Out In The Open

KRI Banjarmasin. Boustead is offering a bigger variant of this ship for the MRSS requirement.

SHAH ALAM: Out in the open. The parliament started its second session after the May 9 general elections on Monday (Oct. 15) with the 2019 budget expected to be table this November 2. The government is also expected to table the mid-term review of the RMK11 during the same session. So far no one has said in detail what the budget will be though both the PM and Finance Minister had said it will be a painful one.

Defence Ministry I have been told will be gutted so much that even the grown men there will crying buckets of tears. What that’s really means is beyond me at the moment, so I guess we will have to wait until the budget is announced.

Three MRSS designs on display at the RMN booth at DSA 2018

Anyhow, the previous government had said that the next procurement project for the RMN will be the long sought after Multi Role Support Ship (MRSS) one of the five type of ships identified under the service’s 15 to 5 transformation plan. With work on LMS and LCS underway, the MRSS project will be the third one to be funded though that has been put in choppy waters following the May 9 general elections.

A stern view of all three designs.

The industry remains hopeful that the project will be continued with the shipyard and design are now expected to be chosen through an open competition. Just a few months ago, everyone thought BNS will get the job but the blowing winds is boosting the sails of its competitors.

PT PAL booth at LIMA 17

I was told that five other shipyards, two in Sabah and Sarawak with the other three in the peninsula – are prepping in case the MRSS gets funded and an open tender will be called. This remains a guessing game however as the industry has yet to be told how much will be allocated for next year, whether it will include the MRSS and the rest of RMK11. In the past the industry will get hints of what to expect but its no longer the case this time around due to the change in government.

MRSS concept based on the Makassar class by regular reader…

Personally, I am guessing that the MRSS will not be funded during the next three years and it will only be done in the next RMK.

A graphic of a China made LPD displayed at LIMA 2015. The ship was proposed for the RMN MRSS requirement.

As for the design of the MRSS itself, I have been told that all options remained in contention. Yes this means the China, Turkish, French and Indonesian ones are still in the running.

–Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

40 Comments

  1. due to budget constraint,i am believe MRSS will not be funded…and i am ok with that.better not overstretch the budget. better focus all attention to LCS and LMS for time being.

    although no procurement , i hope the upgrade of other asset such as c-130,nuri and hawk can be done.

  2. Will be lucky if the government even continued with the LCS past the 3 announced as had been quiet lately

  3. Just relax. A common ploy is to get everyone ready for the worst case scenario, and hey presto, everyone is happy when the budget is not as bad as expected. Anyway this is my positive spin. I will be very sad if MPA is cancelled as that is a real priority.

  4. The defence budget is so underfunded as it is right now I really cannot imagine if it is to be gutted further. What it means is that we need to forget all those gold-plated projects, and get back to basics. IMO that means:

    – Off the shelf as it is LPD/SSV ships. No need for special lengthened ships.
    – Off the shelf low cost LMS (similar to my proposal for LMS B)
    – Forget about expensive NGPV Kedah batch 2 and leave patrolling to MMEA with cheaper OPVs
    – Basic low operating and aquisition cost common LCA/LIFT
    – Basic MPA without expensive ASW capability
    – Scrapping Nuri upgrade program
    – reducing the scope of the Gempita variants. moving things like the vingtaqs system to a cheaper, smaller, more nimbler platform like the J-LTV

  5. People seems confuse how bad the economy is.
    PH always talks about debt, recently Mat Sabu said the real debt is over RM 1 Trillion.

    Lets wait for defence budget to be revealed. IMO, defence budget always the first to be cut.

  6. no new mpa is fine… convert all CN-235 to MPA… C-130 & A400m are the only transport fleet TUDM should keep.

    no new big toy never mind but small and upgrade toy should remain if not that expensive… Mat Sabu just silent for a long period + his assistant just keep on comment none defence related issue.

  7. The Philippines has announced that they would be buying 8 Gripen C/D versions . They compared the Gripen with F16 n finds it cheaper compared to F16

  8. We have no money for our defense but seemed to have plenty for a 3rd national car project. Bravo!

    Perhaps then, our ATM has no choice but to use these national cars as VBIED in the defense of our country.

