Malaysian Defence
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www.malaysiandefence.com is the first Malaysian-based English website dedicated to the Malaysian defence and security news. Malaysian Defence is helmed by Marhalim Abas, who was a former journalist and editor with the New Straits Times, the Malay Mail and the SUN daily.

Photo bombed as I was doing my work at Ex Air Thamal 2015. Picture courtesy of Mohd Daim.
Photo bombed as I was doing my work at Ex Air Thamal 2015. Picture courtesy of Mohd Daim.

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91 Comments

  1. Dikatakan Nuri hanya grounded dan tidak officially retired.
    Soalannya adakah nanti Nuri tetap akan digunakan lagi tapi dgn limited number dan service? Maksudnya penggunaan Nuri yg masih ‘muda’ drpd yg lain dan Nuri yg telah menerima upgrade/refurbish baik dlm TDM atau TUDM.

    Reply
    Betul but if the lease contract is done it is unlikely that RMAF will continue to operate the Nuri as money allocated to the Nuri will be used to pay for the leased helicopters

  2. better than operating the old nuri. hope they got good deal on the leased heli. and some of the Nuri will be put in museum for future exhibit??

  3. I’m not favourable of using EC225 still at the moment as there is another crash recently off South Korea. If civil aviation are not convinced with 737MAX, why take chances with EC225 when the aircraft are still buggy?

  4. Why lease? EC225 owned by boustead/MHS should be transferred FOC to mindef as part of reparation for the LCS delays!

  5. I think airforce still can go for civil “MHS Aviation H225“ leasing but Army might need a military option. Mi-171 might be cheapest workhorse for the Army.

  6. Michael – “ Mi-171 might be cheapest workhorse for the Army”

    You sure about that? If you take into account the total operating costs of a Mil-17 for a period of say 25 years (including spares, changing time expired comments and the needed overhauls); how does it compare to Western equivalents? How many thousand of hours can a Mil-17 fly before needing depot level maintenance and overhauls? How many millions will the Malaysian taxpayer pay to
    integrate Western avionics to RMAF/army Mil-17s?

  7. zack – “better than operating the old nuri”

    Let’s be clear one thing : the issue with the Nuris is not because they’re are “old”.

    The issue is that the government for many years (starting in the 1990’s) never approved repeated requests by the RMAF for a full upgrade. The previous government belatedly approved an upgrade and the present government was also in no hurry to allocate funding and eventually decided to postpone/delay (like the Hawk and Charlie upgrade) the upgrade.

    Water under the bridge but the Nuri still has lots of life left and if upgraded (to make it more capable of all night/bad weather IFR flights and also more economical to maintain) still has a lot to offer.

  8. ….,

    Upgrading the Mil-17 or integrating and certifying non Russian stuff has long been possible (various companies can do it) and is something we seriously looked at in the early 2000’s when SME was trying to get the contract for the army to supply
    Ulan Ude sourced helis.

    The issue is how much we’re willing to spend and the time factor; especially given that the OEM’s cooperation is needed; to liaise and work with the suppliers of the non Russian stuff that is selected. Also in the event the government remains tight fisted and refuses to fund a simulator; we’ll have to look
    around for one we can rent hours on but the Albion’s fit will be different to our modified Hips.

    BOMBA’s ex Kazakh Hips are a much older model; made by Kazan. In the event we buy Mil-17s it could (on paper) be from Ulan Ude (which had a previous tie up with AIROD) or Kazan. Newer Hips will incorporate various improvements including longer lasting components and part glass cockpits but the question still stands : when compared to Western equivalents and when taking into account full/total life cycle costs; which is the more cost effective solution in the long run and which will be able to offer higher serviceability/operational rates?

    Reply
    Bomba flight crews for the Hips went for simulator training in Ukraine last month. Likely

  9. P.S.

    BOMBA also has a pair of Ulan Ude Mil-17s (originally intended for the police) but like the pair of Kazan Mil-8s are not extensively upgraded (like any we may buy in the future – slim
    chance) and contain much older avionics/components; as such using them to provide us with an accurate indication as to total/full life cycle costs for any newer variant Mil-17s we buy isn’t possible; at best it can give us a yardstick but not an accurate figure we can actually base plans on.

  10. The issue is right now we are on a very2 tight budget. I dont think if the army can afford brand new helicopters for nuri replacement. I am thinking more of getting used blackhawks, either ex australia or ex us army. That is the only way to get 20-30 nuri replacement helicopters for the army PUTD.

    Without the nuris we are down to just 12 EC725s for helicopter transport capability. For a large country, divided into 2 areas by large expanse of water is IMO unacceptable. If TUDM just want to retain only 2 squadrons of helicopters, the army will have no other choice but to take up the slack. Lets see if the helicopter transport capability is specifically stated in the DWP.

  11. So TUDM/PUTD, can we give the nuri the grand retirement farewell that it so much deserved? And if you cannot preserve the bird yourself, please donate a few to australian and british aviation museums.

  12. … – “ That is the only way to get 20-30 nuri replacement helicopters for the army PUTD”

    I would be very surprised if the army’s Aviation Wing has the pilots and ground crews needed for that number of helis. More realistically I think the army is only in a position in the near to medium term to absorb 10-12 helis; anything more than that would really stretch its existing operating/support infrastructure.

    …. – “. If TUDM just want to retain only 2 squadrons of helicopters”

    That has always been the plan; for the RMAF to retain a heli capability for special forces insertion and SAR/CSAR with the army taking over the troop carrying/support role. A sizeable percentage of the sorties East Malaysian RMAF Nuris perform (or use to) are devoted towards supporting troops in hard to access border areas.

  13. …. – “Lets see if the helicopter transport capability is specifically stated in the DWP.””

    Indeed. Let’s also see what’s also not mentioned but should have been and let’s see what’s mentioned but only in ambiguous/general terms which really doesn’t tell us much or anything we don’t already know.

    …. – “australian and british aviation museums”

    If those museums (RAF Museum, Duxford, Fleet Air Arm Museum, etc) want something that has no direct connection to the military history of their countries or conflicts participated in (the Fleet Air Arm museum already has a Sea King). With private museums with no direct affiliation; it could be another matter and there could be buyers for the right price.

