All The Way, LCA, Plan C

An MB-339CM and a MIG-29N Fulcrum demonstrates the interception at the NCO demonstration ceremony at Kuantan airbase in May, 2016. This was the last time Malaysian Defence saw a Fulcrum flying.

SHAH ALAM: All the way LCA. Plan C. It appears that the LCA has become the biggest priority for the RMAF as it seek to recapitalise its fast jet fleet in an austere environment. So much so that any deal for used aircraft will probably be left behind in the wake.

With the brand new LCA coming out of nowhere to overcome everything else it is easy to become target fixated. Back in the late 90s, the air force was looking to replace its elderly MB-339As for its LIFT program. Money was also tight forcing the air force to stretch out the service lives of the fleet as it wait for funding for the replacement.

A Hawk 208 firing FZ rockets at LKT 2018

In 2001, it appears that RMAF may have gotten the chance to replace the A-Machis as New Zealand decided to retire its fleet of 339Cs it had acquired just 10 year earlier.

RNZAF MB-339C

New Zealand offered a number of this aircraft to Malaysia – likely for free though we probably need to pay for activating this aircraft again. Although an attractive option to replace the As, RMAF had also at that time was checking out new built C-Machis leaving the New Zealand aircraft as orphans

One of the MB-339CM getting ready for a test flight in 2008 prior to delivery to RMAF.

In 2006, Malaysia opted to buy eight newly built MB-339CMs though the money was so tight that the engines of the As were refurbished and put on the new airframes. Currently only seven CMs are in service with one crashing back in May, 2016.

RMAF MB-339CM M34-20 in a picture taken at the Cope Taufan in 2014 at Butterworth.

So what is this got to do with the current situation you may ask?. As you are aware RMAF wants the new LCAs to replace the CMs, Hawks and the Mig-29 as well. At the same time it is looking to purchase a number of Kuwaiti Hornets as an interim measure for the stalled MRCA program.

Two Kuwait AF F/A-18C seen here with a couple of F-16s. Internet.

With the LCA likely to be new-built airframes, we are back in the similar situation two decades ago when RMAF was deciding whether to buy new Machis or get them used from New Zealand. Back then we opted for newly built aircraft. It is likely this time around the same thing will happen, with the new built aircraft hogging the attention and funding, leaving the used option as an orphan.

RMAF F/A-18D Hornet M45-02. Nov 19, 2015

I have already been told that RMAF must up its game if it really wanted the Kuwaiti Hornets. From history, its not looking rosy…

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

49 Comments

  1. Some advice for RMAF

    For now

    Concentrate to secure those Hornets 1st. That chance will not be around for long.

    New build LCA will be around for many2 years to come. You can start buying those in RMK12 2021-2025.

    Reread the plan here
    http://www.malaysiandefence.com/rmaf-2020-part-2/

    Off topic, on the nuri upgrade NUP4 program. Has the RMAF been notified that the main avionics supplier for that program has been taken over by an israeli conpany?
    https://www.uasc.com/home/library/news/2018/04/11/tucson-based-universal-avionics-systems-corporation

    So this makes my option of getting used EC225 LP helicopters much better than going on with the NUP4 based upgrade

  2. Some difference in situation between the kiwi MB-339CB and the kuwaiti legacy hornets

    – Those kiwi mb-339cb potential buyer was only 1, malaysia. It was after malaysia said no and bought those new mb-339cm that it was sold to US company DRAKEN.

    – Those kuwaiti hornets are being looked at by US Marines and Canada too. If Malaysia does not up its game for those hornets, most probably it will go to other people.

    More on RMAFs CAP55. After asking around trying to get more info on this, it seems that it is of now just a slogan, no concrete plans whatsoever. Great.

  3. Sudah sampai masanya RMAF berkembang sealiran dengan peredaran zaman dengan memiliki aset aset yang canggih dan terbaru .
    Masih ingat sewaktu dahulu RMAF dan Malaysia ammnya pernah menjadi pasukan yang di segani di rantau Asean dengan kemunculan jet jet pejuang baru yang pada masa itu tidak dapat di tandingi oleh negara tetangga.
    Harapan semoga bermula tahun 2018 – 2020 kita dapat melihat perubahan RMAF dengan penambahan jet pejuang baru spt Su 57 Pak Fa, Su 30 Mkm, FA 18 Sh blok 3 dan pesawat pengintai AEW&C ..bagi LCA terdapat bayak pilihan, untuk mengisi kekosongan ruang udara negara Malaysia yang tercinta ini dari di terobosi musuh yang datang tak di undang .

  4. As I mentioned before, these kinda chances only come once in a lifetime, especially when they’re well maintained, available for free/very low price, and still have lotsa life in them. Just like the RNZAF Machis, we might rue the missed chance to get them.

    While LIFT is important, we still have Hawks to tide us for a while to get new planes. We don’t have that luxury with those Kuwaiti F18s as I’m sure others are eyeing it as well. The performance gap these planes will give us, outweighs whatever benefits the new LCAs can do. Its like either buying a brand new Toyota, or a well maintained classic Mustang that’s going for dirt cheap. These kinda deals shouldn’t be passed up like previously.

    Mindef & MOF, please reconsider.

  5. @…
    About the Nuri upgrade contractor issue. The Israeli question should no longer be a problem in New Malaysia. That’s all I’m gonna say.

  6. I agree that the Kuwaiti Hornets both 2 seaters and single seats are the best immediate options available right now for RMAF. It’s a no brainer. MinDef must come up with a definite decision on whether we ARE taking them or not.
    I’d love to see newer assets in RMAF but we are looking down our pants so to speak for loose change. We need LCAs but yes, we can always buy new-built aircraft. And new probably means we won’t see them in service until several years after they’re paid for!
    * Just get on with the Kuwaiti F18 deal. Don’t just dump the idea just because it didn’t come from some Pakatan backbencher!

  7. joe – ”While LIFT is important, we still have Hawks to tide us for a while to get new planes.”

    The Hawks are not LIFT assets. In fact, neither are the MBB-339CMs. It’s a dedicated trainer intended for pilots who require conversion into a fast jet but not a LIFT in the truest sense of the word. In short we have a need for a dedicated LIFT; even if we don’t buy new fighters in the short term.

    On the MBB-339As we looked at upgrading them [a team from Aermacchi inspected them] but the cost was not worth it so we looked elsewhere. The decision on the ex-RNZAF MBB-339s was announced during the Agong’s visit to NZ and the later decision to drop the deal was a political one.

    Whilst various options can be had with the Nuris the key fact is that the RMAF has no intention of fully retiring them and has been pressing for an upgrade since the 1990’s. Even if, years ago, a 2nd batch of Cougars were funded to enable a 2nd squadron; the intention was always to maintain a small batch of Nuris in service for general utility work; some going to the army. The original plan was for the Cougars [24 were requested] to do SAR and special forces insertion.

    joe – ”The Israeli question should no longer be a problem in New Malaysia.”

