SHAH ALAM: As hinted in my post about the miniguns, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today confirmed that RMAF is getting Sikorsky S-70A Blackhawk helicopters from Brunei.
He did not revealed how many Blackhawks but sources told Malaysian Defence it will be four. The four S-70A Blackhawks were delivered to Royal Brunei Air Force in 1999 and currently operated by the 4th Squadron. The helicopters are very similar to the two VIP Blackhawks operated by RMAF apart from the VIP trimmings of course.
The helicopters are expected to be transferred to Malaysia by September, according to a press release issued by the Defence Minister office in Kuala Lumpur. The minister is on a three day working visit to Sabah. He is expected to oversee a firepower demonstration conducted by the 10th Para Brigade, the Army Air Wing and RMAF at Tawau. Several of the newly delivered Gempita 25mm IFV is also expected to be demonstrated during the event.
RBAF is receiving up to 12 of the latest generation S-70i Blackhawks and it is believed this prompted Malaysia to ask the Sultan of Brunei to gift them to the Malaysian Armed Forces following the incursion in Lahad Datu.
It is now expected the M134D mini-guns procured late last year will be mounted on these donated Blackhawks rather than the A109s!
Hishammudin also said there were plans to arm the five EC725 helicopters based in Labuan with 7.62mm machine guns. Nuri helicopters operating in the ESSCOM zone are now fitted with 12.7mm HMGs.
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February 5, 2015 at 10:34 am
Military hardwares purchase involves training costs, operation costs, maintainance costs , repairs etc the off the shelf price does not reflects the actual cost of a military hardware ..
Mat Komando Halimunan says:
February 5, 2015 at 7:25 am
buy apache ah64d longbow = 15
dassault rafale = 5
eurofighter typhoon = 5
f/a18 superhornet = 5
ch-47 chinook = 10
sikorsky s-70 = 10
leapard 2a5 = 25
February 1, 2015 at 1:59 pm
You’ve formed the wrong conclusions. It’s not a question of “better” armaments. The CTs kept firing back because they were hard to spot due to the terrain. Trying to make out CTs from the air, in triple canopy jungle, was next to impossible and the trick was to look for flashes – doesn’t mean the Mauser was not effective. Even with all the firepower available to them, when the Americans did helicopter landings, the NVA and VC still fired back!! Unless one is going to use tactical nukes or drop 10,000 pound daisy cutters; it’s practically impossible to completely suppress all enemy fire.
Lee Yoke Meng says:
January 31, 2015 at 11:43 pm
Ah the allouette 3. Yeah remember the cannon they fixed firing from the port side?. Well the cannon often jams with thw round stuck in the barrel. Nevertheless it is not very good at supressing thw CT as these CT’s keep firing back. So equipping our helis with better armaments will be a good option. Lets learn the lessons n make sure we dont make the same mistake again
January 28, 2015 at 12:59 am
Any wishlist for AEW&C for rmk11?
January 27, 2015 at 8:39 pm
If you can find them, you wouldn’t need a rocket as a well aimed burst of 7.62mm or 12.7mm will do. Ever wondered why the main means of suppression during the 2nd Emergency were Alo 3 gunships firing shorts cannon bursts as opposed to Tebuans going Hollywood with mini guns and rockets?
By all means stick to your rockets and gun pods but take note that rockets+mini guns+forward firing cannon doesn’t necessarily equate to ‘gunship”.Ask anyone who was there at Lahad Datu and they will unequivocally state that the issue was not a lack of firepower….. We may lack firepower if faced against the 5th Soviet Tank Army but not against lightly armed non state actors trying their best not to be found.
Lee Yoke Meng says:
January 27, 2015 at 7:14 pm
Well i am sticking to my gun pods n rockets. To find them is possible but we need to invest in flir n tv cameras . Then we can search for them too. They certainly move in groups. The smallest groups being 4 people. So one rocket can send them back to sululand
January 27, 2015 at 5:42 pm
As per now, the need is to arm the agusta with 20mm gun pod and fz90 rocket pod. That will make a decent gunship. As armed escort for nuri or the blackhawk. A gatling will do nothing except for supression fire for helicopter landing.