    There might be civilian operators who will be interested; buyers who will probably have use for S-61s with lots of hours left – there were interested buyers in the past and had we bought the S-92, Sikorsky offered to buy back the Nuris.

  14. i dun think Mi-171 is expensive maintain. if not it would be so good sales after so many years + it was the most produce Helicopter. The only question on mi-171 is the safety and feature if compare to western heli.

  15. Dundun,

    The only time I’ve ever seen both types side by side was at a Heli Asia 1997. There was also one of the Blackhawks in the outdoor exhibit.

    The Mil-17 is a very tough and rugged design which will keep flying on very minimal maintenance; long after Western types in similar circumstances have been grounded. As it stands however there are certain issues we’d face in operating it (compared to established operators) and little likelihood of it ever operating in RMAF colours.

  16. Thank you for the info.

    What do you mean by the army is looking to buy ‘assault’ helicopter? Is it attack helicopter or utility helicopter with assault capability?

    Thank you.

  17. Michael – ”i dun think Mi-171 is expensive maintain. if not it would be so good sales after so many years”

    Do your research, this subject has been discussed here on numerous occasions.

    All older generation Soviet/Russian types when compared to Western equivalents are more expensive to operate in the long run because they traditionally have engines, radars, gearboxes, landing gears, etc, etc, with a much lower TBO and MTBF. Because of that they also tend to be flown for lesser hours before needing overhauls or stuff that needs replacing – this is the drawback despite the cheaper procurement costs…..

    For countries that have long operated Russian/Soviet stuff, who have economics of scale and who hardly perform any integration of non Russian stuff; operating Russian/Soviet stuff presents less problems. One of the issues faced with our Fulcrums is that we flew more hours on them compared to most users; a reason why the RD-33s needed overhauls before that of Western types that were flown the same hours. The Russians have acknowledged that the lower TBO and MTBF of components on their aircraft is an issue and have stated that newer aircraft will have longer lasting components.

  18. @ azlan

    “More realistically I think the army is only in a position in the near to medium term to absorb 10-12 helis; anything more than that would really stretch its existing operating/support infrastructure”

    If TUDM just wants to retain 2 helicopter squadrons, PUTD has to take up the slack and have 2 transport helicopter squadrons. That is just to retain our current helilift capability we had in the 70s. That capability can barely transfer 1 full company of soldiers let alone doing the same in 2 fronts at the same time that we want for the future.

  19. What about Mi38T Guys?..Not really the ‘new’ model per se but rather an evolution of/replacement for Mi17 with better and cutting edge overall design.Its still new now but 3-4 more years..who knew

    Reply
    Maybe it could be offered when we buy new helicopters, for the leasing tender likely they will want the replacement helicopters ASAP so only those readily available will be offered

  20. Azlan

    yes, i know about nuri age and its obsolete avionic. you and some people here have been debate this for so long already. but given the circumstances of our govt unwilling to give money for upgrade or to replace plus economy problem, lease heli will be good…

  21. Azlan,
    Your assumption on Nuri’s cost is wrong. It has the lowest power/hr-cost ratio among the major state operating types. Mi17 can be very cost efficient if you setup properly. And it has been quite on par on all major components that brings TBO to 2500/5000h simplified schedule. You probably can take your own advice too.

    …,
    No used blackhawk will be acquired. This has been clear. Building a capability on old tech adds no benefit at this point. Same goes to upgrade. It has been a dead horse only resurrected couple times by certain individuals.

    Retired asset originate from US is as good as dead unless uncle sam has a plan for it. Bring it out of country without being scrapped is too romantic.

  22. m – “Your assumption on Nuri’s cost is wrong””

    Well if I’m wrong and you correctly pointed this out, fine but what “assumptions” did I make about the Nuri’s “cost”?

    This is what I said and you no doubt will
    correct me if anything I said was fundamentally wrong – “if upgraded (to make it more capable of all night/bad weather IFR flights and also more economical to maintain) still has a lot to offer””

    m – “You probably can take your own advice too”

    Thank you for the advice.

  23. Azlan,
    I was referring to your multiple remarks on how much life Nuris have.

    …,
    Thats what DWP is for to layout the reality in written form. 24 it is. In the plan AF covers SAR for their aircrew/general offshore and VERTREP/LOTS until navy find their own wings (LCS’s hanger is dedicated for S.Puma. Battlefield lift supposed to be responsible of the army. If you want cheap, plenty of white tail 332s available with no string attach. But again, like I said before, the army has no capability to manage such complex project thereby making used birds not economical. Unless, it is a wet lease deal. Then you can probably see really there is only one choice of one type with several variants.

  24. @ m

    “Then you can probably see really there is only one choice of one type with several variants”

    That is because you are looking at it from a contractor point of view, as you are one. Anyway how much are you selling those white tail (is it new?) 332s for?

    As for general SAR, IMO I would prefer this to be the responsibility of MMEA.

    Okay lets work out the numbers

    TUDM
    – 12 EC725 + ? additional

    TLDM
    – 6 AS555
    – 6 Lynx 300
    – ? maritime mission helicopter

    TDM PUTD
    – 10 A109 Power + additional for MEDIVAC/utility?
    – 6 MD530G (we will receive yes, but will we induct them? Or could we sell them off or trade them with other helicopters? Could we trade them with australia in exchange of blackhawks? Australia is looking at light helicopters for special force)
    http://www.defensenews.com/industry/2018/10/02/australia-releases-rfi-for-at-least-16-special-operations-helicopters/
    – 24? tactical transport helicopter
    – transfer 2 whitehawks to PUTD?