    No comment about the political aspect but Israeli owned doesn’t necessarily mean that there are Israeli made parts. Also it’s not as if we don’t have a history of sourcing [non military] stuff that originally was made in Israel, were made based on Israeli tech or were made by companies with part Israeli ownership or connections. Same with South African during the Apartheid era. There was no official diplomatic recognition and trade was banned but certain stuff [after being rerouted and retagged] made its way here.

    Taib – ”MinDef must come up with a definite decision on whether we ARE taking them or not.”

    Mindef [based on the RMAF’s recommendation] decides and forwards the proposal further up but the politicians will make the final decision [after talks with the EPU, Ministry of Finance and Foreign Ministry]. The thing is, at the moment they have other pressing issues to focus on namely the economy.

    If we want to look at the political aspect; under Mahathir most of what we bought was gold plated and based on political considerations like how the buy would benefit the country [not only in a military aspect] but also on the level of ties with the country the equipment was sourced from. Procurement was late but it eventually happened. Like many other things, we just have to wait and see whether the overall policy regarding procurement of defence related stuff will change.

  8. “I have already been told that RMAF must up its game if it really wanted the Kuwaiti Hornets. From history, its not looking rosy…”

    Care to elaborate on what RMAF “upping its game” likely meant, apart from lobbying the new government? Increase price offers? Or diplomatic efforts with the Arabs?

  9. Azlan, political considerations yes, but surely the Kuwaitis can keep waiting for the nod from us.
    The new LCA or Kuwaiti Hornets issue must be put to rest quickly.
    I agree the Hawks and MB339s are not excellent LIFT aircraft choices. Can we ‘make do with the MiGs as LIFT aircraft. See how many airframes are still able to withstand LIFT training sessions ? Maybe work them together with the MB339s. Plus just minimal upgrades for both whilst the head honchos in MinDef deliberate for a further decade before coming to a LIFT and/ or LCA decision 🙂

  10. mr …
    “More on RMAFs CAP55. After asking around trying to get more info on this, it seems that it is of now just a slogan, no concrete plans whatsoever. Great.”
    its to be expected since they get new govt and cannot just ask and expect it to be deliver just like the MRCA.

    Nik Roslan bin Hj Omar
    “tahun 2018 – 2020 kita dapat melihat perubahan RMAF dengan penambahan jet pejuang baru spt Su 57 Pak Fa, Su 30 Mkm, FA 18 Sh blok 3 dan pesawat pengintai AEW&C”
    please dont pray fo this. our experience with Russian made so far was different from western made. best way will be go western for more commonality.

    to me this is good news.at least we can see the objective now.the ministry can plan how to get it realize. the money is there with the previous govt already save the money(plan at least based on the economy) and new the new govt just need to make sure its done. lastly, its time to go begging for Kuwait hornet. go go go

  11. The best to buy new….is either m346…TA 50…Gripen…n everybody knows that…buy in meaning full numbers…so the cadets can be trained…the senior jokeys can clock their flight hours n horned their skills etc etc….meaning full numbers as in 20 -36 units…we still have hornets n SU30 for serious work…..n hey “malaysia is not at war with their neighbours” some says so no worries of buying more LCAs…..my take

  12. @ taib

    You cannot use MiG-29 as lead in fighter trainers because
    – there is just 2 twin seat fulcrums
    – high operational cost
    – nothing in common with hornets or flankers in the MiGs. No modern avionics, no HOTAS, no ground attack mode, to targetting pods etc. No chance of simulated modes.

    @ zack
    New government is not an excuse for RMAF leadership of having just a slogan with no plans in hand. When asked all I get is ” there WILL BE a plan of the future in CAP55 “.

  13. Off topic

    Garmin avionics on fighter aircraft.

    American adversary support company TACAIR has selected Garmin G3000 touchscreen multifunction display system for their F-5E Tigers.

    http://imagesvc.timeincapp.com/v3/foundry/image/?q=60&url=https%3A%2F%2Fs3.amazonaws.com%2Fthe-drive-staging%2Fmessage-editor%252F1509496470131-jjjdad14.jpg

    https://mms.businesswire.com/media/20180711005150/en/667398/5/G3000_flight_deck.jpg

    http://newsroom.garmin.com/press-release/featured-releases/garmin-integrated-flight-deck-selected-supersonic-fighter-aircraft

    Touchscreen avionics while now commonly available in civilian general aviation, is unique in military aircrafts, AFAIK only F-35 have operational touchscreen multifunction displays.

    Btw our migs also uses garmin GPS in the cockpit, the handheld version with mountings on the cockpit panel.

    Garmin avionics retrofit can also be done to TUDM aircraft. For example the Garmin G1000 system is already approved for beechcraft b200. It is about 100kg lighter than the original avionics and would improve the available weight margins of the aircraft. That 100kg freed can be used for example, to retrofit a better air conditioning system.

  14. @Azlan
    Yes, I realise the 339s and Hawks aren’t dedicated LIFTs but they served this purpose so far admirably and my believe the Hawks can continue to soldier on. Worse comes to worse, we can outsource LIFT to private contractors. New LIFT planes can be bought anytime, just sent them a PO, that’s it.

    But these rare Kuwaiti F18s will only be in the market for so long before they get snapped up. Since we can leverage our advantage as Muslim country and perhaps with strong backing from Saudis, we get 1st movers advantage on them so who are we easily letting this chance slip by?

    About South Africa. The condemnation against them were mainly humanitarian. But for Israel, the recriminations is far, far more deeper than that. The level of disgust on the 2 are on so many different levels between them.

  15. joe – ” but they served this purpose so far admirably”

    The MBB-339s serves a different purpose compared to the Hawk 100. One is a basic jet trainer and one is a conversion platform.

    joe – ”The condemnation against them were mainly humanitarian. But for Israel, the recriminations is far, far more deeper than that.”

    The point I was trying to make is that despite us not having official ties with certain countries; unofficial ties do exist and stuff from those countries still make their way here.

    joe – ”my believe the Hawks can continue to soldier on.”

    The 100s act as dedicated conversion platforms for those going on to 200s. Of course they can ”soldier on” but as trainers for Hawk pilots.

    Taib – ”political considerations yes, but surely the Kuwaitis can keep waiting for the nod from us.”

    The new government has pressing priorities. First the RMAF has to get a requirement registered by MINDEF, then it has to go further up. A lot of work, lobbying and approval involved. It’s simply not a priority for the new government at this moment.

    Taib – ”Can we ‘make do with the MiGs as LIFT aircraft”

    Never mind that we only have 2; the NUBs are conversion platforms for pilots selected to fly the Fulcrum. They are not dedicated trainers or conversion platforms for pilots who have just got their wings and who have been streamed for fast jets.
    Same goes for the Hawk 100s.

    Reply
    Due to the difficulties with the CM, the 100s are also used as LIFT

  16. Taib – ”The new LCA or Kuwaiti Hornets issue must be put to rest quickly.”

    We can’t rush anything just because something is cheap or because that something might be taken up by others. Buying a fighter [new or pre-owned] is a major issue; something not to be rushed or taken lightly as there are various issues involved and it will have long term consequences.