  9. @romeo
    With SST pulling only 1/3rd of income compared to GST, and if we’re unable to restructure debt from 1MDB and other Chinese projects, yeah Govt will be in short-term squeeze

    Also need to think of new income sources AND develop them within a very short period

    1st term will be all fire-fighting, 2nd term (if there is one) only we may see turnaround IF the Govt’s fiscal management is good

    @Lee
    Lol Gripen C/D… If there’s a fighter more low-spec than anything else in the world, but not as bad as FA-50, that would be it I think.

    @joe
    Try to understand that Defence is a net-loss expense.

  10. @Lee Yoke Meng
    Price depends on electronic equipments and weapon systems installed. Some 5th gen systems are installed on F16V.

    10 years ago we can bully indonesian on their military assets but now they surely can bully back with interest.
    Hope it wont happen with philiphine.

    @joe
    Somebody said the engine still sound good and still plenty of fighters.
    The economy is bad but dont make a foolish joke lah on military issue

  11. There is no announcement of philippines buying the gripen c/d. IMO not a prudent buy as it is just a bit better than the FA-50 but at twice the cost. Read up on the reasons why Slovak choose F-16V for its MiG-29 replacement, even when its neighbour Czech and Hungary uses the Gripen C/D.

  12. @Chua
    I always seen the country’s defense and defense-related areas as akin to insurance. Quite similarly, we spend money on it with no real intention to use it but they do come in handy when the need arises, no?

    @Romeo
    The engine may still sound good but without the overhaul and replacement of worn parts, its just a matter of when not if, the engines goes kaput in mid-air. Having plenty of fighters with such conditions just means more of them going kaput in the skies. Planes are replaceable but pilot lives are not. And risking them just to satisfy the unnecessary wonderlust of a Dear Leader is pure bonkers.

  13. “Read up on the reasons why Slovak choose F-16V for its MiG-29 replacement, even when its neighbour Czech and Hungary uses the Gripen C/D.”

    The Slovakian’s choice likely has very little to do with the F16’s price & performance but more to do with pressures from (and Slovakia’s own slavish desire to please) NATO a.k.a US. Slovakia, like most East European states, is for all practical purpose, a puppet state and a front line staging/sacrificial zone of the belligerent US empire in its delusional, reckless quest for a confrontation with Russia.

    Btw, I thought MoD alreaday announced the cancellation of the MPA project a while back? Which company proposed that inverted bow MRSS (the middle one) depicted above?

  14. @ kerberos

    Do you realise the current POTUS is on the same page as Putin and is running down NATO? So this had nothing to do with US wanting to confront Russia.

    Yes the MPA program to buy a new aircraft has been cancelled. That does not rule out converting existing aircrafts, upgrading the B200Ts or receiving grants of used MPA aircraft from friendly countries

  15. Romeo – ”PH always talks about debt”

    Because that’s one of the reasons it got elected to power and something the electorate wants to hear about.

    Micheal – ”convert all CN-235 to MPA”

    Great on paper but that will mean that when there’s a need to fly small loads or just a pallet or 2; a C-130 or A400M will have to be used.

    Lee – ”They compared the Gripen with F16 n finds it cheaper compared to F16”

    That really is no surprise. From the very start Saab intended for Gripen to be cheaper to buy and operate compared to other types [one of its main selling points]. Like other air arms have found; the PAF will eventually have the need for an AEW platform in the knowledge that its Gripens or any other type for that matter needs a AEW to get the best or most of its capabilities. There is also a serious requirement for primary search radars. At the moment most of the national coverage is from civilian ATC radars.

    The choice of what fighter to buy is governed not just by how much is allocated for the programme but also its existing support infrastructure, including manpower. The PAF looked at F-16s in the past but just didn’t have the budget to acquire and support it. It also looked at former Israeli Kfirs and was offered Fulcrums.
    Whether Gripen gets ordered however remains to be seen; a lot of politics at play and like us they have a cumbersome procurement system. A lot will also depend on who can offer a better support and offset deal : KAI or Saab and which government applies more pressure/lobbying. On paper South Korea has better pull than Sweden; given the level of South Korean investment in the country. KAI no doubt will try to steer the PAF away from the F-16 and offer a F/50 fully equipped for a variety of roles.

