Malaysia announced it would buy 12 Eurocopter EC725 Cougar medium-lift helicopters, then changed its mind two weeks later. Opposition politicians demanded that the controversial deal be referred to the country’s anti-corruption agency. Although new helicopters are urgently needed to replace the country’s 40--year-old fleet of Sikorsky S-61 Nuris, the government said the purchase was abandoned because of the deteriorating economic situation. The Cougar was selected over the AgustaWestland EH-101, Boeing CH-47F, Sikorsky S-92 and Mil Mi-17-2.
AgustaWestland, however, received a consolation prize when it secured a contract for three AW139s, which will be operated by Malaysia’s Maritime Enforcement Agency for SAR and coastal patrol duties. Meanwhile, in neighboring Thailand, the army said it would buy six Mil Mi-17s instead of much more expensive Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks.