Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Indonesia unveils new indigenous medium altitude, long endurance UAV

The new Elang Hitam UAV from Indonesia. Photo c/o Jakarta Post.

Indonesian state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) has unveiled a new indigenous medium altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (MALE UAV) during ceremonies held in PTDI's facility in Bandung on 30 December 2019.

The new UAV, which will be called the Elang Hitam (Black Eagle), is currently the largest UAV produced by Indonesia. The new UAV was built by PTDI in collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MOD), Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU), PT LEN Industry, and other agencies. The National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) is also set to join the consortium by 2020.

The Elang Hitam UAV is expected to conduct its first flight by 2020, and become operational with the TNI-AU by 2024.

The UAV is 8.65 meters long, can fly to an altitude of up to 20,000 feet, and reach a maximum speed of 235 kilometers per hour, carry a maximum payload of up to 300 kilograms, and have an endurance of up to 30 hours.

PTDI also plan to have armed versions of the UAV, similar to the new Chinese-made CH-4 unmanned aerial combat vehicles (UCAV) that TNI-AU acquires recently to equip 2 UAV squadrons.

[1] Jakarta Post
[2] Tempo.co

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Philippines receives offshore patrol vessel from French shipbuilder

The future BRP Gabriela Silang during sea trials. Photo c/o OCEA.

French shipbuilder OCEA has turned-over an offshore patrol vessel to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

The ship, the future BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301), was turned-over to the PCG on 18 December 2019 in simple ceremonies held in France.

It would be then travelling to the Philippines, leaving France before year end and is expected to arrive in the Philippines by February 2020. Commissioning with the PCG is expected to happen soon after.

The ship is based from OCEA's OPV-270 design and is considered as the largest aluminium-hulled vessel in the world, and is expected to be the PCG's newest flagship and largest patrol vessel.

It will have a crew of 40 officers and sailors, an endurance of up to 5 weeks and a maximum range of 8,000nautical miles at 12 knots. lt is powered by a diesel-electric propulsion systerm that alows a
maximum speed of 22 knots. It also has a helideck and hangar for a 5-ton class helicopter.

The ship is also equipped with a telescopic davit to launch two 9.2-meter rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB), and will have spaces for castaways, offenders, wounded, divers, and special forces.

[1] Naval News
[2] Mer et Marine

Friday, December 27, 2019

Indonesia laid down hull of 5th and 6th Sampari-class fast attack crafts

A KCR-60M Sampari-class FAC of the Indonesian Navy.

Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL has laid down the fifth and sixth Sampari-class (KCR-60M) missile-capable fast attack crafts intended for the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL).

The event was held on 20 December 2019 at PT PAL's shipyard in Surabaya, Indonesia. 

The same boats had their first steel cutting last August 2019, and are expected to be completed by mid 2020.

Reaching laying stage was considered as reaching 30% of the construction phase, and PT PAL reported that they are faster in reaching the stage compared to the construction of earlier ships of the class.

The Sampari-class fast attack craft has an overall length of 59.8 meters, a beam of 8.1 meters, and a hull draught of 2.6 meters. Propelled by two MTU 20V 4000 M73L diesel engines, it can reach a maximum speed of 28 knots, and has a maximum range of 2,400 nautical miles at 20 knots.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

South Korea receives first RQ-4 Global Hawk long range surveillance UAV

The RQ-4 Global Hawk HALE UAV, this example with the US Air Force.

The South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed that the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) received the first of four Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on 23 December 2019.

South Korean media outlets quoted a MND spokesperson saying that the American-made Global Hawk UAV arrived at Sacheon Air Base in South Gyeongsang Province.

The three (3) remaining platforms are expected to be delivered in first half of 2020, although this could change depending on situations.

The announcement comes after the US Department of State approved a potential logistics support contract for the ROKAF's Global Hawk UAV fleet last July 2019.

[1] Jane's Defence Weekly

Thursday, December 19, 2019

South Korea declares Initial Operating Capability for its F-35A Lightning II JSF fighters

The F-35A Lightning II JSF in Korea. Photo c/o Getty Images.