    What is certain is that they desire a dedicated MRCA or a type that has full combat capabilities [they have publicly stated this] rather than a light attack/trainer platform. The FA-50 deal attracted a lot of flak, even before the current government came to power. Detractors said that it’s great for low intensity scenarios but not very useful as an air to air platform; lacking the needed sensors, for stuff like protecting national airspace. It’s backers said that it was better than nothing and would do until there was cash for something better. KAI offered them good trade terms and the FA-50 was all their budget could afford during that period. Thus the FA-50 was ordered.

  16. kerberos – ”The Slovakian’s choice likely has very little to do with the F16’s price & performance”

    Like other former Warsaw Pact countries that are now part of NATO or will soon be part of NATO;; Slovakia needs a platform that has interoperability with NATO stuff. Buying something not NATO compatible will have consequences. One reason the Luftwaffe bined its Fulcrums was not only because they were redundant but also because of compatibility issues. The Luftwaffe of course was in a position to do what it did, unlike other countries who were forced to continue flying their Russian stuff for lack of finances.

    Of course there are also politics at play. As a ‘small’, soon to be NATO member and one that has limited finances; Slovakia needs to ingratiate itself with Uncle Sam and from an operational perspective; buying F-16s comes with lots of benefits.

    …. – ”upgrading the B200Ts ”

    Upgrading them will not do way with the fact that they have space, range and endurance limitations; all reasons why a larger air frame is needed. The ditching of the fuel tanks for the swing tip mounted ones was due to weight issues. As it stands the AMASCOS fit provides a decent capability but that is not the main issue. On top of having superior range, space [for sensors and payloads] and endurance; a larger platform [there is a general agreement that something the size of a CN-235/295 or an ATR suits our requirements] will also enable a 2nd set of crew to be carried and will have some space in the event we decide at a later date to add stuff on. The first time [the only time in fact] I looked into a B200T I was shocked at how narrow and cramped it is. To think that crews not only have to spend hours on patrol but also
    have to fly across the South China Sea to get to East Malaysia and to deploy back to the Peninsular.

  17. @joe
    I agree, and I have the same view (besides being a military equipment nerd!) =D

    But fact is that the budget needs balancing. We are now experiencing, (and going to experience further for at least the next 5 or more years until a turnaround plan is implemented and given time to take effect), an economic problem of a magnitude that hasn’t been seen since 97 – the previous Govt invested heavily in nonperforming projects and infrastructure, and the penalty will be paid for years and years to come.

    Now one might say this is nothing new. Overcharging is far from new in Msia. And you’re right. But unlike previous administrations which also took their cut, in the last few years debt has skyrocketed. Why does that make things different?

    Imagine you earn Rm5k, and blow half of it on hookers and drugs. Fine. But what has happened now is you not only blew your salary, you BORROWED money and blew that too! Not just the usual say Rm1k which you could previously easily recover after a month or so of cutting budget. But Rm2k! Rm3k! So now the problems don’t automatically end – they drag on to the future as you have to repay the loan AND the interest. And they drag on longer than ever before.

    And the only way to fix that is to cut spending more than ever before. But you can’t cut your food spending or the minyak for the car that you need to go to work and keep earning that Rm5k. You have to cut something that doesn’t contribute to you earning that salary.

    Defence.

    I mean. I like new shooty stuff as much as anyone else. But reality is reality.

  18. @ azlan

    “Great on paper but that will mean that when there’s a need to fly small loads or just a pallet or 2; a C-130 or A400M will have to be used.”

    Even with the CN-235, we regularly fly small loads and mercy flights with just 1 patient with A400M and C-130 as they are using those flights as part of their pilots currency training. That in itself shows that the A400M and C-130 is underutilized. As i proposed previously, multi engine flight training, MEDIVAC, small pallets, communications flight can be fulfilled with something like the PC-24 if all the CN-235 converted to MPA.

    “KAI no doubt will try to steer the PAF away from the F-16 and offer a F/50 fully equipped for a variety of roles.”

    I have been following closely the PAF modernisation plans for the past few years. The new PAF Horizon 2 buy is for their MRF capability and this is for fighters that is more capable than their current FA-50. In the same Horizon 2 plan there is also a need for additional Surface Attack Aircraft (SAA) / Lead Fighter Trainer Aircraft (LFTA). The FA-50 buy in Horizon 1 fulfilled the initial SAA/LFTA requirements, not for the MRF fighter requirement. As they already have FA-50 as fulfilling their SAA/FLTA requirement, something like gripen c/d gives only a minor increase in capability at twice the cost compared to the FA-50. A good match for their requirement would be used F-16 upgraded to F-16V standards but duterte is allergic to used weapons unless that is given for free like the jordanian hueycobras.

