SHAH ALAM: More ground support equipment for RMAF A400M air lifters are being sought in a routine tender exercise made public this month. The tenders for the support equipment are published via the government and Defence Ministry e-tender websites and newspaper advertisements.
Previously, Malaysian Defence had reported a tender for two aircraft refueling trucks for the A400Ms was issued in December. The latest tenders for the A400M ground support equipment signaled that RMAF will be actively using the air-lifters in its intended role, from troop transport to other duties.
However it is unrealistic to envisage that the A400Ms will soon start transporting heavy loads from vehicles to other equipment because the aircraft were designed to do so. It is likely that such operations will be a gradual process as they gained more experience with the aircraft. Things could change however if an emergency situation forced the RMAF’s hand.
RMAF A400M squadron– the 22 Squadron – is now operating from its hangar at the Subang airbase. The hangar for the A400Ms are enough to house the four A400Ms, two of which are already operational.
Among the items being sought in the latest tender exercise are one unit of self-propelled giraffe servicing platform; two units of servicing scaffolding platforms; four units each of 2000kg and 1500kg electronic forklifts; two high-capacity towing tractor and four units of self-propelled scissor-type servicing platforms.
The type of ground support equipment being sought are a reflection of the size of the A400M. The aircraft is considerably bigger than the C130, the mainstay of the RMAF transport fleet. It is likely that all of these equipment will be available when the other two A400M arrived home in April and November.
Meanwhile, its been confirmed that the one of the two RMAF A400Ms -most likely M54-01 – will be part of the static display at the Singapore Airshow 2016 starting from Feb 16. A Sukhoi Su-30MKM from the 11th Squadron will also take part in the show, one of several aircraft scheduled for the aerial display.
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