January 27, 2015 at 3:42 pm
Arming a helicopter with guns, mini guns and rockets does not make it overnight into a “gunship”. If it’s just a matter of weapons we might as well also try to mount napalm on them!! There are other factors involved in what constitutes a ‘gunship”: not just the weapons. Your “gunship” with mini guns, a gun pod and rocket pod will look great on Merdeka Day but will have little practical value.
I never said we don’t need rockets, just that rockets might not always be useful. For one, the baddies will not be moving around in battalion or regimental strength and the main problem will not be firepower but actually finding them!! You seem to overlook this. The use of Paveways was great as a psychological factor and to demonstrate government resolve but let’s face it; they were not needed.
Lee Yoke Meng says:
January 27, 2015 at 10:26 am
When i suggestwd getting hmg pods n rocket launchers the idea is to make rhe blackhawks into gunsgip capable helucopters. While the minigun would be side firing, the gun pods n rocket pods are forward firing. In fact if fited with a Flir n optical sights would be even better. We dont need rockets?. Well yes n no. Yes remember how the sulu ops were launched?. By smart bomb equipped f18 n hawks mk208 Bombing them with precision weapons. I am sure there must be a reason for that n yes they were in a defensive position which the infantry guessed would cause too much casualy or too difficult to assault. So instead of calling out the jets n using the more expensive smart bombs, using rocket n helis would be xheaper. Moreover, the presence of such weapons will not mean we are limited the helis tole to one tole only. It will in fact expand the versatility of these gelis as they can do transport n also as an attack platform. It would become the heli version of MRC A. Not good?. Of course no their acquisition would.not be too cost effective as the lukeligood of such weapons being used on a regular basis.is limited n only as a reaction to sulu invasions. But such armwd helis can be used as armed patrolling helis over thw sulu sea. An unarmwd heli can also do it but the deterrence value is limited
January 26, 2015 at 8:06 pm
Should be the nucleus of an Army Special Operations Aviation Squadron. If they are going to fit ESS, it should only be for fuel tanks and a refueling probe.
January 26, 2015 at 7:11 pm
We have a single External Support Stores System (the Americans have a penchant for such jargon) for use with our 2 S-70s, to carry a fuel tank.
Yes, it would be a weee bit embarrassing if the transfer is delayed due to delays in getting Yankee approval but I suspect that Brunei would have asked and received certain assurances before allowing us to publicly announce the transfer.
I think the US administration will give the assurance in the jiffy but the problem is that the final approval belongs to the US Congress. I am not saying that the US Congress will not approve the transfer but it could be held back simply due to scheduling issues. Our M4 sale was held up by almost a year simply to scheduling issues with Congress. Once the meeting was held, the sale was approved in the first meeting.
January 26, 2015 at 6:22 pm
The latest news is they will be transferred by September 2015 and probably be operated by PUTD.
Those blackhawks are quite new being used by brunei since 1999. Highly equipped compared to normal blackhawks, almost same equipment as us pave hawks with radar and flir turrets and capable to carry the stub wings with extra fuel tanks.
Engine, airframe and basic avionics is similar to australian S-70a blackhawks (Btw aussie blackhawks also able to use the stub wings and extra fuel tanks). Australian blackhawk phase out date is set at 2017.
The transfer date is still iffy as the US has not announced their agreement to the transfer and its not Obama’s signature but Congress.
January 26, 2015 at 6:22 pm
It has already been confirmed that mini guns will be fitted, as such there will be no need for HMGs. To me, the value of the very hungry and not very long legged mini guns will be to lay suppressive fire, not to turn the S-70s into ad hoc “gunships”. Fitting them with rockets will look great on Army Day and at LIMA but will also give the squadron something else to maintain and support, which equates to more cash being spent.
We also have to bear in mind that should Kiram’s men land again, they won’t make perfect targets for rockets as they won’t be moving around in larger groups or be operating from bunkers. The problem for us will not be a lack of fire power but finding and fixing the buggers!
January 26, 2015 at 5:42 pm
Never happen. It would be a reasonably extensive refurbishment to make them into anything resembling a useful gunship like the Arpia III or a DAP. After which you will not use it as a utility bird.
