Brimstone and Typhoon

Eurofighter Typhoon with weapons undergoing testing

SHAH ALAM: Brimstone. As you are aware the Eurofighter Typhoon is one of the candidates for the MRCA programme which has yet to receive its funding. As the Defence Ministry has indicated that funding will only made available after 2020, we can continue to see the developments of the Typhoon especially in the Royal Air Force service.

From BAE Systems

The Brimstone missile shortly after firing from Typhoon. BAE Systems

Brimstone missile trials completed successfully as part of Eurofighter Typhoon enhancement programme

A series of live firings of the MBDA Brimstone precision strike missile from a Eurofighter Typhoon have been completed successfully, adding enhanced capability to the aircraft.
The trials, conducted from BAE Systems’ Military Air & Information at Warton, Lancashire, UK, form part of a programme of new enhancements which will be rolled out across the Royal Air Force (RAF), ensuring Typhoon remains at the cutting edge of combat capability.
Brimstone will provide Typhoon with a low collateral, pin-point accurate air-to-surface weapon, further enhancing the aircraft’s already combat-proven swing-role performance. Planning for the next stages of work on Brimstone – including evaluation by the RAF in mid-2018 – is now underway ahead of its entry into service.
Andy Flynn, Eurofighter Capability Delivery Director, BAE Systems, said: “To complete this milestone is testament to the expertise and dedication of our people and the value of working closely with our partners. Brimstone will add a low-collateral, high precision strike capability and ensure Typhoon remains fit to meet the threats of the future for decades to come.”
Brimstone is part of the Phase 3 Enhancement (P3E) package which also includes mission system and sensor upgrades. P3E is the final part of Project Centurion – the programme to ensure a smooth transition of Tornado GR4 capabilities on to Typhoon for the RAF.
In total nine firings and nine jettison trials, which began in July, have been completed, with support from the UK Ministry of Defence, MBDA, QinetiQ, Eurofighter GmbH and the Eurofighter Partner Companies – Airbus and Leonardo.
The aim of the trials was to provide weapons integration clearance for operational use. They covered a range of specific release scenarios, testing at various heights, speeds, levels of G-force and in different positions on the aircraft wing and in the launcher. The nine firings have also been used to perform data analysis and models of the weapon’s performance. Further flight trials will take place in early 2018, followed by operational evaluation by the RAF.
Operational evaluation of the Phase 2 Enhancement (P2E) package with the with RAF’s 41(R) Squadron – the Test and Evaluation Squadron – at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, UK, is continuing and will include live firings ahead of roll out to the UK fleet. The P2E package includes MBDA’s Meteor Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile and the Storm Shadow deep strike stand-off air-to-surface missile.

The Brimstone missile on its way from the test Typhoon.

Anyhow, if you have no interest in the sponsored write-up, watch the video below from the Defence Ministry on the recent budget allocation.

The graphics used seemed to indicate the procurement of the M109SPH and also the ATRMP as the MPA.

A screenshot of the video. Note the RSN LMS and USN LCS.

However, the use of the USN LCS, Singapore LMS and the BAE Systems M119 105mm light howitzer in the video also indicated that we must use it as a reference point only.
A screenshot of the video clearly shows the L119 howitzer.

I know some people might say I am nit-picking (and as if I have not a fair share of mistakes) but it must be pointed out that video was produced by the Defence Ministry and it is its official stand. The mistakes maybe small but inexcusable.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

50 Comments

  1. Everyone makes these mistakes. Examples from the past few years include Russian ships shown at a Democratic party event, Russian patriotic billboards with a Tiger tank and German troops, and an SAF Christmas card with a Su-30MKM.

    Even if they outsource the graphics design, Mindef has a duty to check these things before release.

    This year a restaurant in Singapore advertised their SAF Day promotion with a Kamov helicopter and a T-55 series tank. Those are probably the results when the graphics designer uses Simplified Chinese search terms because he is from China.

  2. Typhoon Seriously ?, I Think Goverment Should Look At the Super Hornet As We Always Use Our F/A-18D Legecy Hornets Either. By the way Marhalim, Is there Any News about The Kuwait Hornets ?.

  3. Typhoons are too expensive for Malaysia. I agree with buying Super Hornets. In fact, who are we trying to kid? We’re not going to use our fighters in any role other than strategic defensive ones. IMHO we need quantity over quality (within reason *cough*Fulcrums*cough). Maybe we should spam 50 BAE Hawks instead?

  4. I still have an old brimstone brochure that clearly declares it as a MMW Hellfire.

    Btw if budget only available post 2020…

    Open tender 2021

    Pick a winner 2023

    Contract signing 2024 (usd 4 billion for 16 typhoon or rafale??)

    1st plane delivered 2026

    Initial operational capability 2028

    Full operational capability 2030. By this time fighters available are 12 hawks 208, 5 hawk 108, 7 mb339, 18 MKM, 8 hornets and 16 typhoon/rafale. In 2030 there would be more than a few countries around flying stealthy 5th gen fighters.

    If up to all of you, would you still go for typhoon or rafale?

    Imo better go for:

    2019 – kuwaiti hornets for mig 17skn and top up 18skn. usd 300 million for 28 C model and 8 D model + upgrades. Operational 16 C and 8+8 D model with rest stored for rotation/spares.

    2020 – order FA-50/TA-50 to replace hawk/mb339. Usd 1.3 billion for 40 aircrafts, 24 FA-50, 16 TA-50.

