Robinson Helicopter distributor Solaire Systems is offering the R22 to meet a Malaysian air forcerequirement for training helicopters.

The air force is understood to be considering the replacement this year of some or all of its 13 ageing Aerospatiale SA316B Alouette IIIs, some of which are used for pilot training. It is unclear whether all the aircraft are still serviceable.

Earlier plans to replace the Alouette IIIs were scrapped during the Asian economic crisis in 1997-8. Competition is likely from Eurocopter, which has signed a contract to supply AS555NEcurieuls for training navy pilots, with the type also selected by the army.

Fuel for the piston-powered R22 could be a problem, as avgas is not generally available in Malaysia, although Petronas, the country's main oil company, has assured Solaire it will be able to provide the fuel wherever required.


Source: Flight International