The Nuri Tender Replacement is OPEN

KUALA LUMPUR: Kementerian Pertahanan today opened the tender for the Nuri replacement programme. It is an INTERNATIONAL TENDER. Since it is an International Tender, we hope when they signed the tender it is with an international company, not some unknown SDN BHD company, which actually signed the deal.

No. Tawaran : 72/2007

Tarikh Iklan : 06 Nov 2007

Bil. No. Tawaran
Tarikh Tutup


KP(PERO 3)F/T 521/2007



For The Supply And Delivery Of Twelve (12) Units Of Utility Helicopters With Search And Rescue (SAR) Capability, Spares, Tools, Test Equipment, Publications, Training And Technical Services To The Government Of Malaysia(International Tender)

Note that there is the normal on top of this box at the Mindef website:

Tender adalah dipelawa kepada kontraktor-kontraktor yang berdaftar dengan Kementerian

Kewangan dalam kelas dan jenis pendaftaran yang berkaitan dan yang masih dibenarkan

membuat tawaran buat masa ini bagi kerja/bekalan berikut :-


Does this means a local company could also tender on behalf of the international tenderers? I will try to find out. Note the tender mentioned CSAR helicopter which would mean that the Mi-17 would not be eligible for this tender unless the manufacturer is doing something about it at this very moment.


The number is 12 and if we go with the list price for the AW101 (around USD60 million) , the contract it will be worth around USD1.2 billion (around RM3.4 billion). Anyhow with training, spares and technicals included in the tender, it will be difficult to determine correctly the fly-away price for each helicopters. A good way to hide markups I would say.


Which helicopters will be offered? Malaysian Defence would dare to say the usual suspects: AW101,NH90,EC725, Chinook,Sikorsky S92 and the Mi-17.


The winner? Based on Malaysian Defence poll and personal preference, the AW101 of course. But based on cost alone it will be a close fight between the AW101, EC725 and the NH90.


Based on current delivery performance and technical maturity it will be between the AW101 and theEC725.


Who knows, just wait for the announcement, next year, in April, I believe.




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About Marhalim Abas 2146 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Hi,

    Nice Blog.

    FYI There is a CSAR variant of Mi-17. Check:

    but if you read the tender carefully, it talks about SAR not CSAR. There is a difference in the two. CSAR being much more challenging and requiring a much more sophisticated (and expensive) helicopter.

    So the tender is for a utility helicopter with SAR capability. A simple helicopter such as a Mi-17V5 or Mi-171Sh should be good enough for the job.

  2. My mistake about the SAR and not CSAR! These old eyes! Anyway, it is interesting to note that the Indian Army and Air Force had rejected an MI-17 ( I do not know the specs) version floated by Hindustan Aircraft Limited and Kazan Helicopters for almost the same roles as specified in the tender by Mindef.

    I checked the link, it appears to be brand new with untested black boxes on a mature airframe. Not something we wanted really since the new helicopters are supposed to be operational within three years. Of course, miracles do happen here!

    I will find out whether CSAR will be one of the roles for the new helicopter but since Nuri also performed the same role, whether or not its replacement will or will not do it its just academic.

    Personally, to me, judging by the tender announcement, I believe by leaving the word CSAR in the announcement (I have not seen the tender document itself, so it could be inserted in the document) is just a clever way to place the M-17 into the tender. With some royalty pushing the Russian helicopter, it will certainly make for an interesting exercise.

  3. Note what Najib said in an earlier Bernama report on the matter. He said the helicopter “akan memenuhi kriteria seperti helikopter jenis utiliti dan mempunyai sedikit kemampuan untuk operasi mencari dan menyelamat”.

    Note “sedikit”. So Mindef is looking for a utility helicopter which has “some” SAR ability. In other words, a true Nuri replacement. Not a high-end CSAR helicopter.

    The numbers being tendered for (a dozen) is also an indication. TUDM doesnt need 12 CSAR helicopters. Nor can it afford that many. Even the French air force has only 6 CSAR helicopters!