    2022 – receive 1st FA-50/TA-50

    2024 – receive all FA-50/TA-50. By this time fighters available are 40 FA-50/TA-50, 32 Hornets (12 spare), 18 MKM.

    2026 – open mrca tender to replace hornets.

    2028 – pick a winner (FC-31, KF-X, TF-X, other 5th gen fighters?)

    2029 – contract signing (32 aircraft for usd 3.0 billion)

    2031 – 1st mrca received

    2032 – start retiring hornets

    2033 – Initial operational capability

    2035 – Full operational capability. By this time fighters available are 40 FA-50/TA-50, 32 new 5th gen MRCA, 18 MKM.

  5. …,

    Great Idea But I don’t Think MINDEF Will Asscpt this. As For me, Super Hornet will Get Useless When The Production was Out from St Louis by 2022 and Typhoon and Rafale Is Not the Biggest Choice Either. F-15SE Could Be good But Our Neighbour Singapore Won’t Agered this.. I Think on 2019 Goverment will Announce To Buy MRCA. IF SH Was secleted, We Could get The Advance Super Hornet but It is still Developing. Let’s Pray For that

  6. Agreed. This idea seems economically viable (with OUR budget at least), and operationally sound as both quantity and quality of assets remains solid and ensures the capabilities of the RMAF remain as one of the better air forces in the Asian region.

  7. Used typhoons already in the market. Italy is dumping theirs. When RAF gets more and more F35 probably putting some of their typhoons on the market as well

    Reply
    European Typhoon users cannot sell them outside of the continent. Even RAF older ones are the Tranche 1 which do not meet the MRCA specifications

  8. Apart from the political aspect any MRCA [even a few years after 2020] will see see the main contenders being the Rafale and Typhoon – this of course unless we see a political change in the coming years. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that there is no interest [politically] in Super Hornets and that neither the government nor the RMAF [no matter how much one wants to debate this issue] has any interest in acquiring pre owned platforms.

    Moneyeyes – ”In fact, who are we trying to kid? We’re not going to use our fighters in any role other than strategic defensive ones.

    ”Strategic defensive ones”? What does that mean? Does an MKM launching a KH-31 on a target located on foreign soil or a Hornet attacking with Harpoon a target located in international waters constitute ”strategic defensive” sorties? Whatever MRCA we buy – as well as what we currently have – will be required to perform a whole variety of taskings; some of which will not be classified as ”defensive”.

    Whilst there is no doubt that quantity has a certain quality to it; whatever MRCA we buy will be limited to 18 or around that figure [even if we buy something cheaper or pre owned]. At the end of the day, despite interest and preference on the part of the RMAF in Super Hornets; it’s not going to happen.

  9. Safran – ” F-15SE Could Be good But Our Neighbour Singapore Won’t Agered this..”

    Firstly, we never expressed an interest in F-15s and do we need a another heavyweight fighter when we already have twin seat MKMs? Secondly, Singapore will have no say in influencing what we intend on buying from Uncle Sam – this is not the case of a potential sale to an Arab country being influenced by pro Israel lobby groups, as happened in the past with the sale of E3s to Saudi.

  10. Azlan,

    It Won’t be Happen Too For Rafale and Typhoon too.. First, Typhoon is 100% Expensive and Rafale Has a Limited BVR Missile (That What I Fear For). Even Super Hornet was Not Gonna Happen but I Bet The Production Was Closed in 2022 in St.Louis.

  11. My point is,

    Rather than getting the high end MRCA in RMK12, we should pospone it by only 5 years to RMK13 (post 2025) to have better choice of aircrafts that is not at the end of their production life.

    In the meantime, rather replace the Hawk/MB339 first in RMK12, as lightweight low cost fighters are not too affected by the 4thGen-5thGen technological gap. For lightweight fighters there is no difference in available platforms if we buy them in RMK12 or RMK13 (the same FA-50, JF-17, M-349, YAK-130 no new low cost lightweight fighter in development), unlike high end MRCA’s (the availability of more 5th Gen fighters post 2025 like FC-31, KF-X, TF-X)

    BTW we have seen the navy’s RMK plan
    http://www.malaysiandefence.com/15-to-5-and-lms

    We can assume that for the current RMK11 each service is getting around usd 1.3-1.5 billion, and for the rest it would be around usd2.0 billion per RMK.

    This is my plan for TUDM RMK11-14

    RMK11 16-20 1.3bil
    A400M payment 600mil last 1/3rd payment of the USD 1.8 billion contract
    6+1 Challenger 605 MPA 240mil 6 MPA, 1 utility/VIP/Training, 4 spare engines, other spare parts.
    36 F/A-18C/D(used) 300mil 16 F/A-18C, 16(8+8) F/A-18D, 12 F/A-18C spare. 18 Skn + 17 Skn.
    12 Sagem Patroller UAV 130mil 4 system with 3 uav per system
    5 Pilatus PC-7MkII 30mil additional 5 to the current 21 PC-7 Mk2

    RMK12 21-25 2.0bil
    16 EC-225LP(used) 200mil
    40 TA/FA-50M 1300mil 16 TA-50, 24 FA-50. Hawk/MB-339CM replacement 2 Operational Sqn, 1 LIFT Sqn
    3+2 G6000 Erieye ER AEW&C 500mil 3 AEW&C, 2 VIP to replace Global Express

    RMK13 26-30 2.0bil
    2 A400M 320mil partly used spain/UK/Germany allocation
    8 PC-24 80mil multi-engine training, Medevec, utility, VIP
    SU-30MKM upgrade 400mil
    C-130H-30 upgrade 100mil
    FC-31 1000mil MRCA F/A-18 replacement

    RMK14 31-35 2.0bil
    32 FC-31 2000mil

  12. Someone in the air force has got to be realistic and follow the footstep of the navy in mainstreaming the assets. Having a mix of Russian and Western fighters is a total logistical nightmare and it doesn\’t make sense either to operate so many different fighters. Since we have already stuck with the MKMs, we should purchase more of it and trade in the Fulcrums for more MKMs. Since beggars can\’t choose, we should get the S400s SAMs for an interim measure before we could afford to sign a contract for the MRCAs.

