Défense Conseil International (DCI), the reference operator of the French ministry of defence for the international transfer of French military know-how, has created Helang Flying Academy, the first regional helicopter training centre in Malaysia, in a joint venture with Major Flagship Sdn Bhd (MFSB). The joint venture, the first involving DCI, is a “win-win” business model and underlines DCI’s growth ambitions in Southeast Asia. Helang Flying Academy is the result of a relation of trust between DCI and MFSB, in-depth knowledge of Malaysia’s needs, and DCI’s successes in the field. Following the signature of the joint venture at the end of September 2016, DCI, with its partner MFSB, can now undertake the initial investments, estimated at €13.6 million.

Competitiveness and autonomy, the keywords of Helang Flying Academy

In developing Helang Flying Academy, DCI is responding to a strong Malaysian need for helicopter trainings, while respecting local legal constraints. The creation of a joint venture offers Malaysia a national solution: the instructors will deliver high-quality training in accordance with the highest safety standards and consistent with the operational context of their customers.

“Boosting performance and competitiveness is a real issue for countries like Malaysia, which occupy a central position within their region,” comments DCI CEO Jean-Michel Palagos, CEO of DCI. “This is why Helang Flying Academy is sized to respond to the needs of neighbouring countries, particularly members of ASEAN.”

Ambitious, controlled development

This “win-win” partnership will allow Malaysia to offer helicopter training courses adapted to the requirements of the country’s state agencies and armed forces. “Throughout 10 years of cooperation with Malaysia, DCI has shown the highest standards in the transfer of military know-how through the development of major programmes like the creation of the Malaysian submarine force in 2005 or operational support for the Army and Coast Guard since 2008. In addition, we are recognized as the reference, particularly for helicopter pilot training,” Jean-Michel Palagos declares.

The first investments – more than 13 million euros – will be allocated to modern installations, based at Ipoh, Malaysia, and a fleet of single- and twin-turbine helicopters, the first four of which will be delivered in 2017. DCI will promote collaboration between Helang Flying Academy, and its International Helicopter Training Centre, which is co-located with Helidax and equipped with the same single-turbine helicopters: EC 120 from Airbus Helicotper.

DCI estimates that Helang Flying Academy will train around 30 trainees from Malaysia and ASEAN countries in 2017 and 2018. Ultimately, the centre should supply more than 50% of demand for ab initio training in Malaysia. Subsequently, alongside its core business in which DCI is an expert, Helang Flying Academy will diversify into simulation and fixed wing aircraft pilot training.

The goal: added value and regional influence

Helang Flying Academy is an opportunity to develop DCI’s helicopter operational training business in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. While the training centre will focus on ab initio training, DCI will support specific operational training programmes – a segment with higher added value.

As well as being a showcase for DCI’s know-how, this training centre will be a springboard for responding to the needs of countries in Southeast Asia. DCI has long-term experience in Asia – where it has four branches, in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and India.