RMN To Wet Lease Two Helicopters

Airbus H135. C.Keller. Airbus

SHAH ALAM: RMN to wet lease two helicopters. RMN is looking to get two helicopters on a wet lease for Ops Benteng, the operation aimed at preventing the entry of illegal immigrants amid the Covid 19 pandemic. The request for bids was issued on July 10 and ends on July 20.

Based on the publicly available details of the RFB, the two helicopters will be contracted for 120 hours each, at least. As the helicopters are wet leased, the supplier will need to have three crews for each helicopters, one pilot and an engineer as well as two load masters. Based on the above I am assuming that no RMN personnel will be flying with the helicopters.

PASKAL operators trained for maritime demonstration with Super Lynx helicopter. RMN

The helicopters will likely be controlled by the nearest RMN unit. For example, if one is based in Langkawi, its routine flying operations will be under the control of the RMN base there. It is likely that the RMN Air Wing – with only six Leonardo Lynx and six Airbus Fennec – are unable to meet the commitments of Ops Benteng daily operations, hence the need to hire commercial helicopters from private operators.
RMN Fennec M502-04 fitted with a GPMG.

The decision to wet lease helicopters for the operations means that Ops Benteng – which is commanded by RMN Western Fleet commander Vice-Admiral Datuk Aris Adi Tan Abdullah – is not expected to end soon. The commitments to the operation is one of the reasons the Armed Forces was not keen to have LIMA 21 next year. Aris had previously told the media that the National Task Force set up for Ops Benteng needed more assets especially maritime ones to curb smuggling of illegal immigrants and cross-border crime.
Weststar Aviation Leonardo AW139. Picture used for illustration only. Weststar

I am assuming the bidders will be offering twin engine helicopters as it is likely that the aircraft selected will be flying over the seas most of the time. Anyhow I am still trying to find out what happened to the maritime utility helicopter tender issued last year.

— Malaysian Defence

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33 Comments

  1. Ops benteng should actually be our normal day to day maritime security activity, not a special ops like it is right now.

    Just shows how thinly spread our forces are even to cover what should be our normal peacetime maritime security operations.

    120 hours is probably to cover vertical replenishment needs for the rest of the year. For tldm MUH, no need to go for high specs, used commercial AS332L super puma or AW139 would do. Additional 2-3 civilian AS355 to add to the 6 fennecs would also be helpful to reduce the strain on the fennec fleet for things like paskal support, and utility roles. Then there is also the recently announced need for 2 ASW helicopters for RMK12. I think 2 is too little, i would prefer 4 converted super lynxs, with 2 converted from existing super lynxes and additional 2 used and converted to the same standards as our super lynx plus the asw equipment. Indonesia is using dauphins as their asw heli, while the Philippines thr wildcat, with stretched budgets i dont think we could afford ASW seahawks, NH90 or Merlins.

  2. I kinda believed that maritime utility heli tender that out last year already cancelled..its a shame considering the fund for them if im not mistaken was already approved along with fic..

  3. Yeah medium transport helis for putd if they were to carry out the main transport duty with support from rmaf..For RMAF’s Nuri replacement lets just get s70i like the philliphines..I kinda learned from some admin in military facebook page that RMAF need about 30-40 helis to operate smoothly with 20-30 for putd..

  4. @ Firdaus

    If we want to just maintain the capability provided by our Nuris, you don’t need 30-40 helis with TUDM and 20-30 with PUTD.

    IMO minimum requirement to cover the capability lost by the Nuri retirement would be:

    18x EC725/EC225LP with TUDM

    18-24x S-70A9 Blackhawk ex Aus Army for PUTD

    also with the 5x MUH for TLDM.