  13. “Secondly, Singapore will have no say in influencing what we intend on buying from Uncle Sam – this is not the case of a potential sale to an Arab country being influenced by pro Israel lobby groups, as happened in the past with the sale of E3s to Saudi.”

    What we heard in the 90s was the US would not be the first to sell anything to Southeast Asia that would be the first capability its kind capability in the region. I am not sure when exactly this policy went out.

    AMRAAM was a public example of this policy with Singapore receiving it only after we ordered the R-73 on the Fulcrums. At the time, relations between our leaders and Singapore were thorny at a superficial level. There was a remark from Singapore that although relations with Malaysia and other neighbours were good, it was possible that a new government would come to power and it might be hostile to Singapore. Therefore it was only responsible that Singapore should match or offset new capabilities among its neighbours. There was also a report that the missiles would be stored in the US until needed if tensions rose.

    Some years later in the early 2000s came Mahathir’s famous remark on the F-18 being unable to be used offensively because “we discovered they didn’t sell us the source codes.” It’s amazing how many people believe and quote it to this day. Never mind that it smacks of idiocy because not only do you not need source codes to fight, but also that not knowing what you need to order with your aircraft (or not checking that you received it) would be impossibly stupid.

  14. Russian,

    Having a mix of Russian/Western assets was never the RMAF’s choice – it was a political decision made by Mahathir. If was up to the RMAF we would not be a Fulcrum or Flanker operator. You mentioned the RMN. Even the RMN has such a big headache maintaining the various systems it has; hence the 15/5 programme which is intended to reduce it logistical/support footprint.

    On the S-400s it is a high altitude system which is not what we need. We have a requirement for a system that can also engage low level targets which is not what the S-400/300 is designed to do. Furthermore integrating it to our current AD infrastructure will be very problematic. Source codes will have to be shared for integration and for IFF codes to be “shared”. As for the MKM’s and talk of getting more, it’s been done to death. Neither the RMAF or the government wants to go down this route. On paper yes we should go for more MKM’s but there are also valid reasons why the RMAF isn’t interested.

  15. Russian,

    How will getting S-400s or any SAM for that matter compensate the fact that we can’t afford to -buy at present – MRCAs? SAMs are intended to complement other assets and can never take the place of fighters. History has numerous examples of countries which had comprehensive AD networks but eventually lose control of their airspace because their fighters were grounded. SAMs can never take the place of fighters. If only it were as easy as that. On top of that, the S-400 and it’s associated systems are not cheap.

    Also, the S-400 (like Patriot and ASTER 30) is designed to deal with high altitude targets, it’s not useful for low level targets which is why countries operate a mixture of of low, medium and high altitude systems.

  16. Sorry, I meant to say R-27 in the comment above.

    I should add that the AMRAAM/R-27 issue became a public matter because Singapore and Malaysia leaders making childish remarks on each other and disagreeing publicly on issues (such as interpretation of the water agreements and the future of the causeway) even though underlying relations were always good.

    Another contributing factor was the Fulcrum had something of an aura at the time. Western air forces were eagerly looking to fly against the German ones in particular, people were in awe of its airshow displays and the R-73/HMS combination which did not have a Western counterpart at the time.

    I’m seeking more info on this. I once mentioned being in Singapore and seeing Fulcrums overhead in Dec 1995. I asked an RMAF Fulcrum driver who said such visits did happen but stopped. He was too young to have been flying in 1995 and he wasn’t able to offer any details. I hope to find out if the Fulcrums indeed visited at the time.

  17. AM,

    I suspect the change came about after the end of the Clinton Administraton by which time introducing a “fire and forget” (a bit of a misnomer as the missile has to guided until its terminal stage) BVR would not have changed anything. Granted R-77 was only available by the mid-2000’s thanks to Indian and Russian orders that saved Vympel but I suspect that it was due to political reasons that it took so long for us to order it. The stuff about storing AMRAAMs in a U.S. base I believe came about after the RTAF said it wanted AMRAAMs for its Hornets. At Cobra Gold 97 the Thais publicly said they would seek AMRAAM to counter our R-77s.

    As for the Clinton administration’s policy of not being the first to deliver a new capability to the region, on paper HARM should have been available to any regional F-16 user who wanted it given that Vietnam had a anti-radar missile capability since the 80’s.

  18. AM,

    The first publised foreign visit RMAF Fulcrums made was the 1996 Jakarta Air Show – 2 were there including an NUB. The next visit they made abroad was Singapore many years later. If I’m not mistaken a Russian Fulcrum was at an Asian Aerospace show in Singapore in the 1990’s.

  19. Hi Azlan,

    I think you cannot generalise our Air Force issue by putting blame to Mahathir for buying Russian Aircrafts without knowing the real issue facing by Malaysia during that time. Perhaps you should understand our ATM history, PERISTA was the first ATM modernisations program during early 80’s to equip TUDM with 5 squadron jet fighters plus 2 existing F5E/F. Since our pilots has been training in US during 70’s, for sure, our weapon of selection will be made in US products.

