Fulcrum Revival?

No 17 Skuadron Fulcrums - M40-10- and M40-16 - taking part in the rehearsal on Feb 25, 2016.

SHAH ALAM: Fulcrum revival? It appears that the on-and-off idea of reviving the RMAF Mig-29N Fulcrum fleet is currently back in vogue again. Two years ago, the matter was discussed by the previous government but nothing came out of it. The current government – likely defence ministry officials – are now thinking of doing the same thing, with the issue coming up during discussions with Russian state owned arms corporation, Rostec officials at LIMA 19.

Rostec international cooperation and regional policy director Viktor Kladov told a media briefing at LIMA 19 that they gave several options in the discussions regarding the Fulcrums even though it was difficult to gauge whether the latest one was definitive as Malaysia had been flip-flopping over the issue for the last ten years.

A four ship of MiG-29 aircraft from the Royal Malaysian Air Force(RMAF) aerobatic display team the “Smokey Bandits” perform during the 2012 Singapore Airshow on Feb. 15, 2012.

He said if Malaysia really wants to put back the Fulcrums into service, there were two ways of doing it. One, a simple refurbishment that will allow the 16-strong Fulcrum fleet (around six was flying until they were stored in late 2016) back into service as quickly as possible. The second one was to refurbish and upgrade the Fulcrums to the latest standard, the Mig-35. Kladov said he had told Malaysian officials that the Fulcrums had a long service live, 40 years, actually.

Fulcrum M43-18 – with its green camo was parked inside a hangar used as a VIP holding room.

He said if Malaysia did not want to put back the fleet into service, the airframes could be sold to Russia in exchange for “three to four” Sukhoi Su-30MKM or the latest Su-35s. Otherwise, Russia could also sell the airframes to other users like Bangladesh or India, with the proceeds, paid to Malaysia.

Two Fulcrums taking off for the flypast during RMAF anniversary parade in June 1, 2016. One of the last time Malaysian Defence saw the Fulcrums flying.

Kladov, who was involved in the purchase of the Fulcrums and Flankers – he was based in Kuala Lumpur from 2001 to 2009, said he had discussed both options with Malaysian government officials, from both the current and previous governments.

Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten performing a display at LIMA 2019. Zaq Sayuti.

He also said Russia is willing to buy palm oil as part of a counter trade for the two RMAF aircraft as well as the Yak-130 combat trainer, one of the candidates for the LCA project.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

111 Comments

  1. In my thoughts actually, why not just get the Fulcrums operational again while waiting for solid enough funds for the MRCA project in the waaaay future? Cost-wise I wouldn’t know, but I’m sure operational experience-wise, we have the proper track record after all these years? Maybe there are other factors involved?

  2. Hope for more sukhoi to enter service since ATSC already can MRO our Sukhoi fleet in country plus our current government want to sell more palm oil to Russia.I hope with this two factors we can add more Sukhoi in RMAF.

  3. MRCA is dodo given new government push for LCA and with the migs costing the AF close to 300 million annually, I bet that they are also looking to get rid of them as well.

    Getting more Su-30s seems like a better idea imo. More budget can be allocated for LCA programme.

  4. trade in MIG for new SU30 look good but do RMAF want more SU???the operating budget for it is high enough but they willing to accept palm oil so its a mix feeling…

    but considering the new people in mindef who said they will respect RMAF wish before this plus our PM who in previous admin keep push in a lot of “political plot” into RMAF throat….. ,let see how this will turn out….hehehe

  5. We only need 6 more SU30s to make two squadron of 12 each. But with the Russia on sanctions we might have to make do with a version different from MKM. MKM got many westernised avionics and radios. Could be a good challenge for ATSC though to integrate some themselves.

    We can also use this strategy for the Hawks too. Buy a few Hawks to replenish to two squadrons of 24-36nos.

    I still hope for the Kuwaiti Hornets though. We would have nice balance air force if we can get 4-8 Hornets. As bonus though.

  6. I think its better for us to trade our fulcrum for flanker… another 6 will do. Split it into 2 squadrons… One in west msia and the other in east malaysia. East malaysia has been ingored for too long i think.

  7. The best plan is to go with the low cost LCA, say 12 TA 50 or FA 346.

    The cost of maintenance for the Fulcrum will still be too high. Supplement Hornets with Kuwaiti seconds for the time being. We only need 4 to 10 to make the Hornets a proper squadron. Russian products have been problematic, so we need to learn from this.

  8. Badrul,

    It’s not a question of East Malaysia being ignored but the fact that over the years we simply lacked the support facilities to permanently base fighters there. In the 1990’s Hawks based in Labuan had poor servicibility rates due to a lack of facilities. Sure, things have improved in terms of infrastructure but if we were to permanently base Flankers in East Malaysia; do we currently have enough hangars, dispersal areas, etc, there? Will East Malaysian based Flankers have the same servicibility rates as those based in Gong Kedak? Also bear in mind that East Malaysian based assets have to make the long hop cross the South China Sea for overhauls/depot level maintenance.

    As far back as 8-9 years ago thought had been given to trade in the Fulcrums for
    2-3 Flankers but nothing came out of it. If we do get 2-3 new Flankers logically they should have improvements over the MKM but that will create another problem as the RMAF would then have 2 different variants to support. The answer would be to eventually upgrade the MKMs to a common standard but this would entail cash that the government is reluctant to spend.

  9. @ zack

    Additional MKMs (all of the fleet to be upgraded to 1 common standard) can always be used as reserve assets and to enable maintenance rotations. The offer also means that we can materialise our unwanted assets (MiGs) into something more valuable, way more than any other parties can ever offer us on the MiGs.

    4x MKMs in exhange for our MiGs plus 2x MKM bartered with Palm oil will see our fleet raise to 24.

    This can be arranged into:
    – 12x fully operational at gong kedak
    – 4x labuan detachment. To rotate with gong kedak every 3 months. This will eliminate the need for full technical facilities at labuan. This will also eliminate long tour of duty for aircrew/groundcrew in labuan.
    – 8x in maintenance/stanby pool at gong kedak.

    Actually for a maritime strike mission, MKM based in gong kedak is more than capable to strike any targets anywhere in SCS. But for air defence missions, gong kedak is not in the way of sabah and sarawak, so some MKM in the way at labuan is desireable.

  10. Tom Tom,

    Actually it’s not Russian products being “problematic” per see but the after sales/support. At times problems are caused by our side when maintenance/overhaul has to be delayed and when spares are not bought; due to funding.

    As for Fulcrum maintenance costs; yes they are high when compared to Western equivalents but if we get pre owned Hornets; what will be the operating costs of these 30 off year old airframes be and as they age; how much more maintenance intensive will they get over the years?

    At it is, the RMAF has stated that 40 percent of its assets need upgrades due to age. Even the operating costs of the MKMs has risen after just a decade in service. Also, if indeed we upgrade the Fulcrums, they can be fitted with parts that have a lower MTBF and TBO; that will lower operating costs. An interesting question is which aircraft (MKM, Fulcrum and Hornet) needs – on average – more maintenance hours for every hour flown?

  11. We have hangar for Charlie in Labuan. Transfer them back to Subang and the Fulcrum can occupy the hangar. We already have tactical transport squadron in Kuching, which is operating CN-235M.
    Although, I admit, TUDM is having a tough time maintaining the Russian aircraft. I used to be part of the system.
    US aircraft comes with a lot of limitation as its system is not open source. The upgrade of aircraft will require the approval of Uncle Sam.
    That’s my 2 cent opinion.

  12. @ azlan

    ” As for Fulcrum maintenance costs; yes they are high when compared to Western equivalents but if we get pre owned Hornets; what will be the operating costs of these 30 off year old airframes be and as they age; how much more maintenance intensive will they get over the years? ”

    Things to consider:

    1. Maintaining 2 platforms with no interchangeability will always cost more, not just in monetary terms but manpower resources, training, ground support equipment, spare parts, warehouses etc etc.