  19. @ azlan

    “Great on paper but that will mean that when there’s a need to fly small loads or just a pallet or 2; a C-130 or A400M will have to be used.”

    Even with the CN-235, we regularly fly small loads and mercy flights with just 1 patient with A400M and C-130 as they are using those flights as part of their pilots currency training. That in itself shows that the A400M and C-130 is underutilized. As i proposed previously, multi engine flight training, MEDIVAC, small pallets, communications flight can be fulfilled with something like the PC-24 if all the CN-235 converted to MPA.

    “KAI no doubt will try to steer the PAF away from the F-16 and offer a F/50 fully equipped for a variety of roles.”

    I have been following closely the PAF modernisation plans for the past few years. The new PAF Horizon 2 buy is for their MRF capability and this is for fighters that is more capable than their current FA-50. In the same Horizon 2 plan there is also a need for additional Surface Attack Aircraft (SAA) / Lead Fighter Trainer Aircraft (LFTA). The FA-50 buy in Horizon 1 fulfilled the initial SAA/LFTA requirements, not for the MRF fighter requirement. As they already have FA-50 as fulfilling their SAA/FLTA requirement, something like gripen c/d gives only a minor increase in capability at twice the cost compared to the FA-50. A good match for their requirement would be used F-16 upgraded to F-16V standards but duterte is allergic to used weapons unless that is given for free like the jordanian hueycobras.

  20. @ azlan

    “Upgrading them will not do way with the fact that they have space, range and endurance limitations; all reasons why a larger air frame is needed. The ditching of the fuel tanks for the swing tip mounted ones was due to weight issues.”

    Of course there is a lot of limitations but the biggest limitation now is money. You are wrong there is no internal fuel tanks ditched for the wing tip tanks. I the 1990s that is the only way to add additional fuel capacity to the king airs. Those wing tip tanks added 105 gallons of fuel to their standard capacity, but added drag.

    Now there is plenty of upgrades for the king air airframe. There are those to increase the maximum takeoff weight, engine mods to increase the maximum turbine temperature (important for hot temperatures like malaysia), weight reduction by swapping heavy analog instruments with digital ones (like garmin g1000 nxi) , better air conditioning systems, less draggy saddle fuel tanks and wingtip winglets to reduce aerodynamic drag.

    All these mods costs peanuts compared to new airplanes and would increase the safety of crews flying the B200T MPA.

  21. …. – ”Even with the CN-235, we regularly fly small loads and mercy flights with just 1 patient with A400M and C-130 as they are using those flights as part of their pilots currency training.”

    Flying a single patient or a single pallet on a CN-235 is not only cheaper but a better use of resources compared to using a C-130 or a A400M – exactly the reason the USAF looked a twin engine light transport, not only to create cost savings but to place less pressure on their larger transports. That was the plan until things went ratshit.

    In our context of course there will be instances where a C-130 or a A400M will fly with its cargo space underutilised but at least we’ll still have a fleet of light transports; which in many cases will be the more practical/cheaper platform and a better use of resources. Another role the CN-235 performs is for basic jump training [a role the Caribou performed]. .

    … – ”The FA-50 buy in Horizon 1 fulfilled the initial SAA/LFTA requirements, not for the MRF fighter requirement.”

    The selling point of the FA-50 was that in addition to a training platform and for counter insurgency work; it could still be used to police the nation’s airspace against possible intrusions [even without a radar]. That was its selling point : an affordable platform that could perform both a training and combat role. The idea was to later progress to a full fledged fighter when the time was right.
    Critics pointed out that the PAF should first have gone for a full fledged fighter but then there wasn’t enough funds. I’ve seen the FA-50s flying around Pampanga. Pretty impressive to look at but then I suppose the same applies to all fighters [to me at least].

    … – ”something like gripen c/d gives only a minor increase in capability at twice the cost compared to the FA-50.”

    ”Something like gripen c/d” would provide them with a full fledged fighter and one that has already [as opposed to planned] been integrated with a whole range of sensors and ordnance.

