Govt Plans To Replace Nuri Helicopters - Najib
Najib, who is also Defence Minister, however, said the phasing out was not possible in the near future.
"Nuri helicopters are still air-worthy. Nevertheless, there are plans to replace them, but not immediately as they can still be used," he told reporters after attending a "leader-with-the-people" gathering.
Najib was responding to reports that a Nuri helicopter, with six air force crew on board, was missing while flying from the Sungai Besi base here to the Gambang base in Pahang yesterday.
The transport helicopter, carrying air force personnel to replace their colleagues at the base in Gambang, near Kuantan, lost contact with the air base control tower at 9.35am, 10 minutes after it took off from the Sungai Besi RMAF base.
The Nuri was scheduled to reach its destination at 10.25am but failed to appear.
Asked whether the services of Nuri helicopters would be suspended following the incident, Najib said it was up to the RMAF to decide.
On the search and rescue operations to locate the helicopter, he said the ground and aerial search have been intensified.
"As of noon, the search is still going on. The helicopter has not been found as the area is covered with thick forest," he added.
The search was intensified at first light this morning, with three RMAF aircraft scouring the area around Genting Sempah, near Genting Highlands, where the helicopter last appeared on the radar.
The police, Fire and Rescue Department personnel and 100 soldiers from the Bentong-based Royal Malay Regiment Camp have been deployed for the ground search.