January 26, 2015 at 4:54 pm
“If we also buys hmg mountings n rockets for these blackhawks.”
First make a firm commitment to the type. We only have 4 and not sure how long they will serve with us.
January 26, 2015 at 1:42 pm
Aiiyah…..Even if we buy used gear, (canggih or otherwise) we will still be dependent on foreign OEMs for spares and technical support. What are you on about? If we want to fit something new on the S-70s we still need Sikorsky to issue an airworthiness certificate. We can take certain measures to reduce the dependency (e.g. depot level maintenance on various aircraft) but will still be reliant on others. Take the ammo that SME produces/assembles as an example: all the raw materials have to be imported – same applies almost everywhere.
Israel during its early days was forced to adapt because it had no choice. It had little cash, there were political issues and later the French placed and embargo on gear. Things only really changed after the 6 Day War. Singapore took a slightly different route to achieve self-sufficiency and to gain export sales. The only country that is totally self-dependent is Uncle Sam, nobody else, and even then Uncle Sam buys foreign when it has to.
Lee Yoke Meng says:
January 26, 2015 at 11:17 am
Well us3d or new these 4 helis definitely comes at the right time. It will ease the burden on our existinf old helis n add mobility to our troops. Also does patrolling better. Only a wish. If we also buys hmg mountings n rockets for these blackhawks. It will make these helis more potent n multitask
January 26, 2015 at 9:32 am
Hello…not used la. Reconditioned. See got inspection sticker, just like the Alphard.
The A109s have the retracting undercarriage which deos not survive hard impacts. That is why they offer a fixed arrangement for ‘rough’ usage. But then again the 109s were really never intended as anything other than zippy teksi for the brass. Damn those Sulus!
January 26, 2015 at 8:23 am
AM & Azlan,
You’re both correct. But I was not thinking of a physical force like the Franco-German Bde or Anglo-Dutch Amph Force, but more of the attitude that allows Aus and NZ personnel to routinely serve in other’s forces as instructors, unit officers; sub-units get attached on exercises and ops (NZ SAS), etc. There’s an implicit trust in each other’s intentions.
The basis is there: Brunei RMR was formed up in PD and IIRC at one time was commanded by a future MAF PAT (Ghazali Seth). There’s a good start in the Mindanao IMT and Unifil (and maybe some other UN op I’m not aware of). But of course politics drives everything more than anything else in this part of the world and the nascent democracy across the straits is a big factor in regional politics; in a generation or two, they might be *the* factor in our neck of the archipelago.
January 26, 2015 at 8:18 am
Another thing that I would like to see is secondment of some malaysian pilots and technicians to brunei to operate the 12 new S-70i helicopters.
This will create a strong working level bond between the services of both countries.
Secondment of malaysian personnel to brunei is nothing new. I know a few KAGAT personnel who were seconded to the royal brunei malay corps for many years.
And vice versa actually, Brunei soldiers are also part of Malaysian UNIFIL contingent. I disagree with your idea of seconding pilots and technicians to operate the S-70i. First of all we do not have the luxury of having too many pilots and technicians to allow them on long term training outside the system. Short term perhaps. Furthermore, we are not buying the S-70i any time soon.
January 26, 2015 at 1:29 am
The RMAFs immediate concern will be ensuring it has an adequate number if pilots, co-pilots and AQMs to operate and support the ex- Brunei helis. That will be the determining factor as to how soon the squadron can starts ops once all 4 are delivered. As I previously mentioned, the good news is that AIROD has some experience maintaining the type and that at least the RMAF has some experience operating it. I’m glad we’re getting the 4 helis. I’m all for getting used equipment- as long as it suits our requirements and not merely because it’s cheap and available.
On another note, not long after Brunei gained independence there was public mention of inviting it to join the FPDA. This never happened and I suspect that one reason was Brunei wanting to avoid “offending” Indonesia.
January 26, 2015 at 1:16 am
RedSot “hopefully these free gifts dont come with string attached… .cause in chinese context we dont want to owe anybody…..”