    The government [when it finally comes around to taking a look at defence issues] must first send a clear message to the RMAF whether funds will or will not be available for a new MRCA purchase in the coming years. As I’ve mentioned previously it’s the government’s care of duty to ensure the armed services are adequately funded and the responsibility of the 3 armed services to plan for their requirements and keep pushing for them. Clear indication must first be given by the government.

    The problem is [like the previous government] the new government can’t at the moment provide a clear indication; not is it ready to do so even if it could. Sure the RMAF must have contingency plans [and it does] but a clear direction must first be given by the government in order for the 3 services to plan accordingly for the long term. Never mind the pros and cons of buying pre-owned; even if the RMAF actively pushed for the Kuwaiti Hornets; the government [after looking at various factors] might not agree to a purchase.

  17. IMO right now the main issue here – are the TUDM leaders putting 110% effort to get those kuwaiti hornets? Don’t they feel that it is their utmost duty to the country to get those hornets as that is the best option that we have considering our circumstances?

    If I can ask marhalim, probably he would be very pessimistic after what he has gone through. From past interviews up till early this year, it was TUDM themselves who are not interested in the used hornets and steadfastly wanted expensive MRCA instead. It is just only recently during the 60 years celebration that they officially say that additional legacy hornets is an option.

    Last time with the MB-339, it was TUDM who are not interested and went for brand new airframes with used engines instead. It was nearly 6 years after we bought those brand new MB-339CM (2013) that the kiwi government manage to sell off those aircrafts to USA.

  18. If the RMAF decides on pre-owned aircraft [Hornets or otherwise; they must first receive a clear indication from the government with regards to funding; as to what direction they must take. Also, as I’ve pointed out before, just because the RMAF might not be interested in pre-owned, doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t plan ahead, has no realistic options or is unable to make adjustments to what it want. Despite all the clear – on paper – benefits in buying pre-owned; the RMAF might still have legitimate reservations about going down this route.

    Doesn’t mean the RMAF is wrong and those who are convinced that pre-owned Hornets are the way to go are right. Things are not as clear cut as that. What one feels are the most ”cost effective” or ”logical” approach may not necessarily mean it’s the same in ”reality” as the RMAF has to factor in various things; things that may not be readily apparent to the public. Also, the fact that the RMAF has not mentioned anything publicly does not indicate it is for or against the pre-owned Hornets.

    With regards to the RMAF doing it’s ”utmost duty to the country to get those hornets”; I’m not in any position to make such a judgement.

    With the MBB-339s it as not the RMAF that was not interested; it was a political decision. Since when has the RMAF had the last say with regards to what it wants? With the government not wanting to buy the ex RNZAF air frames and upgrading the As being cost prohibitive; the only option was to get new air frames with reused engines. This was not the RMAF’s first choice; it was a choice it was forced to accept.

  19. Not a fan of the LCA concept or options available. Not gonna say more as I’ve said enough.

    I’d say defence procurement in general let alone combat aircraft really isn’t much of a priority considering the many many issues plaguing Msia in other areas.

    The funding question is one that the whole nation needs to ask, since it is very uncertain what exactly our debt commitment is, as well as what revenue streams can be set up.

    As such Defence should consider itself very lucky if the budget can be maintained at its current figure.

  20. Off topic

    Today is the 4th anniversary of MH17.

    Will we get closure for this? Will malaysian government treat this issue as if it never happened?

    I still believe that we deserve an apology and compensation from russia for this.

    @ azlan

    The kiwi MB-339CB are to almost the same standard as malaysian CM, with mil-std1553b cockpit avionics. DRAKEN are using them today as is.

    On the legacy hornets. The easy question. Is billion dollar typhoons or rafales in limited quantity (as we have limited budgets) a better option than the used hornets? I have simulated the scenario (in rmaf 2020 pt2 post) of what is going to happen if we get 8 typhoons or rafales.

  21. … – ‘is just only recently during the 60 years celebration that they officially say that additional legacy hornets is an option.”

    Just because the RMAF hasn’t said anything during interviews or elsewhere regarding pre-owned fighters; does not mean that it has absolutely no desire to move in this direction or has totally discounted the possibility. Which is what I’ve been saying all along to people who convey the impression that the RMAF has to have brand new MRCAs or nothing at all; a false impression. In the past, more than once the RMAF has publicly spoken out about the possibility of a leasing arrangement if it has no choice but the government also wasn’t keen with this approach despite not having the funds for MRCAs and not being able to give a possible time frame.

    Similarly the RMAF – although it rather it didn’t have to – also looked at ways to keep the Fulcrums operational for a few more years. Contrary to what many think or assume; the 3 services tend to have alternate plans but at the end of the day clear direction must come from its political masters as to what can or can’t be afforded and a rough estimate as to the time period.

    I would also like to add that the recent push for MPAs is nothing new and is not because of delays in MRCA funding. Long term plans – since the early 2000’s – always called for MPAs first before MRCAs. The loss of MH370 provided the RMAF with the opportunity to seek MPA funding but there was no positive response from the government until last year. This despite MPAs being cheaper than MRCAs and the previous government placing priority on safeguarding the maritime domain. I’m in no way suggesting that the RMAF has always adopted the right approach or is beyond reproach; merely that it’s easy for the layman to make assumptions as to what the RMAF [as well as its 2 sister services] should or shouldn’t do and to assume that what’s logical and cost effective on paper is really the right approach.

    … – ”Will malaysian government treat this issue as if it never happened?”

    Realpolitik. Despite wanting closure and justice the government has to balance this with the fact that Russia is a permanent member of the security council and we have trade ties with Russia. Yes if i had a family member on MH17 I would want a Russian apology and compensation but realistically there is only so much Malaysia can do.

    … – ”On the legacy hornets. The easy question.”

    You continue extolling the virtues of pre owned 20 odd year old air frames all you want and I will continue to maintain that there are penalties in doing so and that the RMAF has legitimate reasons why it does not or would prefer not to go down this route. If looked at objectively; both options have their pros and cons. As to it being an ”easy question” I will only say – again – what looks great on paper might not be in actual fact as there are various factors at play. I’m speaking for myself but I will not pass judgement or say the RMAF is wrong just because it’s not doing what I’d like it to do or what I think is the right approach/solution.

    … – ”The kiwi MB-339CB are to almost the same standard”

    Fine but it wasn’t the RMAF that rejected the idea of acquiring them.

    Chua – ”Not a fan of the LCA concept or options available.”

    In the past I questioned whether the RMAF still had a need for a high/low end mix as both have their pros and cons. Now we have the answer but a LCA buy is still a long way. Some will point out that a LCA can do a lot of what a MRCA does – true. The problem is that even if a LCA can do 80 percent of what a MRCA can; if faced with a situation where there is need for the 20 percent it can’t do; then obviously the LCA is the wrong tool for the job.

    Chua – ”very lucky if the budget can be maintained at its current figure.

    Spot on.

