SHAH ALAM: Eagles, Typhoons or Tornados? Or none of the above? Defence Minister DS Hishammuddin Hussein was quoted as saying that Malaysia is looking into the possibility buying “excess” Saudi aeroplanes and helicopters.
He did not identify the actual type or numbers apart from saying that he will need to talk further with his Saudi counterpart for the final details. He told this to reporters after sending off King Salman Abdulaziz AlSaud of Saudi Arabia at the Bunga Raya Complex Wednesday. The Saudi King was in Malaysia for a four-day state visit.
Hishammuddin said the possible deal for excess Saudi aircraft – fighters for RMAF and helicopters for the Army Air Wing – was part of the wide-ranging military collaboration agreed upon during the state visit. The ministry will also look into getting other assets which are suitable for the Malaysian armed forces.
Malaysia and Saudi armed forces will conduct bilateral training and exercises as part of the collaboration.
According to him, Malaysia will offer submarine training to Saudi Navy personnel at the RMN’s base at Teluk Sepanggar, Sabah as part of the collaboration. Saudi Navy is expected to induct submarines into its fleet in the future, Hishammuddin said. The collaboration however will not involved Malaysian soldiers in the current Yemeni conflict.
However, a small number of Malaysian soldiers will be attached to the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition headquarters in Riyadh.
At the moment, I have no idea what aircraft had been offered to Malaysia by the Saudis. As it is RMAF and Royal Saudi Air Force operates a number of similar aircraft, from Hercules to Hawks. We also operate Blackhawks and Cougar helicopters as does the RSAF.
I believed we do not need extra Hercules while the Saudi’s Hawks are older than ours. They are getting new Hawks, of course, but again if they retire the old ones, it not will be very worthwhile to take over them. (the old Hawks).
What they have in excess are F-15s, Cs of course, as they are getting new Strike Eagles as well as upgrading their old ones to the same standard. They also have around 70 Eurofighter Typhoons with the possibility of ordering 24 or 48 brand new ones.
Will they offer the Cs or Typhoon or even the 80 Panavia Tornados which have been in service since the 1990s? Your guess is as good as mine! And what about our budget crunch which forced the cancellation of the purchase of the Brunei Blackhawks and delayed the order for the M109 SPH?
I am not sure how this will play out but you are all aware Saudi Arabia is a much richer country than us so it can subsidise the cost of upgrading or refurbish the aircraft we want especially with the price of oil going north.
For the record, RMAF does not want any other aircraft – even stop gap measures – for its MRCA requirement. It wants the aircraft it had selected though it did not mention the name, according to written answers to questions sent to the air force ahead of LIMA 17.
For the record, Hishammuddin has said that the MRCA has been down selected to either the Typhoon or Rafale. However, the economic conditions meant that an order will only be made in 2020.
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