  25. Speaking about the army, if they only needed a basic medium transport helicopter and still utilize commonality with tudm and taking advantange of eurocopter/airbus mro centre in Malaysia, they could look into last gen AS332/H215 super puma. They still make them new and they can carry up to 4500kg underslung. I think iptn still assembled them under license

    Reply
    No IPTN dont have the license to assemble them

  26. some latest news on the little birds

    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/malaysia-md-530g-deliveries-contracted-for-early-202-462728/

    @ marhalim

    Once upon a time TUDM did have an AS332 built by IPTN. Its tail number was M36-01 and crashed in a rumoured assasination attempt to a political person.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/–I50Jmx39rc/UBt-Rg75gsI/AAAAAAAAACk/wr8agrwU4h4/s1600/Super+Puma+TUDM+2.jpg

    Reply
    Again what MD Helicopters can or wants to do depends wholly on the MY Defence Ministry. Of course we did have an 332 built by IPTN. But it doesn’t have the license to built H215 nowdays. It had delivered a 332 to TNI AU early this year but it was done using an airframe stored in IPTN and had nothing to do with Airbus

  27. …,
    It is not necessary a contractor nor must be associated with any of the manufactures to know things or two. There is just no other option under 20 mil per frame owned or dry at 4000 usd/hr. The choice is clear.

    Of shore SAR will be the AF until MMEA gets their bird. MMEA has shortlisted few options for 200nm RoA and its looking ultimately to have 300nm capability. Of course, these are all in ideal world.

    Your layout for navy is far from reality. “maritime mission helicopter” does not exist. The other two will be replaced soon. 1 to 1 is rather ambitious. But light armed scout cum trainer will come first. They may wait until 2024-26 to make their choice for medium utility. AWS is too ambitious at this point.

    IPTN did have a license to assemble 332C and C1 but sanction spoiled the party. TC is limited to Indo, configuration is a mess, support is 0 as neither IPTN can supply the critical parts, nor AH wants to have anything to do with it.

  28. @ m

    Under usd20mil brand new owned, yes there isnt many options, which is why i suggested to go the used route. Even if we go for 24 H215, that would cost at least USD400 million, something IMO we cannot afford, or other more important requirements will have to be sacrificed. Why I am thinking used, at a budget somewhere around USD200 million or less. Of course an all EC725/225 fleet would be ideal, but we missed the boat to hoarde all the unwanted EC225LP when it was first grounded. IMO the 2nd choice is used blackhawks. We are a current blackhawk user actually. If we ask nicely to australia, probably we could get their blackhawks for next to nothing. Or use US EDA to get blackhawks from excess us army stocks. Even if we got used, the maintenance requirements will still give jobs to local contractors and industries right?

    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/analysis-despite-troubles-super-puma-remains-key-f-460768/

    Interesting take from this september 2019 article
    “Consultancy Ascend puts the half-life value of an average H225 at $3.4 million, well below the pre-accident figure. That number has also remained constant since Ascend resumed valuations of the type one year ago”

    Maritime mission helicopter is the Helikopter Misi Maritim listed in KPP page 50. Is that the TLDM utility helicopter requirement (which i assumed) or is it a different one?

    Reply
    The Helikopter Misi Maritim could also be the ASW helicopters. Need further guidance on this as the tender for the utility helicopters are not the same for the ASW helicopters.

  29. @ marhalim

    Well I assumed that the Helikopter Misi Maritim is the utility heliopters as there is no mention about TLDM utility helicopters in the KPP.

  30. Yeah we cant wait for something like that cuz nuris need to be replace like right now..Another thing is we cant afford something fancy like that

  31. http://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/abpic-media-eu-production/pictures/full_size_0447/1676722-large.jpg

    Look at the EC225LP picture above. Looks like a normal unassuming civilian helicopter right? This is actually a french air force helicopter, ex civilian EC225LP that was formerly used by french navy for SAR before being transferred to french air force. This helicopter nunber 2491 SY is flown by Groupe Aerien Mixte 56 (GAM56) in support of french special forces, in various places including libya.

    So no issue of using used civilian EC225LP for combat purposes. The french does it, why not us?

    Reply
    Its not about the civilian version but there is a lack of confidence of the air force on the platform itself.

  32. …,
    20mil is owning a used. For a new H215, at least looking at 25m minimum equipped. Used BH has a problem being both old and tied with FMS. While white tail 332 can get parts from even scavenge yard. That’s why it has been the western equivalent of Mil-8 in the white tail market.

    Ascend is talking about a 225 sold as it in OG config. After clearing liability, to bring it back to life and shedding off weight for utility plus reconfig and EIS, the total ownership cost is more like 25m.

    What I mean is that you list out 3 types for the Navy but they prefer two types. Supposedly 3 assault requirement in tender process will be pretty much like for like upgauge from the Fennec. The other type will be ASW cum medium utility.

    I am not as certain as Marhalim on the little birds. The saga has not end. And stranger things is happening on others. You will see.

    Reply
    I know from the Nexter LG1 105 contract up and down that they could change their minds again. We will have to wait and see but again the decision to take delivery depends completely on the politicians.

  33. @ m

    I have seen recent contracts for H215 at USD15-20 million range. Brand new EC225 is around USD25-30 million range.

    Blackhawks tied with FMS? Why is that a bad thing? You can actually buy and operate blackhawks without ever using FMS. We can buy direct from Lockheed, or there is plenty of 3rd party parts stockist companies that stocks blackhawk parts. Then there are free parts from US EDA.

    As for the navy, if the navy prefers just 2 types, the 3 (so that is the actual number?) maritime utility helicopters (MUH) tender is just something with the size of fennecs? If the tender proceeds, the navy will have 3 types of helicopters unless they are discarding 1 current type, or the MUH is of the same type as current helicopters.

  34. …. – “is just something with the size of fennecs”

    ….. – “or the MUH is of the same type as current helicopters“”

    The requirement is for something larger so that it can – amongst other things – lift PASKAL teams; a major issue with Lynx and Fennec given their lift capacity and cabin space. The main rationale behind the requirement is for a platform with better lift capacity and larger cabin space.

  35. @ azlan

    Just discussing the point with m, as he said that the navy just wants 2 types of helicopters. With a new MUH, IMO there will be 3 types. I was thinking more of AW139 for MUH, as it is already used by airforces and coast guards (but no navies yet) as utility and SAR helicopter. Also the quantity, why is the MUH is just 3 helicopters?

    Reply
    Its three because it’s just the amount of money they could get from the funding allocated for the navy.