  22. @ chua

    I understand where you are coming from but what other realistic options do we have for now other than legacy hornets and LCA? It is way better than pushing rentlessly for a handful of MRCA that is clearly unaffordable. Hoping for increased budget is not a viable option in anyones book and RMAF is lucky if whatever budget planned is not cut even further.

    BTW if you have a better option I would very much like to hear them as I can’t think of any better option other than what i have written in rmaf 2020 pt2.

  23. @ azlan

    “Just because the RMAF hasn’t said anything during interviews or elsewhere regarding pre-owned fighters; does not mean that it has absolutely no desire to move in this direction or has totally discounted the possibility. Which is what I’ve been saying all along to people who convey the impression that the RMAF has to have brand new MRCAs or nothing at all; a false impression. ”

    RMAF hasn’t said anything? A false impression? A written reply to Marhalim in 2017 clearly exposes RMAF leadership intents in regards to the used hornets.

    This is the exact wordings of the question by marhalim and answer by RMAF –

    http://www.malaysiandefence.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/ASk.jpg

    RMAF already identified shortlisted new aircraft for its MRCA program. Currently, there is NO PLAN in acquiring used aircraft to be used in country.

  24. … – ” It is way better than pushing rentlessly for a handful of MRCA that is clearly unaffordable”

    I’m of course not Chua but will give [as usual] my 2 cents.

    Don’t mean to sound confrontational or engage in ”negative bashing” [as you put it previously] but just because you think it’s ”better” based on the points you’ve raised and the facts you present doesn’t mean it is ”better”. What’s ”better” and ”realistic” or not can also be very, very subjective. I’ve mentioned – on a number of occasions – the pros and cons of both new and pre used; unless I’m mistaken you’ve constantly mentioned only or mainly the pros of buying pre used aged air frames when the ”reality” is that both options have their respective merits and penalties. Just because others don’t seem to have a ”better” option [itself very subjective based on personal opinions and what one feels is the ”best” or most ”logical” approach based on data and actual costs] doesn’t mean they are wrong or haven’t a clue what they’re on about.

    As for the RMAF pushing ”rentlessly” I will point out again that it is the job of the RMAF to push its requirements and the job of the government to provide a clear/unequivocal answer as to what can or can’t be afforded and the likely time frame if it can be afforded – period/full stop. This previous government did not do and the new government is too busy attending to other areas.

    An MRCA is is not imminent. It’s not as if it’s going to happen this year or the next or even the year after that. It’s years away and by that time the economy might be in a better state. Who knows, we might even end up with something under a leasing arrangement or as part of a soft loan with part payment in commodities. Anything can happen. For now the RMAF has indicated that priority are MPAs. I’m not a clairvoyant but we can safely say this will not change.

  25. @Azlan
    What we can do here is speculate, but Marhalim being much closer to those in the know will have better idea of whether should RMAF consider the Kuwaiti F18s. Certainly he would be in the know of which ones in the market (Aussie, Kuwaiti, USAF, USMC ones @boneyard, Finnish(?) ) are the best kept used birds.

    We currently neither have the luxury of money for new MRCAs nor luxury of time to keep the Kuwaitis hanging until 2025. If RMAF had began inspecting those F18s and deemed them technically not feasible for their use, then its fine by me to let them go. But if not and the only reason stopping it, is political, ego, or lobbies, then I have nothing more to say but facepalm myself.

    @…
    Mahathir being a big fan of Russki weapons, perhap too the MH17 question may no longer be a problem anymore. Just saying.

  26. “The problem is that even if a LCA can do 80 percent of what a MRCA can; if faced with a situation where there is need for the 20 percent it can’t do; then obviously the LCA is the wrong tool for the job. ”

    Which is why I said it would be desirable for the LCA to have some overlap in capabilities with the MRCA so it can stand in for it on some missions, seeing we will never have as many MRCA as we mould like. Of course there’s the matter of whether we can afford it or not.

    Btw, if the day comes that the LCA replaces the Hawks, would it be wise or sufficient to use every two-seater Hawk as a trainer, and add new Hawks to the fleet if more are needed?

    “I still believe that we deserve an apology and compensation from russia for this.”

    It would be an understatement to say we have a lack of leverage that we can muster against Russia. The previous government avoided the issue by encouraging the idea that Ukrainians and their Martian-Zionist backers were guilty.

  27. AM,

    Yes. On MH17 there’s really nothing we can do. Countries with much more diplomatic clout/leverage aren’t able to do much; let alone us. It’s one thing wanting to do something; a completely other thing to actually do it. Not as if we can downgrade relations with Russia or suspend trade. We made a lot of noise over Chechnya years ago [of course not directly involving us unlike MH17] and PAS demonstrated at the Russian embassy but the reality was there was nothing we could do.

    Joe – ”We currently neither have the luxury of money for new MRCAs nor luxury of time to keep the Kuwaitis hanging until 2025.”

    Again, an MRCA but is not imminent, it is years from now. Don’t give the impression that it’s happening soon because it’s clearly not. Secondly, we shouldn’t rush to buy anything – irrespective of whether cheap or whether others will rush to get it – as various long term factors have first to be considered. Whatever we buy now will have consequences/effects later. Buying fighters is a major undertaking.

    Note than I’m not totally discounting the merits of pre-owned but I’m also pointing out that there are penalties in acquiring 20 odd year [actually more] air frames irrespective of whether they’re low houred, in tip top condition and can be upgraded.

    Joe – ”If RMAF had began inspecting those F18s and deemed them technically not feasible for their use, then its fine by me to let them go. But if not and the only reason stopping it, is political, ego, or lobbies, then I have nothing more to say but facepalm myself.

    There is nothing technically wrong with the pre-owned Hornets but the RMAF might have its own legitimate reasons why it won’t want to pursue this option. It has nothing to do with ”prestige” or ”ego” to assume so is being overly simplistic.

    … – ”A written reply to Marhalim in 2017 clearly exposes RMAF leadership intents in regards to the used hornets.”

    Right. So a single reply and a lack of further public mention provides a firm indication? Based on this, then one can’t be blamed if he assumes that the requirement for MRCAs do longer exists based on the fact that the RMAF has been talking more about MPAs lately ….

    … – ”RMAF already identified shortlisted new aircraft for its MRCA program. Currently, there is NO PLAN in acquiring used aircraft to be used in country.”

    NOT exactly …..

    The RMAF has long identified the need for a MRCA [that’s true] but if government does what it’s supposed to do and give a clearer answer in able for long term planning to be implemented then the RMAF is in a better position to plan accordingly; including looking at procuring pre-owned or leasing something. For almost a decade the government [or rather the previous one] came close more than once only to back off later; strategic/policy direction must come from the government. It was the RMAF which issued the requirement, the government which approved the requirement and the government which was unable to provide a firm commitment. In the past the government wasn’t keen on a leasing arrangement and it might not be keen on pre-owned despite not having the funds to buy new and despite the RMAF indicating that it has no choice but to get pre-owned. Thus it’s not to accurate to say there is ”NO PLAN in acquiring used aircraft to be used in country” as that option has been considered; just like hoe leasing Gripens was considered. It will be more accurate to say that ”acquiring used aircraft to be used in country” is not the RMAF’s preferred choice.