    Why used Blackhawks? For one, there are a lot of items that we need to upgrade for our army, and spending too much on helicopters will mean less budget for other things. Another is that in 10-15 years time, other vertical lift capability is being developed. Things like the Bell Valor which is planned to have the same price as a new Blackhawk (unlike the uber expensive MV-22 Ospreys). The Blackhawks should just be a stopgap until 2035-2040, when we could replace them with one of those futuristic vertical lift aircrafts. Getting brand new blackhawks now will mean needing to use them till around 2050-2060.

    http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48938012638_fa62fde1f8_h.jpg

    http://pbs.twimg.com/media/DxpXrkDVAAEmiNP.jpg

    http://i.pinimg.com/originals/0d/3f/aa/0d3faa0e0cefdb9160d61ca9d6cb5c4a.jpg

    http://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48938012473_61549d33f4_h.jpg

    http://www.helicopassion.com/images/WBL/WBL330/V280_15h.jpg

    http://www.helicopassion.com/images/WBL/WBL330/V280_16h.jpg

  5. U really loves used item huh? Sure lets us get all used item in the market and save tremendously..i guess we dont really need to increase defence budget if we only want to add used items..why dont we try to get used freedom and independence frigates from the us

  6. 18-24 used blackhawks kinda make 20-30 requirement for putd valid though..and if we indeed gonna transfer main transport duty to putd then i guess used blackhawks not gonna cut it..and another thing is caracal will cost a fortune to buy too..

  7. @ firdaus

    I dont love used. I want a lot of brand new things for our military too. You need to consider all the things that you need to get. We still need to increase our defence budget as even used items will not be affordable within our small current budget.

    I am really trying to think like a defence minister, looking at the overall defence picture to 2030. This is what my plan roughly look like
    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/oz-prepares-for-post-covid-world/#comment-429849

    I want a lot of brand new stuff for the army. I want more AV8 Gempita, J-LTVs, HMPVs, new 105mm, 155mm and 155mm SPH Howitzers. Cyber warfare capability, electronic attack capability, latest VERA NG, new anti tank and anti aircraft missiles, JERNAS replacement, more armoured jeeps etc. etc.

    I am also thinking about 20-30 years into the future, where i want our army to have the best capability for the time. I want in 2040 for our army to be flying Bell Valors, not ancient Blackhawks. Getting used blackhawks now would have zero difference in capability compared to a brand new one. To have new helicopter in 2040, we need to have worn out helicopter to replace at that time. Having young 15 year old blackhawks is not a good reason to get brand new Bell Valors for the army in 2040. Having worn out secondhand blackhawks on the other hand, would be a good excuse for a brand new vertical lift aircraft.

  8. We dont need to actually buy additional helicopter to Caracal specs.

    We just need 6 more EC225LP to add to the existing EC725 fleet to have 18 helicopters in tudm fleet.

    You dont need super high spec helicopter to haul cargo, transport people, do mercy flights etc. Even french navy and air force are using EC225LP for their missions, not everything needs to be Caracal spec.

    This is french navy civilian spec EC225LP
    http://farm1.staticflickr.com/765/21053904692_a7659125ec_z.jpg

  9. Ooh excuse..that old nuri not enough to be an excuse to get a new heli? Replacing old already retired nuri with some used helis looks like a smart move..not..tbh i dont really expect our army to fly fancy aircraft like valor in the future..bare minumum new aircrafts and helis is good enough for me

  10. @ firdaus

    Right now you are playing chess by just planning your next move. I am planning for the next 10 moves ahead.

  11. @Firdaus
    For utility use, we don’t need militarised choppers. For the short to medium term, we have no choice but to lease civie choppers, repurpose our VIP Blackhawks or going back to buying the used 4 Brunei choppers.

    IMHO the long term, the civie S70 are just perfect and isn’t too expensive to buy off the shelf (USD$13mil each), and best of all, we can staggered buy 6-8 per year to build up the fleet for next 10 years (Boeing are making a big push to civie market so it will be around for quite some time), we don’t have to relearn everything, we can keep the same maint done locally as our VIP Blackhawks, the civie chopper are devoid of any US restricted tech (so no hiccups from Congress), and we can appease USA trade imbalance. Also we tend to keep our choppers in use for a very long time (Nuri), so going for newly made well-proven S series is a no brainer in terms of cost, operations, and longevity (like a Toyota).