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) has declared Initial Operating Capability (IOC) to its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter during ceremonies held on 17 December 2019 in Cheonju Air Base.

The ROKAF has received 13 aircraft out of the 40 ordered under a KRW7.3 trillion (US$6.3 billion) deal signed in 2014. All 13 delivered aircraft are currently operational with the 17th Fighter Wing, with the rest expected to be operated by the same unit.

The event was intentionally made lowkey and closed to the media to reduce tensions with North Korea , although local media outlet Yonhap News Agency was able to confirm the event.

Reaching IOC level means that the aircraft are now operational but is limited to certain air operations including flying interdiction, basic close air support, and limited suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) missions as the ROKAF continues to absorb the aircraft’s full capabilities into its own doctrine, logistics and operational systems.

The ROKAF is set to receive 13 more F-35A in 2020, and another 14 units by 2021. The South Korean government also intends to order another 20 more units probably by 2021, with deliveries potentially scheduled beyond 2025.

[1] Yonhap News Agency
[2] Jane’s Defence Weekly
[3] The Diplomat

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

China commissions its second aircraft carrier

The PLAN aircraft carrier Shandong.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has confirmed that they received and commissioned their second aircraft carrier on 17 December 2019 in ceremonies held in Sanya-Yulin Naval Base in Hainan Island.

The ship, the first Type 001A-class and was named Shandong (17), was built by Dalian Shipbuilding International Corp. (DSIC) and is the first aircraft carrier domestically built by China. 

It was patterned after the Russian Kuznetsoz-class aircraft carrier design, one of which is in service with the PLAN as the Type 001-class Liaoning.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was present during the ceremonies, handing over the naming certificate and PLA flag to the ship’s captain and political commissar.

The ship is expected to be based on Sanya-Yulin Naval Base which is a major homeport of ships of the PLAN South Sea Fleet in charge of operations in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean.

The Shandong was launched on 26 April 2017, and started sea trials in May 2018. Photos of the ship during construction showed modifications and improvements compared to the Liaoning and the Russian Navy’s aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. 

It displaces at around 65,000 tons, and was built to operate aircraft using the Ski-jump Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR). It is capable of carrying up to 24 Sehnyang J-15 Flying Shark naval fighter aircraft, as well as helicopters like the Harbin Z-9, Changhe Z-18 transport helicopter, and Kamov Ka-31 anti-submarine warfare helicopter.

[1] Jane’s Defense Weekly
[2] The Diplomat

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Philippines displays Indonesian tank, armored vehicle as part of military anniversary

The Pindad Anoa wheeled APC and Harimau medium tank in Manila. Photo c/o MaxDefense Philippines

As part of displays celebrating the 84th founding anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine Army (PA) included the armored vehicles from Indonesian arms manufacturer PT Pindad as part of the equipment display in Manila on 17 December 2019.

Filipino defense page MaxDefense Philippines posted photos of the Pindad Harimau medium tank, as well as the Pindad Anoa 6x6 wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC) among those displayed together with existing assets of the PA and other branches of the AFP.

It was also seen painted in PA vehicle paint scheme, although missing other markings found on PA vehicles. This suggests that the vehicles are indeed just present for display.

MaxDefense Philippines previously reported that the armored vehicles were sent to the Philippines for viewing and possibly testing in Philippine conditions, as PT Pindad is among those contending for the PA's ongoing Light Tank project as well as the upcoming Wheeled APC project.

PT Pindad is said to be contending with Elbit Systems of Israel, as well as a joint venture between South Korea's Hanwha Defense and Turkey's Otokar Otomotiv.

The PA and the Department of National Defense (DND) are expecting the Light Tank project to be finalized by 2020.

[1] MaxDefense Philippines
[2] Philippine Defense Resource

Monday, December 16, 2019

Myanmar commissions new air assets as part of 72nd founding anniversary

One of the PAC JF-17B Thunder combat aircraft during commissioning. Photo c/o Myanmar & ASEAN Military Updates.

