More Helicopters for Bomba…

KUALA LUMPUR: It looks like that everybody else is still buying hardware apart from the armed forces, oh, well….BTW, MMEA accepted the first of the two Bombardier CL-415s amphibians last week.

The Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department Orders Two AW139s

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) has ordered two AW139 medium twin engine helicopters. These aircraft will be used to perform fire fighting, search and rescue, land reconnaissance and general support duties. The contract also includes conversion training for aircrew and maintenance staff which will be undertaken prior to delivery of the aircraft in the first half of 2010. The Bomba order for the AW139 follows the order placed by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency for three aircraft plus options in October 2008. The AW139s will supplement the two AgustaWestland AW109 Power helicopters that have been successfully operating with the Bomba since 2004.

The AW139, a new generation medium twin-turbine helicopter that has set new standards in the market, offers unmatched performance and safety levels and has the largest cabin in its class. State-of-the-art mission equipment and outstanding performance features enable the AW139 to accomplish the most demanding operations in the harshest weather and environmental conditions. Thanks to its powerful engines, each rated at 1252 kW (1679 shp) for take-off, the AW139 is perfectly suited to carry out demanding missions in the hot and high climatic conditions experienced in Malaysia. This order marks further success for the AW139 in the fire fighting market with orders having already been placed by the Los Angeles City Fire Department and the Gangwon Fire Department of Korea. The order book for the AW139 has now passed 430 aircraft with orders from over 100 customers located in over 40 countries. Over 200 AW139s have now been delivered and are in service performing many applications including SAR, air ambulance, fire fighting, offshore transport, VIP/corporate transport, law enforcement, scheduled passenger transport and utility transport.

AgustaWestland Malaysia Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of AgustaWestland, continues to play a major role in the Malaysian helicopter market expanding its presence and increasing its market share. In 2008 AgustaWestland Malaysia Sdn Bhd opened a new regional maintenance and support centre located at Kuala Lumpur’s Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in 2008, aimed at supporting the increasing AgustaWestland fleet and keeping closer to the growing number of customers in the region.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2227 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. buy more heli for the department that is not really need heli.then,when the war come to us,our air force will running like hell coz not enough heli to dispatch soldier to the battlefield.

  2. The navy took the delivery of its first sub yesterday, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman on Tuesday but it wont be here until mid-year….

  3. Yes it seems everybody but the ATM is getting new gear. The police also received a new armoured vehicle from South Korea for use in East Timor. Whilst not claiming to be an expert, I believe the Deftech AV4 is a superior vehicle -having better performance and superior mine protection-yet was not ordered. So much for supporting the local industry.

    As for the SSKs, lets hope enough cash is allocated for training. All the training received from DCN will be wasted if the 2 SSKs hardly put to sea.

    Marhalim: yes, the police is getting the APCs from South Korea courtesy of ATSB. The Deftech vehicle was never pitch to the police as far as I know so it wasnt a factor in the selection process. I believed BAE Systems offered the RG12 but it was not selected. On the subs, it will be interesting to know if they had factored the operational and maintenance costs for 20 years in the budgetary plans.

  4. I imagine there is a big price difference between 2 AW-139 Bomba versus 12 EC-725 CSAR helicopters

    Marhalim: I guess so…I also believed that the other ministries were a lot smarter when buying things……

  5. The subs… What I’m really interested in finding out is what sonar fit was selected. According to a report, the RMN went for a basic sonar fit. It has been reported that the Chilean boats are fitted with flank arrays, as well as the dome sonar. The next few years, it will be interesting to see how the
    TNI-AL fares with its Kilos. I remember a report that said the Iranian Kilos went to sea only about 5 times the first 2 years in service due to maintena issues. Another problem the Iranians faced was that the warm waters of the Gulf was very conducive for barnacle growth, which led to assistance being provided by the Indians. For the first few years, the PLAN apparently had similar maintenance problems with their first batch of Kilos.

    I think it was reported in Perajurit or Tempur that the AV4 was offered but the Police decided that the Korean vehicle was more suited. The RG12 would have been nice but I suspect was way over the budget.

    Marhalim, in the current Perajurit, there’s a photo of an RMN guy firing an LMG. Its definitely not a MAG 57 or a Minimi. Perhaps a South African SS77?

    Marhalim: I have not seen the latest issue of Perajurit but RMN did purchased a batch of SS77 a few years ago. I had a conversation with an FN Herstal rep who bitched about the deal saying that they were trumped by the South Africans offerings…..

