Navy needs more copters

Valuable assets: Admiral Mohd Reza (right) looking at the cockpit of the AW139 in Kota Kinabalu. — Bernama

KOTA KINABALU: The Royal Malaysian Navy wants more Maritime Operational Helicopters (HOMs) to strengthen security patrols of the country’s waters and airspace, especially in East Malaysia.

Its chief Admiral Tan Sri Mohd Reza Mohd Sany said the application for two other HOMs was currently at the Defence Ministry level before being sent to the Economic Planning Unit.

He said HOMs were important for the Navy to implement joint intelligence missions, surveillance and reconnaissance – especially in the waters off Sabah and Sarawak with an area covering 315,263 sq km.

“It is impossible for Navy ships to be covering every inch of the waters involved at all times, so with these new helicopters, our 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 naval base in Teluk Sepanggar here yesterday.

The Italian-made AW139 utility helicopter is equipped with an RDR 1700A search radar and a 12.7mm machine gun.

Mohd Reza said he also hoped that the unity government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would consider the Navy’s needs, especially involving the second series of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Littoral Mission Ship (LMS) projects so that they could be realised.

“The Navy hopes the new government can adjust the security budget from 1% to 1.5% (of the gross domestic product) in stages, so that defence capabilities can be adapted to the security landscape,” he said, Bernama reported.

He added that the Navy was confident the government could provide critical assets and equipment to it in stages.

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