SHAH ALAM: Oz leased AW139s For Army. RMAF chief announced on Nov. 2 that the service will be introducing four leased Leonardo AW139s soon to cover the shortfall of helicopters following the unofficial retirement of the Nuris. Before anyone says that it is a bad move do take note that the Australian Army which is also leasing two AW139s. The leasing is to cover the troublesome MRH-90 Taipan helicopters in service with its Air Wing.
From the Australian Defence Department.
Army’s aviation capability has been enhanced with two Leonardo AW139 helicopters joining the 5th Aviation Regiment in Townsville. The two leased AW139s will be used to support Defence’s major exercises and training, and assist with emergency response activities including during the high-risk weather season.
The helicopters have similar performance to the MRH90 and will be used to support aircrew development and currency requirements when combat aircraft are not available. The contract with Helicorp Pty Ltd (Toll Helicopters), has met all milestones, with training, aircraft serviceability and flying-hour requirements exceeding expectations.
Commander Army Aviation Command Major General Stephen Jobson said the AW139 contract would ensure Army aircrew were ready for operational tasking.“The Army interim commercial helicopter capability will provide Army aircrew with flying proficiency and currency training on an advanced digital aircraft,” Major General Jobson said.
“Maintaining these advanced digital cognitive skills is essential for operating complex modern combat helicopters now and into the future.”
The contract for the two leased Leonardo AW139 helicopters covers training, maintenance, logistics and continuing airworthiness support. The initial contract ends on June 30, 2023, with options for two 12-month extensions.
Like the Malaysian military, the Australian Army had also suffered due to unwise decisions made by its politicians. The Australian government had chosen the MRH-90 in 2006 (and subsequently the Tiger attack helicopters) over the recommendations of its military for the Army’s rotary wing requirements. The decision to lease the two helicopters was announced in May this year as the Australian Army grappled with the low availability of the trouble plagued Taipans.
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