  12. Firdaus – “ operate smoothly with 20-30 for putd.”

    It will be interesting to know how many airframes the army”s long term requirements call for? 2-3 squadron’s worth perhaps?

    What’s for certain is that for the foreseeable future the army at most can absorb a squadron’s worth; anything more than than that would require additional manpower and a ground support infrastructure.

    The RMN is course had previously leased a pair of Ecurials prior to getting its own helos.

  13. Maybe 20-30 requirements for putd includes all type of heli including existing aw109 and soon to receive md530g..That leave only 14 transport helis more for putd which is achievable..

  14. @ joe

    ” Also we tend to keep our choppers in use for a very long time (Nuri) ”

    Exactly why i dont want to get a new Blackhawk now for the nuri replacement!

    I dont want in 2045 PUTD is still flying Blackhawks when others are flying futuristic vertical lift platforms.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Long-Range_Assault_Aircraft

    http://www.army.mil/article/233782/peo_aviation_announces_future_long_range_assault_aircraft_awards

    @ azlan

    Right now PUTD by itself can easily absorb a Squadron of Nuri replacements. Infrastructure, and manpower for a 2nd squadron can be taken from TUDM 3 Skn and 7 Skn that was flying the Nuri. For example PUTD could take over 7 Skn facilities in Kuching to house a new PUTD squadron for east malaysia. So there is not a big issue that i can see, as we are just replacing an existing capability, not increasing it.

    Getting the S-70A9 Blackhawks from Australian Army is a quick solution to the Nuri predicament. We dont have much budget now to get a new helicopter anyway, and i hope that we can get a much more advanced design at around the same cost of a new helicopter now in 2035-2040.

  15. @ joe

    ” Also we tend to keep our choppers in use for a very long time (Nuri) ”

    Exactly why i dont want to get a new Blackhawk now for the nuri replacement!

    I dont want in 2045 PUTD is still flying Blackhawks when others are flying futuristic vertical lift platforms.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Long-Range_Assault_Aircraft

    http://www.army.mil/article/233782/peo_aviation_announces_future_long_range_assault_aircraft_awards

    @ azlan

    Right now PUTD by itself can easily absorb a Squadron of Nuri replacements. Infrastructure, and manpower for a 2nd squadron can be taken from TUDM 3 Skn and 7 Skn that was flying the Nuri. For example PUTD could take over 7 Skn facilities in Kuching to house a new PUTD squadron for east malaysia. So there is not a big issue that i can see, as we are just replacing an existing capability, not increasing it.

    Getting the S-70A9 Blackhawks from Australian Army is a quick solution to the Nuri predicament. We dont have much budget now to get a new helicopter anyway, and i hope that we can get a much more advanced design at around the same cost of a new helicopter now in 2035-2040.

  16. @ joe

    ” Also we tend to keep our choppers in use for a very long time (Nuri) ”

    Exactly why i dont want to get a new Blackhawk now for the nuri replacement!

    I dont want in 2045 PUTD is still flying Blackhawks when others are flying futuristic vertical lift platforms.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Long-Range_Assault_Aircraft

    http://www.army.mil/article/233782/peo_aviation_announces_future_long_range_assault_aircraft_awards

    @ azlan

    Right now PUTD by itself can easily absorb a Squadron of Nuri replacements. Infrastructure, and manpower for a 2nd squadron can be taken from TUDM 3 Skn and 7 Skn that was flying the Nuri. For example PUTD could take over 7 Skn facilities in Kuching to house a new PUTD squadron for east malaysia. So there is not a big issue that i can see, as we are just replacing an existing capability, not increasing it.