  6. Apart from the price difference, buying 2 AM319s for Bomba is easier for the politicans to sell to the opposition and public than 12 Cougars. After all, with the Cougars, they will be cries like ” why do we need new helis, after all Malaysia is not at war” or ”the Nuris can still be used for another 15 years” [never mind the dangers of flying in bad weather ].

    Just yesterday, I read in a British magazine about recent cutbacks facing the British armed forces. There was this quote: ” The government continues to gamble with the UK’s national security, hoping the worse will never happen” Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

    Marhalim: And that coming from a country listed as the Top 10 arms spender in the world! We are as bad as Nigeria and Zimbabwe, not only in terms of amount but intrigue in the procurement process,

  7. DEFTECH have develop a police version of AV4 to suit the requirement of RMP. I’ve seen a picture of the police version in DEFTECH’s advertisement on Asian Defence and Diplomacy magazine.

    Upon reading January ’09 edition of Perajurit about the acquisition of S5, I could not help to wonder what went wrong? Is it true that AV4 is not good enough for the RMP? How in the world we’re going to be able to develop and have a credible and self-sustained local defence industries if the GOM themselves doesn’t support our own local product and initiatives.

    As for the issue of AW139…Owh, what the heck.. My condolence to the Air Force.

  8. Azlan: Yes the GMPG pictured in the Perajurit issue is the SS77. The AV4 remained in development, it could not and should not be chosen for a fast-track contract to provide protection for policemen on UN duty in Timur Timur, no matter what it meant for our local defence industry, the need of our warriors trumps that off the industry.

    If Deftech really wants to ensure that the AV4 it must complete the development for the next round of tenders for armoured vehicles for the police and army. There is enough time of course, I do not expect they will start procuring such vehicles within the next two years.

    However, it must be stated here, like all DRB-HICOM subsidiary companies, Deftech is currently suffering the lack of leadership which started since it was taken over by the new management in 2007.

  9. Marhalim,

    I totaly agree that the AV4 should not be chosen just because its local. I could be wrong but the Deftech people I spoke to at LIMA and DSA said development is complete and ready for orders. Another possibility is that the Koreans were the only ones who could deliver the vehicles within a short period, like Daweoo and the KIFVs for Bosnia. When its all said and done we’re talking about an armoured vehicle meant for policing and internal security. Our Condors can be penetrated not only by RPGs or 12.7mm but also by 7.62mm AP rounds, yet we sent them to Bosnia and Somalia where the threat is much higher than E.Timor.

    Marhalim: RPGs even the basic version were designed to attack MBTs so basically all APCs are not immune to it. The latest MBTs may well survived a hit from a basic RPG but as shown in the invasion of Iraq, even these humble weapon can create havoc on a technologically advance army. The latest generation rockets, the RPG-26 and RPG-27 includes a dual warhead option to defeat reactive armor; and these new rockets can also come as “thermobaric” fuel-air explosive (RShG1/RPG-27 and RShG2/RPG-26) rounds for use in caves and buildings, or as a wide area-effect weapon on open ground.

    They had to get new vehicles for Timur Timur mission, the police’s armoured vehicle fleet consists of the ancient Commandos and the GKN AT105 APCs…. apart from the odd armoured Land Rovers and Ferret Scout cars…

  10. Agreed, APCs are not immune to RPGs but stuff like applique and bar armour goes a long way.
    As also shown in Iraq, 25mm sabot rounds [the same Nammo round fired by the Adnans] will easily penetrate the rear of a T-72. As long as nobody shoots at our Condors with anything heavier than 7.62mm, it fine. Even then, I suspect that 7.62mm AP rounds will do the job.

  11. Not at all. The 25mm rounds used by the US are NOT Nammo. They are DU APDSFS. They will defeat the T-72 from the flank and lower glacis. While our tungsten rounds may poke holes in stuff, they are much less effective at setting stuff on fire.

    As from blaming Lah and Anwar for sheer incompetence in MINDEF vis a vis the Nuri replacement, that’s just a little off the mark. Despite the PAC whitewash, it’s rather painfully obvious that the process was up to the usual low standards of accountability and transparency and that it was a rush job. After all, why dispense with flight testing…. the notion that a few jaunts around during LIMA = flight test is something only Malaysians might reasonably be accepted to swallow whole.


