By Brendan Sobie at DSA Show in Kuala Lumpur

Manufacturers remain in dark, waiting to be fully briefed on likely acquisitions

Funding for several key Malaysian military aircraft acquisitions remains up in the air despite the completion of the country’s new five-year spending plan.

Manufacturers attending last week’s Defence Services Asia (DSA) 2006 exhibition in Kuala Lumpur said maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) are a top priority, but that they have not been told yet how much is in the budget for the conversion of existing aircraft and/or the potential acquisition of new platforms. “The plan is done, but adjustments still need to be made between programmes and allocations,” says Thales Malaysia managing director Jean-Baptiste Ollivier.

Malaysian Super Lynx 300 W445

© Augusta Westland

Malaysia's navy may recieve funds to purchase six more Super Lynx 300s


Industry sources say it is uncertain if the Malaysian navy will receive funds for six additional AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 helicopters, but that it appears this request has been approved. The air force has also received funds to acquire two or three combat search and rescue helicopters, but is trying to persuade the government to earmark more funds for its long-delayed 27-aircraft Sikorsky S-61 replacement programme, the sources add. The service plans to issue a tender for the requirement in June or July, with the AgustaWestland EH101, Eurocopter EC725 and Sikorsky S-92 expected to be evaluated.

A request from the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency for six search and rescue helicopters and at least two MPAs also seems to have been met and tenders are expected later this year.

However, it is unclear whether the air force’s advanced trainer requirement will move forward. “It’s highly probably a training requirement will increase,” says BAE Systems managing director for Asia-Pacific Steve Meghan, who adds that a specific breakdown has not yet been made available. Acquiring more Hawks is the most logical solution for Malaysia because its air force already operates over 20 of the type, he says. Five Malaysian pilots earlier this year flew in BAE’s Hawk 128, which features an open avionics architecture that could be used to mimic the cockpit of Malaysia’s future Sukhoi Su-30MKM fighters.

Source: Flight International