KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 — Twelve Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Nuri helicopters have been grounded said RMAF chief General Datuk Seri Ackbal Abdul Samad.
Without divulging further, he said the Nuri services had been discontinued until further notice.
Ackbal added the 50-year-old aircarft was at the tail end of its services and too costly to maintain.
“Even if RMAF has the money to buy Nuri maintenance equipment, it can take between nine to 18 months to obtain the spare parts.
“Besides, RMAF has plans to procure new aircraft to replace Nuri, but it is still in the evaluation stage,” he told reporters at a special press conference here today.
He said thus far several types of aircraft have been identified to replace Nuri as an addition to RMAF existing assets.
Asked to comment on RMAF allocation, Ackbal said the allocation was at a ‘comfortable’ level and it would continue to optimise operating capacity of its existing assets, as well as to boost the air force capability.
“Currently, the RMAF prioritises prudent spending and to minimise celebratory events that are deemed unnecessary,” he added.
The Nuri helicopters have suffered several crashes and emergency landings since 1991, including in Sintok, Kedah (2010); Tawau, Sabah (2016); and Butterworth, Penang (2016) with the latest when the aircraft made an emergency landing at Gubir Camp, Alor Setar in August last year.
Ackbal has also outlined eight main thrusts to ensure the RMAF legacy as an effective force including strengthening its operational capabilities, the implementation of Capability Development Plan 2055 and the new Sendayan air base.
Earlier, during his inaugural speech, Ackbal also announced the appointment of Lt Gen Datuk Mohd Asghar Khan Goriman Khan as deputy RMAF chief, effective today. — Bernama