Anticipation of a potential Malaysian attack helicopter tender remains high, with candidate platforms from Bell, Airbus Helicopters and Boeing to be showcased at the Defence Services Asia expo in Kuala Lumpur.
An increase in insurgent activity across Malaysia has placed the country’s lack of helicopter offensive capabilities under the spotlight, prompting the Malaysian Army to begin assessing suitable platforms.
There is some speculation as to whether AgustaWestland and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) will compete with their jointly-developed T-29 attack helicopter, although the companies have offered no comment to date.
At present, the Malaysian forces have no attack helicopter in their inventories, relying instead on fast-moving fighter aircraft.
While a formal RfP has yet to be announced, industry expectations of a forthcoming tender are based on plans by the Malaysian Army Air Corps (AAC) to incorporate an attack element into its AAC tactical transport helicopter squadron, in order to combat terrorists and armed insurgents.
An incursion by Sulu militants into eastern Malaysia in 2013 provided early impetus for the acquisition of an attack helicopter capability for the AAC. However, recent funding shortages have called the viability of the programme into question. More…
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