    Our evaluation team from TUDM under PERISTA has chosen Corsair A-7 to be our next fighter/bomber. Why Corsair A-7, because Corsair A-7 much better that A4 Skyhawk with digital navigation system, digital weapons computer which made possible accurate delivery of bombs from a greater stand-off distance and aircraft to have a modern head-up display. The sale of A-7s to Malaysia was not approved due to US opposition to sales advance weapon to tier 3 country. End-up Malaysia has to purchased second-hand A4 Skyhawk even we have budget to purchase much more advance plane.

    After Malaysia economy much better during early 90’s, TUDM modernisations program has kick-start again. Since our neighbouring country start equip F16 as leading fighter aircraft, our experience training with RAAF F/A18 and our bad experience with A4 Skyhawk single engine has summarise our next fighter plane. TUDM planner has chosen F/A18 to be our next fighter/bomber, at early stage US still have opposition to sales advance weapon to tier 3 country. Knowing Mahathir as pride PM, the taste of bad experience dealing Corsair A-7 failure still haunted him. Other factor also contribute toward that event the fall of USSR (end of Iron curtain) has made Mahathir decision much easy by going to Russia to purchase MiG29. The sale of F/A18D to Malaysia was approved once Malaysia has agreed to purchased MiG29, US have lifting Malaysia to tier 2 to permitted the sale of 8 F/A18D, if US have NO objection at early stage TUDM could settle at 24 planes.

    – This was share by ex-general at LIMA 1993.

  20. The recently announced planned mass layoff in BAE’s Typhoon assembly plant in UK due to lack of new sales and report that the Luftwaffe is looking to the F-15E platform to replace their Tornados instead of going for more Typhoon as originally envisioned are great indicators that there are possibly other serious issues with the Typhoon, apart from the astronomical adoption cost. Austria also seemed anxious to rid itself of the Typhoon, amidst all the associated corruption scandal. All in all, this could be a positive development for a cash-strapped Malaysia as the overpriced Typhoon might very well knocked itself out before the government scratched enough money for a decision on the MRCA, plus it will save Malaysia from stumbling down a expensive path adopting a fighter it can ill afford. With oil price not predicted to return to anywhere near pre-2008 level for the foreseeable future, the wallet-factor might very well blew open the MRCA candidacy to allow for other more affordable options and forced RMAF to come down from its high horse of must-have-Eurocanard… I am pleased the government prioritized the MPA program over the MRCA in the new budget proposal, indeed hoping AWAC will be considered next before the MRCA. Finger-crossed, Typhoon will be out of production before the fateful day.

  21. The Mig 29 still survive till today albeit at a very reduced capacity in Malaysian services. The 20 years record is not a great one but still consider better in terms of a crash rate (only 2 in 20 years not like some of almost 7).It cant match the performance of our neighbours mainstream but it still can match some of the new jets inducted such as the T50.Its BVR missile system is archaic and troublesome but still can deliver with proper maintenance.So till 2020 at least it will be useful,hope by that time we have the money to replace it.

  22. Kilroy,

    There are a few problems with your rationale for the Fulcrum buy.

    The first is that defence acquisition has always taken a back seat to national interests. We were approved to buy Hornets but we split the purchase with Fulcrums because the Russians offered a good price, good terms of trade and we wanted to improve relations.The Fulcrums are just one of many examples of this happening.

    Second, we didn’t have a “bad experience with A4 Skyhawk single engine has summarise our next fighter plane.” We never really gave it a chance, in 1989 barely 3 years after we received the Skyhawks, we announced we would buy Hawks to replace it. The Hawk is also a single engine aircraft. There were a number of Skyhawk crashes. However, pilot error was the cause of many and in any case, many occurred after we had made the decision to replace it.

  23. KerbosWXIV,

    F-15E Will be a New Platform For Tornado’s Replacement ?. You Got to be Kidding me. F-15’s Production wil be Shut down By 2022 same as Super Hornet.

  24. Just buy legacy hornet from aussie if available..no need lah mahal2 or power2 stuf..just think about our airforce that shortage burung besi right now..*sigh*

  25. Just buy legacy hornet from aussie if available..no need lah mahal2 or power2 stuf..just think about our airforce that shortage burung besi right now..*sigh*

  26. @ AM

    The 1st skyhawks were delivered from Grumman in 1984. The economic crisis in 1986 meant that money for the proper upkeep of the skyhawks is just not there, causing the many crashes. During the same time period, singapore was actually using an even older skyhawk variant, without much problems.

  27. In the 90s there is quite a worry that america just won’t back malaysian government that is a champion of non-aligned movement, unlike nowadays where the PM regularly plays golf with american presidents.

    At the time, pakistan ordered F-16s, fully paid for them but did not get any as they are embargoed. Same goes to libya with C-130 hercules. The MiG buy did force america to really supply those hornets to malaysia, not wanting malaysia to permanently move into russian orbit.

    After our split buy, we saw 1st hand what happened to indonesia, with its hawk and f-16 spare parts embargoed. That is when indonesia looked to russia too for Su-27s. So in the context of 1990s political and diplomatic relations, it was a necessity for malaysia to have the split buy, to show to america that we are not tied to the whims of american political decisions.

