MRCA, Codes and the Push

PETALING JAYA: Even as I write this, President Obama is on his way to Thailand for an official visit. After Thailand, he will fly to Myanmar and Cambodia before returning to the US. Last week, outgoing Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Defence Secretary Leon Panneta also visited South East Asia region but gave Malaysia a wide berth.

My guess is either the US administration is determine to stay away from Malaysia as a general election is looming or simply Malaysia itself feel ambiguous about visits from US officials due to the Iran, Palestine and Middle East issues.

Nonetheless everyone knows that the US is one of our biggest trading partner and their absence from Malaysia seemed remarkable indeed especially the big wig from Pentagon as the Super Hornet is fighting tooth and nail for the MRCA programme. Apparently the US Navy had no such qualms though!

As I mentioned before there seemed to be a resistance for US made weapons (not least from the local agents) but also for the fact on the source code issues. Both BAE Systems and Dassault are making this issue as part of their marketing campaign for the MRCA programme. With the selection of the Eireye for the AEW requirement, it seemed harping on this issue is certain to make some headway at Jalan Padang Tembak despite the obvious preference for the Super Hornet.

Two F/A-18Es from the “Royal Maces” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 27 flies in formation with two Sukhoi Su-30s from the Royal Malaysian air force over the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).

No, I have not fallen into the Dassault/MBDA trap, far from it. It must be noted that BAE Systems had publicly stated that they are willing to share the source code and even to the extent of training our people how to do it so in the future we could do it ourselves. Dassault had not said anything about training but from their presentation, they said they were willing to share the Rafale source codes.

Much of the argument on the source code issue centered on this line “even if we have them (source code) do we have the people to do anything about it? The offer from BAE System on training Malaysian coders had killed off this assumption.

And before you say the source code issue is all about integrating weapons, think again. Its an operational issue, most of which had not been made public but apparently its a serious concern for the powers-that be. It must be noted that only close allies of the US had been given access to source codes when they procured military equipment so the fact that Malaysian is not granted full access to such capability is not much of concern to them anyway.

— Malaysian Defence

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