MUH In Kota Kinabalu

RMN chief Admiral Reza Sany and Rear Admiral Beng with one of the Leonardo AW139 MUH/MOH of RMN at KK Naval base on May 26, 2022. RMN

SHAH ALAM: MUH in Kota Kinabalu. IT appears that the first two Leonardo AW139 Maritime Operations/Utility helicopters (MUH) have already been delivered to the RMN air wing unit at the Kota Kinabalu naval base in Teluk Sepanggar.

This was revealed during the official visit of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Rear Admiral Aaron Beng Yao Cheng to the KK Naval Base. Accompanied by RMN Chief Admiral Mohd Reza Mohd Sany, RADM Beng visited the RMN air wing unit which include the Skuadron 601 which operates the Boeing Insitu Scan Eagle and the newly delivered AW139s.

RADM Beng being briefed on the Scan Eagle. As RSN already operated the same UAV, its capabilities will not be much surprise to him. RMN

As previously reported, the first MUH were expected to be delivered last month, so it is likely that KK RMN airing crew are in the process of getting these rotary assets into service. From the picture, it is likely that they will be armed with pintle mounted machine guns as well. It is likely that the third AW139 will be delivered next month as schedueld. And it is also likely once the helicopters have been accepted into RMN service, a formal announcement on them will be made. Unlike the delivery of the MD530G (though it was done as these helicopters were late). That said there are talk that the full acceptance of the MD530Gs is likely to be delayed for various reasons.
RMN AW139 at the Italian plant prior to delivery to the service. Leonardo.

The visit of the RSN chief also gave us the opportunity to see that the racing pistols ordered by the RMN for the Eastern Fleet are already delivered.
Wah, got holosight. RMN.

Anyhow there is also unconfirmed talk that the Army might also be getting its own AW139s instead of leasing them like the RMAF .

— Malaysian Defence

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28 Comments

  1. He is 46 I believe, as he was appointed two years ago at the age of 44. The newly appointed SG Army chief is 44 and the current SG CDF is 47. In that 44-50 agegroup, most MY officers are usually rank Lt Colonels, though some are already Colonels.

  2. So the army is ok into having a smaller AW139 now rather than waiting a bit longer for Blackhawk size AW149?

  3. It may not be a case of whether the army is ”ok” but a case of it being told to accept what it gets.

  4. Not really lah..aw149 just alil bigger than aw139 and thats about it..and the truth is PUTD need bigger chopper like h225m/h215m or s92 to comfortably replace the nuris

  5. Or from aw its aw101 which virtually way outside our budget..to keep the sikorsky legacy within the army aviation the blackhawk or s92 are the go to option

  6. Well age certainly plays a role, but I’m refer to comparing their tummies. Haha. I mean I seen atoks thinner & fitter than most of these multi-star bigshots.

    About the choppers, leasing was done cuz they do not have the CAPEX fund to buy new ones. If such chatter did happen either; 1)They wrangled sufficient extra budget to buy outright or 2)They postponed certain buys to a later period(perhaps the Caesars that they so wanted?).

  7. Firdaus – ”to keep the sikorsky legacy within the army aviation the blackhawk or s92 are the go to option”

    No the S-92 is not even being considered and I seriously doubt there are funds for Blackhawks. If indeed the army gets AW-139s this means it will have a limited lift capacity and will be unable to under sling 105mm guns; thus reliance will still have to be placed on the RMAF.

  8. @Firdaus
    AW149 is about the same size & weight class as Blackhawk, perhaps why it was not more popular because it is fighting against the de facto standard for medium chopper. IMHO for TDM the best is Blackhawk but if for reasons they prefer Airbus, then AW149 is the best. S92/Caracal is in the upper mid segment which imho is overkill for their medium chopper needs. Maybe would be good to have 6-8 units as oversized support to the medium lifters but not for the whole fleet as cost is a huge concern here.

  9. m – ”Azlan, do you really know what you are talking about?”

    No but apparently you do – bravo/well done/encore…

    m – ”Money for new AW139 will be less money for other army needs.”

    Yes but everything’s a compromise and it will obviously have less internal space and less lift capacity than a medium lift heli but since you know what you’re talking about.

    m – ”Nothing wrong on getting some free Blackhawks.”