    Reply
    The embargo against Indonesia was for Acheh and then Timor Leste issues, nothing to do with good relations or not

  28. Azlan “At Cobra Gold 97 the Thais publicly said they would seek AMRAAM to counter our R-77s. ”

    I found two articles that said the Thais wanted AMRAAM at least as far back as August 1995.

    Also found this which was posted in Dec 2004. Am unable to find the original source of the article on AIN or elsewhere.

    QUOTE:

    Read this in Aviation International News…

    Missile wars may heat up in SE Asia

    by Reuben F. Johnson

    One of the longest-running conflicts in the military aircraft export market is about to reach critical mass here in the Asia/Pacific region. A loosening of U.S. export controls over a highly sensitive weapon system that several nations have wanted for some years is now taking place, but it is more likely than not to be accompanied by a proliferation of these weapons to every other nation that operates advanced fighter aircraft.

    For the past 11 years or more, the main arms sale controversy in the Asia/Pacific region was the politics surrounding the release of the U.S. Raytheon AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM). Nations in this part of the world that are already customers for the Lockheed Martin

    F-16 fighter (Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan and Taiwan) or the Boeing F/A-18 (Malaysia, Australia) were in the past sold aircraft that included all software and other modes for firing the AMRAAM, but to date only Australia has received delivery of the much-coveted missile itself.

    The reason is that in most cases export of the AMRAAM to other states has been restricted by a U.S. policy that Washington will not be the first to introduce that particular type of missile technology into a region unless other comparable missiles already have been exported to and exist there. A compromise position that had been reached with several nations was for the U.S. to officially allow the sale of AMRAAM and release all the technical data and other materials to the customer nation, but for missiles themselves to remain ?stored? in the U.S. until the ?comparable missile? entered the region or hostilities were to break out?whichever comes first.

    AMRAAM versus Adder

    What this policy was in reality was a decision deeply entrenched in the politics of the U.S./Russia arms race, because in the past the only real ?comparable missile? was the Russian-made Vympel RVV-AE, which is the export variant of the R-77 (AA-12 Adder), and the center of everyone?s attention on the issue was on Malaysia.

    The issue first came to a head when the Malaysian air force purchased 18 of the Mikoyan MiG-29SD/N fighter in 1993 and specifically requested that its Phazotron N019 radar set would be upgraded to permit firing of the R-77. But more than a decade later?despite an agreement in the late 1990s to upgrade the Malaysian fleet with the R-77?it has yet to happen. Then late last year, Malaysia signed a contract for the delivery of 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKM fighters and it is assumed that it is only a matter of time before Malaysia does take the R-77 into its inventory.

    In the meantime, the U.S. has begun to change its earlier policy, based on this potential sale to Malaysia and the fact that the air force of the People?s Republic of China (PRC) has already taken delivery of the R-77. Thailand and Singapore will both now receive the AMRAAMs they had previously ordered. Taiwan will also receive around 200 of the American missiles and Malaysia will also likely receive the AMRAAM for its fleet of F/A-18s that it ordered in a ?split decision? with its MiG-29s in 1993.

  29. (amended)

    …: “The economic crisis in 1986 meant that money for the proper upkeep of the skyhawks is just not there, causing the many crashes.”

    I don’t know if this was a reason. I found plenty of crashes caused by human error.

    “During the same time period, singapore was actually using an even older skyhawk variant, without much problems.”

    Singapore experienced a higher number of crashes than we did, leading them to order further two batches as attrition replacements. While pilot error was the cause in some (including four crew and three aircraft that crashed into a mountain in the Philippines during low level flight training in bad weather), a number were found to be caused by engines which were old and underpowered. The RSAF bought the A-4B with the J65 engine.

    We had the same engine on our A-4C/A-4PTM. So against this record, we didn’t have a problem with crashes caused by poor maintenance or under funding.

    Reply
    The crisis meant that funding for maintenance and flight operations were reduced which also meant flight hours were also affected. Could it be that the reduction in flight hours had also affected the capabilities of the pilots which resulted in errors? Most accident investigations revealed that the causes are due to various reasons, yes a technical failure happens but if the pilot were proficient enough he or she could have safely brought the plane home. Since the log books of the Skyhawks were thrown away when the airframe were scrapped the issue is academic.

  30. kilroy – ”I think you cannot generalise our Air Force issue by putting blame to Mahathir for buying Russian Aircrafts without knowing the real issue facing by Malaysia during that time. Perhaps you should understand our ATM history,”

    If Mahathir is not to blame who is? Did the RMAF actually have a say in what it wanted? Did the RMAF actually shortlist the Fulcrum and MKM – was both their first choice? Perhaps I don’t understand our history like you do but I’m fully aware that the selection of the Fulcrum and MKM was based on political factors – not on what the RMAF recommended or wanted.

    kilroy – ”US have lifting Malaysia to tier 2 to permitted the sale of 8 F/A18D, if US have NO objection at early stage TUDM could settle at 24 planes.”

    At an early stage there was NO political intention to get the 8 Hornets after we had committed to the Fulcrum buy. A few years later we issued a RFP for 24 Hornets Cs; the sale was approved but then came the 1887 Economic Crisis.

    … – ”In the 90s there is quite a worry that america just won’t back malaysian government that is a champion of non-aligned movement,”

    Despite downturns in the bilateral relationship over various factors; we always maintained a steady defence relationship with Uncle Sam; especially after Mahathir sign an agreement during a visit to the Pentagon in the 80’s. To me, the argument that we should split our buys so we won’t be over reliant on one supplier doesn’t exactly hold true in that in the unlikely event we are placed under a U.S. embargo; our main worry would be the economy, not our inability to source spares for our U.S. gear.

