PETALING JAYA, Feb 28 — The Malaysian army today receives six MD530G light scout/attack helicopters to boost its readiness and capability.

Army chief, General Tan Sri Zamrose Mohd Zain said all the helicopters would be equipped with 7.62 millimetres (mm) Gatling gun, 12.7 mm heavy machine gun and 70 mm rockets.

He said the helicopters would be able to attack and destroy light armoured vehicles and enemies at a range of 500 metres to seven kilometres other than having the agility to perform air reconnaissance.

“Three of the helicopters will be stationed in the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) and the rest in Kluang, Johor.

“Before being allowed to operate, the helicopters must undergo several inspections such as by the Directorate General Technical Airworthiness and final inspection by the Army through the Final Acceptance Test (FAT) team,” he told a media conference during the handing over of the helicopters here today.

He said a Final Inspection Certificate, would be issued and signed by the representatives of the company together with the FAT team after the team confirmed that the six helicopters had passed the final inspection.

“This indicates that the six helicopters are officially owned by the Army and expected to become operational in October,” he said.

The MD530G helicopters, supplied by Syarikat Halaman Optima Sdn Bhd through Syarikat Destini Prima Sdn Bhd, were made by MD Helicopter Inc (MDHI) based in the United States. They arrived in Port Klang, near here, on Feb 21 from the Oakland Harbour, United States.

He said the procurement contract also included training programmes for eight pilots and nine technicians of the Malaysian Army aviation branch.

Meanwhile, asked to comment on the doubts cast by certain quarters on the capability of the helicopters, Zamrose said the light helicopters suited their functions and the topography in their areas of operation.

He said the main duty of the helicopters was to perform scout function and would only attack if threatened. — Bernama