SHAH ALAM: This is the second installment of the Things We Are Not Getting for RMK11. If you did not read the first part go Here.
Again I am not saying that is the official list, far from it. However it is unlikely we will see the items below procured in the next five years or so. Lets hope I am wrong though…
5) Attack Helicopters
Attack helicopters have been in the Army’s procurement sights since the early 90s. Infact back in 1997 we signed on for six Denel Rooivalk attack helicopters. But the deal was scuttled less than a year later due to regional economic crisis.
Since then the AH requirement stayed in the wings even as the Army’s Air Wing, the PUTD, started sending pilots to France for hands-on training on the Airbus Helicopter Tiger. Following the Lahad Datu incursion, the AH requirement were dusted off and it was generally believed it was just a matter of time before the helicopters are procured.
Unfortunately, although it was announced in Parliament that the Army had requested funding for six AH in RMK11, no allocation was approved. Instead a light scout attack helicopter in the class of the Little Birds was approved.
Like many of the items listed, the AEW requirement has been in the books for sometime now. However it had failed to be listed or funded during successive RMKs. For RMK11, I was informed that the AEW programme had not been approved.
It was expected as I had reported industry sources before as saying that the AEW programme will be funded ahead of the MRCA. With the MRCA’s KIVed so did the AEW.
It was supposed to be the high-noon whether wheeled or tracked will prevail in the Army’s long standing requirement for a SPH battalion. In the end neither won as yet again the requirement remained unfunded.
The wheel SPH is of course the Nexter Caesar which is already in service with the Indonesian and Thai armies and the tracked SPH is the Samsung Techwin K9 Thunder.
Both have their merits of course, the wheeled Caesar is more mobile of the two. However, the Thunder is better suited to be part of the Army’s Armour brigade which is probably the reason for the SPH requirement in the first place. Personally I prefer the BAE Systems Archer SPH. I am not sure whether the system was offered for the Army’s requirement though.
8) more Cougars
Since entry into service, RMAF Airbus Helicopters H225M Cougars have seen sterling service from flood relief operations to special forces support. Although more Cougars were expected to be procured in RMK11, it was left of the RMAF wish list.
According to RMAF Jen Tan Sri Roslan Saad that due to the tight budget situation the request for more Cougars had been dropped from its RMK11 list (From Malaysian Defence RMAF 57th anniversary). For RMK11, Cougars based in Labuan will be armed with FN MAG machine guns.
However as reported previously, industry sources told Malaysian Defence that for RMK11 funding for a number of heavy lift helicopters had been approved. According to them it will either be the Sikorsky MH-53E or the Boeing CH-47 Chinook. Both are expected to be second hand birds from the US.
In the meantime enjoy a video of a A400M which made Tom Cruise Mission Impposible
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