    Getting the S-70A9 Blackhawks from Australian Army is a quick solution to the Nuri predicament. We dont have much budget now to get a new helicopter anyway, and i hope that we can get a much more advanced design at around the same cost of a new helicopter now in 2035-2040.

    Breaking news!

    UK is joining the US Army FVL effort
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/defence-minister-and-head-of-the-us-army-sign-modernisation-agreement?utm_source=8a697423-305f-462e-8326-e0a6dd3be63c&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

  17. @…
    Sorry that I am still not buying the tiltrotor concept and I think a many countries the same, seeing that only USMC are the only big users currently and foreseeable only USN the next big one. To me, the chopper is something not broken so why fix it. We don’t need the higher operating speeds of tiltrotors and certainly not their larger footprint nor the highly complex tilt mechanism. With the apathy in our maint level, you think we got the capability & commitment to keep their uptime sufficiently available? Highly unlikely, we can’t even keep the far simpler Nuris available.

    As for used, let me go back to my Toyota analogy. If there is a used unit, well kept and underutilised, only used by a school teacher (like Kuwait Hornets), sure go ahead and buy it because unlikely there will be problems. But if the vehicle was high mileage, highly modded, and spend every weekend stressed on touge roads, I would think twice to buy it; even if its a Toyota.

  18. @ joe

    You are not buying the concept because you cannot see what others are planning in the future.

    US Army is planning to field them as Blackhawk replacement by 2030.

    UK yesterday joined the US Army FVL programme
    http://www.gov.uk/government/news/defence-minister-and-head-of-the-us-army-sign-modernisation-agreement

    These are planned to have a 550kph top speed, and around 3,000km range. Current helicopters around have half of those numbers.

    While many mocked my plan for used stuff, i know where to put my priorities. Using used or brand new blackhawks right now does not differ much in capability. But 15 year old blackhawks will be severely outmatched by the bell valor in 2035-2040.

  19. @…
    I really do like your optimism that our defence budget won’t get cut, will constantly get increases, that our economy will never suffer a setback for the next 10 year even after this year’s setback that never happened, and that our currency will be strong to support buying the good Western stuff and having sufficient OPEX to run & maint these highly complex and advanced equipment, and that rakyat don’t mind the Government spending all that money because they are happy & well taken cared.

    History paved the way forward, and looking back the past 10-20 years, I can’t say that I share your optimism.

  20. Get 12 blachakws for RMAF to support limited transport duty which will be lead by PUTD..Deploy existing EC275 as CSAR/MedEvac..And get 12-14 Super Puma/Puma for PUTD as they will be the main transporter in the future..although not really viable for us and not really proven yet i personally like new Mi38t.. looks like a merlin at the first glance

  21. Joe .. “Sorry that I am still not buying the tiltrotor concept …”

    I think it would be cool if we could pick up commandoes from their camps in Lumut, Mersing etc and fly them direct to their operational area in east Sabah. A tiltrotor will allow us to do that.

  22. @Zulkhairi Ghazali
    Are you sure about that? The combat radius planned for FVL is 400+km while Blackhawk combat range is nearly 600km. Payload for both is near identical with 12/11 laden troops + 4 crew. The main obvious benefit is FVL far higher speeds(430kmph) vs BH(290kmph).

  23. @ joe

    http://www.bellflight.com/products/bell-v-280#sectionSpecs

    The V-280 is reported to be designed for a cruising speed of 280 knots (320 mph; 520 km/h) (hence the name V-280),[41] a top speed of 300 knots (350 mph; 560 km/h), a range of 2,100 nautical miles (2,400 mi; 3,900 km), and an effective combat range of 500 to 800 nmi (580 to 920 mi; 930 to 1,480 km). Expected maximum takeoff weight is around 30,000 pounds (14,000 kg). The V-280 will have a crew of four and be capable of transporting up to 14 troops. Dual cargo hooks will give it a lift capacity to carry a 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) M777A2 155mm Howitzer while flying at a speed of 150 knots (170 mph; 280 km/h).