If anything, Brunei owes a number of countries- the UK, Australia, NZ, Singapore and us, for keeping Sukarno’s hordes out.
Ferret “the similarities are so uncannily close that ‘Brumal’ could be an analogue of Anzac.”
Going by the record in Asia, I don’t think anyone will make firm commitments to anyone until a common enemy makes it absolutely necessary. The comparison you made with world war circumstances is quite a stretch.
January 26, 2015 at 12:05 am
Rasa malu itu kerana kita berdegar-degar mengejar status negara maju tetapi dalam hal pertahanan masih negara ketiga
When we had the money we splurge on programs like ngpv kedah class fiasco trying to kill two birds with one stone. To me like somebody stated previously we should be looking at used stuff or ready stuff and able to upgrade or integrate them using local expertise. I believe israel and singapore took that route
Whats the point of buying such canggih assets if we are totally dependent on foreign expertise. Also with such small order books, our defence industry players cant do much…no continuity. Home grown expertise will leave coz it takes so long to realise the next project.
January 25, 2015 at 6:23 pm
I’ll echo Marhalim and Azlan.
Brunei GDP/capita: 38 000 USD
Malaysia ditto: 10 000 USD
Deal is very likely to get US approval in view of its ‘Asian pivot’ and GWOT. Maybe this will kick start a joint procurement programme between MAF and RBAF. Only trouble is, I can’t think of one at the moment — but wait, what about an MRAP? Something like Deftech’s AV4/RG34 would be useful for Unifil or Esscom duties.
I hope this gift is a precursor to an ‘Anzac’-like mentality between the two countires — the similarities are so uncannily close that ‘Brumal’ could be an analogue of Anzac. There’s a new ISIL-like group establishing itself in the BIMP-EAGA region according to media reports, and a group calling itself ‘Daulah Islamiah Nusantara’ will not be looking at national borders in its plans.
Its Elephant in the Room, actually, its not really about the situation in ESSZone which is still serious though. Brunei is an Islamic sultanate already.
January 25, 2015 at 2:28 pm
RedSot and Kerberos,
Poland paid a token sum of several Euro for the Luftwaffe MiGs.- it is a token, nothing more. By giving us helicopters that are redundant to its needs, Brunei benefits as these helicopters will be used in Sabah. As a close neighbour Brunei does not want to see any trouble in Sabah; that’s it’s ulterior motive or ‘catch’. Arms and equipment transfers are also part an parcel of one’s foreign policy, to improve ties – same reason why Australia gave us stuff (functional) in the past, why Canada gave us the first batch of Caribous and why we gave Indonesia Sabres, Thailand F-5Fs and East Timor HK-33s.
If Uncle Sam gave us F-16s would you be ‘malu’? Or what about helicopters from the UAE, another ‘smaller’ nation? Do you realise even the U.S. has had to get get pre-used stuff when it couldn’t source it elsewhere?
The transfer of any U.S. made equipment, even if it’s 5 M16-A1s and 5 Mack lorries, needs State Department approval. On certain pre- used gear the EU also imposes restrictions.
As for VVIP helis, as Marhalim said it’s not the actual type but the fittings…… It would make sense if the PMs Department transferred the 2 Blackhawks to the RMAF but that would mean no rotary VVIP assets left. The Bruneian helis might undergo inspections at AIROD, to change certain expired parts but it won’t undergo any modifications simply because the U.S. stuff on board is compatible with our existing stuff.
January 25, 2015 at 1:24 pm
1st batch Gempitas are deployed there together with MIFVs, if read between lines Adnans are back to Armoured Brigade.
Also 4 Agustas armed with gatling gun, are the mainstream media not briefed on the incoming S70A? Or it is just a deliberate act of misinformation?
They will be fitted to the Agustas as an interim measure. The Adnan had gone back to their units sometime back.
January 25, 2015 at 9:10 am
Thanks alot Brunei Darrulsalam..hopefully these free gifts dont come with string attached…malayland n brunei have got disputed land n sea boaders hopefully these gifts tak lah menjadi jari telunjuk lurus kelingking berkait onak hehe….sorry if it hurts lots of feeling its better be now rather regrets latter…even singapore at one time paid its gift for $1 to USA even when she could get it foc….cause in chinese context we dont want to owe anybody…..