    Nothing wrong with a lot things. Also nothing wrong in getting Cougars which were used by oil/gas companies. Depends on what the politicians and bureaucrats think.

  10. A civilian AW139, originally bought to carry passengers, is unlikely to be equipped for underslung load, a fully militarised AW139 might for such task

  11. @azlan

    Guess as far as politicians and bureaucrats are concerned aw139 is a medium lift and one can’t achieve asset rationalization objective if the difference service utilize different platforms.

  12. Another issue is that although a AW139 may have the lift capacity to under sling a 105mm gun; how far in comparison to a larger heli? Also, just because something may have the technical ability to do something; doesn’t mean it’s ideal to do it. There’s a reason with the army wants or rather; needs a medium lift heli.

    Anyhow I’m not so enamoured with the idea of lifting guns. Even lifting a single battery; plus crews and ammo and other stuff will take up a lot of sorties; assuming the needed helis are available in the first place. There may also be the need for resupply; more sorties. During the 2nd Emergency lifting guns was not an issue as it usually involved only 2-3 or sometimes even a single gun. Ammo also was not an issue at it was needed in very small quantities. I have given the figures here before; during the Falklands it took a large number of Se King sorties just to a few Light Guns; plus ammo and crews.

  13. Leasing of course the Armed Forces have no choice but to use whatever available which typically will be from the civvie O&G fleets. But if we were to go for outright buys surely the Armed Forces would spec in for a militarised version of AW139, one which I did pointed out before, had an underslung capability.

  14. 5zaft – ”are concerned aw139 is a medium lift and one can’t achieve asset rationalization objective if the difference service utilize different platforms.”

    The politicians and bureaucrats couldn’t give a shite about ‘asset rationalization”. It’s the armed services that do because when the shite hits the fan and starts flying to all points of the compass they have to pick up the pieces. Since when have the politicians and bureaucrats given a toss?

    Also what ”asset rationalization” [I prefer ”commonality”] when only the RMN has AW139s per see; the army has leased ones and if commonality is the focus then Cougars for the army makes sense.

  15. @joe

    I wouldn’t be so sure, it could just be an acquisition of existing civvie O&G fleet for the 1st batch.

  16. 5zaft – ”existing civvie O&G fleet for the 1st batch”

    Could be from the Simpsons or Father Christmas for all I care and same goes with ex oil/gas Cougars for the army or RMAF or both. As it stands the AW139 simply does not have what it takes to be a medium lift utility [which it isn’t] and I would be very surprised if indeed some are bought for the army. Amidst all this talk about ”military spec” compared to a ”civilian” one the differences are minor and can easily be rectified; the real issue or concern is the armed services getting stuff that actually meets their operational needs.

  17. @5Zaft
    It is not our politicians that terms it a medium chopper but it was the industry that did.
    homelandsecurity-technology.com/projects/aw139-aw139m-multirole-helicopter/

    Albeit if Blackhawk is the standard here, then AW139 sits on the lower mid segment.

    And if I recall someone said TDM is vehemently against preowned so if they were to outright buy, it would be brand new unless its another of those forced down by the politicians to get used civvie ones.

  18. As for now in the medium chopper categories
    AF & TD need 36, RMn need another 5, mmea need another 8. The option is either go rojak yet again or just standardized to aw139.

    Asset Rationalization always results in some service getting less than ideal platform for their need but that is something that most modern military face.

  19. 5zaft – ”just standardized to aw139.”

    Why? Only the RMN has AW139s; don’t include the MMEA as it’s a non military entity. By right the army should operate the same medium lift utility platform as the RMAF – period/full stop. The many plus points/advantages are obvious. The AW139 is a great helicopter but it does not fulfill the requirement for what the army needs a medium lift platform to perform.

    5zaft – ”Asset Rationalization always results in some service getting less than ideal platform”

    Achieving higher/increased commonality leads to a whole host of long term benefits. Ultimately we have seen what happens when the armed services are straddled with stuff which doesn’t suit requirements; they face difficulties [extra costs are incurred; a huge support footprint is the result and operational rates/availability suffers] and the taxpayer gets buggered. Looks great at Merdeka Day flypasts; on the pages of a glossy mag and in the narrow visions of fanboys though….

