A Dozen ScanEagle Drones For Malaysia

A ScanEagle being recovered while operating from a US Navy vessel

SHAH ALAM: A dozen Scaneagle drones for Malaysia. It appears that Malaysia is getting more Insitu Scaneagle drones for ISR missions. Late last year it was announced that RMN is getting two ScanEagle drone system from the US under Pentagon Maritime Security Initiative. A typical ScanEagle drone system usually has a command launcher unit and three drone airframes, so a two system meant six air frames.

On May 31, the Pentagon announced that Malaysia is getting 12 Scaneagles (four systems). I was told that Malaysia was originally offered six drones with an option for another six. I was told that we had exercised the option so we are getting 12 drones. It is likely the extra ScanEagles were bought for Malaysia under Pentagon’s other security cooperation funds instead of just from the MSI.

Apart from Malaysia, three other SEA countries are also getting the same drones, namely Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ScanEagle is launched from the flight deck of the Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce . US Navy

Insitu Inc., Bingen, Washington, is awarded $47,930,791 for firm-fixed-price delivery order N0001919F2602 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-17-G-0001) for 34 ScanEagle unmanned air vehicles for the governments of Malaysia (12); Indonesia (8); Philippines (8); and Vietnam (6).
In addition, this order provides for spare payloads, spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools, training, technical services, and field service representatives. Work will be performed in Bingen, Washington (77 percent); and multiple shore and at sea locations in Malaysia (9 percent); Philippines (5 percent); Vietnam (5 percent); and Indonesia (4 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2022.

Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $47,930,791 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the fiscal year.

This order combines purchases for the governments of Malaysia ($19,329,334; 40 percent); Philippines ($9,633,665; 20 percent); Vietnam ($9,770,120; 20 percent); and Indonesia ($9,197,672; 20 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

A Mark V SOC launching a ScanEagle UAV. US Navy picture

Based on the above, the drones meant for Malaysia cost some RM80.76 million. It must be noted also the number of ScanEagles meant for the Philippines and Indonesia had also increase to eight each, from six each previously. The Vietnam order is new, however.

Contractor Jermaine Ofoso-Anim launches a ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle from the flight deck of USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3). US Navy

The release also does not reflect the order came from the MSI program and that the drones will be gifted by the US.

The RMN recently said the new drone squadron will be operated by the Eastern Fleet Command and deliveries was expected next month.

A ScanEagle drone being launched from a ground base. US Navy

The extra ScanEagles, will also likely meant that the Defence Ministry will not have to pay for new drones for the Joint Force 2 headquarters 2 – Angkatan Tugas Bersama 2 headquarters based in Tawau, Sabah.

A ScanEagle being recovered while operating from a US Navy vessel

The ATB2 controls the military unit deployed in the ESSCOM AOR and had previously make use of the the contractor operated ScanEagle and Aludra for its operations. Both contracts had since lapsed and there were talk of a new contracts for such service though it has not been a new tender for it since.

Anyhow, Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, Eid Mubarak and Maaf Zahir Batin.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2203 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. So means we will be getting the lion’s share of the ScanEagles vis a vis our neighbours? I can already see the benefits of our new government aligned with the US hegemony. We should ask for more like retired E-2Cs for AEW, retired P-3s for MPA, retired legacy Hornets or even F-15s.

  2. At least there are tangible benefits from our ties with Uncle Sam. In addition to stuff funded by the American taxpayer, like the Scaneagles and radar (in Sabah) we also benefit from joint exercises and educational grants,

    The silly irony of course is that some will continue to insist we shouldn’t buy American because we’ll be vulnerable to an embargo and won’t get the source and objects codes. The reality is that anyone country can place an embargo if the circumstances demand it and is not just the Americans who don’t readily hand over source and object codes.

    Let’s hope the arrival of the Scaneagles won’t lead to further delays on the part of the politicians and bureaucrats to delay funding for a medium range UAS. Let’s also hope that the RMN will look into operating UAS’s from the LCS; to complements its onboard sensors and helo.

  3. Selamat Hari Raya to everyone!!

    Why are we so special to get more than everyone else?

  4. Selamat Hari Raya to all readers, may you celebrate the holiday in happiness and health.


    Actually if you ask me, it’s quite obvious that we are leaning away from co-operation with the US-Western bloc.

