KOTA KINABALU: The Navy is applying for the acquisition of the second series of Maritime Operational Helicopters (HOM) to strengthen the security patrols of the country's waters and airspace, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.
Its chief, Admiral Tan Sri Mohd Reza Mohd Sany (pic) said the application for two other HOMs was currently at the Defence Ministry level before being taken to the Economic Planning Unit (EPU).
He said HOMs were important for the Navy to implement joint intelligence missions, surveillance as well reconnaissance especially in the waters off Sabah and Sarawak with the area covering 315,263 square kilometres.
"It is impossible for Navy ships to be covering every inch of the waters involved at all times, so with these new helicopters, the Navy ships are able to further expand the range of patrols carried out.
"This will give a significant operational advantage to ensure the sustainability of our country's waters," he told reporters after officiating the handover ceremony of the third Navy HOM at the Kota Kinabalu RMN base in Teluk Sepanggar here on Saturday (Nov 26).
The Italian-made AW139 utility helicopter is equipped with an RDR 1700A search radar including a 12.7 millimetre machine gun.
Meanwhile, Mohd Reza also hopes the unity government, led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will consider RMN's needs especially involving the second series of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Littoral Mission Ship (LMS) projects so that they can be realised.
"The Navy hopes the new government can adjust the security budget from one% to 1.% (of the gross domestic product) in stages, so that defence capabilities can be adapted to the security landscape.
"The proposed budget will be extended to the Prime Minister and new government," he said.
He added that the Navy was also confident that the government could provide critical assets and equipment for the it in stages. - Bernama