    … – ”The economic crisis in 1986 meant that money for the proper upkeep of the skyhawks is just not there, causing the many crashes.”

    This is the first I’ve heard of A-4 crashes being caused by lack of maintenance. A Board of Inquiry formed – which included RNZAF participation – mentioned human error and recommended a new engine.

    … – ”not wanting malaysia to permanently move into russian orbit.”

    There was never any possibility of us falling ”into russian orbit” given the geo-politics [the end of the Cold War and our decades long ties and dependence on the U.S. as the dominant regional power] at that time and the economy [together with Japan the U.S. was our largest trading partner and the biggest investor].

    … – ” it was a necessity for malaysia to have the split buy, to show to america that we are not tied to the whims of american political decisions.”

    Was it truly a necessity or a decision made by politicians for other reasons? The main reason we went for the Fulcrum was because
    the Russians accepted a barter trade, it was ”cheap” [but no support package], the Russians agreed to a ”transfer of technology” as well as offsets [which we love] including the setting up of ATSC and we hoped that the deal,would lead to a new trade/business relationship with the Russian Federation.

    At the end of the day the RMAF and tax payer paid the price.

    Rocks – ”Just buy legacy hornet from aussie if available..no need lah mahal2 or power2 stuf.”

    It’s not as easy as you make it out to be; lots of issues to be considered as well as pros and cons.

    AM – ”The Fulcrums are just one of many examples of this happening.”

    To that list we can add the MKMs, Laksamanas, PT-91s, Jernas, etc. Stuff that was bought not based on performance, suitability, commonality etc but other reasons. Yet some still suggest otherwise.

  31. i believe this is what happen when politician is the one who call the shot, and in policy mattter, defence is out in the back seat

  32. kerberos – ”very well blew open the MRCA candidacy to allow for other more affordable options and forced RMAF to come down from its high horse of must-have-Eurocanard…

    It’s is the RMAF’s duty to decide what it needs to do its job, to make the recommendation and to continue to lobby for its requirements. It is the government’s duty of care to ensure the MAF has adequate funding to perform its tasks.

    There are no ”more affordable options” unless pre owned platforms or a light attack/trainer is bought – both the government and the RMAF are not keen on these options. Even if the RMAF were to ‘come down from its high horse” [as you mentioned but which I find an incorrect phrase in this context] the government wouldn’t agree.

    Safran – ” First, Typhoon is 100% Expensive”

    Unless one goes for a cheaper solution [a pre used platform or a light weight attack/trainer platform] there is no getting around the fact that all current gen fighters are ”expensive” when compared with older types. Also, if we go by your definition that Typhoon is ”100% Expensive” the same applies to Rafale too. If you want to talk about prices then just don’t look at outright procurement costs but how much Typhoon or Rafale cost to keep in the air per hour and how much in total will be spent flying them over a 20/25 year period – all current gen fighters are more expensive to fly and maintain on account that they have on board more electronics/systems compared to older types; electronics/systems that require test/support equipment and crews that are highly trained. There is no such thing as a ”cheap” to buy or maintain current gen type – doesn’t exist.

    Safran – ”It Won’t be Happen Too For Rafale and Typhoon too.. ”

    We are looking at the post 2020 period when the cash could be available and when the political climate could be more conducive.

    If not the Typhoon and Rafale then what else? Please don’t suggest Chinese or Russian fighters as we both know this is not an option even being considered and this is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future. As it stands there’s strong political backing for Rafale and this is unlikely to change unless the present occupants of Putra Jaya are evicted ….

    Safran – ”Rafale Has a Limited BVR Missile”

    How is MICA a ”limited BVR Missile”? How is MICA -when paired with a current gen radar and Link 16 ”limited” compared to the likes of AMRAAM and Meteor?

  33. ” recommended a new engine ”

    If we have the money, a new engine would have been bought but no, worn out ones still used by pilots to fly. I have talked to a few skyhawk veterans, it is normal for them to fly with instruments inoperable, or parts passed the TBO overhaul dates. In those days most skyhawks are parked under the hot sun in kuantan, no sun shelters to keep all 40 under shade.

  34. salam en marhalim,

    May i know what is the % of msia defence budget against gdp.

    2ndly, is it true that msia have the lowest % of defence budget against gdp among asean countries…

    3rdly, does msia have a minimum % stated in our constitution or akta angkatan tentera in terms of defense budget

    terimakasih.

    Reply
    On average we spent about 1.5 per cent on defence per the GDP. We are not the lowest, I read that Indonesia spent only 0.8 percent in 2014 though they intend to increase it to 1.5 per cent by 2020. There is no fixed spending for defence or others as well.

  35. Thus the question : were the bulk of the crashes (4/5?) caused by human error or due to technical issues? Or were the crashes caused by technical issues but could have been avoided if it wasn’t for human error?

    Marhalim, raises good points: how did the lack of cash or tight budgets affect the Skyhawks? Saying that the crashes were mainly caused by a lack of maintenance due to tight budgets is I feel inaccurate and simplistic.
    In the first place did the RMAF in that period have the needed resources to maintain that number of Skyhawks which to be fair, given their vintage and the period, were maintenance intensive.

    Given that the main concern then was the Vietnamese presence in Cambodia and fears they would move into Thailand; we can safely assume what drove the purchase of the Skyhawks.