  5. Joe -“ I can already see the benefits of our new government aligned with the US hegemony”

    We are not “aligned” with anyone and you only may be starting to notice but we have been reaping benefits for decades already. It boils down to mutual interests; nothing to do with “U.S. hegemony”.

    “Our new government” is merely continuing what we have been doing for decades. Nothing new. The close defence relationship started in 1983/4 when during a visit to the Pentagon, Mahathir signed an agreement allowing USN ships to dock here for repairs and for increased joint training.

    There are lots of things we can request for under EDA or as a direct commercial sale; the question is are we willing to pay for upgrades, will the addition of stuff never previously operated cause any logistical/support issues, do they meet our requirements, is there the political appetite on the part of the new government; etc?

  6. Chua – “Actually if you ask me, it’s quite obvious that we are leaning away from co-operation with the US-Western bloc”?

    In what way is it obvious?

    We exercise with the Americans and Australians (bilaterally and multilaterally) with more regularity than with anyone else; we play host to the only permanent military base Australia has abroad, we receive more visits from the USN than from any other navy, the RMN’s sub rescue/support ship is certified to operate with USN subs, we may not be a NATO country but
    a lot of the procedures/SOPs we have in place are NATO compliant, we sent officers to America and Australia for training more than we do anywhere else, we receive training grants and are offered gear from America and Australia and if asked and given the choice; most people in uniform would rather operate American gear rather than Russian or Chinese ones.

    Do you see anyone else taking the place of America and Australia in the coming years? Do we see any political will or enthusiasm to take military ties with China or with anyone else to a new level?

  7. Salam eid al mubarak to all, yes indeed chua, it certainly seems that way. Btw off topic, any comment regards to Mat Sabu speech, thank you marhalim for thi plafrom, it show, Malaysians are well verse in defence matters .

  8. @ azlan

    ” Do we see any political will or enthusiasm to take military ties with China or with anyone else to a new level? ”

    If we left our menhan to his own devices, probably Iran LoL!

    As for china, until china drops its absurd claim of the whole of south china sea as its territory, which is high seas in international law, I don’t see ties with china will raise to a new level.

    Selamat hari raya to you azlan. Maaf zahir batin.

  9. we take what we can….its a good things..

    selamat hari raya to all here…maaf zahir batin

  10. “…we sent officers to America and Australia for training more…” no more officers sent to Sandhurst?

    I am not sure TBH

  11. Philippines (8) $9,633,665; Vietnam (6) $9,770,120; and Indonesia (8) $9,197,672. Why there are price difference between them though? 8 PH costs more than 8 ID and 6 VN costs more than 8 PH & 8 ID respectively. Different variant, package, etc, I assume? Eid mubarak to all.

    No idea why

  12. Nimitz,

    The UK doesn’t offer us places in their training establishments in which we don’t have to pay for, unlike the case with America and Australia. I’m not saying that all the training courses our people attend in America and Australia are paid by the American and Australian taxpayer but quite a few are.

    Part of the reason we don’t go to the U.K. much is that it’s expensive and there’s no bilateral training agreement with the U.K. which includes grants/scholarships (at least not to the same extent); like there is with America and Australia.

    Over the years quite a few Malaysians have been awarded scholarships to Westpoint, the USN Academy and the USAAF Academy. Courtesy of the American taxpayer. In recent times I haven’t heard of any Malaysian cadets attending Sandhurst. Over the next few years will we see MAF people attending the PLA’s staff college and other training
    establishments ?

  13. @Tom Tom
    Yes, why indeed. Previously it was our neighbours, particularly Philippines, getting the lion’s share of any free equipment. What has changed since?

    I have nothing more to add from Azlan’s comments.

    In terms of military cooperation we have always been friendly to US. Not so much in terms of Government interaction. We have always maintained a stance of neutrality(more or less), though now with the cancelling of many China related projects and of our involvement with OBOR it certainly made Uncle Sam a very happy fellow. We are seeing the rewards now, this plus the trade spat spotlight have moved onto others.

    Selamat Hari Raya to all!

  14. Selamat Hari Raya to everyone here.

    Since were on the subject of US’s assistance via MSI, any news on the M109G SPH pls?

    As I said before it is supposed to be here by the third quarter

  15. Hari Raya to all. Eid Mubarak.
    My 2 cents… am glad to be part of this blog and forum. I noticed too that the powers that be are following what we discussed and even if they aren’t agreeable to things discussed, are taking note of the things (not all obviously) said here. Alhamdulillah

  16. What is most depressing now is that the Govt is still have made no decision on the Russian offer for MiG29N barter trade for more Su30s despite the offer reaffirmed in LIMA2019 and Mat Sabu visit to Moscow. Probably the Defence Minister is all caught up in the palm oil war and insistence on all political party agreement while our MiG29N rot and deteriorate in the parking lot.

