All three services of the Malaysian armed forces have received significant cuts to their procurement budget requests for 2012. The political context for this is the build up to a general election, which must be held by 2013. With defense spending being a contentious issue in Malaysia and the need to reduce state spending, the current government has opted for sizable cutbacks.
Royal Malaysian Navy
As an aid to combating piracy in this region, Alenia has offered the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) the use of two previously owned ATR 42 MP (maritime patrol) aircraft to be operated by a local company on its behalf. Reporting to the defense minister, the MMEA began operations in November last year under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Department.
The first of 11 AgustaWestland A109 LOH (light observation helicopters) was handed over to the Malaysian army at the end of last year, during the country’s biennial Langkawi airshow. The start of training for (initially) five pilots began at the same time, coincidentally as an earlier contract to train Royal Malaysian Navy crews on their six new AW Super Lynx 300s came to a successful conclusion.