    2. Both hornets and MiGs should only be used up till 2030 the most. To use the MiGs we need to spend money to significantly update the systems, while with the hornets we have updated the systems, and additional upgrades like AESA radars are plug and play, ie no significant wiring or modifications needed. When getting additional hornets, the numbers should also be more than what operational aircrafts we need, for maintenance rotation, stanby and also for spare part harvesting.

    3. With the outdated systems, our MiGs currently is not significantly more capable even compared to platforms such as FA-50. Only advantage of MiGs to FA-50 is its Mach 2 top speed and HMS for close-in dogfights. For tasks such as QRA and air policing there is not much differences if we use MiGs or FA-50. Do we want to spend significant amoint of money to upgrade the MiGs just to use for around 10 years? The cost of UPG upgrade is put at USD15 million for each aircraft, which IMO better used to upgrade the MKM instead. And also note that Canada bought 25 australian hornets for USD68 Million. If we can trade our MiGs for 4x MKM we actually will get nearly USD200 million worth of SU-30MKM for our old MiGs, which can never be repeated by any other offers.

    http://www.defenseworld.net/feature/22/Upgraded_MiG_29_to_take_on_F_16_in_the_Refurbished_Fighter_Jet_Market

    http://defensesecuritymonitor.com/wordpress/2019/01/10/australia-confirms-deal-to-offload-legacy-hornets-to-canada-for-68-million/

  13. Badrul,

    I’m not sure about relocating the Labuan based Charlies back to Subang, that would mean that there are only CNs in East Malaysia to meet tri service lift needs and do we need another Charlie squadron in West Malaysia just to create space for fighters in Labuan?

    It would make sense to permanently have fighters in East Malaysia but it really depends on having the needed support infrastructure. If anything serious breaks out there will be a period of tensions before hostilities occur and aircraft based in West Malaysia are only a few hours flying time away.

    On the Russian angle, I would like to think or hope that by now we have learnt how to deal with the Russian way of doing things. Then again, even India which has decades of experience still sometimes has issues. Countries which do things the Russian way (like Vietnam) and don’t modify their gear with Western gear have less issues.On the problems with the MKMs; I wonder how much of the problem has to do with the Russians or mainly because of other issues like our inability to store the needed spares due to funds, delays in depot level maintenance due to funds, issues with the local company contracted to provide support or issues with the actual aircraft itself (the various components from different suppliers) in that we operate a small numbers of a variant unique to us.

    No doubt there are issues with American stuff but the disadvantages have to be weighed with the advantages. FMS – as others have pointed out – is certainly not perfect or flawless but it has certain advantages and is a more effective way of getting product support and training (paid by the customer of course) compared to what the Russians can currently offer. At the end of the day, despite certain issues over the years; we’ve had less grief with the Hornets compared to the Fulcrums and Flankers.

    …..

    No doubt the range is there for sorties from West Malaysia but missions conducted in the Spratleys area will always be conducted from East Malaysia. Too long a transit and the target will be elsewhere and when loaded with ordnance; aircraft might not fly with a full fuel load. Many overlook the fact that we bought the Chobhams not to enable the Flankers to fly further per see but so they can fly circuitous routes rather than a straight line during strike missions. The main problem with maritime strike – as shown in WW1/2 and the Falklands – is actually finding a moving target that does not want to be found; one reason we need new MPAs urgently and why they have to be networked.

  14. Let the Russian take back their fulcrums in exchange for Let say 3 SU-35 and purchase another 3 SU-35 with palm oil as part payment. That will be a better deal….

  15. I think trade fulcrum with SU35 is a very good move. We get it basic version & give it more upgrades when funds are available. Like Rsaf move to test 2 unit of F-35 first. Plus the Migs already grounded & not utilised. Words is those Irbis E radar on Flanker-E is the best. Plus export version already equipped with Khibiny ecm. The new saturn engines can achieve mach 2.25. This is some deal. Its like an upgraded MKM. Or mix it up 2 SU-30MKM 2 SU-35

  16. @ azlan

    ” The main problem with maritime strike – as shown in WW1/2 and the Falklands – is actually finding a moving target that does not want to be found ”

    In Falklands war, 37 years ago, Argentine Skyhawks with no GPS, no radar and just dumb bombs managed to fly from Argentine mainland to Falkland waters to bomb British ships.

    Even the Mararajalela Class Gowinds, at top speed of 28 knots (52Kph), would only be travelling at most 104kms in 2 hours, easy enough for the MKM to find if it already knows the frigate location before takeoff. To have some MKM in Labuan is for the defence of key installations in sabah and sarawak like Sepanggar naval base and Bintulu LNG complex.

    Reply
    I have spoken privately with Mindef people about building an airbase adjacent to the Bintulu airport. They said there is no requirement from MAF on that. I was thinking about that as there is no space for expansion at Labuan unless they moved out the Army camp next to the RMAF base. It is not really a good site really as due to its topography. Of course its cheaper than building a new airbase

  17. To be fair,Mig-29SMT has even more significant structural change than Mig-35, which is essentially a mig-29M built using 21st century manufacturing process. afaik early mig-35 testbed were built using unfinished mig-29 airframe from soviet era

  18. @ marhalim

    My proposal of 4x MKM detachment would eliminate the need of Labuan expansion. All MKMs in detachment to rotate every 3months with Gong Kedak, so no issue of aircraft availability. As a defensive posture IMO it is adequate although it could be better.

    I am looking at a posture in Labuan in the future with

    1x FA-50 skuadron, to replace the hawk.
    1x Su-30MKM detachment with 4x MKM
    1x C-130H skuadron
    1x EC725 skuadron
    1x MALE UAV detachment with 3x UAVs

  19. @ alex

    MiG-29SMT has the same airframe as the legacy MiG-29s while MiG-29M and MiG-35 has totally different wings and structures.

    You can upgrade MiG-29SE to SMT and UPG, but not to MiG-35. The differences between the two is like hornets and super hornets.

  20. I prefer if Russia admits their role in the downing of MH17 and pay the family & MAS, before we continue any further discussions with Russia.

  21. ….,

    True but look at things in its full context. The Argentines had much more success in the confined waters around the Spratlys and later at Bluff Cove. Further out in the Atlantic their biggest problem was finding their targets. For the Sheffield strike they detected it with a Neptune; followed by the Etendard. The RN’s main problem was they did not have much in the way of early warning and systems like Sea Dart were designed to deal with medium to high level threats. All they had for low level threats was Seawolf which had just entered service and performed well and SeaCat which didn’t perform well.

    Ultimately wherher it’s 1982 or 2019 or 2025; any strike asset will need – in addition to its onboard sensors – external help to locate and fix a target. Relying just on its onboard sensors to locate a target will not be easy unless of course the target’s location has a solid fix – as you mentioned. The target may be moving slowly but it’s still moving and trying not to be found. Also, the fighter will also only use its radar at the very last minute or sparingly to avoid early detection.

    Yes maintaining different platforms puts enormous strain on the ground support infrastructure – something I keep harping on time and time again. Which is why the Fulcrums must and should go but if new Flankers ate fitted our differently (different radar, radios, etc) this will also increase the support infrastructure so ideally the MKMs should eventually be upgraded to the same standard.

    New Flankers fitted out differently would also require a slightly different maintenance/support and combat syllabus; especially if those Flankers are fitted with stuff that’s unique to us. I won’t go into the technical specifics of individual aircraft because it’s the systems and not the platform that make the key difference in this day and age.

  22. Thank you Joe, people seems to forget that Russia owe Malaysians and the world an explanation and hand over the people who is responsible . Lest we forget.

  23. joe,

    Must as well wish for the earth and moon because this will never happen. For Russia to admit to this would mean that it has active participation in the Ukraine assisting separatists; despite its previous strong denials. It would lead to Russia being condemned, being forced to pay compensation and open it to further scrutiny and criticism at a time when it’s in direct strategic completion with the West. At home, Putin’s enemies or potential rivals will use this against him.

    The victims and their families unfortunately are not going to get the justice and closure they deserve anytime soon.

  24. @ joe

    Ditto, but is Tun M thinking the same way?

