KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 ― The use of Nuri helicopters by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is still relevant for military surveillance and deployments, said local aviation experts.  

In fact, the emergency landing incident involving a Nuri helicopter in Tawau on Tuesday should not be viewed negatively as the helicopter was able to carry out its tasks in search and rescue operations, military exercise assignments and served as ‘agent of peace’.  

Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) test pilot Prof Dr Mohd Harridon Mohamed Suffian said the Nuri was now still serviceable but it could not be used that often and that would result in wear-and-tear.  

“Nuri services should be rotated with RMAF’s new aircrafts. For instance, the United States (Air Force) are still using their 40-year-old Skyhawk aircrafts to train pilots for acrobatic flights,” he told Bernama recently.    
Mohd Harridon was commenting on the emergency landing incident whereby a Nuri landed on the roof of an open hall of SMK Balung, injuring 22 people including 13 RMAF personnel, eight students and a cleaner.         


Nuri is RMAF’s utility helicopter involved in various military operations and has been used by the air force since 1967.

Harridon said given the number of years in service, Nuri had probably reached its peak in terms of wear-and-tear for metal structures and engine.  

“This is a technical factor. However, if continuous monitoring (maintenance) is done comprehensively, such old helicopters like Nuri are still safe to fly,” he explained. 


Commenting on the incident, Harridon said there were several possibilities that could have led to the case such as engine problem and wear-and-tear of the structure. 

These are the aspects that RMAF might be investigating, he added.  

Meanwhile, former pilot Capt (Rtd) Abdul Rahmat Omar Tun Mohd Haniff said Nuri was still needed as it was now among the RMAF’s assets inducted into the Air Force Team for the purpose of air mobility. 

“Nuri is one of the assets owned by RMAF that has a very good maintenance regime. The old age of an aircraft does not necessarily matter if the maintenance is good,” said the former RMAF pilot.  

Abdul Rahmat said the move by RMAF to replace Nuri in stages before this was not due to its age or maintenance issue.

He said it was done to adjust the roles of RMAF in the combat search and rescue, as well as the special forces insertion and extraction because such purposes required more specific helicopters.

Abdul Rahmat said the Defence Ministry must ensure its “end user” obtained the right amount of budget to enable RMAF and other armed forces’ assets like Nuri were maintained properly and continued to be serviceable. ― Bernama