04 Februari 2013
S-61A4 Nuri helicopter (photo :Goh Weiyang)
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Armed Forces is not planning to dispose of the 30 aging Sikorsky S-61A-4 Nuri helicopters which have served the Royal Air Force Malaysia Air Force (RMAF) for over 50 years.
Armed Forces chief Gen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin said it would be more economical and practical to refurbish the United States-made helicopters to assist the recently acquired EC725 Cougar helicopters.
He said Nuri services were still needed by the RMAF, particularly in utility tasks and aid missions despite taking delivery of 12 French-made EC725 Cougar helicopters by early next year.
"The Nuri helicopters are still good condition and they can beef up Cougar EC725 helicopters in utility operations. However, we need to upgrade their systems like the cockpit and several other parts," he told Bernama in an interview here.
Two of the Cougar EC725 helicopters, which were delivered on Dec 3 last year, were placed at the Kuantan Air Base, serving as training aircraft besides discharging their main functions - strengthening search and rescue, transportation and utility operations.
"Some of the Nuri helicopters will be deployed for the army," he added.
Zulkifeli said the procurement of EC725 Cougar helicopters was aimed at enhancing air surveillance and aid missions.
He said in an effort to further strengthen the country's airspace, the armed forces was planning to acquire several multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) and Airbus 400M aircraft, depending on the country's financial position.
"For the time being, the armed forces is evaluating four MRCA to cater for RMAF needs, namely Gripen from of Sweden, F/A-18E Super Hornet from the United States, Rafale from Syarikat Dassault, and Eurofighter Typhoon from Britain," he said, adding that the analysis would be presented to the government once it is concluded.