Mi-17 and the Auditor General Report

KUALA LUMPUR: The New Straits Times ran a story on Saturday¬† on the Mi-17 based on the Auditor-General’s annual report.

Excerpts from the story: KUALA LUMPUR: Two helicopters worth RM117.75 million purchased for the police air wing could not be used as they did not meet Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) specifications.

Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang said the DCA had refused to register the two Russian-made Mi-171 helicopters as they did not conform with design guidelines set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.”

Not withstanding the ICAO requirements, ( since when military planes ever need to pass a civilian requirement?), based on the report one can surmised that the Mi-17 is probably not a good candidate to replace the current Nuri fleet.

Malaysian Defence believes that the Hips are good helicopters, as shown by experience in Africa, but they can only do so in fine weather just like the current Nuri fleet.

Trying to upgrade them to meet bad weather and night flying conditions is simply not a good idea.

BAE Systems have modernised the Hip with new equipment, FLiR and digital cockpit but I believed only the original customer, Rumania or Slovenia, had accepted the aircraft.

Malaysian Defence readers, who have been kind enough to respond to the poll “Which Helicopter Should We Buy To Replace Nuri?” also do not believed the Mi-17 will be able to fulfill the RMAF requirement, with only two votes for the Russian helicopter.

With almost 70 votes so far, the AgustaWestland AW101, is the clear favourite, with almost 52 per cent votes followed by the NH90 and the Chinook, respectively.

But will the Mi-17 be offered for the Nuri replacement tender? Of course, it will. The agent, based on previous reports, Airod, will be inclined to participate in the tender. And if they do not do so, the Russians will.

And why not? The helicopter is by far the cheapest, each costing around US$4 million, with the other European and American helicopters costing more than US$30 million each.

Since smart salesman have sold the Brooklyn bridge to unwary customers, the Hip still have an outside chance to be in service with the Malaysian Armed Forces. If the RMAF will not touch it with a long pole, there is always the Army….

Following is a news story from the Russian manufacture of the Hip helicopters.

“BOMBA” reinforcement

Recently BOMBA Fire and Rescue Air Operation Unit of Malaysia was reinforced by new helicopters. These were a couple of new Mi-171 supplied to Malaysia by Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (U-UAP) in September, 2004. Before BOMBA had operated two Russian Mi-17-1V helicopters made by Kazan Helicopter Plant (supplied in 1998-1999). Efforts of Malaysian engineers converted those aircrafts into fire-fighting. Malaysia authorities, satisfied by the experience from operation of Russian helicopters, made a decision to place an order for a new batch of Mi-17. This time U-UAP was selected as a supplier. The agreement of supplying a couple of Mi-171Sh helicopters to Malaysia for Ministry of Home Affairs was signed in July, 2003 and simultaneously there were harmonised basic issues on sale of a larger batch of aircrafts from Ulan-Ude, consisting of ten transport-combat Mi-171Sh for Malaysian Ministry of Defense. Solemn signing of this contract between “Rosoboronexport” and Malaysian state company AIROD took place during previous exhibition in Langkawi on October 1, 2003.
Mi-171Sh from Ulan-Ude distinguished from already available in the country Kazan Mi-17-1V by availability of descending rear ramp and “dolphin-shaped” nose dome of the weather radar. Besides there was an intention to apply thereon some western avionics systems and optical-electronic systems of South African companies. Part of western equipment was intended for installation on helicopters directly in Malaysia.
However in 2004 Malaysians decided not to assign two new helicopters to police but annex it to “BOMBA” which was done after U-UAP had supplied to the country two Mi-171 with modified airframe. On-site the aircrafts were equipped with some systems of SAR equipment but no armament systems (as on Mi-171Sh) and western avionics were available there.
Replying to the interview of “Vzlet” reporter about destiny of next ten aircrafts, U-UAP General Director Leonid Belykh intimated that the situation was uncertain: the customer has yet to decide what technical “pattern” of the helicopters is required. Therefore contract performance has been postponed so far. As far as two helicopters from Ulan-Ude already supplied to “BOBMA” are concerned, flight and technical personnel is highly pleased with these aircrafts. Technicians maintaining Mi-171 told the author that the aircraft has a number of advantages as compared to Mi-17-1V. In the end of 2004 and beginning of 2005 “BOMBA” helicopters were intensively used in relief operation after ruinous tsunami in south-east Asia and earned highest appraisal. Mi-17-1V and Mi-171 (see photo) belonging to Malaysian rescuers became participants of the flight program at last year exhibition LIMA 2005.
A.F. (Vzlet 1-2/2006, January-February).”


— MalaysianDefence

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