    5zaft – ” most modern military face.”

    I have no idea what your personal definition of a ”most modern military” is but there’s a reason why all Tier 1 militaries are set on achieving greater commonality and why achieving greater commonality is a main component of the 5/15 and CAP 55. We simply can’t ever again be in the ludicrous position of operating 4 different MANPADS [Starstreak, Igla, Anza and FN-6]; 3 main fighter types [Fulcrums, Hornets and Flankers] and having a navy with British, French and Italian systems – it’s a major drain on resources but the politicians didn’t give a shite as as far as they’re were concerned a conflict was unlikely and national interests was far more important.

    Ultimately everything is a trade off and after looking at things in totality; the needed trade of have to be made and whatever penalties incurred.

  20. @azlan

    Actually operating both smaller medium lift like h160/dauphin/aw139 along a larger medium lift like caracal/NH90/aw149 rather than a single helo is a common thing nowadays.

    While it would be nice to draw a line in the sand, the reality is MMEA is models after USCG and thus never a pure ‘civilian’ Organization in the first place. Neither is PDRM for that matter. In times of war agency under KDN would likely be called to the front as well and even today KDN/MINDEF joint operations like ops benteng is a common thing. Thus why asset rationalization involved agencies both under MINDEF & KDN is a thing. The M4, FIC etc etc is a fine example of it.

    unfortunately we like most military in EU is not a tier 1 military. A lot of tactical level equipment in EU military are a soup up civvie platforms. While it’s not as good as a custom built platform but Operating common platform between military & internal security not just cost effective but Internal security asset even civilian unit available can be militarized quickly in times of conflicts increasing asset availability.

    Off course their policy is also about spoon-feeding their industry because
    1)an unintended consequences of increasing wealth is the nation losing it ability to provide fully employment particularly to the educated youth.
    2) provide ‘legally correct’ method to transfer capital & skills to their companies to improve their competitiveness
    3) high dividend yield to their investment & penchant fund who own substantial investment in these companies.
    4) make military expenses attractive to the government as its a provider of wealthfare system. Basically a lot of expenses to ‘military’ that look good on paper but it’s not a reflection of capabilities.

  21. @Firdaus
    AW149 is about the same size & weight class as Blackhawk, perhaps why it was not more popular because it is fighting against the de facto standard for medium chopper. IMHO for TDM the best is Blackhawk but if for reasons they prefer Airbus, then AW149 is the best. S92/Caracal is in the upper mid segment which imho is overkill for their medium chopper needs. Maybe would be good to have 6-8 units as oversized support to the medium lifters but not for the whole fleet as cost is a huge concern here.

  22. If there is any chopper that all services could standardised to, it would be the venerable, proven, and highly versatile Blackhawk.

  23. 5zaft – ”even today KDN/MINDEF joint operations like ops benteng is a common thing.”

    ”Even today”? The participation of the MAF in various initiatives/programmes alongside other government [non military] entities has been ongoing for decades…. KESBAN, RASCOM, ESSCOM and various other things are examples.

    5zaft – ”Actually operating both smaller medium lift like h160/dauphin/aw139 along a larger medium lift like caracal/NH90/aw149 rather than a single helo is a common thing nowadays.”

    I have no idea about ”actually” and what is ”common” or not but in the context of the MAF; resources are very limited and the aim is for greater commonality to achieve costs savings. As it stands the AW139 is only operated as an organic asset by the RMN; it does not fulfill the army’s requirements as a medium lift platform [which it clearly isn’t] and the RMAF operates the Cougar.

    From a commonality [I prefer this term rather than the more dramatic ”asset rationalisation”] perspective having both the RMAF and army operate a common type makes a lot of sense training and support/sustainability wise. Let me remind you that the army already operate 2 types; has a small budget; has a modest number of pilots and other personnel and has a limited ground support/training infrastructure.

    5zaft – ”In times of war agency under KDN would likely be called to the front as well ”

    The MMEA would not be ”called to the front” but would perform certain complementary or secondary roles under RMN command. As it stands we are not at war; the MMEA is a non military entity and is under a different command.

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