  28. @…

    Well, you know me. I would simply tell TUDM these are the options available:

    1) Kuwaiti Hornets
    2) Gripen NG

    replace the Aermacchis (and eventually Hawks) with TA-50s and insist on ATR-72s, NOT the P-8 which they’re probably lusting for. But there are probably political issues we do not know. For example the F/A-18 holdup might be because of US relations rather than (just) TUDM dragging its feet.

    Re: your RMAF 2020, I only glanced through it, can’t comment but I don’t know that we really need more A400M or PC-24. Also instead of the FC-31 perhaps we could look at the next Franco-German fighter or even UK Tempest.

    @Azlan

    Re: LCA, I wonder if part of our problem is that we’ve been spoiled by our lucky 1-off “clearance sale” purchases which are unlikely to be repeated. Frankly I’m not sure a budget of ~$250m a year can sustain an airforce that wants three squadrons of 4th-gen twin-engined fast jets, especially big 18-ship squadrons like ours.

    I mean look at it from a purely numbers perspective, with a fast-jet procurement budget of say $100m/year and 30-year projected lifespan, plus the fact that most fighters cost like $100m these days, realistically we can only operate a maximum of 30 such fighters at best, which is in line with some European countries comparable to ours.

    If TUDM wants more, either GDP grows, or they buy cheaper, less capable aircraft.

    (It would be nice if we could get thirty F-35A wouldn’t it? Ah one can dream…)

  29. joe “Since we can leverage our advantage as Muslim country and perhaps with strong backing from Saudis, we get 1st movers advantage on them so who are we easily letting this chance slip by?”

    Again I should call out the assumption that Arabs are in the business of giving things out to other Muslim states for free or below what they would charge others.

    Like all others, they would want something in return. If not a form of payment then support for a position of theirs like what we gave the Saudis.

    Other assumptions are that the Saudis can influence who the Kuwaitis give the Hornets to or what they charge, or that our relations with the Saudis are what they were previously.

    joe ”The Israeli question should no longer be a problem in New Malaysia.”

    Gulf Sunni Arabs are getting along better with the Israelis thanks to Iran, and have long kept contacts with them while publicly hostile. With us and Israel, we lack the common enemy but also the rhetorical hostility and the conflicting interests. There is no reason we can’t do the same when it serves our interests.

    The new government is in no hurry to boost ties with Israel, but that’s not quite the same as working together on isolated issues here and there.

  30. AM – ”Which is why I said it would be desirable for the LCA to have some overlap in capabilities with the MRCA ”

    Well it would have ground attack capability and even if lacks a radar would have an air to air capability; albeit with short range AAMs. Its ground attack capability of course depending on the type of ordnance that has been certified for use with the particular aircraft. As it stands a lot of stuff has yet to be integrated to the F/A-50 but this will probably change as more customers order it.

    Sometime back I mentioned the Hawks being used for QRA. Someone asked how this would be possible given they’re not supersonic. My answer was that it depends [like many other things] like whether the aircraft to be intercepted was flying towards or away from the QRA aircraft, the speed it was flying and its intention.

    AM – ”would it be wise or sufficient to use every two-seater Hawk as a trainer, and add new Hawks to the fleet if more are needed?”

    Depending I suppose on how capable the 100s are as LIFT asset; in other words can it [with minimum modifications\upgrades] serve the purpose of enabling pilots to make the conversion into whatever new generation MRCA [assuming these are ordered] we’ll be operating then? Then again I suppose a question to be asked is how well the present MBB-339CMs [despite not being a dedicated LIFT] do in preparing pilots for the transition to Hornets and MKMs [even taking into account that they’ll undergo a period of type conversion when they arrive at their squadrons.

  31. @ azlan

    ” if government does what it’s supposed to do and give a clearer answer in able for long term planning to be implemented then the RMAF is in a better position to plan accordingly ”

    While that is your view on the predicament RMAF is in (i respect that, not saying that you are wrong), my view is the blame is mostly on the RMAF leadership, failing to realistically and comprehensively plan based on the budgets they previously had, like what RMN does. They are also to blame cohorting with political figures trying to pass a multi billion buy of aircrafts that the government can barely afford. So lets put it at that.

    @ AM

    ” your RMAF 2020, I only glanced through it, can’t comment but I don’t know that we really need more A400M or PC-24. Also instead of the FC-31 perhaps we could look at the next Franco-German fighter or even UK Tempest ”

    Of course we could look at Fra-Ge fighter or tempest but that is all right now still in planning stage. What I wrote is a compliation of a few years worth of thinking, and there was no Fra-Ge fighter or Tempest when I published it. As I said 2030 is still far away and probably we can seriously consider our options starting 2025. As for A400M and PC-24, my plan considers almost every flying unit in the airforce. Pilatus PC-24 jet as a replacement of the liaison, MEDIVAC and twin-engine training duties of leased King Air B350 and the previous Cessna C402. It has an advantage of able to land on gravel or grass runways and a build-in cargo door. A400M, just 2 more to top up numbers for a better option for operational use.

  32. @AM
    I believe the previous administration prefers to err with caution and wanted to wait til the conclusion of the JIT findings, which near conclusively points to Russia supplied equipment fired by Ukrainian separatist. Of course the press conference and report came after GE14.

    Looking at the London spy poisoning incident, there’s little advantage to quickly condemn Moscow without a thorough investigation. Certainly it gave them reasons to vehemently refuse to acknowledge the report findings even when there’s no doubt about it.

  33. The international investigative team on MH17 gave its conclusions long before GE14.

    The previous Govt just decided to keep silent and hope Msians forget it eventually. Then it could perhaps reopen discussions quietly, do deals via proxy etc

    BTW its unlikely the Buk was operated and fired by Ukrainian separatists who would probably lack the knowledge and ability to do so. Perhaps under their operational control, but not pulling the trigger itself.

    Also open procurement of any Israeli gear is definitely out of the question, despite what some of us like to imagine. It would be political suicide for anybody on any side to bring that up in a country where everything and anything is blamed on the Evil Jews(tm) and their Secret World Domination Cabal.

    If it puts us rubbing shoulders with fine gentlemen like Hamas and Hezbollah, when other Middle East countries are gradually thawing, well, that is the position that has been taken all these years. So be it.

  34. … – ”While that is your view on the predicament RMAF”

    It’s not solely ”my view” but based on bits I gathered from various areas.

    … ”my view is the blame is mostly on the RMAF leadership, failing to realistically and comprehensively plan based on the budgets they previously had”

    We have spoke about this time and time before ….. I have pointed out that a direct comparison is simply not possible as there are varying factors involved when it comes to how the RMN and RMAF has respectively approached things; as well as their requirements. As it stands it’s too early to say how well the 5/15 will be implemented; not to mention that the RMN was in such a desperate state that it had no choice but to implement the 5/15.As it stands many in the RMN are not fully convinced with the 5/15 and under a different RMN leadership and a changed political environment; the 5/15 may undergo a drastic change.

