skip to main content

LIMA 2023: Malaysian company to operate AW609 tiltrotor

The Leonardo tiltrotor AW609 can support various security-centric applications such as cargo carrier, special operations, personnel recovery, and ‘homeland security'. (Leonardo)

Weststar Aviation Services (Weststar), a Malaysian aviation company, has signed an agreement with Leonardo to operate a single AW609 tiltrotor helicopter in the country.

According to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) Exhibition 2023 on 24 May, Weststar will operate the aircraft under lease. LIMA is being held from 23 to 27 May in Langkawi, Malaysia.

Janes assesses this could potentially result in future security-related applications for the AW609 by Malaysia. Weststar has established a precedent of leasing its company helicopters to the Malaysian military.

A company spokesperson told Janes during LIMA that Weststar leased four Leonardo AW139s to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) in 2021. The leasing was intended to fill a capability gap left by the RMAF's retirement of its Nuri helicopters in 2020, according to information held by Janes .

“This initial batch of four AW139s will be followed by the potential leasing of additional AW139s to the RMAF by the end of 2023,” said the company spokesperson.

The spokesperson said that Weststar was considering the variability of the AW609 for Malaysian military service. “This will consider various factors such as cost of maintenance [and] transit costs,” the spokesperson added.

A Leonardo company spokesperson told Janes at the show that the agreement signed on 24 May at LIMA allows Weststar to join the maturity programme of the AW609 helicopter project.

“This phase of development comprises testing of flight capabilities, determining maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO)-related activities for the aircraft and its marketing potential,” the Leonardo spokesperson said.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...