Malaysia receives 2 new AW139 maritime helicopters, activates new naval air squadron
The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has formally received and inducted the first two AgustaWestland AW139 maritime utility helicopters. Both helicopters, manufactured by Italian defense compaby Leonardo Helicopters, were handed over to the RMN on 01 July 2022, together with the opening of the Kota Kinabalu Air Station at the RMN’s Eastern Fleet Command Headquarters at TLDM Sepanggar naval base, with Malaysian Senior Minister of Defence leading the honors.
The new air assets are to be operated by the RMN’s Squadron 503, which was also activated on 01 July 2022 and will be responsible for monitoring the Malaysian Maritime Zone.
The helicopters would enable the RMN to conduct increased frequency on patrolling the waters of Sabah and Sarawak, including combat duties like Maritime Domain Awareness, Over the Horizon Targeting (OTHT), support of Special Operations, and training.
It would also be used other duties including Search and Rescue (SAR), Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC), Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC), and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. One more helicopter is expected to be delivered to Malaysia by September 2022.
The newly activated Squadron 503 have a total of 25 officers and 92 personnel of various ranks are assigned in four divisions, namely aviation safety, operations and training, administration and logistics, and aerospace engineering.