    @ azlan

    I dont know if MKMs RWR is sensitive enough to be used as ESM geolocation. If it can, then any emissions from the ship like radar and radio can be geolocated and the ship position known without thr MKM using its radar. BTW the BARs radar range for ships is around 120km, to 250km for carrier-sized targets.

  25. BTW Russia can just own up, and pay compensations, and life moves on. USA did down an iranian passenger jet once too.

  26. @Alpha Zulu
    Lest we forget. RIP to those poor souls.

    @Azlan
    Yes it is wishful thinking but we shouldn’t let desperation back us into a corner and let Russia roll over us. We are only desperate for military hardware (which we will pay for), not critical humanitarian aid. We have no need to stoop down to Russian bullying and sell our honour for some fighter jets, even if they are willing to take part payment with palm oil. I mean, how sustainable is that once the deal is concluded? We continue to produce palm oil so we need markets with sustainable consumption and Russia isn’t one such.

    Even if we desperately need the Fulcrums, I would at least prefer it done at Baltic states with such SLEP expertise and with the most minimal Russian involvement possible.

  27. It took the Russians decades to acknowledge crimes/abuses (Katyn and the Gulags come to mind) committed during the Soviet era. Unfortunately it may take a very long time before Russia reveals and admits what really happened with MH17. We can safely assume that when Dr. M met Putin the subject was not raised.

  28. Really no brainer. Just trade the migs for su-30mkm. Better than letting the migs rot and later sold for scrap metal.

  29. @…
    The Argentinians had more MPA assets including S-2 Trackers and Neptune AEW and yet failed to track the Brits consistently. Navies know very well how to hide their ships at sea.

    Just a couple years later the US Navy proved it again by operating multiple carriers in the Barents Sea. Soviet Russians only found out when the USN decided it was time and buzzed them with F-18s.

    To use your example, even if a ship is detected (which is the main difficulty), after 2 hours the search area expands from 1 point to 31,420 square km.

  30. “I dont know if MKMs RWR is sensitive enough to be used as ESM geolocation. If it can, then any emissions from the ship like radar and radio can be geolocated and the ship position known without thr MKM using its radar. ”

    Detection is one thing. Discrimination of the emissions from those of friendly, allied, neutral or civilian ships in a very cluttered environment is really beyond an RWR’s capabilities.

    “We continue to produce palm oil so we need markets with sustainable consumption and Russia isn’t one such.”

    Like crude oil price movements, I take this as another reminder that we have to diversify our revenues and exports away from commodities and not just palm oil.

    Whatever one says about the ban, the fact is we are continuing to clear forests for plantations and increasing our reliance on palm oil. I would be happy if we move in the opposite direction because we can’t be doing this forever. Even switching to a less labour intensive crop, if possible, would be good if it reduces the number of jobs on the line.

    It is said that we have 600 thousand people working in the plantation sector, but how many are foreigners and therefore (theoretically) not voters? I would like to know how much Malaysians would suffer, aside from the plantation companies, if we accept the partial ban and let the foreigners go first. How wide or narrow are the interests that we seek to protect?

  31. Anon,

    Yes simple on paper and something we should do IMO but various factors are at play here. Assuming the Russians take them back or sell them for us; will it be at a price acceptable to us? Will the new Flankers the Russians give us meet our requirements? I’f not, how much should we spend modtfiying them? Adding non Russian stuff will mean we have to pay for integration and certification. If the Russians accept palm oil as part payment (assuming we have to top up funds for whatever reason) how much will they take (the Fulcrum deal was delayed partly because of the amount of palm oil the Russians were initially willing to take)?

    When can we upgrade the MKMs to a common standard as the new ones? Will the government drag it foot with a MKM upgrade? It will be silly to operate small numbers of 2 different Flanker variants; each having different sub systems that require their own separate training/maintenance syllabus, combat syllabus and different spares to be stocked. If the new Flankers differ a lot compared to the MKMs (I hope they do as the components on the MKM date from the late 90’s/early 2,000’s) the present simulator won’t be useful.

  32. @Azlan & ….
    Mahathir has proven to be a very shrewd politician even in the matter of human lives. I have no doubts that if it doesn’t bring any benefits to the table, all the more better he keeps this (MH17) card at hand.

    As for Russia (Putin really), the weakest part of a macho man is his ego within that macho body.

  33. Pls bring trade to Pak Fa 57E fifth generation will be great first in Asia operate stealth fighter aircraft , we will be MRO for this regent ..

  34. @ chua

    2 main diferrences

    1. Geographical location. SCS is almost like a pond. There are limited directions a ship can sail.

    2. Technological advances. 37 years is a lot. There was no internet, datalink, GPS, real time commercial satellite picture, advanced ESM, digital AESA radars (which can eliminate sea surface clutter from ship targets), AIS, EO turret, Optical radar etc etc in 1982.

    This is why i am in favour of having more submarines for TLDM.

    As for tracking foreign warships, probably TLDM could stand up a team in HQ to track all warships say more than 1,500 tons in SCS and selat melaka from OSINT (open source intelligence) like satellite pictures, AIS, shore radars, ship twitter/fb pages etc. This is IMO an important information that we should always know and track.

  35. It’s about time we re-look the MPA requirements in view of its increasingly important role as a force multiplier . Better to overspec now than trying to upgrade a very limited platform down the road. With Abe anxious to seal export deals and with the PM being close to Japan, miracles can happen and the Kawasaki P-1 could emerge as the front runner. As it is, it is already much cheaper than the P8 Poseidon and upfront payments can be avoided through long term lease with option to buy through the Exim Bank

  36. I agree with Joe on the delicate issue of forcing Russia to admit involvement in the MH17 tragedy. There must a some way for us to seek some degree of involvement on their part. Only then can we seriously reconsider buying more Russian planes. After all, they are not gifting the planes to us!
    I’d just selling back the MiGs to Russia and getting 4-6 SU30MKMs instead. And have a single standard for the existing and newly inducted Sukhoi. And get on with the LCA program.

  37. @ azlan

    ” If the new Flankers differ a lot compared to the MKMs (I hope they do as the components on the MKM date from the late 90’s/early 2,000’s) ”

    However modernized it is, the aircraft is still a flanker, it wont suddenly feel like flying the eagle for example. Currently for the Su-30SM1, the only upgrades are better processing capability of the BARS radar, upgraded khibiny L-175 RWR/ECM systems, and upgraded SAP-518 EW systems. The SM in itself was based on MKM and not MKI. First few SM batches even uses the exact same french cockpit displays and HUD as MKM. Future upgrades are for the SM1/MKM existing Salyut AL-31FP replaced with the Saturn AL-41F-1S found onboard the Sukhoi Su-35S Flanker-E.

  38. @…
    In short: it’s harder than you think.

    @Zulkarnain Zainuddin
    PAKFA is a disaster, bro.

  39. Even Kawasaki P-1 is way too expensive and too advanced for us. It is basically a lite version of P-8 Poseidon. We have no need for an armed MPA as its purpose is just to patrol, detect, and raise the alarm. Anything more than that is unnecessary and will cost more money. Money which we supposedly don’t have to buy even a basic MPA in the first place, whatmore such advanced planes like P-1.

    FYI, do you know that EXIM is a China affiliated bank?

  40. Gentlemen, remember that we are not Syria, there is little strategic advantage for Russians to meddle in regional politics.

    Plus the Russians need cash as well. They won’t bend too far backwards to give us freebies and crazy discounts.

    All in all, they are probably more buddy-buddy with the Indonesians who have more cash than we do to buy stuff.

    So don’t get inflated heads about what we can “force” the Russkies to do politically. There is no way they’ll compromise their political position in Ukraine/Donbass just to make us – global nobodies from some distant irrelevant land – happy.

    “Langit yang tinggi hendak ditampar, bumi yang dipijak tak dapat dicapai.”

  41. ……

    You don’t get what I was driving at.