    … – ”A good match for their requirement would be used F-16 upgraded to F-16V standards”

    Yes no doubt but first they have to have the budget for procurement; then they have to allocate funds to support those fighters. They would also have to consider which type is cheaper to operate per hour, which requires more post flight maintenance and which has cheaper spares – all important factors to consider.

    I wouldn’t put too much into what Duterte says. Sure he bashes the U.S. but still accepts military aid and the country is still a U.S. non NATO treaty ally. Hard to predict, we can’t rule out the possibility of them buying American in the future. One thing’s for sure, KAI will offer them a fully equipped FA-50 and the South Korean government will apply all its influence to push for the deal.
    Who knows? If the Filipino government is really serious, the Yanks could offer them ”cheap” air frames with the Philippines only paying for upgrades. Ultimately whether they buy Gripen or F-16s is secondary. It’s what comes after and the stuff they acquire to operate with whatever fighter they buy that will make the difference.

  22. …. – ”Even with the CN-235, we regularly fly small loads and mercy flights with just 1 patient with A400M and C-130 as they are using those flights as part of their pilots currency training.”

    Flying a single patient or a single pallet on a CN-235 is not only cheaper but a better use of resources compared to using a C-130 or a A400M – exactly the reason the USAF looked a twin engine light transport, not only to create cost savings but to place less pressure on their larger transports. That was the plan until things went ratshit.

    In our context of course there will be instances where a C-130 or a A400M will fly with its cargo space underutilised but at least we’ll still have a fleet of light transports; which in many cases will be the more practical/cheaper platform and a better use of resources. Another role the CN-235 performs is for basic jump training [a role the Caribou performed]. .

    … – ”The FA-50 buy in Horizon 1 fulfilled the initial SAA/LFTA requirements, not for the MRF fighter requirement.”

    The selling point of the FA-50 was that in addition to a training platform and for counter insurgency work; it could still be used to police the nation’s airspace against possible intrusions [even without a radar]. That was its selling point : an affordable platform that could perform both a training and combat role. The idea was to later progress to a full fledged fighter when the time was right.
    Critics pointed out that the PAF should first have gone for a full fledged fighter but then there wasn’t enough funds. I’ve seen the FA-50s flying around Pampanga. Pretty impressive to look at but then I suppose the same applies to all fighters [to me at least].

    … – ”something like gripen c/d gives only a minor increase in capability at twice the cost compared to the FA-50.”

    ”Something like gripen c/d” would provide them with a full fledged fighter [which is what the requirement calls for] and one that has already [as opposed to planned] been integrated with a whole range of sensors and ordnance.

    … – ”A good match for their requirement would be used F-16 upgraded to F-16V standards”

    Yes no doubt but first they have to have the budget for procurement; then they have to allocate funds to support those fighters. They would also have to consider which type is cheaper to operate per hour, which requires more post flight maintenance and which has cheaper spares – all important factors to consider.

    I wouldn’t put too much into what Duterte says. Sure he bashes the U.S. but still accepts military aid and the country is still a U.S. non NATO treaty ally. Hard to predict, we can’t rule out the possibility of them buying American in the future. One thing’s for sure, KAI will offer them a fully equipped FA-50 and the South Korean government will apply all its influence to push for the deal.
    Who knows? If the Filipino government is really serious, the Yanks could offer them ”cheap” air frames with the Philippines only paying for upgrades. Ultimately whether they buy Gripen or F-16s is secondary. It’s what comes after and the stuff they acquire to operate with whatever fighter they buy that will make the difference.

  23. P.S.

    ….,

    To me having a light transport fleet makes sense as not all roles call for a C-130 or A400M [both more expensive to fly and more maintenance intensive]. Of course one can make the argument we should cut down on the number of types and if a C-130 or a A400M has to fly a sortie that would better be performed by a
    CN-235; so be it. We can’t have our cake and eat it.

    The same argument can be applied to fighters. We see the need for a mix high/low end mix as not all roles call for a MKM or Hornet. Some roles will be better performed [and cheaper to do so] by a Hawk [which we on paper have a requirement to eventually replace with another light attack/trainer]. However someone else can point out that operating a single type of Tier 1 fighter and doing away with a secondary type [whether a Hawk or FA/50] places less stress on logistics and training. They will also point out that despite being more expensive to fly; a MKM or Hornet can do all a Hawk can but a Hawk can’t do all a MKM or Hornet can. The same argument [to a large extent] can be made to C-130s/A400Ms/CN-235s/LCSs/LMSs.

