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
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.