    New Flankers ideally will be fitted with better gear than the MKMs. Even if it’s stuff like a flight computer, EW suite, MAWS etc, that would still mean that both are different variants. Each fitted with different stuff; resulting in ground crew having to be trained to support something else and different spares having to be stocked : this increases the logistical support footprint – no escaping this fact. A new operating syllabus will also have to be created for the reason that these aircraft – by virtue of having different gear – don’t offer the same performance and have different characteristics as the MKMs as irrrspective of whether they share the same air frame both are fitted with different gear. All this equals to extra strain for a small, under financed air arm that already has its resources stretched.

    When we bought the MKMs the Russians could provide flight training as they operated the same airframe and engine. The IAF helped us with a maintenance syllabus and could because they operated the MKI with the same engine, radar and other parts. For a operating/combat syllabus specific to our needs and the aircraft; we were on our own and had to create one through time, trial and error; for the reason that certain stuff on the MKM was unique to us.

  42. @ azlan

    I do get you, but the improvements are only better performing radar, RWR and EW. Functionally the systems, interfaces, how to operate them is the same, only the performance is different.

    We have no help on syllabus from russia 10 years ago because russia did not operate any MKI derivatives, which what MKM is, not because it has minor specific hardware differences. The Su-30SM only entered russian service about 5 years ago.

  43. P.S.

    Even if the only change is a new targeting pod; a separate training course (for only a handful of aircraft) will have to be created as the better capabilities this pod offers (over Damocles) will change the way we release ordnance and will result in new tactics and SOPs; to account for the different capability this new pod offers.

  44. …..

    Key difference between the Vincennes and MH17. The Americans made clear they were operating in the Sraits of Hormuz and later admitted their ship was in Iranian waters. To this day the Russians deny they are in the Ukraine.

    As far back as 37 years ago data links were already operated and had been around for a while. As one of the pioneers of data links; as early as the mid 70’s Sweden was already offering for export Spicas fitted with data links.

    Technology has made things easier and more manageable but certain inherent issues still remain. Whether it’s in a littoral area or a small sea like the SCS; detecting, identifying and continuously tracking a ship can remain problematic; despite technological advances. I have a 1986 Military Techilogy issue which predicts that by turn of the century; advances in lasers and other areas would make it almost impossible for subs to hide. Fast forward to 2019; ASW is just as difficult and challenging as it was decades ago; despite advances in technology.

    Us tracking ships. The first step is to do what we wanted to moons ago : fully integrate the radars operated by the MMEA and Maritime Institute; to enable both these agencies and the RMN to have a common, live feed. The 2nd step of course would be ISR assets in decent numbers that are fully networked.

  45. ……

    “Better” and “different” performing gear leads to the need for a new operating/combat syllabus. It also leads to the need for people to be trained and for stocked to be kept : all that trouble for a handful of platforms to be operated and maintained by a small, under resourced air arm that already has its resources stretched.

    Which as I clearly stated before is why the MKMs have to be eventually brought to a same a same standard because both are different variants. I did not suggest that minor changes would make the new Flankers drastically different (your reference to the Eagle). Yes the Russians could not help us with a combat syllabus and I stated that very clearly and before in previous posts. Us modifying new Flankers with stuff unique to us will create the same effect as before.

  46. @Chua
    I’m certainly under no illusion that making Russia accepting even part blame is next to impossible, but someone did say; politics & diplomacy is the art of the impossible. Much like legal settlements, issues can be settled between both parties without a clear winner but still leaving both side feeling they had won.

    A closed, backdoor negotiations have proven to be much more effective than just bulldozing agendas thru the throats of either sides. And we shouldn’t be doing so from a weaker standpoint. Much like what … said, even USA had been given humble pie to acknowledge their responsibility to Iran. What matters is we don’t back down from Russian bullying and taunts.

  47. @ chua

    “April Fool’s is over.”

    Up to you if you want to live in the past and not use all the latest open source technologies that is available. BTW USS Blue Ridge is now in Luang Prabang, the thai navy base.

  48. @ marhalim

    for Russia to still have the same offer valid after like 4 years is something we should think hard about. The value of those MiGs are not going to increase the longer we don’t make any decisions.

    Reply
    They had the same offer since the MRCA project started. The fact that it was not even considered even before MH17 happened showed how much the interest was on adding more Sukhois to the fleet

  49. @…
    See that’s why the Argentinians lost the Falklands. They were too stupid to check for ship transponders.

    I’m sure in wartime we’ll have no issues targeting warships, or airplanes for that matter, because their AIS transponders will be on Myshiptracker and Flightradar.

    This is why Singkies are stupid; they buy “stealth” F-35s without knowing their transponders are tracked so easily! Stealth is dead!

    We Malaysians are smarter that’s why we don’t bother with stealth jets.

  50. @ marhalim

    ” The fact that it was not even considered even before MH17 happened showed how much the interest was on adding more Sukhois to the fleet ”

    If they want the Sukhois in the 1st place there won’t even be the MRCA request TBH.

    They don’t want the MKMs as they really wanted SH (rightly or wrongly) and are intoxicated by the beautiful promises of Rafales and Typhoons. Now finally awake and standing in the real world, still left with the MKM and without the budget for new toys, lets see if they will finally let this offer go.

    BTW I really think they are hostile towards the MKM due to the bad experience with the MiGs. After 10 years operating the MKM, is this still the case? Is operating the MKM as bad as the MiGs? Is the MKM capability something they feel can be bettered by another platform for the same cost? On paper IMO the MKM capabilities are far above a normal SH capability, and with lower purchase cost too. Not to mention accepting palm oil as part payment of the MKMs.

    @ Chua

    There is no ship transponders in 1982 for gods sake! Do you think you can google that in 1982? The maritime AIS system is only designed post 2002.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_identification_system

  51. …….

    As I mentioned previously, as far back as 8-9 years ago the RMAF has considered doing what the Russians are offering now.

    This is also not the first time the Russians have made such an offer.

  52. …….

    The RMAF was told that MRCAs had been approved in principle and just had to wait for funds. Also, the RMAF was never “intoxicated” with Typhoons and Rafales as you claim : it was the government. First the Typhoon was the political favourite then the Rafale.

    Based on its positive experience with the Hornet (operating costs, customer support, the lack of any need for certification and integration; commonality) the RMAF preferred the Super Hornet. Problems of a different kind were met with the MKM. Having more onboard systems compared to the Fulcrum and having more non standard parts sourced from a variety of suppliers; it is more challenging or problematic if you will; to operate and support the MKM.

    As for excepting the Russian offer : the RMAF can make a recommendation but the government (as you very well know) decides. Note that in the past the RMAF was receptive to the idea of trading in the Fulcrums for a few MKMs.

    As for which offers better capabilities; the MKM has a newer better performing radar and more range, endurance and payload but looked in totality it’s the systems and not the platform that counts and the RMAF has had less issues with the Hornet. When its operational levels and components, which have a longer TBO/MTBF than Russian equivalents are taken into account; in the long run it is more cost effective.

  53. … “Up to you if you want to live in the past and not use all the latest open source technologies that is available. BTW USS Blue Ridge is now in Luang Prabang, the thai navy base.”

    Excellent suggestion. Lets go further and get some fishing boats to impersonate our real units and report AIS data on their positions.

    Wait, that isn’t even necessary. The system relies on whatever position data you self report so we won’t even need a ship to actually be there! With a little creativity, we can lure the enemy right into our kill box.

  54. @…
    “There is no ship transponders in 1982 for gods sake! Do you think you can google that in 1982? The maritime AIS system is only designed post 2002.”

    Exactly

    That’s why stealth is dead and anybody can use OSINT to find any ship or aircraft in the world. Stealth warships? Useless. Stealth aircraft? Useless. F-22, F-35? What a joke! Flightradar and Myshiptracker are the keys to victory!

  55. “There is no ship transponders in 1982 for gods sake! Do you think you can google that in 1982? The maritime AIS system is only designed post 2002.”

    The joke went over your head.

  56. Lets be practical pple….we trade in the migs n mkm for 40+ yak130 that will ease the complication of logistic
    Secondly sell off all the hawk n all the minachis….so we left with hornet n yak130 only for fast jets..trainers..n LIFT.
    Why bother with mrca..we not at war yet..we horn all the pilots skills n ensure they have enough flight hours accumilated..n dont be selfish.

