So we said goodbye to Nuri (famously dubbed as The Flying Coffin) and say Hello to this:
On July 18, 2007, five days after the wreckage of a Nuri (Sikorsky Sea King S-61A4) helicopter was found near Genting Sempah, Pahang, Defense Minister Najib Razak announced that the Malaysian government will call soon for an international tender for new helicopters to replace the aging fleet. The aging Nuri will be retired by year 2010. The requirement for the new procurement includes capacity of 25 passengers as well as limited combat, search and rescue capability. Four contender were shortlisted for the final evaluation, they were the Eurocopter EC 725, AgustaWestland EH101, Sikorsky S-92 and Mil MI-171. On September 26, 2008, Malaysian Government announced that the tender is being awarded to Eurocopter.
The government's decision to replace its ageing Nuri helicopters with Eurocopter's EC725 Cougar helicopters has been hailed as a most appropriate decision.
The EC725 is an upgraded model of the AS532 Cougar and made its maiden flight in 2000 for the French's armed forces.
The EC725 had been involved in several high-profile CSAR operations including in the Operation Baliste, a French aeronaval operation off Lebanon in 2006 to transfer out European citizens during the height of Israeli offensive against Hezbollah positions.
The helicopter was also involved in supporting the French armed forces during the US-led war in Afghanistan.
The EC725 has a maximum speed of 324 kilometres per hour and the capacity of carrying 28 troops in addition to the crew.
Analysts predicted that the air force's EC725 would be fitted, among others, with radar warning receiver, 20mm cannons, rocket launchers and machine guns.