    Reply
    The Vietnam presence was the justification for more defence assets but the Skyhawks became another national interest project

  36. The Canadians are aggressively ” looking” at Kuwatis and Aussie, so forget about them. Btw, if the Skyhawks are crash prone, which we know now, it wasn’t, the Argentians and a private contractors are still using them. Its just show that its still a proven platform.

  37. Azlan,

    Stop Taking My Words !, Chinese And Ruskies Aircraft Even Im not Agered with it. All I See is Non of These Aircraft Were Good Enough for RMAF and Rafale Has Limited AAM to Counter In Air Defences and We Have More AIM-120 and AIM-9X . Im Rather Look at The Gripen Even It is Single Engine.

  38. In the 80s the tudm wanted :

    – additional F-5Es
    – A-7 corsairs

    Lack of budget cancelled the additional F-5Es, and corsairs become 80 skyhawks. From wikileaks even the israeli skyhawks was looked at, but was deemed too sensitive for muslim malaysia. In the end, A-4L (modified A-4C with A-4F avionics) was choosen and to be further modified with A-4M avionics by Grumman including the Hughes ARBS (angle rate bombing system), a fancy name for a laser rangefinding system. In the end because of the limited budget, only 40 were modified to the so called A-4PTM standard, the additional items to be only additional 2 weapons pylons (from only 3 to 5 pylons), wiring for sidewinder and mavericks in addition to general overhauls.

    After the skyhawks were delivered the next wish list was the F-20 tigersharks and tornados. And we know what happened to that one…

    Reply
    One retired RMAF officer wrote that the cost for one Skyhawk was $1 million and refurbishment was $5 million each. I have no way of confirming this as fact however. We never paid for the other Skyhawks apparently and they reverted to USG and was sold off or scrapped around 2003 or so

  39. Recent some photos used as MOD PR material so far, is misleading and so wrong. The USN LCS & RSN LMV “buatan Malaysia”? OMG…as if we did not have softcopies pics of the gowinds and LMS.

  40. Malaysia will keep its mix fighter policy.
    I dont believe Malaysia will not buy another Russian fighter. Maybe it’s the time to change from 2 Russian fighters (mig&sukhoi) and 1 western figter (hornet) to 1 Russian fighter (sukhoi) and 2 western fighters (hornet+rafale/typhoon/gripen).

    2 engines is a priority but gripen is too hard to refuse.

  41. “We never paid for the other Skyhawks apparently and they reverted to USG and was sold off or scrapped around 2003 or so”

    Some sources say we bought 80 Skyhawks and some say 88. What’s not in doubt is that we originally wanted 68 (54 single seat+14two seat) upgraded Skyhawks and eventually upgraded only 40 (36+4). That would have left either 40 or 48 Skyhawks not upgraded and not brought back to Malaysia.

    Now some sources say we “purchased” those aircraft as well but were unable to prove ownership when we sought to bring them back years later because the paperwork had been lost.

    This is the first I’ve heard that “we never paid for the other Skyhawks apparently.” Though it could well be true and might be the reason we weren’t able to prove ownership. The aircraft might have been selected for us and 40 among them picked for upgrading, but the rest might never have been sold to us.

    Reply
    There is no way both Malaysia and USG would have lost the paperwork. I understand if we did but the USG?

  42. “Also, the S-400 (like Patriot and ASTER 30) is designed to deal with high altitude targets, it’s not useful for low level targets which is why countries operate a mixture of of low, medium and high altitude systems.

    Aster and S-400 are effective against low level targets, just not out to their full range against medium and high altitude targets. They have an anti cruise missile capability and at least in Aster 30’s case, sea skimming anti ship missiles. These are extremely agile missiles with very advanced radars. In any case there are Aster 15 and shorter range versions of the S-400 available.

    I wouldn’t say they are not useful against low level targets but simply not the most cost effective in some situations.

  43. “There is no way both Malaysia and USG would have lost the paperwork. I understand if we did but the USG?”

    I guess the myth grew because there has never been an official reply to the question.

  44. AM,

    All can can indeed deal with low level targets but all from the onset were designed – including they’re target acquisition systems – as high altitude weapons. It was not just the cost aspect but also other factors that make all 3 less than ideal to engage say, a terrain hugging fighter. In the case of S-300/400s battalions these are always deployed with stuff like Buk. As such using Patriot, Aster and S-400s as a stand alone primary system as opposed to a system which is part of a layered defence is less than ideal. The RAF Tornado hit by Patriot in 2003 was flying at medium level.

  45. Originally 88 skyhawks were allocated for malaysia. 25 A-4C and 63 A-4L (A-4C with A-4F avionics hump). I had the list of all of the 88 usn bureau numbers, but sadly lost them (was a very keen skyhawk researcher when I was young). Yes in total we wanted 68 with extensive upgrades. In the end only 40 (34 single seater and 6 twin seater), with only limited upgrades. These are:
    – additional weapon station/pylons. A-4C/L has only 3. Upgraded to the latter model skyhawks with 5 pylons.
    – sidewinder and maverick missile wiring.
    – drag chute (parachute to stop the aircraft) at the bottom of the tail pipe.

    As of the fate of the remaining 48 un-upgraded skyhawks… around a dozen was actually bought back as spare parts sources. You can still find them in the bushes at the back of kuantan AFB still in us navy grey livery. The rest was sold in usa either as scrap of to warbird enthusiasts. A few did actually fly, 2 A-4Ls was flying for draken before they bought new zealand skyhawks.

    https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3794/14307755532_b00f117e18_b.jpg

  46. For most of the time that we operated our Skyhawks, we were the only operator with the J65 engine. Singapore also bought only Skyhawks with J65 but they later reengined with the F404. Interestingly, TA-4s came only with the J52. We and Singapore extended the fuselage of our single-seaters in the interest of having a common engine.