  57. Good deals indeed, but why the gov official (air force officer) took a long thinking process and clearly the russian said the airframes will last for 40 years. Actually why air force didn’t like it? .. In this current situation we don’t other good choice to buy fancy2 western made aircraft as they boycott our palm oil (as the tit for tat action) we might as well could consider this offer.

  58. @ Lkick

    Welcome back.

    Lot of things can last 40 years. The MiGs, in comparison to other platforms we have, is the least capable in the mission it needs to do. It has outdated radars, short range and high workload cockpit. Yes we can upgrade it to acceptable standards to UPG version (new radar, new cockpit, more fuel in saddleback tank) but with that amount of money, we can get additional hornets and consolidate our fighter types. Which is a better option to take IMO.

    If you take the same question on MKM, yes i agree for them to continue to be used, as even in its current form it is one of the most capable fighters in the neighbourhood (along with F-15SG).

  59. Lets calculate the costs to upgrade the MiG-29N to the latest UPG upgrade standards.

    http://www.malaysiandefence.com/fulcrum-revival/#comment-367041

    From my post before, the upgrade cost for each aircraft is put at USD15 million.

    Let say we upgrade just 12 single seaters. That would cost us USD180 million. Is that investment for USD180 million to the MiGs worthwhile? You will be stuck with 3 types of fighters, small number of MiGs and Hornets plus the MKMs.

    For the same USD180 million we could instead buy 25 used Legacy Hornets just like what Canada does from Australia. Do realize that the Aussie Hornets are upgraded to an even higher standard than our own D model Hornets. The cost for those 25 Hornets is just USD68 million. Then you will have an additional USD112 million to upgrade and restore all the Hornets to a same standard. Those retired MiGs is then traded for 4 additional Su-30MKMs. You will get more Hornets and more MKMs.

    So which path do you prefer?

  60. Redsot,

    I would like to think that people are being “realistic” in that even though something might look great on paper; in actual reality there are a lot of things to be taken into account because what we do now will impact us for years.

    Sure, the offer for extra Flankers looks great but how do we ensure that if these platforms are fitted our differently; it won’t add to the current logistical/support headache the RMAF currently faces? What if it’s the government that opposes the deal? As for Yak-130 should we get it just because we can? What if there’s certain issue specific to the aircraft that the RMAF finds us not suitable for its requirements?

    Lkick,

    This issue has been dealt with many times before. The main issue faced with the Fulcrums when we got them was that it’s engines and vital components didn’t last as long as Western equivalents. In short we flew then with the regularity we flew our Western types and found they needed overhauls//changes much sooner. Another problem is we bought them at a time when the Russian industry was in a chaotic situation. Sourcing spares became problematic and when we did order spares; often enough it wasn’t in the quantity required.

    The RMAF, which is far from perfect and like it’s sister services has to look out for its own interests and deal with penny pinching politicians; has had its share of criticism; some valid and some not. After getting MKMs (which it never wanted) the RMAF’s plans called for MPAs, LIFTs, basic trainers (largely fulfilled), helicopters (partly fulfilled) and a AEW platform to be progressively procured. This was its long term plan towards creating a well balanced air atm that was able to react to the threats we were likely to face and could offer some level of deterrence – unfulfilled due to a government that kept changing its mind and priorities and which couldn’t offer any firm commitments.

    The requirement for MRCAs (which the government approved in principle) should only have arised after the other assets had been procured. At one time the Typhoon was the political favourite (the ex DPM said it was the best and that other programmes would have to be put on hold if Typhoon was bought) and later Rafale was the political favourite ( the ex Defence Minister warned France that a palm oil ban would impact a Rafale buy). Prior to that the government was keen on Gripen and the RMAF announced it was willing to accept a leasing arrangement only for the government to later drop this idea when it was the one which brought up a leasing possibility in the very first place!

  61. Platform wise which at the end of the day doesn’t count) the MKMs are indeed capable, 2nd to the
    F-15, which amongst other things has a superior radar and targeting/navigational pod). In reality however, when viewed in totality; the RTAF’s Gripens are way ahead in that that they enjoy much superior SA; virtue of the fact that they operate alongside the Eriye.

    Something that hasn’t changed since WW1 is that the side which spots his opponent first has a huge advantage, which usually determines the outcome. Over the past few decades, with the exception of the Falklands, the Ethiopia/Eriteria war, Nargano Karabakh, etc, most engagements have taken place at BVR. Won by the side that had superior SA and battle management.

    Reply
    RSAF also got AEW, the Strike Eagle crews are also trained to fly with UAVs

  62. @ AM

    That Canadian dollars 500 million number is the cost of the aircraft + cost of all the salaries of pilots, technicians, civilians, every single person related to the hornets until it is retired + all the operating costs, fuel, consumables until retired + new facilities to be built for the hornets + upgrade costs to the hornet in the future until retired + retirement costs. So it is not just the acquisition cost as what we normally account for in development expenditure.

    @ azlan

    Yes wars are won by those who have better SA than their foes. That is why in my TUDM plan I put getting AWACS, EW aircraft (G6000 Erieye ER and G6000 HavaSOJ) as a priority above the need of a new MRCA.

    http://www.malaysiandefence.com/another-view-on-tudm-cap-55/#comment-351477

  63. joe,

    Yes both are different services but for the reasons I explained: the RMN has zero interest in the Nuri. Whether it’s operated by the RMN or by anyone else; the Nuri is an aged platform that needs a long overdue upgrade to overcome certain issues – thus the circumstances are the same.

    Also, as I’ve pointed out, there is no hangar on any RMN ship that can accommodate a Nuri. That may be a “moot” point for you but in reality it’s not. Helos have to be in position to react on time. If an RMN ship in a littoral setting has a faint contact and request a Nuri; by the time the Nuri gets there the ship may have lost the contact or the contact (at even a few knots) may be headed ina different direction. And what happens if the RMN is operating out in open waters; say in the EEZ? Do things go on “pause” mode till the Nuri gets there?

    If a ship off Layang-Layang has a contact, how long do you think a Labuan based Nuri will take to get there? In case you mentioned it, there are no facilities to deploy aircraft in Layang Layang beyond an over night stay.

    If your sense of reasoning is right then there would be no point at all for any littoral navy to embark helos on ships …. Operating in a littoral environment does not do away with the need for embarked hols and doesn’t mean land based hellos are always only a few minutes flying time away….

    ……,

    Simple : if there’s cash then yes a new helicopter would be a better solution in the long run. As there isn’t cash and the government can’t make a commitment; the RMAF has to continue operating the Nuri.

    Thus the most ideal solutiion, given the circumstances faced: is an upgrade. An upgrade which the RMAF long deemed essential if the Nuri is to continue in service indecinitely. An upgrade doesn’t solve all issues but it goes a long way in making the Nuri more capable and makes more cost effective and manageable to operate.

    Redsot,

    I would like to think that people are being “realistic” in that even though something might look great on paper; in actual reality there are a lot of things to be taken into account because what we do now will impact us for years.

    Sure, the offer for extra Flankers looks great but how do we ensure that if these platforms are fitted our differently; it won’t add to the current logistical/support headache the RMAF currently faces? What if it’s the government that opposes the deal? As for Yak-130 should we get it just because we can? What if there’s certain issue specific to the aircraft that the RMAF finds us not suitable for its requirements?

    Lkick,

    This issue has been dealt with many times before. The main issue faced with the Fulcrums when we got them was that it’s engines and vital components didn’t last as long as Western equivalents. In short we flew then with the regularity we flew our Western types and found they needed overhauls//changes much sooner. Another problem is we bought them at a time when the Russian industry was in a chaotic situation. Sourcing spares became problematic and when we did order spares; often enough it wasn’t in the quantity required.