The Myanmar Air Force (MAF) has commissioned several new aircraft into service, coinciding with the upcoming 72nd founding anniversary of the service on 15 December 2019.

Photos from social media pages showed 2 PAC JF-17B Thunder twin-seat light combat trainer aircraft, 6 Yakolev Yak-130 armed advance jet trainers, and 2 Mil Mi-35PM heavy attack helicopters displayed and formally commissioned by MAF officials on 15 December 2019.

Not much information are provided, but the MAF has ordered PAC JF-17 Thunder in 2015, and has been operating the type since late 2018. The MAF has also been operating the Yakolev Yak-130 since 2017.

[1] Myanmar & ASEAN Military Updates

Japan launches third Awaji-class minesweeper

The Etajima, as it was launched by JMU on 12 December 2019. Photo c/o JMSDF.

The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) confirmed that Japanese shipbuilder Japan Marine United (JMU) launched the third Awaji-class minesweeper during ceremonies held on 12 December 2019.

The ship, which was named as Etajima (MSO-306), is the final ship of the class ordered from JMU to eventually replace the older Yaeyama-class minesweepers in service with the JMSDF. The ships are meant to conduct minesweeping and mine safety operations around Japan’s ports, territorial and exclusive economic zone waters, as well as on shipping routes.

The Etajima is expected to be commissioned with the JMSDF in 2021.

The Awaji-class are 67 meters long, with a beam of 11 meters,  a draught of 5.2 meters, and displacement of 690 tons. They can reach a maximum speed of 14 knots with its two 2,200 horsepower marine diesel propulsion engines.  They have a crew of 60 officers and sailors.

The ships are armed with a remotely controlled weapon station located on the bow deck, mounting  a JM61R-MS 20mm caliber cannon.

[1] Japan Maritime Self Defense Force
[2] Navy Recognition
[3] Jane’s Defence Weekly

Friday, December 13, 2019

South Korea orders four Solgae-class air cushioned landing crafts

A Solgae-class LCAC of the ROKN. Photo c/o HHIC.

The South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has confirmed on 10 December 2019 that they awarded a contract to local shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC) to build four (4) additional Solgae-class (LSF-II) air cushioned (hovercraft) landing crafts for the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN).

The contract, worth KRW316 billion (US$264.5 million), will provide additional hovercrafts to the 4 units already ordered or in service with the ROKN, serving the Dokdo-class landing platform helicopter ROKS Dokdo and the upcoming ROKS Marado.

It is expected that these hovercrafts would be used in support of future amphibious assault ships planned for the ROKN under its LPX-II program.

Although DAPA did not confirm, South Korean media outlets reported that the additional landing crafts are expected to be delivered to the ROKN by December 2024.

[1] Jane’s Defence Weekly
[2] Pulse News Korea
[3] Naval Today

Thursday, December 12, 2019

India receives first batch of new SIG716 7.62mm rifles from US

The SIG716 assault rifle. Photo c/o SIG Sauer.

The Indian Army has received the first batch of the American-made SIG716 7.62x51mm assault rifles the Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD) ordered from SIG Sauer Inc. in February 2019.

The rifles, numbering around 10,000 units for the first lot, is part of a greater order for 72,400 units worth around US$72 million contracted under a Fast-Track Procurement (FTP) process. Aside from the Indian Army, other services branches will be receiving some of the rifles.

All rifles are expected to be delivered to the Indian Army by February 2020, with the Indian Army getting 66,400 units, the Indian Air Force (IAF) with 4,000 units, and the Indian Navy (IN) with 2,000 units. 

The SIG716 is based on the SIG516 5.56x45mm assault rifle, mounting a larger calibre barrel enabling the use of the more powerful 7.62x51mm cartridge which is preferred by the Indian Army. It is an enhanced AR platform and features a 16” barrel, M-LOK handguard, a 6-position telescoping stock, and features a short-stroke pushrod gas system.