    We’ll have LCSs and LMSs. The idea being that certain scenarios not only don’t call for a more expensive to deploy LCS but can be better performed [especially in a littoral environment] by a LMS. As such using a LMS for certain roles will be a better use of resources and create costs savings. The problem is, if that LMS in a littoral environment unexpectedly encounters a threat only a LCS is equipped to handle, then to understate things; there would be a problem. Someone else will point out that such a scenario is unlikely to happen and that even if does happen; it’s unfortunate as we can’t plan for very scenario and we can’t afford to have as much LCSs as we’d like.

  24. @ azlan

    PAF Horizon 2
    For PAF additional FA-50 (12 units) will be sought in Horizon 2 but under the SAA/LFTA requirements, not MRF. So there will be additional FA-50s but under different budget from MRF budget, and the MRFs will surely not be FA-50s
    https://rhk111smilitaryandarmspage.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/planned_purchases2.jpg

    CN-235s
    I am basing my responses on the CN-235 with what RMAF wants in CAP55
    http://www.malaysiandefence.com/future-plan-rmaf-cap-55/

    http://www.malaysiandefence.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Cap55T.jpg

    If the transports are pared down to only 2 types, the logical conclusion is 1x A400M squadron and 2x C-130H (and whatever replacing this in the future) squadrons.

    PC-24s can be bought to replace the Cessna 402B mission, which is now fulfilled by leased King Air 350s. It has a cargo door to carry small pallets, pug and play MEDIVAC systems and quick change seatings. The advantage is it can land wherever the C-130/CN-235 can, even rough unprepared airstrips.

    BTW, Jordan which has quite brand new C-295s, has recently put theirs for sale as they are consolidating their transports to C-130Hs

  25. @Chua
    Well, I will leave the political bit out of this but imagine being stripped down to the bone and now digging to get the marrow. That is what I fear from those new powers that be.

  26. .. – ”the MRFs will surely not be FA-50s”

    Never say never. Nothing is for certain, especially with Philippines defence procurement [just like ours]. Shifting priorities, a change in political leadership, funding, etc, might result in the MRCA or fighter requirement being postponed; only additional FA-50s being bought and used as fighters. The plan to get both fighters and follow on FA/50s [not to mention SSKs] is an ambitious undertaking given the available finances and the fact that the AFP is still bogged down in internal security work against several non state actors. Not to mention the fact that that are many, many areas that are badly in need of funding.

  27. @…
    You shared an interesting picture of an AEW C-295. My take is since we are looking for both AEW & MPA planes, we should consider the C-295 as the singular platform that will be the basis for both functions, perhaps 1 AEW & 4/5 MPAs. This will simplify maintenance, spares, operations & training. We can even look to trade-in our CN-235s since they are from the same maker(somewhat).

    Reply
    The AEW version of the C295 is fitted with an Israeli radar. No one has tried using other type of radar ie the Saab Erieye and I am not sure whether Saab is interested in offering it on an Airbus platform.

  28. @joe
    I appreciate that very much, thanks. I will also try to leave the politics out, and give a clinical assessment.

    You’re unfortunately right. The cuts may well be deeper than before. Because the financial situation is worse than before.

  29. @ joe

    Ideally yes the MPA and AEW&C should be based on identical platforms. In our case, 3 platforms stand out, the Bombardier Global 6000, Saab 2000 (used aircrafts only) and Embraer EMB-145; all using the ERIEYE radar for the AEW&C version. C-295 AEW uses israeli radar, which is a no no for us.

    Waiting to see what happens to the Nuri upgrade, as the avionics supplier has been bought over by israeli company (Universal Avionics Systems Corporation, bought over by Elbit Systems)

    https://www.uasc.com/home/hub/enews/enews/2017/07/26/the-sikorsky-s-61a-4-nuri

    https://www.uasc.com/home/library/news/2018/04/11/elbit-systems-ltd.-completes-acquisition-of-universal-avionics

    BTW the same avionics company has just completed upgrades for Sultan Of Johore’s helicopter

    http://www.uasc.com/images/default-source/library/press-releases/ua_s-76_helitech18_pr__hires.jpg
    Callsign 9M-SJI

    https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4469/26206147199_ddbd9c172b_b.jpg

    https://www.uasc.com/home/library/news/2018/10/16/heli-one-completes-universal-avionics-flight-deck-upgrade-for-s-76-vvip

  30. joe – ”That is what I fear from those new powers that be.”