    The RMAF, which is far from perfect and like it’s sister services has to look out for its own interests and deal with penny pinching politicians; has had its share of criticism; some valid and some not. After getting MKMs (which it never wanted) the RMAF’s plans called for MPAs, LIFTs, basic trainers (largely fulfilled), helicopters (partly fulfilled) and a AEW platform to be progressively procured. This was its long term plan towards creating a well balanced air atm that was able to react to the threats we were likely to face and could offer some level of deterrence – unfulfilled due to a government that kept changing its mind and priorities and which couldn’t offer any firm commitments.

    The requirement for MRCAs (which the government approved in principle) should only have arised after the other assets had been procured. At one time the Typhoon was the political favourite (the ex DPM said it was the best and that other programmes would have to be put on hold if Typhoon was bought) and later Rafale was the political favourite ( the ex Defence Minister warned France that a palm oil ban would impact a Rafale buy). Prior to that the government was keen on Gripen and the RMAF announced it was willing to accept a leasing arrangement only for the government to later drop this idea when it was the one which brought up a leasing possibility in the very first place!

    Platform wise which at the end of the day doesn’t count) the MKMs are indeed capable, 2nd to the
    F-15, which amongst other things has a superior radar and targeting/navigational pod). In reality however, when viewed in totality; the RTAF’s Gripens are way ahead in that that they enjoy much superior SA; virtue of the fact that they operate alongside the Eriye.

    Something that hasn’t changed since WW1 is that the side which spots his opponent first has a huge advantage, which usually determines the outcome. Over the past few decades, with the exception of the Falklands, the Ethiopia/Eriteria war, Nargano Karabakh, etc, most engagements have taken place at BVR. Won by the side that had superior SA and battle management.

    AM,

    There’s been so much talk about all the benefits in considering pre owned Kuwaiti or Australian Hornets. All the positive aspects are emphasised time and time again; i.e. low houred (the Kuwaiti ones), already upgraded or can be further upgraded; parts still readily availabje, commonality, etc, etc. All the positives aspects. What’s been really missing are the negative aspects or the drawbacks, if you will; which I’ve constantly asked.

    It’s an irrefutable fact that as air frames age they require more maintenance and checks on a regular basis, things also tend to break down more frequently (not everything has been replaced); irrespective whether they’re well maintained and low houred. We’ve experienced this with our Hornets and with our MKMs (after only a decade in service) : to be expected and no surprise.

    I have only 2 questions. Questions that should be included and asked as part of any balanced and objective assessment – beyond personal preference and what looks great on paper – of whether buying 30 odd year old air frames, which will be older by the time they arrive is the right move. People can guess and give their answers to suit their narrative but unfortunaty we don’t have these needed answers. Yet these questions are very pertinent; just emphasising the positive aspects isn’t enough.

    1. Over the past few years how much more maintenance intensive have Canadian and Kuwaiti Hornets become as they get older? “Maintenance intensive” means that the total operating costs of operating something has risen and that there is extra strain on manpower resources. The Kuwaitis have a larger budget and they have a more intensive FMS arrangement in the form of spares and U.S. contractors. The Canadians also have more resources and pre owned Hornets for them are seen as a very short term solution.

    2. If indeed we get pre owned Hornets and estimate a service live of say 10 years at minimum, how much will the costs to operate and maintain these aircraft be throughout their service life and how much will costs rise over the years due to the need to replace time expired parts or components; as well as longer and more request post flight maintenance? Note that our 20 odd year old Hornets have become more maintenance intensive. The RAAF has publicly stated that its legacy Hornets must go because they can deal with future threats age also because they have aged.. We need to have some idea as we don’t have a bottomless budget and a large support infrastructure. If we get pre owned Hornets the government might use this as a reason to further delay buying new fighters and we’ll probably end up operating then till they have zero hours or can’t be supported anymore.

    Personally I don’t have a preference as long as it’s not forced on the RMAF and as long as we consider all aspects; not just the positive ones, which make things look great on paper. I will also not accuse the RMAF of anything just because it declines pre owned on account of the long term financial costs involved and other negative aspects.

  64. AM,

    There’s been so much talk about all the benefits in considering pre owned Kuwaiti or Australian Hornets. All the positive aspects are emphasised time and time again; i.e. low houred (the Kuwaiti ones), already upgraded or can be further upgraded; parts still readily availabje, commonality, etc, etc. All the positives aspects. What’s been really missing are the negative aspects or the drawbacks, if you will; which I’ve constantly asked.

    It’s an irrefutable fact that as air frames age they require more maintenance and checks on a regular basis, things also tend to break down more frequently (not everything has been replaced); irrespective whether they’re well maintained and low houred. We’ve experienced this with our Hornets and with our MKMs (after only a decade in service) : to be expected and no surprise.

    I have only 2 questions. Questions that should be included and asked as part of any balanced and objective assessment – beyond personal preference and what looks great on paper – of whether buying 30 odd year old air frames, which will be older by the time they arrive is the right move. People can guess and give their answers to suit their narrative but unfortunaty we don’t have these needed answers. Yet these questions are very pertinent; just emphasising the positive aspects isn’t enough.

    1. Over the past few years how much more maintenance intensive have Canadian and Kuwaiti Hornets become as they get older? “Maintenance intensive” means that the total operating costs of operating something has risen and that there is extra strain on manpower resources. The Kuwaitis have a larger budget and they have a more intensive FMS arrangement in the form of spares and U.S. contractors. The Canadians also have more resources and pre owned Hornets for them are seen as a very short term solution.

    2. If indeed we get pre owned Hornets and estimate a service live of say 10 years at minimum, how much will the costs to operate and maintain these aircraft be throughout their service life and how much will costs rise over the years due to the need to replace time expired parts or components; as well as longer and more request post flight maintenance? Note that our 20 odd year old Hornets have become more maintenance intensive. The RAAF has publicly stated that its legacy Hornets must go because they can deal with future threats age also because they have aged.. We need to have some idea as we don’t have a bottomless budget and a large support infrastructure. If we get pre owned Hornets the government might use this as a reason to further delay buying new fighters and we’ll probably end up operating then till they have zero hours or can’t be supported anymore.

    Personally I don’t have a preference as long as it’s not forced on the RMAF and as long as we consider all aspects; not just the positive ones, which make things look great on paper. I will also not accuse the RMAF of anything just because it declines pre owned on account of the long term financial costs involved and other negative aspects.

  65. “So which path do you prefer?”
    I would prefer we get soon to retire Kuwaiti Hornets. These are also upgraded, but with low houred airframes, and most likely well maintained (with plenty of oil money).

    Other than adapting the controls to our Hornets layout and changing all Arabics to English, I don’t think TUDM will need to spend much on refurb unlike on those high mileage Aussie Hornets.

    With the low houred airframes, those ex-Kuwaitis will also outlast usage of the Aussie birds.

  66. @…

    Yes MiG29N in obsolete, but russian want to upgrade to the latest variant or in other words equivalent to MiG35, or at least substitute with another MKM with interesting terms of payment (palm oil) since gov was launched sayangi sawit campaign, this is the right time to consider this offer. That’s my point.

    @Azlan

    I’m totally agree with all your points above, but in this current situation I think this is the best offer (so far) . Un less we get the American one. But knowing the old man, buy American last, so what say you?

  67. “That Canadian dollars 500 million number is the cost of the aircraft + cost of all the salaries of pilots, technicians, civilians, every single person related to the hornets until it is retired + all the operating costs, fuel, consumables until retired + new facilities to be built for the hornets + upgrade costs to the hornet in the future until retired + retirement costs.”

    I believe “life of the project” in the article refers to the acquisition and upgrade of the Australian Hornets alone plus construction of facilities. As such $500 million does not include the operating costs.

    To be clear these figures are CAD and not USD.

  68. @ azlan

    A question to your question.

    Will upgrading the MiG-29N to UPG standard costing USD25 million each is better than getting used hornets? Is the MiGs operational cost cheaper than the Hornets? What about manpower constraints by having to maintain 2 different types? Is spending USD25 million per plane to be used for just 10 years worthwhile? Used hornets are cheap, and does not need to be highly upgraded as it has been continously upgraded even till its retirement. Retired aussie hornets are upgraded to even higher specifications than our own hornets. Our migs has not been upgraded for like more than 20 years.

