get a 4th unit. That way, TLDM could get S-70 for their ASW program, and TUDM & TDM could go for S-70i for their respective Nuri replacement programs. MMEA too could benefit from such commonalisation further down the line when they need choppers.

  3. If they go for AW139, logically the wet leasing should get the same examples from Weststar.

    Its a wet lease, the winning bidder will supply everything from maintenance and aircrew and a fixed flying hour, so actually it doesn’t have to be the same helicopter. It could be a Huey or Mi 17 for that matter.

  4. Mr Marhalim, a question..RMN want 5 helis during RMK12 does this means RMN will only get 2 more or 5 more MUH to make it 8 units in total plus 2 brand new ASW Heli..

    MUH is being paid under RMK11

  5. if you wanna talk about commonalities, going for Agusta Westland made even more sense. Police, MMEA and even the navy is using Agusta Westland and they have their MRO center here

  6. “the winning bidder will supply everything”
    Yes but differences in platform could affect how TLDM run things, having a common platform gives them better operational control and plan around the strengths & limits of the AW139 only.

    Commonalising the brandmaker is one thing, I’m talking about going one level up doing as what US Armed Forces, Coast Guard, CBP, even their fire departments, did by using Blackhawk as the basis and modified for their various chopper needs. We can even go cheap and get used Bruneian Blackhawks in the meantime while waiting to get civvie S-70is of the production line.

  7. No need to talk much about commonalities as it is a leasing programme.

    By the type offered you can already guess who is two of the 3 offers are coming from.

    There is basically only one user of S-76 in Malaysia other than the 2 units used by Sultan of Johore.

    Also we know who has the biggest fleet of AW139 in Malaysia.

    Of all 3, H145 is the smallest, then the S-76 and the largest is AW139. Not hard to choose actually unless politics intervened.

  8. @ joe

    S70i is NOT a civilian version of the blackhawk. It is still a military spec helicopter, just sold direct commercially, not through US FMS, and with it the requirement of the helicopter to be build in USA (the S-70i being built in Poland)

  9. @…
    “Also we know who has the biggest fleet of AW139 in Malaysia.”
    Ironic that a single private company has nearly as many choppers in their fleet than all of ATM in their 3 branches combined. It is telling how neglectful our rotarylift became after the mass retirement of Nuri. Hopefully this new buy will spur an impetus to get this gap refilled pronto.

  10. @…
    In a way your right the S-70i is basically the Army UH-60M minused the mil spec gear and radio, but could be bought by civilian operators hence it is a civvie chopper in all intents and purposes. Its probably restricted from being armed into a gunship, but we don’t need that function anyways. No its not built in USA but in Poland so there is no FMS restriction BS unless Trump says no.

  11. @ joe

    “but could be bought by civilian operators”

    Do read more about FAA and EASA certifications. Long story short, it is not a civilian helicopter in all intents and purposes. At most it must be flown on ‘restricted’ category and only on firefighting or cargo sling missions.

  12. True but pzl meilec already offered armed version of s70i for the philippines if they want additional order after their initial order of unarmed s70i is completed

  13. Saw an article by janes that the navy is considering or evaluating a new batch of lms.

    From the article, seems like follow on of keris class seems close to nil. Damen-Destini proposal looks nice.

  14. @ marhalim

    looks like there are new leads on LMS batch 2. anything interesting on this?

    The industry always pushing things, whether or not it will happen is another story

  15. During current dewan negara seating deputy mindef revealed that rm1 billion paid for LCS program were missing without a wonder our LCS in a deepsh*t right now..missing 1 bill asking for 1.4 bill more to resume the building..

  16. Damen is proposing the same ship as the ones used by Somali navy

    There it is folk, we’re using the same ship as Somalia.

  17. @ dundun

    The somalis ordered the 5009 (which they defaulted in paying).

    Damen proposes the 6211, which is now in build for South African Navy Project Biro.

    BTW I actually prefers the cheaper, smaller and more agile 5009 rather than the 6211. The 5009 is also used by the Sea Shepherd as the MV Ocean Warrior.
    Here it is seen patrolling in Antarctica waters.

  18. “Damen is proposing the same ship as the ones used by Somali navy”

    Just a proposal…doesn’t mean the RMN will accept it.

    And what’s the problem of having the same type of boats as the Somalis? RMN is not looking for frigates.

  19. Michael – “If is true, the 15 to 5 plan scrapped so fast”

    There have long been signs/indications that the “5/15” won’t be the “5/15” any longer.

    On the LMS; given that there’s another government in office and that the political angle has evolved; hardly unexpected or surprising that the next batch of LMSs will come from another source.

  20. Marhalim, any news on the MUH tender?

    BTW all of Ericsson aircrane Puma fleet that is used to support the US Navy is for sale.

    I believe now the contract is assumed by EC225LP helicopters (ironically some of them are ex malaysian offshore airframes)

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