  36. …. – “ust discussing the point with m, as he said that the navy just wants 2 types of helicopters”

    Yes I’m aware. I was just pointing out the RMN’s requirements and why it has such a requirement.

    Having 3 types of helos is a penalty the RMN is willing to incur given the pressing need for a larger platform to better perform certain roles but who knows; perhaps it already has plans to do away with the Fennecs in the coming years.

    Reply
    Don’t think they will retire the Fennecs at least until 2023 as they recently paid for the electronic documents for the fleet until that year.

  37. …,
    I elaborate enough on the cost. But “what if” aside, they are seriously looking at dry/semi wet leasing instead of owning.

    Azlan gave you the answer on both Fennec and “MUH”.

    BH issue I have said enough, cannot elaborate more.

    Marhalim,
    The subscription cost more or less two Iphones. Its not a deal breaker to let loose. But yes, it will be around way beyond 2023.

  38. Even when they sign the contract for these MUH tomorrow, it would be about 2,3 years before delivery and even more time for them to reach full operation capability.

    By the time these MUH achieved FOC (and hopefully add to more than 3 aircraft), it would be, what? 2025? By then the navy could start to plan to retire the fennec and sell them

    Or don’t

    Just keep the fennec as they’re not exactly filling the same role as these MUH. I’d imagine it would be cheaper for use Fennec for routine patrol as opposed to the larger MUH.

    For me the navy’s helicopter fleet in the future would look like this
    >6 Super Lynx
    >6 new ASW/ASuW helicopter (Prolly AW159 wildcat or AS565 Panther)
    >6 MUH for general transport, medevac as well as for Navy’s upcoming MRSS
    >6 Fennec

    Reply
    I think in the future if they kept the Fennec it will be reduced to a training role, minus the other equipment of course. Note like other aircraft in service both the Fennec and Super Lynx have very low hours compared to other military and civil users

  39. dundun “ >6 new ASW/ASuW helicopter (Prolly AW159 wildcat or AS565 Panther)“

    Well if the RMN has a say in the matter; ASW configured helos will not be the Wildcat.
    It simply does not have the needed endurance and ASW can be time intensive; not to mention the fact that the helo at times will have to fly a certain distance from its ship.

    According to the ROKN (to add to what we already know and have discussed here) a Wildcat can operate for about 3 hours if only carrying a dipping sonar, for 2 hours if carrying a sonar and a single torp and for slightly over an hour of carrying a sonar and a pair of torps.

  40. @ azlan

    “According to the ROKN (to add to what we already know and have discussed here) a Wildcat can operate for about 3 hours if only carrying a dipping sonar, for 2 hours if carrying a sonar and a single torp and for slightly over an hour of carrying a sonar and a pair of torps”

    Those are decent times. You are not going to use the lynx as an MPA. What we need is an MPA which can also launch sonobuoys, which will operate along with the gowinds and lynx. Say if we use the CN-235 as MPA, we could probably forward deploy one to layang2, and also equip it with refuelling probes to extend its time on station for ASW mission.

  41. Off topic a bit on CN-235 as MPA with ASW systems.

    Probably 3-4 years ago, and during the turkish navy CN-235 meltemII ASW build, components for ASW systems are big and heavy, which will affect the CN-235 range. Now there are lightweight but powerful systems like the CAE MAD-XR and leonardo ulisses ASW suite that can even be installed on UAVs.

    http://www.janes.com/article/88848/highly-sensitive-cs19d1

    http://www.janes.com/article/92770/leonardo-completes-live-sea-trials-for-ulisses-anti-submarine-warfare-suite

    CN-235 range can be extended by adding refueling probes
    http://www.aircraftcovers.com/media/images/12369.jpg

  42. With ASW being emphasized once again and advances being made in networking separate sensors and shooters, I think there might be a need for ASROC type weapons with greater range than the current 22km. We’ll be seeing more ASW sensor platforms (both airborne and surface), not all of which will carry their own torpedoes.

    Separate but related matters, it’s fine to talk about ASW roled MPAs but it can’t be overlooked that they are very vulnerable to hostile fighters, and any potential adversary that can deploy subs will probably havey more fighters available than we do.

    If we can’t afford ASW roled MPAs now, I’ll be happy to see us get non-ASW roled MPAs (what some people call MSAs) for border security purposes. I have in mind a networked, workhorse platform with surface search radar and EO, maybe airdropped liferafts.

  43. You can see it both ways. With miniaturization of the components simply due to advancement of technology, the navy can also go for much smaller MPAs like Do-228s or even N-219s. This would translate to lower procurement costs and as such more MPAs that can be procured

    Whether the air force actually wanted to go this route is up to them although MMEA could use these smaller MPAs

  44. AM – “but it can’t be overlooked that they are very vulnerable to hostile fighters, and any potential adversary that can deploy subs”

    Indeed. Everything boils down to control of the skies.

    There is also another aspect that comes into play. I rarely use the term as its become an overused cliche by people who don’t really grasp its meaning but “gamechanger” is an apt description if tube or mast launched MANPADs proliferate to the points that most subs have them. They’ve actually been around for decades – in small numbers by a very few users – but weren’t effective guidance wise (when sub launched); that has changed and it would make things somewhat difficult for low level MPAs and helos engaged in ASW.

  45. ….. – “Those are decent times. You are not going to use the lynx as an MPA””

    You’ve missed the point….

    It’s not about “using it as an MPA” …
    It’s the fact that ASW is time intensive at the best of times. A typical scenario would see a ship detecting a contact and despatching a helo: which in turn might have to fly a distance (at times in bad weather) to the area. It would be nice if the helo on arriving on station could deploy sonar rand immediately get a solid enough contact to lsunch a torp but in reality it would have to constantly change position until it gets a contact – takes time and fuel. Things will get much note complicated if the helo- due to tactical limitations – is operating alone and only has a single toro.

    If the figures were really “decent” as you make out; the Lynx’s limited endurance, lift capacity and small
    cabin space wouldn’t have driven various customers towards larger platforms and the RMN would have seen the value in configuring its Lynxs for ASW. The hours only become decent when a helo has 2-3 hours endurance when loaded down with sonar and a pair of torps.

