The Royal Malaysian Air Force has received the first of five new H120 helicopters from Airbus, ready to be flown for train at the College of the Air Force in Alor Setar. The training syllabus of the first use of these aircraft will begin next year, and will lead the the gradual phase-out of their existing Alouette helicopters. The RMAF are also acquiring an H120 simulator.
The first example, in a jaunty red and white scheme, current awaits clearance from the Directorate General Technical Airworthiness before starting operations. It is marked “01” on the nose, and is thought to be ready to take up the full serial M103-01. Other sources are quoting M102-01, but the “M102” seies is already being used for Learjet aircraft, with just one in use via Aerotree. This contractor also flies four Extra 300L aerobatic single-seaters in the “M100” series as the Kris Sakti aerobatic team, along with two Super King Air 300s in the “M101” series.
The five helicopters will be managed and maintained by Gading Kasturi under a “Company Own Military Operates” contract reportedly worth 120 million Malaysian Ringgit ($28.1 approx). This is very similar to the way Helidax flies the same type for the French military and Cobham flies AS350s for the British. Gading Kasturi (a JV between between Gading Sari Holdings and Mycopter Aviation Services) will also be involved in upgrading the helicopters to a fully glass cockpit and night vision capability.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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