EC725 medium helicopter (photo : NS Shah, Bernama)
SUBANG JAYA: Malaysia will become Asia-Pacific's training hub for helicopter pilots and crew, with the setting up of a regional simulator centre here in January 2013.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the simulator centre, which is a joint venture by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) and Boustead Heavy Industry Corporation, would act as a training centre for EC225/725 copters as well as a helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul centre.
"Southeast Asia's helicopter market is one of the fastest growing and Malaysia is well placed to meet demands for this dynamic growth through comprehensive cooperation projects with various companies," said Dr Ahmad Zahid.
The minister was at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah airport where he received the first two of 12 EC725 medium-lift helicopters for the Royal Malaysian Air Force.
The 12 helicopters, with a price tag of RM2.3bil, will be used for search and rescue operations, troop transport and utility missions.
He said the copters, by the French Eurocopter Group, would compliment and eventually replace the 20 aging Sikorsky S-61A-4 Nuri helicopters bought in 1968.