    …. “. What we need is an MPA which can also launch sonobuoys, which will operate along with the gowinds and lynx”

    MPAs will no doubt – if available – collaborate with helos but their main value is that they can operate at a much further distance and has endurance. A helo is a ship’s main means of ASW but for ASW; range and endurance is always needed; whether for a MPA or a helo. Depending on the circumstances a helo will always strive to engage a contact as far away as possible to keep the mothership out of range of the contact’s weapons …. Ultimately both the MPA and helo will be operating at different distances

  46. @ am

    Our gowinds does not have mk41 VLS to carry asrocs. I dont see us going to have anything like the asroc in the near future.

    Our MPAs will be flying in our own backyard. Unlike adversaries. Why we really need our MKMs, for its long loiter times as top cover for our maritime assets.

    Our CN-235s can be modified easily into MSA for about USD10 million per aircraft. That would have all the things you want. Satcom antennas, aesa maritime radar, eo systems and airdropped liferafts.
    http://sldinfo.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/CN-235_USCG_179-1024×683.jpg

    A system I really want in our MPA is the ViDAR (Visual Detection and Ranging), to supplement the mk1 eyeballs in SAR mission. This system is operational on australian SAR aircrafts and has been tested on scaneagle UAVs.

    @ dundun

    Smaller MPAs = less range and discomfort for crews. I am thinking of modifying 6x of the CN-235 to MPA for around USD20 million each. Then pass all 3 of the beechcraft b200t mpa to MMEA. Upgrade the b200t with winglets (remove wingtip tanks), add saddle tanks (behind engine nacelle), blackhawk xp engine upgrades and garmin g1000nxi glass cockpit retrofit for about USD2 million per aircraft. MMEA would buy 3 more beechcraft for a total of 6. So by 2030 we would have:
    6x CN-235 MPA under TUDM
    6x beechcraft king air 200 MPA under MMEA

  47. ….. – “Those are decent times. You are not going to use the lynx as an MPA””

    You’ve missed the point….

    It’s not about “using it as an MPA”. It’s the fact that ASW is time intensive at the best of times. A typical scenario would see a ship detecting a contact and despatching a helo: which in turn might have to fly a distance (at times in bad weather) to the area. It would be nice if the helo on arriving on station could deploy sonar rand immediately get a solid enough contact to lsunch a torp but in reality it would have to constantly change position until it gets a contact – takes time and fuel. Things will get much more complicated if the helo- due to tactical limitations – is operating alone and only has a single torp.

    If the figures were really “decent” as you make out; the Lynx’s limited endurance, lift capacity and small
    cabin space wouldn’t have driven various customers towards larger platforms and the RMN would have seen the value in configuring its Lynxs for ASW. The hours only become decent when a helo has 2-3 hours endurance when loaded down with sonar and a pair of torps.

    …. “. What we need is an MPA which can also launch sonobuoys, which will operate along with the gowinds and lynx”

    MPAs will no doubt – if available – collaborate with helos but their main value is that they can operate at a much further distance and has endurance. A helo is a ship’s main means of ASW but for ASW; range and endurance is always needed; whether for a MPA or a helo. Depending on the circumstances a helo will always strive to engage a contact as far away as possible to keep the mothership out of range of the contact’s weapons …. Ultimately both the MPA and helo will be operating at different distances.

  48. … “Those are decent times. You are not going to use the lynx as an MPA”
    May I add to Azlan, from the little time spent with some of them, their practice is to have enough fuel to reach a backup landing point if they can’t land at their home base. That would cut short further of the 2 – 3 hours endurance to actual available operational time.

    … “Say if we use the CN-235 as MPA, we could probably forward deploy one to layang2”
    As with the B200T M41-04, I would think they’ll still operate from Labuan instead of Layang-layang.

  49. @ azlan

    “You’ve missed the point”

    The main reality is, we cannot afford brand new ASW helicopter of the likes of seahawk romeo, the NH90 or the merlin. Our defence budget as it is right now is even lower than the philippines. Indonesia with bigger budget than ours, resort to AS565 MBe Panther for its ASW helicopter requirements. To upgrade our 6 super lynx to ASW probably cost about 2 brand new ASW helicopters. Lets upgrade 1st, and replace it later down the line when our funds allow. Having super lynx to do ASW is better than having no ASW helicopter at all.

  50. ….. – “Having super lynx to do ASW is better than having no ASW helicopter at all””

    Not if it doesn’t result in the desired capability. ASW is time consuming. Having a ASW platform with such limited endurance when only carrying sonar or when carrying sonar and only 1 torp isn’t a solution.

    Which is precisely why the RMN doesn’t want to go down the ASW upgrade route; because it doesn’t provide a good value of investment in the overall capability it provides…. Another issue is that configuring our Lynxs (the 6) means that we’ll have less platforms for other tasks; various tasks the Lynxs perform; whether general surveillance, SAR or complementing the mother ship’s eyes and years.

  51. “Things will get much more complicated if the helo- due to tactical limitations – is operating alone and only has a single torp.”

    Our LCS, Lekius and Kedahs are limited to one helo, maximum.

    “their practice is to have enough fuel to reach a backup landing point if they can’t land at their home base. ”

    You’re talking about MPAs, Azlan was talking about shipborne ASW helos. The CN-235 MPA has an 8 hour endurance. A Fokker 50 pilot told me 6 hours is typical (but that’s not ASW.) A P-3 pilot told me 9 hours is typical but the type is known to operate with two or even three engines shut down, so it can get longer.

    Reply
    He was making a point about the Super Lynx and how it is operated. It will be an important consideration for a future ASW helicopter

  52. In any case, we can’t afford a credible ASW capability. But perhaps we can afford a token capability that gives us some degree of knowledge in the field, to inform our surface units and submarines.

  53. Are we getting the best ASW Frigate out there like the FREMM, type 26 or the hunter class? No. But why is no pushback for the Gowind as ASW frigate but not lynx for ASW helicopters? Lynx for ASW is better than no ASW helicopter at all.

