24-Nov-2016 Source: Malaysia Flying Herald
The Indonesian Air Force or Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Udara (TNI-AU) has finally received its Airbus Helicopters/IAe EC725 Super Cougar Combat Search and Rescue (SAR Tempur – SARPUR) helicopter to be operated by SkU 8.
The Indonesian Super Cougar could be the first among ASEAN operators which are being equipped with FN Herstal 7.62mm machine gun. Similar to its Malaysian counterpart, the “Indo Cougar” is also equipped with Infra Red/ Electro Optic (IR/EO) camera turret on its chin, a multiplier for today’s CSAR/SARPUR force.
TNI-AU was the third ASEAN country to operate the EC725 after Malaysia and Thailand. Despite Airbus Helicopters have rebranded the EC725 as the H225M, it seems that all three ASEAN users retain the EC725 designation.
The Royal Malaysia Air Force (RMAF) operates 12 EC725s through two of its CSAR squadrons the Kuantan based No 10 Skn and Labuan based No 5 Skn. There has been plan to armed the Super Cougar with M134 gatling minigun but it seems that priority is being given to arm the Army AgustaWestland A109LUH forward deployed in Lahad Datu and Sandakan.
With the probability of the former Royal Bruneian Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Brunei – TUDB) Sikorsky S-70A Blackhawk battlefield helicopters to enter the Army’s inventory seem slim, the initial plan to equip these Blackhawks with similar gatling gun could may well being scrapped and that these minigun could in turn, being installed on No 5 Skn’s Super Cougars instead.
The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) is currently operating four EC725s with two more to be delivered this year. It has also make a follow on order of another two Super Cougar. The Thai Super Cougars are currently of basic variant which lacks the chin mounted camera turret as well as door guns.