    On the Nuris. To upgrade the Nuris to anything near the the EC725 capability would cost serious amounts of money. That same amount can be used to buy used EC225 instead. Circumstances change. When we started to look into nuri upgrades, the situation was different. There was no mass grounding of EC225 like there is right now. There values of EC225 was not dirt bottom like it is right now. If you ask me 5 years ago, yes I am all for the nuri upgrade. Now? I would prefer the same amount of budget needed to be used to buy used EC225LP instead.

  69. Another thing to consider on the MiGs.

    Would you rather spend USD180 million (USD25 million per plane x12) to upgrade the MiGs to be used for just 10 years.

    Or

    Spend USD 0 on the MiGs. Trade in the MiGs to get USD180 million worth of Su-30MKM (3-4 aircraft) that can be used probably up to 30 more years?

  70. @ chua

    Is every single thing is harder the only thing you can contribute here?

    @ AM

    From the article itself.

    ” The $500-million project estimate also included $50 million in contingency funds to cover any problems and another $35 million for the salaries of all civilian and military personnel involved over the life of the project. An additional $30 million will be spent on new infrastructure needed to accommodate the aircraft ”

    …the salaries of all civilian and military personnel involved OVER THE LIFE of the project.

  71. @Azlan
    “if there’s cash then yes a new helicopter would be a better solution in the long run. As there isn’t cash and the government can’t make a commitment”
    You already made my case for TLDM to consider taking Nuris. It is not perfect, it is not new, it is not what they wanted, but it is a heck lot better than having no choppers. Its just a shoehorned idea and certainly its not for the long term until they get the new choppers that they want. They had a lot of budget put into the LCS, LMS & sub SLEPs right now, and in future 2nd batch SGPV, MRSS, possibly MPA too, so I am not as confident as some that they will able to secure the necessary budget for new choppers. Call me realist or call me pessimist but this is the situation that I foresee.

    AFAIK, Seakings can survive on open decks of carriers as long its lashed properly (even during storms). In not sure if the Nuris are just as durable.

  72. Mat Sabu is going to Russia on 20th April to meet Sergei Shoiyu and Vladimir Putin. Plan to discuss about defence barter trade using palm oil. It is in the Berita Harian today.

    Reply
    Guess Felda will have to learn how not to be sanctioned by the US then. Doubtful stock market listed palm oil plantations and their directors want to be bound by US sanctions

  73. “Guess Felda will have to learn how not to be sanctioned by the US”

    Where there’s a will, there’s a way. North Korea does it well with their luxury car suppliers for Dear Glorious Leaders. Only that Malaysia must be stupid enough to announce to the world they are going to do just that.

  74. joe,

    The case which you think I made “exists” only within you. The hard fact is that the RMN has absolutely no desire to take the Nuri (for valid reasons) nor have there ever been any plans to offer the RMN any Nuris. Although you might think it’s not an issue a key problem with the Nuri is that the RMN desires a platform that can be embarked and fit in a hangar : the Nuri can’t and a platform that is based on land can’t do the job. On top of that the RMN – like the army – does not want to be straddled with an aged platform that may or not be upgraded; one that is getting increasingly maintenance intensive. Getting Nuris will be “cheap” but maintaining them in the long run will not be cheap and will be a strain on the RMN’s small air wing.

    You say you’re a”realist” so be a “realist”. Address the current situation and circumstances; rather than “what if” scenarios that the RMN doesn’t want, has never been offered and will never materialise.

    You have drawn the wrong conclusions; Sea Kings (anything for that matter) can survive on open decks but not for long as corrosion sets in and work has to be performed. The longer they are exposed to the elements the more work is later needed. Embarked helicopters, even marinised ones, are always intended to be sheltered from the elements. Also, without a hangar you expect maintenance to always be performed in the open?

    The Super Lynx deployed to the Guf of Aden had to be sent to Oman for maintenance due to corrosion issues and Brit Apaches deployed on HMS Ocean initially had corrosion issues. Even CN-235s that regularly landed on Layang Layang (for brief periods but regularly) had to be treated for corrosion.

  75. ……..

    A question to my questions does not answer my questions; questions that should be asked if a balanced and objective assessment is made as to whether getting 30 odd year old platforms (which will be older when they arrive) is really a cost effective and practical solution for the RMAF.

    I know you’re fond of quoting figures and making comparisons but I’ve akready made clear my position on the Fulcrums : they should and must go. In our context, the time for upgrading them has come and passed.

    They remain a marked reminder of the consequences when flawed decisions are made; when politicians base decisions mainly or solely on national interests; rather than what’s right for the MAF and taxpayer.

  76. P.S.

    As I’ve said we should get the handful of Flankers that have been offered. As I’ve made clear however in previously posts; there are conditions to be met and considerations to be factored (that goes beyond their 30 life); their entry into service must be done in such a way that it does not increase the RMAF’s already large logistical footprint; which will happen if it has to operate and maintain small numbers of 2 different Flanker variants.

    Even if the new Flankers come with just a different mission computer, INS, targeting pod or comns system; they will still be a different variant as they will contain stuff that will require a separate training/support infrastructure/syllabus.

  77. Offtopic sikit because this is getting boring;

    The new Super Hornet Block III clocks in at ~$65m aka Rm260m

    Imagine what could be…

    @joe
    Re: shipping helis on open deck

    The sea is crazy corrosive. Even after “marinisation”, the British admit that their Apaches’ service life is significantly cut, simply because they operate at sea, and that even when they operate from HMS Ocean with a proper hangar and all

    Then imagine the difficulty of maintenance ops out in the open 24/7, and the effect that has on maintenance hours per flight hour and operational availability.

    Operating aircraft solely on deck on a small ship is simply not feasible and carries heavy penalties in all areas.

  78. @Azlan
    “Address the current situation and circumstances”
    The current situation? The current situation is they have no urgent need for more choppers because their new ships are still being made / under commissioning. You don’t place an order for military hardware and expect to get them tomorrow. You have to PLAN and PREDICT the future situations using current circumstances.

    And what is the current circumstances? The current circumstances is all 3 Forces are in budgetary tight circumstances. They don’t even have sufficient money to maintain what they already have, and as I mentioned TLDM is currently saddled with Billions of RM expenditure for the LCS, LMS & sub SLEP programs, and likely more Billions will be spent in future for 2nd batch SGPV, MRSS, and others towards their 15 to 5 goal.

    In view of the current and future circumstances, and the current lack of finances situation, do you really think they can push thru more budget to get new choppers? I am not so optimistic, and if that is not called being a “realist” then I don’t know what is. Please do educate me then.

    Already the new ships are likely going to be without AA missiles, I don’t hope that it will not have choppers available too, just so that I can say “I told you so”. No, I don’t derive any pleasure if that ever were to happen becoz we dealing with national security here.

    If TLDM can squeeze the budget out for choppers on board their new ships, then much kudos to TLDM and my suggestion can be thrown into the deep blue sea.

    BTW, yes eventually the Seakings need to be housed. US carriers typically rotates their airwing between decks to aggregate their exposure to the elements and for ease of operations. If our ship’s mission is short patrols at littoral waters, the Nuri airframe on deck might survive the short exposure during on mission. For longer distances & duration, the Sea Lynxes are more suited. We just don’t have sufficient numbers of Sea Lynxes for the ships that we have planned. Simple as that.

  79. @Azlan
    As for the fighter conundrum, there are few options available:

    Option1
    Do Fulcrum SLEP in Eastern EU states with such abilities. Keep using the planes (and we need them to alleviate the needs on Hornet & MKM fleet). Minimal dealing with Russia.

    Option2
    Sell off the Fulcrums, perhaps to India in barter for Su-30 spares. Get as many Kuwaiti Hornets as possible. Do limited refurb to adapt them for our use. Minimal to zero dealing with Russia.

    Option3
    Do Fulcrum SLEP at Russia. Maximum dealing with Russia.

    Option4
    Trade in Fulcrums for some MKMs. Maximum dealing with Russia.

    Option5
    Do nothing and bury head under the sand. Let the Fulcrums rot and let the next government take care of this problem. No money spent and no dealing with Russia. No political repercussions and no lasting stigma.