    The navy is going to get new MUHs. So no worries about lynx unable to do utility tasks.

    @ am

    “But perhaps we can afford a token capability that gives us some degree of knowledge in the field, to inform our surface units and submarines”

    Ditto. And upgrading instead getting new ASW helicopters will spare the budget (lomg with no OPVs for the navy) to get 1 more scorpene and 3 more gowinds before 2030, which is IMO a more important capability to have.

  54. Off topic –

    Deputy defence minister has stated the annual cost to operate and maintain one of our submarines is RM100 million.

  55. AM – “perhaps we can afford a token capability that gives us some degree of knowledge in the field, to inform our surface units and submarines””

    We’ve had a “token” capability for more than 16 years now actually – the first certification release trials from
    a Lynx, for the Whiteheads were done around 2003. By this stage the RMN has a very good idea as to what it needs and why the Lynx with its limitations is not the platform for dedicated ASW.

    The next step is to having an all rounded ASW capability for the LCS is to have a dedicated ASW helo with the needed endurance and lift capacity. No point having a decent towed array if the embarked helo is not up to the job. In addition to the endurance needed to detect, track and engage a contact; endurance and some level of range is also needed because the helo (depending on detection ranges) will try to keep the contact as far away from the mother ship as possible.

    Another negative point about Lynx/Wildcat is the lack of space for sonobuoys: which are an absolutely must unless there’s a scenario where conditions are so ideal in that there’s such a strong fix on the contact that the Lynx merely has to fly over it and release a torp; whiteout having to constantly change position to detect a very quite sub and doesn’t need the input provided by sonobuoys. Unlikely ….

  56. @ AM

    That should be the cost for the whole sub force, as he say it includes the cost of RMN submarine dock in Kota Kinabalu.

    Even if it is RM100 million per sub, 2 subs will be just RM200 million.

    The cost for our MRCAs annually is way more than that (at least RM300 mil annually)

    Anyway it is a small percentage of our Operational Expenditure for the Defence Ministry, which is RM12.5 billion allocated for 2020. That context is not understood by the masses, including the very high deterrant value to money a submarine can provide to the country, especially with the South China Sea is being looked as one of the possible conflict area in the future. Also need to be understood is that the cost to operate and maintain our own submarines is way cheaper than the cost for us to deter and hunt foreign submarines in our waters. Being the hunter is cheaper than finding the hunter.

  57. AM – “Our LCS, Lekius and Kedahs are limited to one helo, maximum””

    Which is more reason for a helo with sufficient endurance, range and lift capacity. A helo operating alone and with limited endurance will have to head back to refuelled. By that time, assuming the mother ship hasn’t had its keel broken by a heavyweight torp; the contact might be several NM away and whatever contact the mother ship has might be lost.

    Ed Liew,

    The Beechcrafts don’t operate from Layang-Layang; they make brief stops there but that’s it. Nothing operates from there although aircraft do land there. There are no proper facilities there. If they do “operate” from there it’s for very brief periods

  58. “We’ve had a “token” capability for more than 16 years now actually – the first certification release trials from a Lynx, for the Whiteheads were done around 2003.”

    I see, I was under the impression ours are not fitted for ASW. What sort of detection equipment do they have?

    Reply
    Our Super Lynx are not fitted with any AS detecting equipment it will have to rely on its mother ship for a targeting solution

  59. …. – “Also need to be understood is that the cost to operate and maintain our own submarines is way cheaper than the cost for us to deter and hunt foreign submarines in our waters. Being the hunter is cheaper than finding the hunter”

    To effectively “hunt” other subs; our subs would ideally need a towed array to complement its flank array sonar. There are also reasons SSKs tend to be less ideal for hunting other subs compared to SSNs and why by and large the main role for the main role of SSKs for most navies is not to hunt other subs.

    When it’s all said and done; no single platform provides a solution: will take a combination of ships, MPAs, subs and other means (whether intel, ELINT ot underwater sensors) to effectively detect subs in our waters or along the periphery.

  60. @ azlan

    What i meant is the “hunter” is looking for surface ships as prey.

    Take for example thr falklands war. The presence of british subs forced the argentinian navy to stay in their harbours. The presence of the lone argentinian sub forced the brits to allocate plenty of resources to search for the sub.

  61. ….,

    I’m well aware of the resources that are needed to deal with the mere presence of a sub or two. The Falklands isn’t the only example; East Timor, the 1971 India/Pakistan War and even as far vs j as the Battle Of The Atlantic.

    I was merely pointing out that to really get the best out of our subs; they also have to used in conjunction with other assets.

    Also the Argentine subs were operating in a much larger area with deeper waters. You no doubt will point out that in the open ocean there will be less challenging acoustic conditions but the fact does remain that our Scorprnes will be operating in much more confined waters compared to the South Atlantic and unlike Argentine subs, will be in range of land based MPAs. We can also assume that certain “players” in the Spratlys might deploy land based helos on their reefs and underwater sensors. As such operational conditions and challengers will be somewhat different compared to the Falklands.

  62. @ azlan

    ” the fact does remain that our Scorpenes will be operating in much more confined waters ”

    Yes, the south china sea is a much more confined area compared to the south atlantic. That does not change the fact that submarines is a very important asset for its deterrence value. Its more confined area is also why IMO gowinds + lynx (with the latest lightweight sonar and processors) is still something good to have rather than no ASW helicopter at all.

    On another topic

    In the near future most of the big powers will be sending their naval battle groups to the south china sea. For example the carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, will make her maiden operational deployment as part of a joint US-Dutch-UK naval mission to the South China Sea in 2021. Which side would we stand on this? Would we welcome the ship to dock in Malaysia?

    Reply
    RN will have no problem if MY dont welcome it, it will simply docked in Singapore

  63. ……

    It’s great if endurance is not needed but experience over the decades has shown that whether in the littorals or in the open seas: in the vast majority of cases ASW is time intensive and requires airborne assets to have the needed range and endurance as well as carrying capacity for torps and sonobuoys ….