India previously confirmed that they require around 550,000 units of new 7.62x51mm assault rifles, and the current order with SIG Sauer could just be an initial procurement to cover urgent requirements.

[1] Army Recognition
[2] Overtdefense

Indonesia receives 10 new locally-made fast patrol boats, to receive 2 more soon

A KAL-28m-class and a Combat Boat 18m-class patrol boats during handover to TNI-AL. Photo c/o PT Bureau Veritas Indonesia. 

The Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) formally received 10 new fast patrol boats built by local shipyards, divided into 2 different classes, while also expects to receive 2 more fast patrol boats before yearend.

The handover of the 10 patrol boats to the TNI-AL was held on 9 December 2019, which will then be distributed by the TNI-AL to different naval commands nationwide.

The boats are composed of 4 units of KAL 28m-class patrol boats which are 28 meters long and has a maximum speed of 28 knots, and 6 units of Combat Boat 18m-class assault boats which are 18 meters long and has a maximum speed of 45 knots powered by waterjets. 

In addition, local shipbuilder PT Caputra Mitra Sejati is also preparing to hand-over 2 new Pari-class Batch II 40-meter patrol boats, which are expected to be done in a few weeks time. The ships, named KRI Bubara (868) and KRI Gulamah (869), are 40 meters long and are similar to the KCR-40 missile boats in hull design and features but without the anti-ship missile capability.

Construction of both patrol boats started on June 2019, and took around 6 months to complete.

[1] PT Bureau Veritas Indonesia

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Philippines negotiating with India on Brahmos land based supersonic cruise missiles

A Brahmos mobile firing unit of the Indian armed forces. Photo c/o Brahmos Aerospace.

The Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND) and the Philippine Army (PA) were reported to be in advanced negotiations with the Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Indian firm Brahmos Aerospace Ltd for the acquisition of the land-based version of the Brahmos supersonic anti-ship missile system.

If successful, the Philippines would become the first export market for the Indian-Russian collaboration, and would be India’s largest arms deal with the Philippines. It would also add a powerful weapon system for the Philippine military to defend against external threats.

The Indian MOD would be assisting in the project, being a Govnerment-to-Government (G2G) deal with the Philippines. It is expected that negotiations will be completed and a contract signed by 2020.

Replying on Asia Pacific Defense Journal’s queries, Filipino defense page MaxDefense Philippines confirmed that the Philippine Army is interested in acquiring two (2) batteries of Brahmos coastal defense batteries with a budget of Php10 billion (US$197 million), although this could still adjust depending on availability of more funds. 

It also added that the Brahmos missile system will be used by the Philippine Army as part of its planned for Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) network, and for defending against naval threats.

When asked if land-attack capabilities are included, MaxDefense Philippines mentioned that it is a possibility although it could be added later on after the system is delivered.

The Brahmos surface-to-surface missile has a range of around 300 kilometers, although this is based on export version which is neutered by limitations as required by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) which India and Russia are members, but the Philippines is not.

[1] Hindustan Times
[2] MaxDefense Philippines
[3] Jane’s Defence Weekly

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Indonesia completes upgrade of combat systems of first Martadinata-class frigate

The Indonesian Navy Martadinata-class frigate, KRI Raden Eddy Martadinata (331). Photo c/o Damen.

Dutch shipyard Damen Shipyards Group and its Indonesian partner PT PAL have recently completed the upgrade works on the first Martadinata-class frigate of the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL), the KRI Raden Eddy Martadinata (331). 

Handover ceremonies were held on 4 December 2019 in Surabaya.

The Martadinata-class are based on Damen’s SIGMA 10514 small warship design acquired under the TNI-AL’s Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR) frigate project, with technology transfer among included in the deal between Damen and Indonesia’s Ministry of Defence (MOD).

Damen provided training to the ship’s crew in operation and maintenance of the combat systems installed as part of the upgrade works. 

Among the combat systems involved were the electronic warfare suite from Thales, which includes the electronic support measure (ESM) for tracking radar signals, and an electronic counter measure system (ECM) which allows jamming of radar signals for electronic warfare (EW) operations.