January 25, 2015 at 5:53 am
Is this a free transfer or 2nd hand cheap sale? Hard to believe Brunei will just give functional equipments away for free. There is no free lunch in this reality, at least not between nations. “Free” gift usually came with a catch…
AFAIK its free transfer. They need to get rid of them anyway as they are getting 12 new S-70i Blackhawks.
January 25, 2015 at 12:52 am
Being a upper middle income nation with aspirations to become a developed nation economic-wise in 5 years time…a bit ironic and “rasa malu juga” to receive used defence equipment from a small nation
By right to be a developed nation we should be spending more on defence to assure investors that their assets are safe
Brunei may be smaller but its definitely richer. Beggars cannot be choosers…
January 25, 2015 at 12:01 am
S61 is good for US President but not appropriate for Agong?Fine, got the point.
As this heli is US-made, does the transfer needs US clearance? The transfer includes ground support equipment and spares, right? How about support from Sikorsky? I believe the earliest Blackhawk go into action is early 2016, maybe need 3-months depot time to reconfigure it to TUDM standard. BTW let wait and see how they paint Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia lettering on Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks VIP fittings are up to par with US Presidential S61s as does the AS-61N which I believed have been sold off. Yes the US need to clear the transfer thats why the timeline is September though it could be delayed if the US Congress schedule is not conducive. I am told its lock stock and barrel transfer as Brunei is standardising to the new S-70i which they bought 12.
Lee Yoke Meng says:
January 24, 2015 at 10:38 pm
Thank you Brunei. We are glad to get some free heli at a time when the threat faced by us are increasing but our economy is bad
January 24, 2015 at 8:44 pm
Actually, the VIP configured S-70As are needed more for VVIPs like the Agong, rather than for politicians. For ferrying the PM and DPM; Nuris are often used but for the Agong the Nuri would be considered inappropriate. Problem with using the S-70A for VIP taskings is that passengers are unable to stand whilst entering and exiting the cabin; unlike the case with the Nuri and AS-61Ns.
January 24, 2015 at 7:54 pm
All of us would prefer brand new but so what? We have a need for helicopters and just as important the S-70A is still supported by Sikorsky and depot level maintainance on the type has been performed by AIROD for more than a decade. I’m glad Brunei decided to give us S-70As rather than the Waspadas that went to Indonesia. Airbus Helicopters however won’t be too happy…
January 24, 2015 at 7:00 pm
IMHO those VIP “white” Blackhawks will remain in its role. VIP still need their rides. Election SWK months to go, surely Putrajaya’s VIP will need these choppers when they hit the campaign road.
January 24, 2015 at 6:47 pm
What “200k Sulu warriors” are you referring to?
Even if by some miracle they all decided to unite and come over; I doubt if the total number of fighters available to the MNLF, MNLF, BIFF and ASG totalled 200k (for one they would also need the U.S. Seventh Fleet to ferry them over). Also, although it is commonly believed that the vast majority are Sulu/Tausug, many are actually Bajau, Sama (the most famous being Nur Misuari) and from other ethnic groups.
January 24, 2015 at 6:04 pm
Well i dont mind being in the hibah receiver club,if it meant our fighting men have added advantage when facing the 200k plus sulu warriors.
January 24, 2015 at 5:43 pm
In that case maybe Najib should play golf more often with Obama…
January 24, 2015 at 4:53 pm
It is sad to see that we have to depend on other countries ‘used car’. Previously the word ‘hibah’ is common to the indonesia but now we are in the same club. Btw, is Kiowa a battle proven chopper? I rarely see the bird being televised during america war campaigns.
The Kiowa is the militarised version of the Jet Ranger. Yes it has been used extensively since the 1991 Gulf War
January 24, 2015 at 3:04 pm
I ve been told by my friend (putd pilot) that my will received 6 blackhawk from brunei + foc us kiowa that pm met
Obama in hawaii…
Cannot be six Blackhawks from Brunei, as they have only 4 S-70A Blackhawks. They are getting the 12 S-70i Blackhawks, the latest generation though. As for the Kiowas, it will be announced via DSCA, if its true.