    How ”realistically” and ”comprehensively” the RMAF has conducted itself is very, very subjective – in short it’s your view in, line with what you’d like to believe or convinced is right, to bolster your opinion.

    Also, as pointed out before, securing a big ticket deal like the LCS is easier to sell politically as it keeps the local shipyard afloat and secures jobs. A deal for MRCAs has much less local benefits – its is harder to justify politically. It also helps that the government places priority on the maritime domain….

    … – ” They are also to blame cohorting with political figures trying to pass a multi billion buy of aircrafts that the government can barely afford.”

    As mentioned previously it doesn’t work like that. At the cost of repeating myself again; it is the job and responsibility of the 3 armed services to register and push for their respective requirements – full stop/period. It is the responsibility of the government to adequately fund the 3 services and if unable to provide funding; the responsibility of the government to providfe an indication in order for alternative plans to be made or for sustainable long term planning to be factored. How is the RMAF to ”blame” when it’s doing what it’s supposed to do? Again – the government approved – in principle – the requirement for MRCAs. Don’t make it sound like it was something that the government never approved but was forced to do so by the RMAF.

    … – ”They are also to blame cohorting with political figures trying to pass a multi billion buy of aircrafts that the government can barely afford. ”

    That’s quite a bold statement to make. If indeed that was true the government would have released funding moons ago and we wouldn’t have seen the numerous delays and indecision over the past few years. There would have been much greater urgency and focus.

  35. Chua – ”Also open procurement of any Israeli gear is definitely out of the question, despite what some of us like to imagine.”

    I believe nobody here is under the illusion. What I did say is that Israeli ownership [part or fully] of a company doesn’t automatically mean there will be Israeli components/parts involved and that it’s not unheard of for components/parts [non military] with an Israeli connection to end up here. And of course from time to time on matters of mutual benefit there have been unofficial contacts and American/Canadian/Australian passport holders, as well as other countries, with dual Israeli citizenship do enter here.

    Chua – ” It would be political suicide for anybody on any side to bring that up in a country where everything and anything is blamed on the Evil Jews(tm) and their Secret World Domination Cabal.”

    Our position is that we will not recognise Israel until it abides by UN Resolution 242 which calls for the withdrawal from land occupied in 1967. Recognising Israel would also be a problem in that official recognition would mean recognising or providing legitimacy to Israel’s current borders which includes land illegally occupied in violation of international law : the Golan, Jerusalem, the Sheba Farms and the West Bank.

    Chua – ”If it puts us rubbing shoulders with fine gentlemen like Hamas and Hezbollah, when other Middle East countries are gradually thawing”

    ”Other” countries like Saudi, Qatar and the UAE who have long sold their a***s to Uncle Sam for regime survival and to confront ”evil’ and ”heretic” Iran [never mind that Iran played a huge part in rolling back IS in Syria and Iraq whilst Saudi, Qatar and the UAE preferred focusing on Yemen]. Their ties with Hamas and Hezbollah are not because of human rights or stuff like that but pure selfish self interest.

    If indeed we’re rubbing shoulders with ”fine gentlemen like Hamas and Hezbollah” it’s no big deal as we’ve also been rubbing shoulders with the like of Uncle Sam and Britain. These 2 have
    more blood on their hands compared with ”fine gentlemen like Hamas and Hezbollah”.

  36. The best time to buy MRCA in good numbers was 15 years back….but right now its good to buy second best choice in terms of numbers n affordability within the RMAF budget….reasons….everybody in asia is building up their armed forces….so must we….malaysia is not in the hotspot….as in 15 years ago where singapore…indonesia is seen as a potential threat..( need not hide the truth ) whereas right now the focus of all asian countries is on the awaken dragon…and i say its the right time to buy affordable n good LCA…M 386 seems a good buy…or TA 50….scrap mig..amichi..hawk..as soon as those new LCA ar in service in stages….n in no time to come RMAF have lesser headache…do it now or regret later….my 2 cents

  37. @ azlan

    ” it is the job and responsibility of the 3 armed services to register and push for their respective requirements – full stop/period. ”

    And tell me for the past 10 years what is their priority to push above all others? MRCA after they just had their MKMs. Is that the sign good leadership to you? Why didn’t they prioritize say MPA instead of the MRCA at the start 10 years ago? Why only last year they finally asked the govenment for MPA budget after failing for 10 years get the MRCA that they want?

    ” That’s quite a bold statement to make. If indeed that was true the government would have released funding moons ago and we wouldn’t have seen the numerous delays and indecision over the past few years ”

    Numerous delays is because there is not enough money in the 1st place to fulfill those politicians desire for MRCA. Did the TUDM leadership say no? Nope they steadfastly bobbed their head in unison with those politicians for the MRCAs. For the navy there are some push for items that the country cannot afford like the the Mistrals. Did the navy leadership say yes? No they didn’t and they came out with a plan that is within the budget the govenment can afford. For example on the LMS, in the chinese ship i dont think the navy got exactly what they wanted. Did they do something like the airforce after getting MKM still pushing for new fighter? No they went to their next plan, the MRSS.

    @ redsot

    Yes we have actually bought something 15 years back, the Su-30MKM. So why is the TUDM leadership pushing hard for MRCA this past 10 years instead of pushing hard for other capabilities like MPA or AWACS?

  38. It may seems to me at around usd120 mil fly away cost and another usd 100 mil for 10 years support/operation/weapon package for the bext 10 years (per jet as per aussie deal) the SH is the choice to go. Granted lca much cheaper but would it meet our requirement in relation to ussue with border patroling in china and indonesis. We could buy 12 to 14 based on available budget of usd2b (exclude 10 years support package coz that should fall under yearly opex).. Maybe can reduce further value if we defer additional weapon package as we already have aim9x, amraam, maverick and harpoon in inventory. Then the 8 hornet d can be used for dual role trainibg and ground attack. Next 10 years sukhoi will be obsolete, hopefully by then we can have another round of mrca purchase

  39. @Chua.
    You are mistaking allegations and a full-on incrimination. What the international community did was accusing Russia without conclusive proof. Only after JIT press conference on 24 May (after GE14!) , did they provide irrefutable prove that it was Moscow & their separatist goons that armed and pulled the trigger. I beg to differ that international realpolitik isn’t like Malaysian ones, where blatant accusations can hold sway.

    And as for the Israel question, Azlan has succinctly said it well. Only that those in the new Administration now can leverage for more open interaction with that State. After all, what was taboo previously is being deconstructed one by one. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day we station a low level embassy there.

    @Kamal
    SH is a mighty fine plane currently and for near (<10years) future. But with an expected lifespan of 30 years, we can't afford it to be obsoleted amongst the 5th gen fighter crowd for the next 20 years after. I rather we wait until there's more 5th gen options (FC31, KFX, JFX(?), etc) instead of getting 4.5 gens (Rafale, Typhoon, SH, Grippen).

