These photos show two helicopters that might not be serving in the Malaysian armed forces–if the country’s defense budget had been larger. At the top is a smartly painted Sikorsky S-61A-4 Nuri (Malaysian for “parrot”) that the Malaysian Army took over from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) last year. It is one of 44 that the RMAF received nearly 50 years ago. They were partially replaced in 2012-13 when the RMAF acquired 12 new EC725 Caracals from Eurocopter. But 28 of the long-serving Nuris are being retained–16 by the RMAF and 12 that are being transferred to the Army. With an average 14,000 flying hours logged, Malaysian defense officials say this fleet can fly on for at least another 15 years. Their avionics are being upgraded by AIROD, the leading Malaysian MRO.
An unusual adaptation of the Eurocopter AS555 Fennec, bottom, that has been flying with Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) since 2004. It is equipped with a Telephonics 1500 maritime surveillance radar, a FLIR, and a door-mounted machine gun (Telephonics is here at Stand Q87). A naval officer told AIN that six were acquired when it became clear that the RMN could afford only six of the more capable AgustaWestland Super Lynx Mk300 naval helicopters. That machine has more powerful radar and weapons. But the officer said the Fennecs have served well, with an AIS datalink and a radar that can track-while-scan 22 targets.