Monday, February 17, 2014

Bell AH-1Z For Malaysian "Marines"? Nope Don't Think So!

Shepard in their report on the recent Singapore Air Show has stated that that Industry players are ready to respond to a Malaysian RFP for attack helicopters if issued due to a perceived urgent requirement to handle insurgents and intrusions with a better platform like combat helicopters rather than fixed wing aircraft which may be an overkill response.
Photo Credit : Azim09 @ mymil

France has reportedly offered their EC665 Tiger HAP while Boeing is offering their Bell AH-6 Little Bird that was  said to be flown by the Malaysian Armed Forces Chief during the show and the Big Brother AH-64 Apache could be offered too. I have my doubts on the desirability for the Little Birds since the Army Air Corps is already operating the A109 LOH that just needs to be armed to make it similarly potent. I believe what would be urgent is for the introduction of a suitable rotary winged platform to replace the Air Force's S-61A4 Nuris that are now taking on the role of the gunship to safeguard the Eastern Coast of Sabah with three reportedly now armed with .50 calibre door guns to provide fire support.

Even though the Malaysian Minister of Defence recently announced that Malaysia will cooperate with the USMC to develop Malaysian Marine Force doctrine and followed up with a visit to Bell during the airshow to be briefed on the AH-1Z, and this may indicate that Bell is a favorite to equip the "Marines" with the Super Cobra and UH-1Y that Bell later announced Malaysia are interested in, I have my doubts.

Photo Credit : Azim09 @ mymil

I sincerely believe that we will not follow to the T the USMC's doctrine as they are an expeditionary force, while our combat helicopters are more for defence against incursions. As such such a a gunship would not be for the navy as the RMN would also not jeopardize their requirements for ASW helicopters that is now seems to be a race between Seahawks and Super Cougars, as a marine force modeled on the USMC would naturally be put under the Navy.

Instead like I have previously proposed I believe the "amphibious forces" would be called out from army units, and in the event that the "amphibious forces' is to be equipped with attack helicopters, these will come from the Army Air Corps same as the amphibious trained army regiments that will make up the nucleus of the amphibious forces. What will the navy do with the Hueys if the amphibious force is put under their command, as it is a more natural fit if they are under the Army Air Corps as an Air Cavalry unit. If necessary the units can be jointly operated by the MAB instead for amphibious operations.

Personally I would welcome the the inclusion of the Super Cobra as Malaysian guinships as it is more versatile and possibly cheaper than Apache or Tiger, but then I am biased as I want to see them being used for the planned amphibious force rather than just tank killers. But then I guess the Army would take the lead and will tailor it to their requirements which they would not give up so easily right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What you have there is a UH-1D, bukan UH-1Y.