  40. @ kamal

    One thing is to afford to buy.

    Another is to afford to use.

    We need a capable fighter that is also affordable to be flown daily.

    We still have our 18 MKM (10 years old) and 8 hornets (20 years old). That is our hedge against something like a conflict. We need something in quite a good number to be placed around the country for daily day to day air policing and training, and can be flown cheaply. MKM with its high utility will be in the airforces fleet probably 20-30 more years into the future.

    And we still need to buy new MPAs too.

  41. … – ”And tell me for the past 10 years what is their priority to push above all others? MRCA after they just had their MKMs. Is that the sign good leadership to you? ”

    Under the original plan, after they had MKMs next on the list was MPAs. The present requirement for MRCAs was to have come after the MPAs and after a period when the MKMs were already in service. It’s called ”ongoing modernisation plans” … That the plan was long delayed was the fault of the government not the RMAF and contrary to the impression you previously gave; MPAs were always the priority.

    …. – ”Numerous delays is because there is not enough money in the 1st place to fulfill those politicians desire for MRCA. Did the TUDM leadership say no?”

    Instead of obfuscating things stick to the facts. MRCAs were needed because it was seen as the next step in the RMAF’s ongoing developments plans. The RMAF was aware that MRCAs would be a huge undertaking in funding resources but it’s not as if it expected the purchase to happen overnight. Your assumptions that it was something forced upon the government is false; as is the assumption that the RMAF has to have brand new MRCAs or nothing at all. Also, we are talking about 18 air frames here that are years from being ordered; don’t make it sound like it’s something imminent or totally outrageous like a request for 72 MRCAs or 120 Cougars ……

    … – ”For the navy there are some push for items that the country cannot afford like the the Mistrals. ”

    You make a lot of assumptions. The RMN did not want something the likes of Mistral not because of it’s price tag but because it was totally superfluous to its needs ……. That’s why and the same reason why despite all the pros [which you were going on about] the RMN has no need for a ”large” combatant.

    … – ”No they went to their next plan, the MRSS.”

    Stick to the right narrative instead of just mentioning stuff that conveniently strengthens your argument. After getting the LMS [having already got its LCSs] priority was to replace the Saktis for the reason that they are getting increasingly expensive to operate on account of age. The RMAF was in a completely different situation as it hadn’t received any new fighters more than a decade and was facing immense difficulties meeting its training and operational commitments with the number of air frames it has.

    Thus [like I keep mentioning] the circumstances facing the RMAF and RMN differ greatly, yet you keep insisting on lumping them together.

    Chua – ”Also open procurement of any Israeli gear is definitely out of the question, despite what some of us like to imagine.”

    I believe nobody here is under the illusion. What I did say is that Israeli ownership [part or fully] of a company doesn’t automatically mean there will be Israeli components/parts involved and that it’s not unheard of for components/parts [non military] with an Israeli connection to end up here. And of course from time to time on matters of mutual benefit there have been unofficial contacts and American/Canadian/Australian passport holders, as well as other countries, with dual Israeli citizenship do enter here.

    Chua – ” It would be political suicide for anybody on any side to bring that up in a country where everything and anything is blamed on the Evil Jews(tm) and their Secret World Domination Cabal.”

    Our position is that we will not recognise Israel until it abides by UN Resolution 242 which calls for the withdrawal from land occupied in 1967. Recognising Israel would also be a problem in that official recognition would mean recognising or providing legitimacy to Israel’s current borders which includes land illegally occupied in violation of international law : the Golan, Jerusalem, the Sheba Farms and the West Bank.

    Chua – ”Also open procurement of any Israeli gear is definitely out of the question, despite what some of us like to imagine.”

    I believe nobody here is under the illusion. What I did say is that Israeli ownership [part or fully] of a company doesn’t automatically mean there will be Israeli components/parts involved and that it’s not unheard of for components/parts [non military] with an Israeli connection to end up here. And of course from time to time on matters of mutual benefit there have been unofficial contacts and American/Canadian/Australian passport holders, as well as other countries, with dual Israeli citizenship do enter here.

    Chua – ” It would be political suicide for anybody on any side to bring that up in a country where everything and anything is blamed on the Evil Jews(tm) and their Secret World Domination Cabal.”

    Our position is that we will not recognise Israel until it abides by UN Resolution 242 which calls for the withdrawal from land occupied in 1967. Recognising Israel would also be a problem in that official recognition would mean recognising or providing legitimacy to Israel’s current borders which includes land illegally occupied in violation of international law : the Golan, Jerusalem, the Sheba Farms and the West Bank.

    Chua – ”If it puts us rubbing shoulders with fine gentlemen like Hamas and Hezbollah, when other Middle East countries are gradually thawing”

    Well, for decades we’ve been ”rubbing shoulders” with the likes of Uncle Sam and Britain who have far more blood on their hands than the ”fine gentlemen like Hamas and Hezbollah”. Also, take note that the Palestinians welcomed Hamas as an alternative to the corrupt and innefficient Fatah. For that matter even the Israelis initially had contacts with Hamas.

    ”Other” countries like Saudi, Qatar and the UAE who have long sold their a***s to Uncle Sam for regime survival and to confront ”evil’ and ”heretic” Iran [never mind that Iran played a huge part in rolling back IS in Syria and Iraq whilst Saudi, Qatar and the UAE preferred focusing on Yemen] and their ties [or lack of it] with Hamas and Hezbollah are not because of human rights or stuff like that but pure selfish self interest.

  42. Red Sot – ”The best time to buy MRCA in good numbers was 15 years back…”

    Maybe but based on the budget and prices there was only Treasury approval to buy 18 air frames. The RMAF didn’t push for more because it realised that approval would not be granted -contrary to the impression some may give, the RMAF doesn’t ask for the moon and sky in the expectation that the government has a bottomless budget.

    Red Sot – ‘e’verybody in asia is building up their armed forces….so must we….malaysia is not in the hotspot…”

    We have to focus on our threat perceptions and our requirements rather than basing our needs on what others get. No doubt some of our purchases have been ”threat driven” but most have been ”capability driven”. Also not ”everybody in asia is building up their armed forces”. Some are merely implementing long, long delayed modernisation plans to maintain a minimal capability and even then; the cash allocated [no surprises] isn’t sufficient for what they’d like to implement.

    Red Sot – ”whereas right now the focus of all asian countries is on the awaken dragon”

    Not ”all”. The rest, whilst united in their concerns, are divided on how to deal with the issue. No doubt, we have factor in the possibility that the Chinese in the future might not play ”nice” but open conflict or even a state of tensions with China is too be avoided as the first thing that will suffer is the economy.

  43. @joe
    “You are mistaking allegations and a full-on incrimination. What the international community did was accusing Russia without conclusive proof. Only after JIT press conference on 24 May (after GE14!) , did they provide irrefutable prove that it was Moscow & their separatist goons that armed and pulled the trigger.”

