PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak left for Saudi Arabia this morning (May 13, 2011) for a two-day official visit to the Kingdom. On Saturday, he is scheduled to make an official visit to Qatar.
Ties between Malaysia and both countries are rather tight but more towards business, not military. There is a significant opportunity for us to tap in both countries military arsenal, especially on second hand military hardware. There is also the opportunity to tap Saudi or Gulf state funds for our own nascent military industry instead of just real estate and more real estate!
But as the story below shows, its already going, going….gone. Of course there are other opportunities in the horizon but are we too concerned about getting the funds down here again to build the city of dreams instead tangible ties like upgrading planes and building tanks? Not likely….
From Defense Industry Daily
Turkey Buying Used Saudi Hercules
Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review reports that the US State Department has approved the resale of 6 Saudi C-130E Hercules medium tactical transport planes to Turkey, green-lighting a deal that was struck in summer 2010. Under US law and the terms of its arms sales, State Department approval is required when reselling any American defense items to 3rd countries.
Turkey is reportedly buying the planes at a bargain price. Specifics aren’t given, but the figure is described as “below $10 million per plane.” That compares to around $70 million for a new C-130J, but the last C-130E rolled off the assembly line decades ago. Saudi planes are likely to have comparatively low flight-hours, compared to other C-130E fleets, which should give the TuAF several years of service as they wait for other projects to deliver. One issue involves the refurbishment and avionics modernization of the TuAF’s existing 13 C-130 planes (7 C-130E, 6 C-130B). Other countries like Sweden have already taken these steps, but Turkey’s C-130 “Erciyes” program, which began in 2006, is delayed. Meanwhile, the TuAF’s 10 contracted Airbus A400Ms, which were supposed to begin picking up the load for its 19 retiring C-160 tactical transports, will be several years late. Hence this interim buy.
Saudi Arabia operates 30 regular C-130E/H models, a number of specialty variants, and 6 stretched civilian L-100-30 counterparts. According to Aviation Week’s 2009 database, however, only 3 of the L-100s were still flying. Scramble’s databases suggest that Turkey may be receiving all of the Saudi’s flyable C-130Es.
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