SHAH ALAM: Tender for MECU, multi engine, aircrew conversion aircraft. The Defence Ministry has issued a tender for multi engine, conversion unit (MECU) aircraft for pilot training on behalf of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF). The tender was published on July 5, 2019 and ends on Aug. 1. 20191.
The MECU programme is conducted by the Tactical Transport Flight Training Centre (PLTT) based at the Subang airbase.
Since 2013, the centre had used two Beechcraft Super King 350i twin turboprop aircraft leased from Aerotree Defence & Services Sdn Bhd, designated M101-01 and M101-02.
The company received a five year, RM41.6 million contract in 2012 which likely ended in late 2017 or early 2018. The company continue to provide the services from August to December, 2018 based on the Finance Ministry’s archives of tender results.
For the month of August, 2018, Aerotree was paid RM758,619.92; Sept. 2018 RM815,889.94 and for the months of October to December, 2018, the contract price was RM2,680,069.82.
It is conceivable the contract for MECU with Aerotree had been renewed on a month-to-month basis until the end of 2018, to ensure that RMAF trainee pilots already undergoing the conversion course in 2017/2018 would be able to complete the program.
A sudden termination of the training program to wait for a new contract would likely endanger the RMAF pilot pipeline for the transport squadrons involving the C130, CN-235 and even the A400M.
It is likely the tender for the MECU program was only issued early this month, after the ministry agreed to continue using leased aircraft for MECU. It was likely negotiations for an extension of the contract with Aerotree was already underway before the contract ended but this was scuppered following the results of the general elections. The present government has stated that it prefers open competition for all contracts.
I am guessing that Aerotree will be the most suitable to continue with the programme as it already have the two aircraft available but as the current government’s policy for an open competition for all contracts, the Defence Ministry has no other option but to open it for other companies as well.
Perhaps the open competition will get RMAF the same training capabilities, albeit at a cheaper cost than the previous contract.
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