    David Boey wrote that RSAF two seater aircraft had a wartime role that still remains secret. He offered no details but I guess is going after high value targets with laser guided bombs or Maverick.

    By the time we retired the Skyhawk in 1999 the engine would have been hard to support.

  47. Safran – ”All I See is Non of These Aircraft Were Good Enough for RMAF and Rafale Has Limited AAM to Counter In Air Defences”

    Please explain. I’m sure most of us would be interested in what you have to say.

    First you said the Rafale has a ”limited BVR Missile” then you said it has ”Has Limited AAM to Counter In Air Defences”. ”Limited” in what sense and in comparison to what? Is Mica or Rafale’s radar not up to the task? Is it ”’inferior” to what’s on the Typhoon?Explain.

    I’m not a Rafale fan. For me the actual platform – whether Typhoon Super Hornet or Rafale – selected is secondary but I would be very interested to find out what you mean and how you came up with that conclusion.

    Safran – ”We Have More AIM-120 and AIM-9X ”

    That’s what I’ve been trying to point out to you. It’s not the hardware that makes the difference anymore …. Yet you seem to be fixated on the hardware.

    Safran – ”Im Rather Look at The Gripen Even It is Single Engine.”

    Fine, that’s your prerogative. I’d prefer the Super Hornet for reasons of commonality but in the real world neither the Gripen or Super Hornet is a contender. BTW, since – as you say – Rafale has a ”limited BVR Missile/Limited AAM to Counter In Air Defences” how does the Gripen turn out to be superior in this aspect? Assuming both have Link 16, is the Gripen’s Meteor or AMRAAM vastly superior to Mica or does Gripen have a better radar?

    …. – ”After the skyhawks were delivered the next wish list was the F-20 tigersharks and tornados”

    We were offered F-20s before the Skyhawks were delivered and after we shelved a plan to get a squadron’s worth of F-5Es in 1982. The plan was to order F-20s in the 1983/84 period and to have them operational at Gong Kedak by 1986.

    What I don’ get is whether we actually had initial plans to get most of the 88 Skyhawk airframes operational or was it our intention to only induct into service 40 with the remainder to be used for spares or to upgrade part of the remainder when more cash was available? Given the size of the RMAF then [not to mention its operating budget]; it’s hard to see how we could have supported 50-70 Skyhawks; let alone 88.

  48. Azlan: “All can can indeed deal with low level targets but all from the onset were designed – including they’re target acquisition systems – as high altitude weapons. It was not just the cost aspect but also other factors that make all 3 less than ideal to engage say, a terrain hugging fighter.”

    I find it hard to say that a long range system like Aster 30 or S-400 will not perform as well as a lower range, lower altitude system against close or low level targets (if indeed you are saying this).

    There are also Aster 15 and shorter range rounds for the S-400 (as well as the related medium range S-350). For the Aster and probably the S-400 as well, the missiles have the same top end and feature the same agility and terminal performance. We’re starting to see component commonality not only across SAM classes but also across SAMs and AAMs. I find it hard to say these missiles aren’t as capable as a Buk sized system against any kind of targets.

    It is not like the old days when long range, high altitude SAMs could only engage high and straight flying bomber-sized targets.

    “As such using Patriot, Aster and S-400s as a stand alone primary system as opposed to a system which is part of a layered defence is less than ideal.”

    The ideal IADS includes networked, redundant and layered sensors and SAM systems of various ranges deployed at different geographies. The systems would cover not only the defended target but also each other against SEAD aircraft.

    It is not possible or necessary to deploy Patriot, Aster and S-400 everywhere. But assuming it was done, aside from the mobility issues and logistical footprint, would it be a problem?

    In the tactical sense, can you cover an S-400 battalion with another S-400 as effectively as you can with a Buk?

  49. AM – ”I find it hard to say that a long range system like Aster 30 or S-400 will not perform as well as a lower range, lower altitude system against close or low level targets (if indeed you are saying this).”

    You are right, they can but they are intended to deal with long range high altitude targets and ideally they would be operated in conjunction with shorter range systems. Whether they can deal as effectively with a low level target as opposed to a high altitude one is the question.

    AM – ”The ideal IADS includes networked, redundant and layered sensors and SAM systems of various ranges deployed at different geographies. The systems would cover not only the defended target but also each other against SEAD aircraft.”

    Yes on paper that’s how S-200,300s/400s would be deployed. The closer something gets, they enter the kill zone of stuff like Buk and Pantsir. they get past Buk and Pantsir.and they encounter Igla and Shilka.

    The danger when operating as alone alone systems is that they tend to be easier to deal with. A few months ago the Israelis released footage of the final moments of a Syrian Pantsir.

    AM – ”In the tactical sense, can you cover an S-400 battalion with another S-400 as effectively as you can with a Buk?”

    I guess you could but I think the type of threat also plays a part.

    In Russian service the S400s [like the 300s and 200s before it] was intended to be deployed not only in conjunction with shorter range systems but with also decoys and an EW element. On paper one would only get the best of what S400 offers if one deploys it along with all the other bit and bobs. Just like ASTROS. One can order just the launchers but to really get the best of it; the launchers would have to be deployed with command, meteorological and other vehicles.

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