Structural firing tests and alignment of ship’s sensors to the ship’s guns was done with Rhinemetall, while surface-to-surface missile launching system was tested by MBDA.

Testing of anti-air warfare (AAW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) were also made, which includes validating the ship’s weapons and sensors, including the degaussing system to control the ship’s magnetic signature.

The second ship of the class, the KRI I Gusti Ngurah Rai (332) is scheduled to undergo the same installations and testing up to February 2020, and is expected to be completed at the end of April 2020.

[1] Damen
[2] Jane’s Navy International

Monday, December 9, 2019

Thailand receives delivery of Chinese VT4 tanks, VN1 armored vehicles

Norinco VN4 tanks of the RTA. 

The Royal Thai Army (RTA) reportedly took delivery this month of a batch of tanks and armored vehicles ordered from China.

The vehicles, composed of ten (10) Norinco VT4 main battle tanks plus one (1) support vehicle, and thirty eight (38) Norinco VN1 8x8 wheeled armored vehicles, were delivered from China and arrived in a port in Chonburi province.

All vehicles were sent to the RTA’s Adisom Cavalry Center in Saraburi province for pre-acceptance inspections.

The VT4 main battle tanks ordered by the Thai government in 2017 worth THB2 billion (US$66 million) consisting of 10 standard main battle tanks and a maintenance vehicle, while the 38 VN1 armored vehicles comprises the entire order worth THB2.3 billion (US$76 million) made by the Thai government in 2017 comprising 34 standard armored vehicles, 2 recovery vehicles and 2 maintenance vehicles.

The VT4 tank was intended to replace the RTA’s fleet of M41 Walker Bulldog light tanks, which are now entering 50 years of service.

This delivery came a few months after deliveries of Stryker wheeled armored vehicles from the US were made.

[1] Jane’s Defence Weekly
[2] BenarNews

Friday, December 6, 2019

Vietnam launches new submarine rescue vessel

The VPN's new submarine rescue vessel Yet Kieu (927) during launching last 4 December 2019. Photo c/o Z189 Shipyard.

The Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN) has launched its new submarine rescue vessel, which was named Yết Kiêu (927) during ceremonies at Z189 Shipyard on 4 December 2019.

The launching ceremonies was led by Vietnam’s Defense Minister, General Ngô Xuân Lịch, and attended by several high ranking defense and military officials.

Once delivered to the VPN, it would be the its first submarine rescue vessel which would allow the service to conduct submarine support and rescue missions in support of its submarine fleet without relying on other countries with similar capabilities. It will also be used for search and rescue, salvaging, maritime surveillance, and other roles.

The VPN currently operates six (6) Kilo-class diesel-electric attack submarines, and a number of smaller submarines from North Korea.

The ship’s design was based on Damen’s 93-meter submarine intervention gear ships that were built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the M/V Stoker and M/V Besant, which were also built in Vietnam.

[1] People’s Army Newspaper (QDND)
[2] Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Association Newspaper
[3] VietDefense

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Philippines finds French Scorpene-class ideal for submarine requirements

A Scorpene-class submarine for the Brazilian Navy under construction in NG's facility in France.

The Philippines’ Department of National Defense (DND) confirmed that the French-made Scorpene-class diesel-electric attack submarine was found to be ideal for the submarine requirements of the Philippine Navy (PN).

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana mentioned that this was after his team visited French shipbuilder Naval Group (NG) in France and checked the Scorpene-class submarine.

According to Philippine defense page MaxDefense Philippines, at least 2 submarines are planned for acquisition for the PN, although 3 submarines is also possible depending on costs and budget. The Scorpene-class is competing and is against other submarine manufacturers, with South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) with its Improved Chang Bogo-class, Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) with the Type 209/1400 and Type 214, Russia’s Admiralty Shipyards with the Kilo-class Project 636, and others.

The DND eyes to have the selection completed soon, with the contract signing with the selected government made by 2020 and delivery of submarines by 2027.

