SHAH ALAM: In this post, we will talk about the MPA requirements for the coast guard aka the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).
As the MMEA requirements called for a dedicated manned patroller capability for border patrol, fishery control, anti-smuggling and anti-piracy duties, the platform itself is called the Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA).
MMEA as you well aware already operate a number of non-dedicated MSAs including two Bombardier 415MP amphibians. The MP stands for multi-purpose hence both are not dedicated MSA.
From Bombardier release in 2008
A variant of the rugged Bombardier 415 amphibious aircraft, the only aircraft specifically designed for aerial firefighting, the two Bombardier 415MP will be modified with maritime surveillance capabilities to meet the specialised needs of the MMEA. As such, the two Bombardier 415MP aircraft will be equipped with a state-of-the-art surveillance suite that includes two side-looking airborne radars, one forward-looking infrared radar, an airborne maritime surveillance system and other avionics and communications equipment
Despite the superlatives, it is obvious to everyone that the two aircraft and the other five helicopters – three Dauphins and three AW139s – which are also tasked with maritime surveillance duties, are not enough to patrol the country maritime area of responsibility, which stretches from the Andaman to the Sulu seas. Yes, its longer from the refrain oftly repeated in the Malaysia Berjaya song.
Apart from the MMEA, the police also operate three Beechcraft Super King Air 350is fitted with ISR equipment. However, it is not known what kind of missions they are supposed to perform. These King Airs could easily perform the same missions as the MSA but it’s more likely the police would used them for specialised ISR missions instead of routine maritime surveillance duties.
It is for this reason, a new fleet of MSA is being sought. I have not learnt the numbers needed but based on the platforms being marketed we could guess the preferred capabilities. From conversations with industry sources, the platform will be a twin engine aircraft with an endurance of at least six hours. No cheap, single engine aircraft then, which is a pity.
It must be equipped, at minimum, with a radar, an electro optical device and a data link so the information it gathered could be sent real time to the MMEA command centre. The aircraft mentioned in the earlier posting are perfectly suitable for the MSA requirement though a cheaper platform is preferred for the role, I am told.
At LIMA 17, RUAG Malaysia hinted that it had clinched a deal to supply the Dorneir DO 228 NG for a maritime surveillance contract. However the company did not want to explain further about the contract nor the agency.
So far, I have not gotten any confirmation of any contract or LOI for the 228NG. That said the Malaysian partners of RUAG Malaysia has secured several deals in the past which were never confirmed publicly. So I guess we will have to wait further to see whether or not the 228NG has been selected for the MSA requirement.
The industry is also not perturbed by the supposed-RUAG deal, as they have lined up a number of aircraft for the MSA requirement. The aircraft are the Piaggio Aerospace MPA, Viking Air Twin Otter 400, Beechcraft Super King Air 350i and the Diamond DA42 MPP Guardian.
It is likely that all four are offered for an outright buy and also a leasing solution using either the company, owned, company operated (COCO) or the company owned, military operated (COMO) concept. The leasing solution as I mentioned previously was the plan for the MMEA when the agency was being conceptualised.
These planners realised the government cannot afford to pay for a fleet of aircraft when the agency also need a large number of ships and patrol boats to cover its AOR.
–Malaysian DefenceIf you like this post, buy me an espresso. Paypal Payment