On 22 January 2022, the Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM, Royal Malaysian Air Force) has officially taken delivery of the first two Leonardo AW139 medium-sized twin-engined helicopters to be operated by 3 Skuadron at RMAF Butterworth air base.
The two helicopters are part of an order of four AW139s that will leased from Weststar Aviation Services Sdn Bhd. The other two are scheduled to be handed over on 22 February 2022 and 22 April 2022. Serials are M104-01 and M104-02.
3 Skuadron operated the Sikorsky S-61A-4 Nuri for a period of more than 50 years. Because of numerous incidents and maintenance issues these helicopters were withdrawn from use in January 2020.
The AW139s are part of an interim solution and acquired under a chartered concept based on 'Government Operated, Company Owned and Maintained' (GOCOM) system. They are planned to be leased for a period of 4-5 years, while the air force is processing the procurement of 24 new helicopters in 2 batches of twelve each. These are planned to be acquired under the 13th Malaysia Plan (RMK13) from 2026-2030, and the 14th Malaysia Plan (RMK14) from 2031 to 2035.
Photo by TUDM