Most of the competitors are supported by their governments in providing assistance in terms of submarine and munition purchase, support, and consulting and construction of infrastructure requirements and training.

The DND plans to purchase the submarines under a Government-to-Government deal and using a loan to finance most of the cost, allowing the Philippine government to reduce the initial capital outlay.

If acquired, these submarines would be a first for the PN, which has not operated submarines since its precursor’s formation in 1898.

[1] Philippine News Agency
[2] MaxDefense Philippines
[3] Inquirer.net

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Thailand makes Orbiter 3 unmanned aerial system operational

One of the RTN's Orbiter 3 UAV. Photo c/o สำนักงานวิจัยและพัฒนาการทางทหารกองทัพเรือ FB page

The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has confirmed that they have acquired the Aeronautics Defense Systems Orbiter 3 small tactical unmanned aerial system (UAS) from Israel, and that these are now operational.

This was confirmed by the RTN’s Fleet Operations division last 7 November 2019.

Photo of the Orbiter 3 in RTN service has come out during the visit of RTN’s Sattahip Naval Base by Civil Service Commission Director Police General Woraphon Thongpricha. 

The RTN together with the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) have tested several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Israel’s Aeronautics Defense Systems including the Orbiter 2, Aerostar, and Dominator.  

The Orbiter 3 Small Tactical UAS can carry payloads up to 5 kg in weight, including multi-sensor stabilized EO payloads carrying laser target-designation systems.
The latest variant of the Orbiter 3 STUAS is fitted with digital datalink, extended endurance of 7 hours and operational radius of 150 km.
The system is fully compatible with industry standards, including STANAG 4586 (NATO) for UAS controls and H.246 for the video streaming.

[1] AAG_TH Thai Defence Page
[2] สำนักงานวิจัยและพัฒนาการทางทหารกองทัพเรือ FB page
[3] Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

India commissions 6th Dornier Do-228 maritime patrol squadron

 A Dornier Do-228 naval aircraft of the Indian Navy. Photo c/o India TV News.

The Indian Navy (IN) has commissioned its sixth Dornier Do-228 maritime patrol aircraft squadron, which will be based at the IN’s Naval Air Enclave Porbadar in Gujarat in Western India, to help secure India’s maritime borders near its rival Pakistan.

The Indian Naval Air Squadron 314 “Raptors” will operate four (4) newly-inducted Dornier Do-228NG “New Generation”  maritime patrol aircraft, in which 12 units were ordered recently from RUAG Aviation and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

Indian Navy’s Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice Adm. MS Pawar, who led the squadron’s commissioning, said that the new unit will enhance India’s maritime “surveillance footprint in the North Arabian Sea”, and “will act as the first responder in this crucial region” due to the unit’s strategic basing location.

Prior to the order of 12 new Dorinier aircraft, the IN already operates around 25 older units in 5 naval air squadrons.

[1] Jane’s Defence Weekly
[2] NDTV

Monday, December 2, 2019

Malaysia plans to lease helicopters to temporarily replaced grounded Nuris

A Malaysian S-61 Nuri. Photo c/o Malaysia Gazette website.

The Malaysian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is looking at the possibility of leasing helicopters to temporarily replace the Sikorsky S-61 Nuri of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and the Malaysian Army (MA).

The Nuri helicopters of both services are grounded after one of the helicopters made an emergency landing near the Malaysian-Thai border after a technical problem.

Malaysian Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu made a statement with the Malaysian Parliament confirming their program to lease helicopters as a stop-gap measure while the ministry is still in the process of selecting and acquiring a new helicopter to eventually replace the S-61 Nuri.

RMAF Chief General Affendi Buang confirmed to Jane’s that a tender will be conducted, with the service looking at leasing eight (8) helicopters, although was unsure how many units the MA is looking at leasing.

According to Jane’s, the RMAF operates around 12 Nuri helicopters, while the MA has around 4 operational units, with more in storage.

[1] Jane’s Defence Weekly