    Option 3 & 4 are the most unpalatable. imho. The likely scenario is Option5 though.

  80. joe,

    Well if you still insist that the Nuris are a good solution fit the RMN, despite having been told why they are arent, then who am I to jeep pointing out otherwise? I can only say what I know. I’m in no position to “educate” you or anyone else. Having enough problems “educating” myself as it is.

    BTW, the only place where we could possibly upgrade the Fulcrums with Russian approval is Belarus. Anywhere else and certification and customer support from the OEM will be an issue as the Russians won’t approve. We are not other countries; we will never want to be in a position where we upgrade the Fukcrums with minimal or no Russian support. As for your other options; they have been discussed here intensively..

    Chua

    Yes it is getting boring and tedious.

  81. Looking at the economic scenario, I believe defence issues and Govt affairs in general will be down for the next 2 years at least with the perception of limbo if not outright cancellations. Only in the “second half” will we see an uptick in activity.

    So take a chill pill, relax, dig in for the long haul.

  82. If these ar the decision makers in padang tembak…i think atm will go no where…there always pros n cons in everything we decide…even our lives…so take the best option..
    Sell off the migs
    Sell of the mkm even if tts the best next to the f15 in phases….induct yak130 phase by phase until we bought 50+ of these birds
    Sell off the minachis n hawk in phases
    Now we left with hornets n yak130…easily handle by the grnd crew n logistician.
    Yes yak130 is not everything…just ask yourself what is…?
    Money not enough in the coffer…war is brewing in SCS dont know when it will burst into flame….the point is BE PREPARED..

  83. Off topic

    A statement in Flight International 2-8 April 2019

    ” Although Malaysia has significant offshore economic and security interests, its maritime surveillance capability is limited to
    three Beechcraft King Airs, of which only one is operational ”

    Our priorities is still haywire…

  84. what war? China will be getting their ECRL pie and we get buyers for our palm oil. At least till the ECRL is completed in 7 to 8 years time, there will be no war nor even a skirmish with the Chinese at least on our part.

    Off topic, now the relationship with the Red Dragon almost normalised, may be should consider adding the J10 to the LCA race, as it is only about USD5 mil to USD10 mil more expensive (per plane) than the M346, JF17, the F50 or even the YAK 130. But yes it is not what we put out for RFI

  85. @…
    “Now US Navy SH price is quoted. Might as well qoute Russian Domestic and friendly countries Su-30SM price of USD19.3 million. No way both prices are applicable to malaysia.”

    I’m sorry, I didn’t realise this was a strict No Fun Zone. In future I will limit any commentary to serious proposal of Malaysia-relevant defence issues.

    Which, by the way, is going to boil down to “NOTHING’S GOING TO HAPPEN THE WAY YOU THINK BECAUSE EVERY MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT IS MORE INTERESTED IN POLITICAL AND CRONY BENEFITS RATHER THAN PURELY EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE DEFENCE SPENDING” in conclusion for any topic.

  86. @ chua

    Sorry if im a bit too serious. A decade of mismanaging the air force fleet is not funny thing for me. 10 wasted years dreaming of MRCA while mission capability like MPA decayed.

    Reply
    Its not a decade, more like three decades already

  87. What happened to the lease offer by SAAB for TUDM? 16 Gripens C/D with 2 MPA?

    Reply
    Not sure about that

  88. @ melayu ketinggalan

    Saab has renewed its offer for 12 gripen C/D, touting a ‘one platform’ approach for both LCA and MRCA requirements.

    IMO this is not what we need, as we cannot rely only on a small fighter to fly long distances over the sea.

    One platform for LCA/MRCA will also cause a need for a different dedicated platform for LIFT. Look at thailand, having to use both T-50 and Gripen while still keeping the F-5, F-16 and alphajet. A rojak we want to do without.

    Korea is using FA-50 as LCA (F-5E replacement) just fine, and legacy Hornets are arguably better suited for MRCA maritime missions with 2x the number of engines the gripen has. A reminder of how useful 2 engines are was publicly shown at LIMA 2019 with the FOD damage during takeoff.

  89. “Look at thailand, having to use both T-50 and Gripen while still keeping the F-5, F-16 and alphajet. A rojak we want to do without.”

    It’s not as bad as it looks. The Alphajet and F-5 are simple aircraft with a small logistical footprint, and are in wide service with other countries so support is available.

    A LIFT is needed and if not the T-50, they would be operating another separate type.

    The Gripen is cheaper than the F-16. But another factor in the Thais going for it was the military government being in control of the decision and the suspension of military exchanges by the US following the 2006 coup, that was still ongoing when they ordered the Gripen in 2007. Otherwise the F-16 would have stood a better chance.

    Even so, the Gripen buy included Erieye so at the end of the day, the RTAF came out ahead.

  90. … says:
    April 9, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Saab has renewed its offer for 12 gripen C/D, touting a ‘one platform’ approach for both LCA and MRCA requirements.

    IMO this is not what we need, as we cannot rely only on a small fighter to fly long distances over the sea.

    —————————————————————————————-

    Is it fair to say that the 12 Gripens would be useful for our pilots to accumulate more flying hours since the Fulcrums are grounded so what are the Kuantan AFB pilots doing at work?

    Secondly, tis true Gripens have limited flying range however would not it be a good idea for the 12 planes to be based permanently in Labuan so they can patrol the SCS.

    Let the Flankers do the dirty work flying across the sea and the Tebuan to patrol the Peninsular.

    What about that? Good idea? No?

    Want to hear your thoughts. Btw, why Saab offer 12 now instead of the previous 16 Gripens?

  91. @ Melayu Ketinggalan

    My thoughts?

    For your 1st point, most of the fulcrum pilots have gone to MKM and instructor duties. For pilots to accumulate more flying hours FA-50 would be the best as it has 2 seats, enabling 2 pilots to log hours on just 1 aircraft when needed. Another advantage of TA/FA-50 is that the pilot would be exposed to just 1 type of aircaft after basic flying training with the PC-7, it is just the golden eagle from LIFT all the way to the first few years of their operational tour as a fighter pilot. No need for flying conversion training between LIFT and LCA.

    Your 2nd point is valid. But so does FA-50, with its supersonic speed capability. But you have not considered what is to be done with the hawks and MB339s, and how unsuitable the gripen is for LIFT tasks. Also as you said, we still have MKMs and Hornets, so do we really need the extra capability that the Gripen has over the FA-50?

    http://www.defenseworld.net/news/20375/South_Korea_Offers_Botswana_FA_50_Fighter_Jet_As_Cheaper_Alternative_To_Sweden_s_Gripen#.XK7I7PkzaUk

    I am not keen for non-supersonic planes for LCA/LIFT as it would not be suitable for QRA duties that we should have 24/7. Using MRCA/MKM/Hornets for QRA would’t be cost effective, but if we have non-supersonic LCA, it would be difficult to intercept unidentified planes due to small speed differences.

  92. Hungary have fail once again to dispose of their 19 MiG 29 plus spares including 20 Turbofan @ only US$10 Million.
    They have been trying to auction off their Mig since 2017.
    I wonder how long the Russian trade offer will stand before it’s withdrawn.
    I hope TUDM & our government will not procrastinate further.

  93. @ steelshot

    That is what i have also stressed.

    Nobody will be generous enough to exchange almost USD200 million worth of 3-4 Su-30MKM for MiG-29s that is currently worth almost nothing. And that offer has been good for years and even reconfirmed during LIMA 2019.

  94. Update on Canadian USD68 million used Hornet buy.

    In total 25 airframes will be delivered, of which eighteen
    will be upgraded and flown, the rest used as spares. The fielding schedule for the
    eighteen aircraft is: 2018-2019 (2), 2019-2020 (2), 2020-2021
    (8), 2021-2022 (6).

  95. If Malaysia cannot afford to buy a new squadron of fighters,might as well do refurbishment and upgrade to the standard of Mig 35.

    Reply
    Its need to be repeated that the ship had sailed away a long time ago

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