Italian defence conglomerate, Leonardo, which has a strong historical footprint in Malaysia in addition to many other partners in the region, is now aiming to further enhance its in-country presence. At the ongoing LIMA, the company is displaying rotorcraft types in addition to showcasing its capabilities in training, in airborne and maritime domain, going from space to underwater. Leonardo has been particularly successful with helicopter sales in Malaysia, which has one of the largest fleets of Leonardo helicopters in the region.
“We have a long-standing relationship with the Malaysian Armed Forces and there are continuous talks to improve the current equipment and to provide brand new solutions. Leonardo has had a presence for many years on board the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) ships with the Super Lynx 300 (SL300) helicopters. It also has supplied AW109 twin-engine light helicopters to the Army. Leonardo’s contribution to Malaysia’s safety and security also includes battlespace systems for the Army, operational support for the Air Force and naval systems for the Royal Malaysian Navy. These include the Seaspray radar, 76/62mm guns and torpedoes,” a company spokesperson informs Daily News.
Light Fighter Prospects
Company officials are bullish on the prospects of the M-346 for Malaysia’s future light fighter requirement, “We have an exceptional solution for both training and light fighter missions based on the M-346 so we are definitely interested in that requirement. The virtues of this solution is clear: With two variants of the same platform an Air Force can enjoy the most advanced trainer aircraft available- also aided by our state of the art ground based training system – and a multi-role lightweight fighter, a low-coast tactical solution,” the offcial tells Daily News.
The M-346 has been exported to four customers, who have ordered 76 units so far.
MPA and MALE UAV
Leonardo is offering the ATR 72MP as the perfect solution for RMAF’s maritime patrol requirements, which will require search and identification of surface vessels, C4ISR and SAR missions to name a few. Leonardo’s sophisticated ATOS mission system ensures superior performance in the maritime domain. A key consideration driving the purchase of military platforms today are reliability, maintainability and low life-cycle costs; these are all delivered by the ATR 72MP, which is based on the highly successful civilian regional transport aircraft built by ATR. The RMAF is also the lead service with regards the acquisition and operation of MALE UAVs amongst the Malaysian armed forces.
“We are following closely all the requirements in Malaysia and we think that the Falco EVO – part of the wide Leonardo unmanned portfolio – can be an excellent solution,” the official adds. The Falco EVO is capable of remaining in the air for more than 20 hours while carrying a payload of up to 100 kg. More than 50 units of the Falco EVO and Falco, have been acquired by customers and are now in operational service.
Leonardo is also prepared to address any future Malaysian helicopter upgrade requirements and RMN SL300s are approaching a significant milestone in terms of flight hours. A significant capability boost for Malaysian military rotorcraft can be provided merely with the addition of the Osprey AESA radar, which is the only radar of its type currently available to offer full spherical coverage with no moving parts. The company’s SAGE Electronic Surveillance Measure (ESM) has already been chosen for the Brazilian and South Korean navies’ Super Lynx 300 rotorcraft.
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