KUALA LUMPUR – The use of Nuri helicopters by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF)
is still relevant for military surveillance and deployments, said local aviation
In fact, the emergency landing incident involving a Nuri helicopter in Tawau
on Tuesday should not be viewed negatively as the helicopter was able to carry
out its tasks in search and rescue operations, military exercise assignments and
served as ‘agent of peace’.
Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) test pilot Prof Dr Mohd Harridon Mohamed
Suffian said the Nuri was now still serviceable but it could not be used that
often and that would result in wear-and-tear.
“Nuri services should be rotated with RMAF’s new aircrafts. For instance,
the United States (Air Force) are still using their 40-year-old Skyhawk
aircrafts to train pilots for acrobatic flights,” he told Bernama recently.
Mohd Harridon was commenting on the emergency landing incident whereby a
Nuri landed on the roof of an open hall of SMK Balung, injuring 22 people
including 13 RMAF personnel, eight students and a cleaner.
Nuri is RMAF’s utility helicopter involved in various military operations
and has been used by the air force since 1967.
Harridon said given the number of years in service, Nuri had probably
reached its peak in terms of wear-and-tear for metal structures and engine.
“This is a technical factor. However, if continuous monitoring (maintenance)
is done comprehensively, such old helicopters like Nuri are still safe to fly,”
Commenting on the incident, Harridon said there were several possibilities
that could have led to the case such as engine problem and wear-and-tear of the
These are the aspects that RMAF might be investigating, he added.
Meanwhile, former pilot Capt (Rtd) Abdul Rahmat Omar Tun Mohd Haniff said
Nuri was still needed as it was now among the RMAF’s assets inducted into the
Air Force Team for the purpose of air mobility.
“Nuri is one of the assets owned by RMAF that has a very good maintenance
regime. The old age of an aircraft does not necessarily matter if the
maintenance is good,” said the former RMAF pilot.
Abdul Rahmat said the move by RMAF to replace Nuri in stages before this was
not due to its age or maintenance issue.
He said it was done to adjust the roles of RMAF in the combat search and
rescue, as well as the special forces insertion and extraction because such
purposes required more specific helicopters.
Abdul Rahmat said the Defence Ministry must ensure its “end user” obtained
the right amount of budget to enable RMAF and other armed forces’ assets like
Nuri were maintained properly and continued to be serviceable.