Procurement: Cougar Copters For Malaysia

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October 14,2008:  Malaysia is buying a dozen Eurocopter Cougar EC725 helicopters, to begin replacing its 40 elderly Sea Kings. These are actually British built (under license) U.S. S-61. The nine ton Sea  King is a late 1950s design, and contemporary of the U.S. Army's UH-1 "Huey." In the U.S., the Sea Kings were replaced by a navy version of the Hueys successor, the UH-60 Blackhawk. Over a dozen other navies bought the Sea King, and many still use it. But these aircraft are getting old. The Sea King has a range of about a thousand kilometers, and a top speed of 210 kilometers an hour. It was mainly used for anti-submarine warfare and search and rescue. Some 1,500 were built (about ten percent were the civilian S-61 version), and over a hundred are still in use. Such long service lives are increasingly common. Some of the first Sea Kings survived for over three decades.

 The Eurocopter Cougar EC725 is an 11 ton aircraft with a useful load of 5.5 tons, a top speed of 324 kilometers an hour, a range of about 850 kilometers and can stay in the air for about five hours per sortie. This makes them excellent replacements for the elderly Sea Kings. Malaysia will pay about $50 million for each Cougar, but that will include training, tech support and a supply of spare parts.

 


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