    Indecisiveness and blaming the boogeyman(past BN govt) is now becoming norm for PH Ministership, sprinkle with a bit of useless and shame to the country. Is it so hard to decide on something and carry on with it? It will take years if they want to do anything.

  17. “What is most depressing now is that the Govt is still have made no decision on the Russian offer for MiG29N barter trade for more Su30s despite the offer reaffirmed in LIMA2019 and Mat Sabu visit to Moscow.

    It’s been covered before. The air force does not want more Su-30s, indeed it was looking for another MRCA even before they were delivered. The MiG-29 and Su-30 were never the preference of the air force.

    Also covered before is how we should equip Su-30s if we did get them- in common with our current fleet (which is behind the times) or with new avionics, which would give us additional maintenance burdens.

  18. @Wan
    That 2nd paragraph of yours sums up the lack of direction of our Defence Ministry. Plus the fact that YB Mohamad Sabu 🙄 is not exactly fronting MinDef properly due to his gaffes and well, lingual inadequacies. Perhaps he can get his Deputy to deliver all the public statements and announcements in the future. That recent Singapore episode where a SHE became a HE is something that we can live without. 😑

  19. AM – “common with our current fleet (which is behind the times”

    For the sake of discussion. If we ever upgrade the MKMs; ideally it should get an AESA, a nav/attack pod to replace Damocles, a full glass cockpit (the present one is not fully “glass”) and the replacement of other parts/components which are over a decade old now. Of course how intensive any future upgrade will be will depend not just on funding but also how the upgrade might affect other requirements.


    Feasibility or paper studies to trade in the Fulcrums for follow on MKMs were actually done before the MKM squadron had reached IOC. With regards to upgrading the Fulcrums, the level of interest changed over the years due to circumstances; a situation not helped by indecision and changing priorities on end part of the politicians.

    Interesting to talk about and to speculate of what might have been but water under the bridge now A lot of things look simple on paper but in reality various other long term factors have to be considered.

    Wan – “ is now becoming norm for PH Ministership”

    Hardly surprising. The new government is just doing what other elected governments the world over do (blame their predecessor) and to say things that appeals to the voter.

    Again, it’s still very, very early days to come to any conclusions as to the present government’s approach towards defence. I’m not saying that defence will suddenly be a priority in the future; merely that as things settle down, more focus might be given towards defence.

    One thing is sure : we need a more capable Defence Minister and if he continues to underperform and not be replaced; the one person we can blame is his boss …..

  20. @ Taib

    Whats wrong for a minister to talk in malay in front of foreign audiences? Why are you ashamed of talking in malay?

    You can see korean foreign minister talking in korean while in budapest, hungary. The chinese general talks in mandarin at the shangri-la dialouge.

    If you can express yourself better in malay, just talk in malay. Be proud of it.

    What i am afraid of is that he is still out of depth in defence matters. For example can he debate meaningfully if he is in this blog for example?

  21. Off topic:

    Is it possible to have a thread that is always on top for the frequenters to debate on all issues raised? Or maybe to have one each for RMN, RMAF, and TD? The reason I’m suggesting as such is because we always have the discussion on the most recent thread, and when you post a new article, we’ll carry on over to the comment section of that article. Sometimes it’s hard to follow whatever that had been previously discussed.
    I think this is the place where we have the best quality of participants in terms of Malaysian defense matters.

  22. @….
    “If you can express yourself better in malay, just talk in malay”
    It wouldn’t be the polite thing to do in front of international community but well articulated Malay will, at the very least, showcase the beauty of Malay language to the world. Unfortunately, Mat Sabu’s Malay would even make the folks at DBP hurl shoes in his direction. He might be poor in English but he should at least try and constantly improve on it, much like Zahid Hamidi despite his early gaffs.

    Is there any updates by MINDEF on the progress status for the M109s (whether on schedule or whatnot)? As it is, there are sudden news on the delays for the MD530Gs.

    There is no problem for Mat Sabu to talk in Malay at SLD 19. They have translators for that purpose. Indonesian Defence Minister spoke in Bahasa Indonesia.

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