The naval air wing consist of two squadrons operating AS-555 Fennec 2 and Super Lynx 300 helicopters (photo : Militaryphotos)
Of the three helicopter fleets, the RMN’s Naval Air Wing has been the most frequently deployed in the past two years, particularly due to the services anti-piracy escort role in the Gulf of Aden.The Naval Air Wing consists of two squadrons of six helicopters each - No 501 with the AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 and No 502 with the Eurocopter AS-555 Eennec. No 502 also serves. as a training squadron for new pilots.
The RMN does not deploy its helicopters permanently on ships, instead assigning them as and when required. When not at sea, helicopters from both squadrons are based at the KD Rajawali Naval Air Station located within the Lumut naval base.
The Naval air wing has a standing requirement for additional ASW-capable helicopters, although these may not necessarily be more Super Lynxes (photo : Airliners)
Both helicopter types have been deployed aboard RMN ships tasked with escorting Malaysian shipping in the area, and on two occasions Fennecs have responded to distress calls and driven off attempted pirate attacks - the first on a Chinese merchant ship on 19 Decernber 2008 and the second on 1 January 2009 involving an Indian merchant vessel.
One of the RMN's Super Lynx helicopters reached a milestone of '1,000 flying hours in 2009, and the overall total flight time for the fleet since it entered service in 2004 stood at 5,365.75 hours in October, with 2,6591 hours listed as operational.
Lumut naval air base (image : googlemaps)
While the Fennecs are equipped with radar and a FLIR system, the helicopter's only weapons are door-mounted 7.62mm machine guns and the aircraft also lack the over-the horizon targeting capability of the Super Lynx.
In addition, while performing well operationally, the fact that the Fenner has skids instead of wheels has made it more susceptible to airframe stresses caused by deck landings.
In terms of procuring additional aircraft, funding again appears to be the issue,
although the RMN has indicated that it would like to obtain six more ASW-capable helicopters, and that these may not necessarily be additional Super Lynxes.
Ageing Air Force Fleet
S-61A-4 Nuri helicopter (photo : cavok-aviation)
Alor Setar, Malaysia (image : googlemaps)
EC-725 Cougar combat search and rescue (photo : Eurocopter)
In addition to it fleets of S-61A-4 Nuris, the RMAF also flies two Sikorsky S-70 helicopters for VIP transport duties (photo : Militaryphotos)
Current Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak stated at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aviation show in December 2009 that the acquisition would only go ahead when finances permitted, and that there was no timeframe for when the purchase should be made. However Jarnaluddin recently disclosed that the armed forces had made it a priority for the Nuri to be replaced by 2012-2013.