Airod has officially handed over the first upgraded Sikorsky S-61A-4 Nuri transport helicopter, and sees the type remaining in service until 2025.
The upgrades mainly involve the rotorcraft’s avionics and see the type receive an all new glass cockpit. There is also a moving map and digital flight displays.
The first upgraded Nuri, which serves as a proof of concept for the upgrade, took five months to complete, says Airod chief executive Ibrahim Bahari in an interview with FlightGlobal. The work took place at Subang airport on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, where the company has the capability to work on two Nuris at the same time.
Bahari says that despite its age, the Nuris have only accumulated 18,000 to 20,000 hours of flight time. He estimates that this could be pushed out to 40,000 hours.
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that Malaysia operates 29 S-61s, with an average age of 40 years.
While the Nuris undergo the avionics upgrade, the airframe and components will also inspected, with replacements made as necessary.
Apart from the Nuri work, Bahari hopes for more projects involving the Lockheed Martin C-130 aircraft, namely with the type’s structure and avionics.
The company has already had several successes, including a $25 million deal from the US navy to service 13 KC-130Js from 2016 to 2020. The company has also conducted MRO work on a Libyan Air Force L100-30 and a Transafrik L100.
One major project the company hopes to win is an avionics and cockpit upgrade work for Malaysia’s fleet of C-130s, before offering this capability to air forces around the region.
He stresses that the company is willing to work with an international technology partner. Rockwell Collins would appear to be in strong position for the Malaysian work, as its Flight2 C-130 cockpit upgrade was featured on the Airod stand.