  64. There is no reason why we’d not allow her to dock; not as if she’s taking part in military ops or being rearmed in our ports. If we welcome USN (some in refurbish to conducting FON missions); as well
    as PLAN ships to our ports and bases; we’d certainly allow Elizebeth as well as part of the diplomatic game we play.

  65. @ azlan

    If you have USD500 million.

    What would you use that to buy?
    1 more scorpene submarine?
    6 brand new MH-60R romeo?

    Which one would give more deterrance value in south china sea?

    If we have vast amounts of budget, i am all in for a new ASW helicopter. But in reality i dont see we can afford it, and it would not give any value if we can just afford to by 2 brand new ASW helicopters. Why I would prefer just upgrading our 6 super lynx for ASW. Philipines is using 2 wildcats, and indonesia is also having only 2 AS565 panthers modified for ASW duties. I would prefer the budget for new ASW helicopters be used to get another scorpene before 2030 instead.

  66. “If those museums (RAF Museum, Duxford, Fleet Air Arm Museum, etc) want something that has no direct connection to the military history of their countries or conflicts participated in (the Fleet Air Arm museum already has a Sea King)”

    Foreign museums won’t have much interest in our aircraft. It would make more sense if we preserved some of the rich variety of foreign aircraft that operated here over the years (we already have a Mirage III inside the gates at Butterworth). The problem is we can’t even keep the aircraft we have from falling into disrepair. Another problem is Dr Kua will call it the glorification of colonialist militarization or something like that.

  67. …. – ”Which one would give more deterrance value in south china sea?”

    This question shouldn’t be asked at all and conflated as both are intended for different things.

    … – ”Why I would prefer just upgrading our 6 super lynx for ASW.”

    That is your opinion.

    The fact still stands that a ASW aircraft needs sufficient endurance for the very time intensive job that is ASW and it also needs sonobuoys.

    You’d prefer the Lynxs be upgraded, fine but it’s not going to happen as the RMN doesn’t see the value in doing so given the overall capability provided …. The RMN’s stance is that it is willing to wait longer for a ASW helo [approval already granted] funding rather than go for the stop gap, inadequate solution of converting the Lynxs …

  68. AM – ”Foreign museums won’t have much interest in our aircraft.”

    Indeed. Unless there was something particularly unique or special with it.

  69. P.S.

    If circumstance dictates that only the Wildcat can be afforded then fine but given a choice [thousands of words have been expanded here on the subject] there are legitimate reasons why the Wildcat isn’t [like for many others] the preferred option.

  70. Well azlan, i have heard that before also when i suggested LCAs instead of MRCAs. Just putting out options that takes into account what malaysia can really afford, rather than what is the ultimate best out there. If everything the airforce/navy/army knows best, might as well have no discussions at all.

  71. … “That should be the cost for the whole sub force, as he say it includes the cost of RMN submarine dock in Kota Kinabalu.”

    The figure is per sub (he said “sebuah”) and a newspaper report confirmed it today.

    “There is no reason why we’d not allow her to dock; not as if she’s taking part in military ops or being rearmed in our ports.”

    Azlan “We can also assume that certain “players” in the Spratlys might deploy … and underwater sensors.”

    In s “confined” sea like the SCS, it can be safely assumed.

    “ASW is time intensive and requires airborne assets to have the needed range and endurance as well as carrying capacity for torps and sonobuoys”

    In the old days, this was overcome with hunter-killer pairs of aircraft. The Grumman Guardian had one aircraft carry surface search radar and another carry bombs. Wild Weasel F-105 pairs had one detection fitted and one conventional aircraft.

  72. Interesting. Thinking aloud, for sea denial why cant we buy plenty of sea mines n during times of crisis sow enough mines to cause the aggressors a headache and once they clear resow them quickly

  73. @ lee yoke meng

    Mines will of course be one of the options for sea denial. The problem with mines is that it will deny both enemy and our own forces use of the area that is mined. Then there is the problem deploying mines as close as possible to the area where the aggressor is. Ideally we should mine the aggressors harbour, or narrow channels where aggressor forces sail. Covertly we can use our subs to lay mines, quickly it will be by C-130s. Need to get self protection systems though for the C-130s. Other option will be with commercial offshore supply vessels that can be requisitioned in emergency.

    The only mine in our inventory is the MR80/B, bought 35 years ago. No idea how much is our stock of the mines. It would be ideal if we can have mines that can be deployed by our Su-30MKM.

    BTW an in depth article on the latest dutch/belgian MCM system
    http://en.meretmarine.com/next-generation-mcm-systems-belgian-and-netherlands-navies/211491

  74. “Thinking aloud, for sea denial why cant we buy plenty of sea mines n during times of crisis sow enough mines to cause the aggressors a headache and once they clear resow them quickly”

    A possibility worth exploring, since even the best mine clearing capabilities take a lot of time and few countries invest anywhere near enough in them. This would be useful exclusively in a state vs state conflict. They have plenty of limitations though.

    My concern is even if mines could work for us, they aren’t cheap in the large numbers we would need, considering the length of our borders and the seaspace around them. It’s also impossible to completely stop traffic or we would effectively be blockading Korea, Japan, Taiwan and a third of Russia. You would have to sow a meaningfully large number of mines and then make the safe corridors known to all.

  75. …., – “ If everything the airforce/navy/army knows best, might as well have no discussions at all”

    It’s telling that you have to fall back in that again.

    If you sit back and think about it you’d realise that I’m not using the “army/RMAF/RMN knows best” line (as you confidently claim). I’m merely saying that despite personal preferences as to what one would thinks is the best or more ideal solution; the armed services have legitimate reasons for wanting or not wanting to do certain things. Not only that but there’s little sense in arguing for something if the armed services or the government for that matter have zero interest it intention. Also, don’t give that “just presenting options” line. Nobody said we can’t discuss options or alternatives but doing so perpetually and disregarding the downsides of certain options is plunked when the end user and the government has no intention or interest.

    …. – “i have heard that before also when i suggested LCAs instead of MRCAs””

    You have a selective memory with things that don’t fit in with your narrative. I’ll remind you what was spoken then : at that period the requirement was for a “MRCA” not a “light attack/trainer” (which incidentally is what KAI describes the F/A-50 is). You kept harping on the merits on the F/A-50 whilst I reminded you that the requirement (then) was for a MRCA .

