Jan 22, 2015
Malaysia to upgrade and arm S-61 "Nuri" fleet
Prompted by an incursion made by Sulu rebels in Sabah in 2013, Kuala Lumpur has already outfitted three of the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s S-61s with 12.7mm door guns.
The army plans to arm the AW109 helicopters with 7.62mm gatling guns.
Malaysia had previously planned to remove its aged Nuri fleet from use by 2012. However, with the nation having ordered only 12 of a planned 28 Airbus Helicopters EC725s as replacements, this has forced the service to prolong the life of its Sikorskys.
If proven viable through a pilot project involving one aircraft, up to 26 S-61s will receive upgrades to their main and tail rotor blades and gearboxes, and be equipped with a digital datalink, self-protection equipment, armoured protection and a pintle-mounted machine gun at the cargo door.
Malaysia’s interest in acquiring a dedicated attack helicopter capability has failed to advance due to budget pressures. Its army has previously evaluated types including the Airbus Helicopters Tiger, Bell AH-1Z, Boeing AH-64 Apache and Denel Rooivalk.