    The JIT’s preliminary findings pointed the finger at separatist-launched Buk since 2015, reinforced by further findings and reports in 2016, 2017, and now 2018, with enough proof to at least make a prima facie case against Russia at the barest minimum to anybody without a bias or agenda. The reports were happily ignored by the Msian Govt without even any comment until, of course, the Govt was changed.

    “I beg to differ that international realpolitik isn’t like Malaysian ones, where blatant accusations can hold sway.”

    Wrong with regards to international realpolitik. But you’re right, blatant accusations have been holding sway for decades, it’s nice to see some of them being called out at last.

    “Only that those in the new Administration now can leverage for more open interaction with that State. After all, what was taboo previously is being deconstructed one by one. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day we station a low level embassy there.”

    Azlan, here’s one who is under illusion, go on, tell him.

    But maybe you won’t bother, I shouldn’t either, it’s quite obvious anyway the meaning of these various insinuations.

  44. @Chua
    “preliminary findings”, “further findings”. Do you realise how ridiculous you sound if you were to make an allegation, especially to another country, based on these conjunctures? Even in a court of law, you argue your case AFTER building sufficient evidence to file it, not during your court hearings hoping to present bits and pieces, otherwise you risk having your case thrown out before the hearing. What the JIT team did was building up their evidences and investigation during 2015, 2016, 2017 right until they have sufficient proof to MAKE that accusation in 2018. They had to update the world on their progress (2015~2017) otherwise people will forget. As I said before, we can’t go around with just an allegation, we are not Trump nor Malaysia is as influential as USA.

    To take on a country like Russia, we NEED the international community and they WILL NOT take sides until there’s conclusive and irrefutable proof as reported by the JIT in 24 May 2018, and not before that. And I don’t mean the US or their affiliated allies, we need the backing of neutral countries to show Russia that the international community stands behind us, unbiased and uninfluenced.

    If you think international politics works like Malaysian ones, then I beg to differ cuz you have no idea how it works. Your insinuations that the previous administration were sitting on conclusive findings holds no water because there was NO conclusive findings until May 24.

  45. …,

    That’s typically self-serving but then again unexpected. You’re right as always. After all, it’s not me in the position to be able to offer the RMAF [or anyone for that matter] ”advice” and also claim it might not be doing its duty to the country for not pushing for
    pre owned Hornets.

    Joe – ”I wouldn’t be surprised if one day we station a low level embassy there.”

    ”One day” cats might sprout wings and make long distance flights across the north Atlantic but I seriously doubt it. There will be unofficial contacts on matters of mutual interest – either directly or via 3 3rd party – but until the Palestinian issue is settled we will never officially recognise Israel. If we do that, we recognise the fact that Israel’s present day borders includes land taken in 1967 and that would be an internal political disaster for the government. BTW after the Oslo Accords, the PLO publicly stated that it was Malaysia’s decision whether or not it wanted to have official ties with Israel.

  46. kerberos,

    The RMN’s auxiliary are hardly ”rickety container ships”. They were well built and in good condition. The PN’s ex-cutters might be old but their hulls are still in good condition [compared to the Laksamanas] and the costs to keep them running are not escalating much [compared to HangTuah]. An example would be HMS Ocean which had some commercially obtained off the shelf stuff and was registered with Loyds. By and large a naval ship built to commercial standards and registered commercially doesn’t have to be inferior in build quality.

    nimitz,

    On paper we shouldn’t have bought the Chinese LMS, not only because of published prices but also because of various issues including the later need to perform integration [this remains a major issue and can be even for Western to Western stuff]. Some have pointed out that we should buy Chinese gear because they’re cheap but this ignores the fact that costly integration will have to be performed if the Chinese stuff is intended to work with Western stuff and whatever short term savings gained from buying Chinese will be expended on integration and certification.

    The reality is that Damen was not even approached for the LMS requirement and the decision to buy Chinese was made on a governmental level based on politics. As far as I know no global tender or RFI was even issued. The RMN had no say in the matter and was in no position to complain given the acute need for new hulls. Some – even within the RMN – have criticised the 5//15 as it leaves the RMN in a short term neither here not there position and maintain that the RMN, like its sister services should stick to its guns [I’m quoting a serving officer here], instead of making compromises based on very long term plans subject to factors beyond its control and facing the danger of having the needed hulls [if lucky] but not the actual needed ”capability” [a profound difference between both]. Also, I will not speculate or make an apples to oranges comparison [so easy to do based on subjectivity and Google] when comparing ship to ship, as it remains unknown as to the internal build specs of the LMS compared to the Damen ships.

  47. @ azlan

    ” The reality is that Damen was not even approached for the LMS requirement and the decision to buy Chinese was made on a governmental level based on politics ”

    Of course every buy is politically motivated. MKM, A400M, Scorpene, Gowind, pendekar, gempita, lipanbara.

    So what is the response of the leaders of the service?

    Use what was approved and move on with the next needed weapons?
    This is what the navy does. Got the gowind move on to LMS. Got the LMS move on to MRSS.

    Or insist on planning to get what was wanted even when other needs are still unfulfilled?

    What i want is a change of mindset. Why do you want the airforce to keep holding on to the previous mindset when it clearly did not give what the airforce wanted. What it leaves was a wasted 10 years of no major equipment bought. Was that a good thing? Is that better than what the navy is doing? Yes of course you cannot please everyone but at least the navy is moving forward getting most if not all what they planned.

  48. … – ”This is what the navy does. Got the gowind move on to LMS. Got the LMS move on to MRSS.”

    Great on paper. The reality is that there is no indication of when it will have the number of LMS’s in needs and no indication when or if they will ever be fully fitted out. What the RMN does is guided by its circumstances which differ greatly from that faced by the RMAF and army ……. Which is precisely why I don’t conflate things or lump them together and declared that the other services should do as the RMN has done which BTW [again] was driven by it specific circumstances and requirements.

    … – ”Why do you want the airforce to keep holding on to the previous mindset when it clearly did not give what the airforce wanted. ”

    This what you simply don’t get. It’s not what I ”want” but what the RMAF feels it needs – which can be very different from what you think it needs…. On paper everything looks great but there’s politics at play and a lot behind the scenes we’re not aware of. Just because I might not agree with the RMN [or anyone else] doesn’t mean I’m right.

    … – ”it clearly did not give what the airforce wanted.”

    Again – the MRCA buy was something the government wanted and approved. Not something forced onto it by the RMAF …..

    … – ”at least the navy is moving forward getting most if not all what they planned.”

    In your mind maybe [feel free to keep maintaining this position] but the reality is that there is great uncertainty and doubt; even within the RMN as to whether the 5/15 is really what it needs and whether it can be realised. When the plan was first announced many in the RMN wasn’t convinced and with a different change of leadership; the 5/15 will probably die from a natural death [like many other plans put in place previously that looked great on paper but where not achievable due to various factors ……….]

    You make it sound so clear cut and simplistic but again; who am I to insist otherwise? Again, what looks great on paper might be the same in the real world.

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