    Hard to say, to date nobody in the government, including people who previously had said some silly things on defence; have said anything to indicate that defence will be neglected in the long run. One thing’s for sure, the PM will have the final say and under him in the past; when we didn’t spend, we didn’t spend but when we did spend; almost everything we bought was high end or high spec [the fact that some of that stuff wasn’t suitable for use is another story]. It will be safe at assume that the local agents for various Chinese companies trying to sell us stuff, are worried.

    … – ”I am basing my responses on the CN-235 with what RMAF wants in CAP55”

    If the RMAF really feels that it can do away with twin engine transports and rely solely on C-130s and A400Ms then I suppose the most logical solution would be to convert the 6 CN-235s into dedicated MPAs and also the remaining VIP configured one owned by the PM’s Department. We have a CN-235 simulator and the type has ample endurance, range and space for our requirements. Then again, maybe the RMAF is only willing to do away with using its CN-235s as transports once follow on A400Ms are ordered.

    …. – ”PC-24s can be bought to replace the Cessna 402B mission”

    I have a feeling that the RMAF has no interest in going down this route, preferring to stick to a leasing arrangement indefinitely.

    …. – ”the avionics supplier has been bought over by israeli company (Universal Avionics Systems Corporation, bought over by Elbit Systems).

    If the company is still based and registered in the U.S [or any other country apart from Israel] and parts are not produced in Israel; it might not be an issue.

  31. @ azlan

    ” we didn’t spend but when we did spend; almost everything we bought was high end or high spec [the fact that some of that stuff wasn’t suitable for use is another story] ”

    Well TBH things like the Condor, SIBMAS, Mahawangsa MPCSS, Skyhawk etc are hardly high end or high spec equipments.

  32. @Chua
    The financial situation depends on one’s interpretation, namely those of Top D*g himself. The World Bank and IMF thinks otherwise and I’m inclined to side with their point of view. To each his own.

    @…
    Amongst the list, Sibmas was certainly overspecced with its 90mm gun (same case for our Scorpion too) and to add, the MKMs as well were sufficiently gold plated, the Pendekars too, and Skyhawks were an overpriced mess of worn airframes that were illsuited for the mission profiles it was bought for and we didn’t even get all the planes that we paid for. If we had gotten top specs for top dollar at least its something but more often than not, we overpaid and got underspecced equipment for much of his reign.

  33. @ joe

    I beg to differ

    The SIBMAS was bought as a fire support vehicle to replace the similarly armed (90mm gun) cadillac gage commandos. So what gold plating is there?

    MKMs gold plated? You cannot even buy a single gripen for the price of 1 MKM!!! Maintenance wise what do you expect? It is a big and massively capable MRCA of course comes with big operational cost.

    Pendekar? Probably because of the “offsets”

    Skyhawk? Expensive? The 88 skyhawks are given for free by USA. The original plan was to convert 54 single seaters and 14 into 2 seaters (total of 68) and the rest for spares (There was never a plan to have 88 operational skyhawks in the 1st place). Budgetary limitations (sounds familiar right?) reduced this to 34 single seaters and 6 into 2 seaters (total of 40) for a total cost of USD120 million. The upgrades are done by Grumman Corporation in New York, same factory as the F-14 Tomcats. Overpriced? Hardly. We paid for the upgrades of 40 aircraft, and that is what we got. Crashes are not the fault of the aircraft per se but because of the lack of resources given to maintain them (which is what is happening now to the MKMs)

  34. @joe
    WRT the debt, obviously it is “within the rules” per se. But speaking for myself, we accountants are all very clever at hiding figures in ostensibly legal ways.

    You also commented on the overpaid items previously purchased. That is exactly the same don’t you see? All accounting tricks to hide bribery and kickbacks under the guise of “admin”, “consultation”, “transfer of technology”, bla bla.

    So just as you criticise (rightfully) these “legal” shenanigans which have left the ATM underequipped, in the same way you should recognise the “legal” shenanigans that goes behind deliberately parking debt in off-balance sheet accounts and sinking money into massive loss-making projects.

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