    General characteristics
    Crew: 4
    Capacity: 14 troops
    Length: 50.5 ft (15.4 m)
    Width: 81.79 ft (24.93 m)
    Height: 23 ft 0 in (7 m)
    Empty weight: 33,069 lb (15,000 kg)
    Max takeoff weight: 57,320 lb (26,000 kg)
    Powerplant: 2 × General Electric T64 turboshaft
    Propellers: 35 ft 0 in (10.7 m) diameter

    Performance
    Cruise speed: 320 mph (520 km/h, 280 kn)
    Combat range: 580–920 mi (930–1,480 km, 500–800 nmi)
    Ferry range: 2,400 mi (3,900 km, 2,100 nmi)
    Service ceiling: 6,000 ft (1,800 m) ; in hover out of ground effect at 95 °F (35 °C)
    Disk loading: 16[52] lb/sq ft (78 kg/m2)

  24. I’ll throw my money to @… for his helicopter plans.

    If indeed the end goal is to get VFL, the used helis are the way to go for PUTD right now.

    Even if we ended up not getting a VFL in the next 15 years or so, new and improved heli models would be available a the time and a 15 y/o used heli should and must be retired by then.

    Saving the money on used helis to spend more on more optics for small arms, more AV8 gempita, more ATGM, and more howitzers/SPH etc. so that by 2030-2040 TDM will be more capable than it could had been compared to if they spend on billions for new heli right now. Again we can get new heli after we got other things first. So used heli for stopgap measure might be the wisest choice for PUTD right now.

    For RMN and RMAF MUH, I’ll go for new helis right now either military or civilian specs.

  25. @…
    I am quoting the requirements of FVL program. The Valor figures are promising indeed to set a baseline for others bidders to match and exceed. Still is overkill for our current and projected needs as I don’t think it could fit into LCS hangar atm (not sure if the wings can rotate like Osprey).

  26. @Luqman
    “Again we can get new heli after we got other things first.”
    That is the problem with our chopper fleet. They are the workhorses of our Forces and yet being undistinguished their importance never gets noticed and everytime proposals to upgrade them or replace them always gets shelved because “we can prioritise something else first”, meanwhile HADR(East Coast yearly flooding) & mercy missions are done quite frequently. That is how our Nuri became blocked obsolescent and suddenly a big chunk of chopper availability is no more.

    Well proven choppers aren’t expensive to buy new and we can use them for a long time (provided we upgrade them on schedule). Unlike MRCA or LCS, we don’t have to get the latest tech for a general use utility chopper so a well proven of the shelf design is the way to go imho.

  27. Modifications and upgrades that can be done to used Blackhawks

    http://www.aerometals.aero/pdf/H-60_S-70_IBF_Brochure_2018.pdf

    http://robertsonfuelsystems.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/H-60-CAFS-Web.pdf

    http://cfdintl.com/static/docs/CFD_EGMS.pdf

    http://www.moog.com/content/dam/moog/literature/Space_Defense/Defense_Literature/Moog-UH60BlackHawk-Datasheet.pdf

    http://www.sncorp.com/media/2448/ims_sierra-force-product-sheet_2-28-18new.pdf

    http://aerospace.honeywell.com/content/dam/aero/en-us/documents/learn/platforms/defense/defense/brochures/N61-2135-000-000_UH60_Platform_Support_v3-br.pdf

    http://www.collinsaerospace.com/-/media/project/collinsaerospace/collinsaerospace-website/product-assets/files/public/products/product-brochures/integrated-systems/flight-deck/black-hawk-common-avionics-architecture-system-brochure.pdf

    http://utcaerospacesystems.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Health-and-Usage-Management-Systems-HUMS.pdf

    http://simplex.aero/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Model-370i-Blackhawk-UH-60-L-Series-S-70i-S-70A-Fire-Attack-Brochure-1.pdf

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