MECU is still up in the air

SHAH ALAM: MECU is still up in the air. Last July, I wrote that the tender for MECU, the Multi Engine Conversion Unit, aircraft was published by the Defence Ministry. It appears until today, the tender has yet to be sorted out, meaning that a bidder has not been selected yet. This was confirmed by RMAF chief General Ackbal Samad in a press conference today.

What I wrote last July.

The Defence Ministry has issued a tender for multi engine, conversion unit (MECU) aircraft for pilot training on behalf of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF). The tender was published on July 5, 2019 and ends on Aug. 1. 20191.The MECU programme is conducted by the Tactical Transport Flight Training Centre (PLTT) based at the Subang airbase.Since 2013, the centre had used two Beechcraft Super King 350i twin turboprop aircraft leased from Aerotree Defence & Services Sdn Bhd, designated M101-01 and M101-02.The company received a five year, RM41.6 million contract in 2012 which likely ended in late 2017 or early 2018. The company continue to provide the services from August to December, 2018 based on the Finance Ministry’s archives of tender results.I am guessing that Aerotree will be the most suitable to continue with the programme as it already have the two aircraft available but as the current government’s policy for an open competition for all contracts, the Defence Ministry has no other option but to open it for other companies as well

The PLTT squadron logo. Internet

Ackbal said they were in discussions with the Finance Ministry regarding the contract and hoped it will be concluded soon. In the meantime, he said the course was still on going though he did not say what aircraft was being used. It is likely that the pilot trainees are being trained in the RMAF King Air B200Ts or the CN-235s which were used previously following the retirement of the Cessna 402B.
RMAF Super King Air 350 M101-01

And as for the Nuri, Ackbal confirmed that they want to retire them and buy or lease new medium lift helicopters. He said the Nuri was at the end of its service life and the cost and support were getting expensive. The statement by Ackbal confirmed what I wrote late last year.
Nuri M23-29 flying over the Kota Belud air to ground firing range.

It is unlikely that funding will be available for new helicopters in the next 24 months though it could be slotted in 2021 or RMK12. Leasing a couple of them is possible within the next few months though. It must be noted the RMAF in its Cap 55 had wanted new helicopters in RMK13.
RMAF EC725 flying at the opening ceremony of LIMA 17.

— Malaysian Defence


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