  4. CSAR is a subjective word. Even the US uses its Pave Lows for SAR. It is called CSAR once the mission moves into a combat zone and equipped with para-rescue men and a Spec Ops fire team.

    Of course for CSAR duties, active and passive defence are essential. A helicopter with TFR, FLIR, DAS suite and 24hr capability would only needed to be armed to perform CSAR plus a squad of mean commandos. Package together should be a few fighters for AAW and CAS.

    I had previously mentioned 12 CSAR helicopters due to our geographical location, peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak. Six over here and six over there. And the six is not operated from one base> If you noticed in peninsula there is three main AB while in Sabah (one plus two field air bases) and Sarawak (one and two field air bases).

    We could go cheap by having six CSAR capable helicopters to cover both sides of Malaysia but thats leaving it too thin, I believe. These helicopters will also be available for the army and navy of course, and also the civil authorities.

    Two available within five minutes and another two within 30 minutes. As for the other two, one is in service while th e sixth for training. The helicopters are also meant for Spec Ops operations.

    As the utility roles will be taken over by the Air Wing, a dozen CSAR helos for the RMAF maybe too costly, as you mentioned even France, has only six, but it is, I believe the minimum amount for RMAF considering the current ops tempo

    The number for this tender, is not the last word for our helicopter fleet as the Air Wing might be given one or two to start up on their medium lift capability. When more money available, more helicopters are needed.

    My calculations, bearing in mind Army Air Wing desire to have Air Mobility Brigade, is 60.

  5. Agree that given the our georaphical situation and location of active air-bases we will need a minimum of 12 SAR capable helos. but not all need to be CSAR capable. The exacting requirements on equipment fit for these will ballon the cost. I think it will be a wise move to have a mix and match proposal from manufacturers. 4-6 may be all we need to with CSAR capability with balance with some level of limited SAR capabality (FLIR/winches etc. an minus self protection systems etc.)

  6. I am also very concern about the cost issue. To me the only way to get through this issue is to purchase eight light twins (four configured for CSAR) and four more medium helos configured for CSAR/Spec Ops).

    Basically each sqn (one in peninsula has six helos (four twins/2 mediums and the same for sabah/sarawak). It is not an ideal solution, two platforms and two sets of pilots, enigneers,tech and support infrastructure, it is cost mandated (short term) I cannot quantify whether it is a cost saving solution in the long run.

    I am reading up from various sources, book, magazines and internet, to make up my mind on the best solution for our Nuri replacement programme. All I can say at the moment, it will not be pretty and even running counter to my previous thinking but that is why we have the comments section, so through interaction, we stimulate our minds and perhaps make a right conclusion.

    It wont matter in the final analysis (since we cannot control the powers that be) at least we know even in our limited capacity we had done something…

  7. Please, no split purchase! Its bad for training and logistics.

    Just buy 12 new medium helicopters of the same type. Fit as many of them with decent SAR kits. Retire a similar number of Nuris.

    In the next Malaysia Plan, buy another two dozen or so of the same type. Some for the Army air wing for the air assault squadron and some to the Navy for the MRSS. The rest go to the air force, replacing the remaining Nuris.

    36 or so medium utility helicopters of the same type will be able to soldier on for many decades. Because of commonality, it is a force that will be easy to maintain and sustain. Just like the Nuris.

  8. If we consider the light/medium lift combo mix then (provided the maths work out) there are quite a few options but most likely it will be advisable to procure both types from same manufacturer. One combo that comes to mind is AS 565 (Panther)/EC 625/725 (Cougar) combo mix. This will be a 4ton +/10 ton + plus combination. Both types are employed by various air arms in the world for SAR/CSAR roles very successfully. Also I believe I read some where that the Malaysian Maritime agency has purchased a few AS 565 already. Also the Cougar/Super Puma airframe is used extensively in SEA region by a few operators to provide air logistics to oil rigs etc.

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