    You pointed out that we couldn’t afford a MRCA and that a light attack/trainer (I’m your view naturally the K/A-50) could do some of the things a MRCA could; yes but that’s not the point. The requirement as laid out by the end user and approved by the government was a ‘MRCA” …..

  76. Mines…

    Laying them are the least of our problems. Any RMN ship with rails (some have them, some don’t) can lay mines. They can also be laid by any trawlers/fishing boats which have rails and a GPS.

    The issue is having “minefields” is that must covered by air assets and if possible land based ASMs. Failure to do that will result in the other side being able to detect, sweep and neutralise the mines unmolested. Same goes with land mines. A minefield ideally also has to be covered by MG fire or enemy engineers will be able to do their job without any disruptions …

    The nature of mine warfare has also considerably changed. The vast majority of mines remain acoustic/magnetic types whose designs have hardly changed in decades. The danger is RAP mines and mines that are programmed to detonate upon detecting a specific acoustic signature. Those are hard to deal with and on top of that could be enclosed in ceramic or other types of casings that are hard to detect. Like ASW; MCM is time intensive, requires constant practice and is a skill that takes a while to acquire.

    Various countries sell mines but of course in the case of traditional NATO mine producers – like Italy – only ‘export” fuses will be sold to non NATO countries. Same goes with the Chinese; they’ll be happy to sell us mines but it’s given that certain types won’t be sold to anyone. It’s worrying when you think about it; the technology used to do certain things in phones can and is being used for “smart” mines

    I have no idea about “smart” electronic mines but the value in older traditional mines is that they require little maintenance, have a very long shelf life and are inexpensive.

  77. … – “The only mine in our inventory is the MR80/B, bought 35 years ago””

    That is the only mine that has been publicly mentioned. There have been others.

  78. Of course i remember clearly. Right now the requirement is 6×6 KJA, no requirement for AWACS, no requirement for additional submarines. So cannot at all discuss about alternative to 6×6 KJA, cannot talk about AWACS, cannot discuss on options how to get additional subs before 2030?

  79. Mines are like submarines. Both have high deterrance factor. Both needs high amount of resources by the adversary to find and neutralize.

    But subs can be selective on their targets, unlike mines. Both have their uses in sea denial purposes but mines have very narrow context of use, and will be a headache to remove and neutralize once hostilities ended.

  80. …. – “ight now the requirement is 6×6 KJA, no requirement for AWACS, no requirement for additional submarines””

    Actually that’s wrong. There are requirements for those: just a matter of what’s been approved and what hasn’t and what’s scheduled for funding in the coming years and what isn’t ….

    Also, I get the sarcasm (to be expected) but equating the 6x6s to other things doesn’t fit the narrative. To take a page out of your book; it would be to continue insisting that despite the army having a need for 6x6s, that the requirement can actually be net by a different type of vehicle despite the requirement being for a 6×6 ….

    …. – “nd will be a headache to remove and neutralize once hostilities ended””

    Not if proper records have been made and kept as where the minds were laid; i.e. when it came to sweeping Haiphong harbour of mines they had earlier laid, it helped tremendously that the Americans had a proper accounting as to numbers and locations.

    It tends to only or mainly becomes a major problem when mines are laid indiscriminately and no proper accounting is made as to numbers and locations; ie. Afghanistan, Cambodia, etc. With regards to sea mines a problem is when moored mines break free from their moorings and start drifting.

  81. AM – “In the old days, this was overcome with hunter-killer pairs of aircraft””

    Even now; when possible MPAs will work in pairs, I’d possibly. It also helps if the ships have more than just a single embarked helo amongst them or have ships with a pair of helos (a rarity but not unheard of).

    Given that our ASW helos will operated in small numbers and that ships will be unlikely to have more than 2 amongst them at any given them; it’s imperative for the helo to have some level of endurance and range and the ability to have at minimum a pair of torps and sonobuoys. A nightmare scenario would be a short legged helo on the verge of getting a good enough solution to release a torp; only to have to back because of its fuel state or a helo needing a 2nd torp which is lacking because it’s carrying a dipping sonar and can only carry a single torp.

    As you mentioned before, the ability to conduct airborne ASW depends entirely on having air superiority. Whether it’s the Battle of the Atlantic or the numerous exercises conducted over the past few decades; when free to carry out their trade uninterrupted; ASW aircraft (even if they don’t physically destroy anything) are effective at preventing subs from doing what they’re supposed to do.

    Also vital to keep in mind that a SSK’s Achilles heel is its battery levels and that a non AIP boat has to snorkel (makes it extremely vulnerable to detection). ASW units will try their best to exploit this to their advantage and it won’t be a good day for a sub if it’s forced to surface because its run out of batteries.

  82. AM – “In the old days, this was overcome with hunter-killer pairs of aircraft””

    Even now; when possible MPAs will work in pairs, I’d possibly. It also helps if the ships have more than just a single embarked helo amongst them or have ships with a pair of helos (a rarity but not unheard of).

    Given that our ASW helos will operated in small numbers and that ships will be unlikely to have more than 2 amongst them at any given them; it’s imperative for the helo to have some level of endurance and range and the ability to have at minimum a pair of torps and sonobuoys. A nightmare scenario would be a short legged helo on the verge of getting a good enough solution to release a torp; only to have to back because of its fuel state or a helo needing a 2nd torp which is lacking because it’s carrying a dipping sonar and can only carry a single torp.

    As you mentioned before, the ability to conduct airborne ASW depends entirely on having air superiority. Whether it’s the Battle of the Atlantic or the numerous exercises conducted over the past few decades; when free to carry out their trade uninterrupted; ASW aircraft (even if they don’t physically destroy anything) are effective at preventing subs from doing what they’re supposed to do.

    Also vital to keep in mind that a SSK’s Achilles heel is its battery levels and that a non AIP boat has to snorkel (makes it extremely vulnerable to detection). ASW units will try their best to exploit this to their advantage and it won’t be a good day for a sub if it’s forced to surface because its run out of batteries.

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