Malaysia is looking to lease helicopters to replace its fleet of grounded Sikorsky S-61 Sea King medium-lift transport helicopters.
Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu told the Malaysian parliament on 27 November that the ministry was expediting the leasing process, describing it as a stop-gap measure before the purchase of new helicopters.
Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) chief General Affendi Buang told Jane’s , “We will do a tender and conduct our evaluation based on cost and capabilities. Many companies are interested in the project.”
Gen Affendi said the RMAF is looking to lease eight helicopters using the funds allocated to operate the Sea Kings. He was unsure, however, how many platforms the Malaysian Army is looking to lease.
The RMAF operates around 12 Sea Kings designated Nuri, while the Malaysian Army’s air wing operates four with another 10 airframes in storage.
The fleet was grounded after one of the platforms made an emergency landing at an army camp near the Malaysian-Thai border in August. The air force later stated that the helicopter had suffered an unspecified technical fault.
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