  12. Simon, there have been previous flights on the platforms prior to LIMA which were done out of the country not to mentioned both AW and Eurocopter each bought down a COs of a squadron operating the helo for briefings with RMAF and prensentation during heliasia last year, the AW101 also came down here 1-2 years ago with a brit ship and it was flight tested then. Flight testing in country was dispensed with because of costs and it was unnecessary given that RMAF teams had been flying the various helicopters overseas in the past, in any event I doubt some of the companies would have been able to bring down their helos here. Agusta had problems getting a 101 for LIMA hence it did not appear, owing to the fact that all 101s were needed operationally.

    Marhalim: The S-92 was not even flying!

  13. Marhalim, you and I both know that RMAF was seriously only looking at AW101 and EC725 and if they had their way, there wouldn’t have been a open tender, just a direct competition between the two 🙂

    Marhalim: And if RMAF had their way it would have been the AW101, although the politicians certainly love the Cougar…………

  14. I may be wrong, but based on available general info,last time the airforce 40+ Nuri and 40+ A316 were used for multiple objectives in the past forty years such as angkut supply for banjir area, mercy flight for orang sakit, rescue orang sesat hutan apart from the normal troops transport and recon duty for Airforce, Army and Navy (prior to 1990). Eventhat even covered for non army units such as polis hutan and police (prior to the mid 80’s).

    So i welcome other unit such as Police, Bomba, Perikanan and maritim to get their own heli so the airfoce/army can concentrate at what they do best. So later for say banjir, instead of relying on the Nuri, the bomba can provide up to 4 Mil17 (or is it 6) with capacity 20 -22 people, 2 A 109 and 2 A139. The Maritim can provide 3 Dauphin and 3 AW139.

    In actual fact, if u exclude the nuri, just taking navy, army, maritime, polis and bomba alone easily you are talking about 42 heli currently.

    So coming back to the EC725, its a good chopper to have but is it really imminent. Unless we are sending a peace keeping operation to GAZA yes i agree we should buy at least a squadron (and if possible includes all the necessary weaponry and electronic warfare system) but if we not and only mainly looking for general troops transport, why cant a down spec cheaper cougar or even an upgraded MIL17V do the job at a much cheaper price and larger no of unit?

    Marhalim: I am not begrudging the others for getting their hardware (good for them) just lamenting the state of affairs of the armed forces. Apart from the police and army, most of the other helos are being flown by RMAF pilots.

  15. Yes, but these flights were not part of any formal bid. A open tender presupposes a clean slate and level playing field for all bidders. I understand that Malaysians have a somewhat different perception of what constitutes an open tender but the very least MINDEF could have done is gone through the motions. I mean the classic case would be to downselect the EC725 and AW101 (which would raise no eyebrows) and then DQ Agusta for not coughing up a bird for flight testing. Or find them too expensive. Instead it appeared that the ministry acted with undue haste, in violation of their own tender protocols to ramrod the deal through before the portfolio switchover. This is the essential problem, that ministry officials were inept.

    Flight testing should have the aircraft undergo the same series of evolutions within controlled conditions of temperature, altitude etc. with telemetry. What took place was familiarization flights but not flight testing per se. To argue otherwise is bolehspeak and why Malaysia is so far down the transparency index.

    Our MINDEF is just not very good at creating the illusion of accountability and transparency as they have had so little hands on experience in the matter. F-Fail, Must try much much harder. Recommend understudying the UK MOD, past masters of hiding the fix.

  16. Sorry if we flight-tested everything in a tender bid, the costs would go up and we know the opposition would make an issue of this, a number of countries actually purchase without a flightest and we could not simply DQ Agusta for not coming up with a bird for flightesting because they would have made one readily available if there was a flightest requirement.And the method you suggest smacks just as much as non-transparency and dishonesty as your issue with the current tender. Also if anyone was inept, it was the PM who could not give the right answer to the entire matter and allowing the opposition to spread their own disinformation on the matter. We seldom do flightests in country because of the costs but instead send evaluation teams overseas to carry out technical and flight reports and a number of countries do the same thing, And honestly there isn’t anything too special in our requirements on performance that was not carried out by EC725s and AW101s in Afghanistan which is why the COs of the french and brit squadron were down here for heliasia, Interesting enough if you talk about bolehspeak, it does make me wonder about the opposition also since they seem to be keen on the Mil-17 and what a coincidence that the owner of the company then joins the opposition 🙂

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