Nothing Moving on Black Hawks Leasing Imbroglio

A US Army Black Hawk helicopter landing at the Kota Belud airstrip on June 30. The helicopter is part of the US Army contingent taking part in Keris Strike 2024 exercise with the Malaysian Army and the Australian Army. Army

SHAH ALAM: The Defence Ministry is getting the legal opinion from the Attorney General’s Chamber on the leasing contract for the four Black Hawks, none of which has been delivered to the Army. That was the written answer from Defence Minister DS Khaled Nordin from Lumut MP Nordin Ahmad Ismail regarding the contract.

The answer was published on the Dewan Rakyat page on June 27. Malaysian Defence was the first to highlight the headwinds in the delivery of the leased helicopters. In an interview at DSA 2024, Army chief General Hafizuddeain Jantan had said the service was still waiting for the helicopters.

A US Army Blackhawk helicopter flies during Eks Keris Strike which comes under Exercise Bersama Warrior in 2017. US Army

Several days later, in a press conference with the mainstream media, Hafizuddeain raised the prospect of canceling the contract altogether. The written answer by the minister however did not reveal the next course of action though.

The question:

KOMANDER NORDIN BIN AHMAD ISMAIL TLDM (BERSARA) [LUMUT] minta MENTERI PERTAHANAN menyatakan apakah
perancangan Kementerian ekoran laporan bahawa Tentera Darat Malaysia akan mengusulkan pembatalan kontrak sewaan helikopter Black Hawk TDM kepada pihak Kementerian berikutan kelewatan penghantaran
pertama helikopter yang terlibat.
JAWAPAN
Tuan Yang di-Pertua,
Pada masa ini, Kementerian Pertahanan sedang mendapatkan pandangan serta nasihat perundangan daripada Jabatan Peguam Negara berhubung perkara ini.

Paratroopers jumping out from a RMAF AW139 during an exercise in late 2023. Army.

Meanwhile, in another written answer the minister confirmed that the AW139 leased by RMAF were only used for utility missions only. The four helicopters were not used to carry cargoes -using the underslung method – as they were not equipped to do so unlike the Nuri and Airbus EC725s, currently in service with RMAF. It also said the AW139 did not have the means to carry the Army’s boats and howitzers.
A soldier from 8th Royal Ranger Regiment being flown on a No 3 Squadron AW139 helicopter on June 26 2024. The soldier identified Kpl Mohd Fikri Che Harun was evacuated from Kem Banding in Gerik, Perak to Butterworth airbase as he was suffering from prolonged fever while on operations. RMAF.

The question and answer:

DATO’ SRI IKMAL HISHAM BIN ABDUL AZIZ [TANAH MERAH] minta MENTERI PERTAHANAN menyatakan apakah Helikopter Leonardo dari jenis AW139 yang disewakan kepada Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia
(TUDM) mampu melaksanakan aktiviti terbang underslung membawa
aset-aset tentera lain seperti bot atau meriam mahupun bekalan makanan
ke pos-pos operasi sebagaimana keupayaan pesawat helikopter Sikorsky
S-61 Nuri sebelum ini.

Jawapan:
Kementerian Pertahanan melalui Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM) sentiasa berusaha memastikan ketumbukannya berada pada tahap kesiagaan dan keupayaan tertinggi, terutamanya dalam aspek
kebolehoperasian pesawat-pesawat sedia ada termasuk penggunaan helikopter sewaan AW139 secara Government Operate, Company Own and Maintain (GOCOM).
Tujuan sewaan helikopter AW139 secara GOCOM oleh TUDM adalah untuk penggantian sementara (Gap Filler) bagi helikopter S61A-4 Nuri yang telah ditamatkan pengoperasian, sementara menunggu
perolehan helikopter baharu TUDM. Ianya juga bagi tujuan latihan dan pengekalan tahap kompetensi juruterbang helikoter TUDM sedia ada.
Helikopter sewaan AW139 GOCOM mempunyai keupayaan yang terhad iaitu keupayaan bagi penugasan utiliti sahaja. Oleh itu, helikopter yang telah ditawarkan tidak dilengkapi dengan peralatan misi underslung (Underslung Gear). Spesifikasi helikopter ini juga tidak berkeupayaan
untuk melaksanakan operasi underslung yang melibatkan muatan aset
aset tentera berat seperti bot dan meriam untuk jarak yang optimum dan
selamat.

— Malaysian Defence

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14 Comments

  1. All of PUTD A109 are grounded and now we won’t getting the lease blackhawk. What a nightmare

  2. Has the tender for 12 new helos for TUDM been floated? Supposedly early this year.

  3. Just get new AW149s is what I say. The AWs are already in widespread use in Malaysia…

  4. Tom Tom – “ust get new AW149s is what I say”

    For the RMAF or army requirement? If it’s for the RMAF requirement logic and prudence dictates it be another batch of Cougars.

    Haiqal – “All of PUTD A109 are grounded”

    Momentarily. Also, even if they were not grounded how heavy are the taskings? It’s not like during the 2nd Emergency when helis were busy on a daily basis supporting army and police units in the field.

  5. The cheape⁷r but maybe unpopular move is to get brand new bell 412.The design maybe old and have little room for growtj but is way cheaper than brand new black hawaks and AW149.Japan is still using this type. Its cheap enough that for the same budget as the blackhawk lease you can get 8 chopper(minus the opex and training) it can do underslung load for our howitzers

  6. Azlan,
    I meant AW 149 for the army. Poland is going the helicopter for their army..

  7. >brand new Bell 412

    lmao if two engined AW139 is considered not capable enough what makes you think the one engined 412 could do the job?

    >b-but japan
    JGSDF have plenty of chinooks and blackhawks unlike TD and they’re using their 412s for air cavalry purpose not just as utility/transport aircraft

  8. Seriously for me at least army aviation wing/PUTD must have their own transport squadron among others.Enlighten me..what are the army’s PUTD preference if the fund are made available for them to buy say 4 to 6 brand new helos (a big if)..Aw149m? h225m like rmaf or bigger helos to truely replace their legendary nuris.

  9. People here are going about that “PUTD should buy this chopper” or “buy that chopper”, making as if PUTD doesnt want to outright buy.

    The thing is with a measly RM 200mil OPEX fund for choppers, a buy is out of the question. So leasing is the only option but the choice is lease of Blackhawk or AW149, obviously the former is far more easier to obtain (supposedly but the selected vendor could that!) while only handful of AW149 are now flying. So the only real choice is Blackhawks but whether to get from Vendor A, Vendor B or C. Since Vendor A failed, time to switch to Vendor B quickly.

  10. Ah i see.but then BH isnt really in the same class as Nuri right? and as of now new helos for army are low on priorities right as the army still long for other urgent more pressing additions like SPH,additional arti,armoured vehicles and etc

  11. I am not sure whether they are in the same class, but the Black Hawk is a better battle taxi than the Nuri, it is faster and carry a bigger underslung than the latter.

  12. Firdaus,

    Putting aside what may or may not be a “priority” for the army; bear in mind that it’s the government which decides what becomes a “priority”. For all we know the army did make it a “priority” but was told to focus on other things first.

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