PETALING JAYA, Dec 7 — The procurement of 12 new Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) helicopters will be made through an open tender process expected to begin early next year, says RMAF chief Gen Tan Sri Mohd Asghar Khan Goriman Khan.

He said the RMAF currently had 12 EC725 AP helicopters manufactured by Airbus, and for the new acquisitions, he would invite other companies to display assets capable of performing tasks according to the RMAF’s specifications.

“I intend to finalise the purchase of the new helicopters before the end of 2024,” he told reporters after attending the 2023 RMAF Excellence Award Day at the Subang Air Base here today.

Mohd Asghar Khan said that among the main criteria in the selection of the new assets was that they needed to be equipped with light artillery to carry out combat search and rescue tasks as well as utility capabilities to meet the needs of military operations other than war and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Advertisement

He said the acquisition of the assets was important to cover the gap in the RAMF’s existing helicopter capabilities.

Commenting on the latest development in the process of receiving the FA-50M light combat aircraft produced by Korea Aerospace Industries, Mohd Asghar Khan said that based on the procurement timeline, the assets were expected to be received in stages from October 2026 to August 2027.

“The first four FA-50M aircraft are scheduled to be received in October 2026, with the rest in 2027,” he said.

Advertisement

He said the FA-50M aircraft would be equipped with weapons according to the requirements and role as a fighter lead-in trainer/light combat aircraft as had been finalised in the contract.

On the procurement of the Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA), Mohd Asghar Khan said it was currently in the construction phase at the Leonardo Aircraft Division Plant, Naples, Italy and the receipt of the first two aircraft was expected in June 2026.

“A total of six officers of the MPA Aircraft Overseas Project Team have been stationed in Turin, Italy since August 2023 as mandated representatives on behalf of the Malaysian government in ensuring that all aspects of the MPA procurement project are carried out based on the set specifications, procedures, timeframe and provisions,” he said. — Bernama