January 24, 2015 at 2:37 pm
A pintle mounted GPMG will not hinder passengers rapidly getting in and out of the cabin as unlike the Nuri the A-109 has 2 sliding doors and it will depend on whether the mount is mounted centrally or to the side. Before anyone asks, due to weight issues it is unlikely that 2 GPMGs will be mounted as it will necessitate the need for a 4th crew member on board the A-109.
To me, the addition of door mounted guns on the A-109 is not to make it into a mini “gunship” but to enable suppressive fire, if contact is detected, whilst leaving or landing at a LZ or whilst the heli is conducting recce.
January 24, 2015 at 12:32 pm
On paper the ideal solution would be for the army to operate the S-70s;
S-70s being able to perform certain roles better than the A-109s. The
A -109s are decent birds but apart from not being as robust when compared to the Alo 3s, also have weight issues and issues when landing on soft ground (I won’t elaborate further).
The main problem however is that although the army might have the crews at hand, its present ground support infrastructure at present is not up to the task of supporting additional helicopters. A project paper has been written to prepare for the planned transfer of Nuris but much will depend on first expanding the current ground support infrastructure.
January 24, 2015 at 9:51 am
also possible RAAF S-70A, which retire from service on 2017, replace by NH90. but that heli 10 year more older than Brunei one leh….
same like Brunei, all already use more than 15 year, and mostly need SLEP or overhuall event S-70A gauge cockpit may have need to retrofit to new glass cockpit come with GPS and maps (if not wrong new is requirement).
anyway still a lot cheap to get new one for current limited budget。
January 24, 2015 at 9:34 am
IF AW109LUH install mini gun mostly will be come in DGP2300 gun pod so can mount in AW109LUH weapon poll. DGP2300 already start selling on 2014, cost each set DGP2300 is around usd 500K. cost for side mount around usd 300~350K, if AW109LUh mount in side door is too disturbing personal in and out, and too small space in AW109LUH.
January 24, 2015 at 8:48 am
This is a pleasant surprise — not being too many shades from dull, I didn’t get your hint Marhalim.
Just a short hop to TUDM Labuan and away we go. The more helis the merrier for Sabah/Sarawak.
Sorry you did not notice my hints. I thought it would been obvious with the door guns pictures. I have been chasing that story for a while now.
January 24, 2015 at 7:26 am
Im also wondering…
Would it be better now if:
The nuris to be maintained in the airforce, so all medium helicopter fleet is with TUDM.
The blackhawks operated by the army, + additional blackhawks added from Australian army surplus…
January 24, 2015 at 7:09 am
terima kasih brunei
January 23, 2015 at 10:44 pm
So those Black Hawks are going to TUDM? Or they will be under the Army Air Wing?
January 23, 2015 at 10:12 pm
Hopefully there will be surplus saudi eurofighter stock f.o.c for rmaf maybe?
January 23, 2015 at 9:59 pm
Kalau cerita pasal aussie blackhawks, the Australian navy 16 s-70b seahawks is being replaced by 24 new mh-60r seahawks so that too is available other than the Australian army blackhawks…
January 23, 2015 at 8:41 pm
Terima kasih brunei…
So this will be used by the rmaf? If im not mistaken the 2 vip blackhawks and the 2 vip silvers are previously operated by 10 skuadron Sungai besi. Now 10 skuadron is in kuantan I wonder what is the units operating those. And will the new blackhawks be operated by the same unit as the vip blackhawks and silvers? And will additional blackhawks added to increase the numbers?
The VIP Blackhawks are still under 10th Squadron. There is talk about Aussie Blackhawks once they are retired in favour of the NH90s…
January 23, 2015 at 7:49 pm
Mr Satay says:
January 23, 2015 at 7:40 pm
Thanks Brunei 🙂
January 23, 2015 at 7:29 pm
Ironic; if the industry rumours in the late1990’s that we tried to sell the 2
S-70As to Brunei were accurate!
By logic, ownership of the 2 S-70As should be transferred from the PMs Department to the RMAF, to add to the 4 former RBAF examples.