South African manufacturer Cumulus has sealed a $740,000 contract with the Royal Malaysian Fire and Rescue Service to supply its LEO airborne observation system for one of Malaysia's fleet of Mil Mi-17 transport helicopters.

Cumulus, a division of Denel, will team up with Malaysian aerospace company Airod to install a tailor-made package that includes video recorders, a GPS receiver and on-board fax machines.

The LEO is already in place on one Mi-17 operated by the Fire and Rescue Service and works via a stabilised turret containing a range of cameras and a thermal imager. It helps rescue services locate casualties quickly and is already in service with many European police forces.

The thermal imager employs 'pseudo-colour' to detect fire cores in dense tropical vegetation but can also be used in search and rescue (SAR) missions.

"We are very proud to be associated with the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Service in a humanitarian relief role," says Max Sisulu, Denel's deputy chief executive officer.

The service is also considering equipping a third helicopter with a special military version of the LEO, known as Argos, which will allow reconnaissance missions to be carried out at higher altitude.

The same Argos system is currently being offered to the Royal Malaysian Air Force for use in military SAR and combat roles.

Source: Flight Daily News