Another View on TUDM CAP 55

Four Hornets in formation as they came back to land at Subang after the training flypast over the SIC on Sept. 29 2017.

SHAH ALAM: Another view on TUDM Cap 55. A guest post by …It has been 10 months since I had written a piece on TUDM plans here In that short period of time we have seen a historical change of government, and the launch of a very generalistic plan from TUDM in the shape of CAP55.

RMAF Cap 55 plan

A glaring omission from the CAP55 document is the resemblance of any form of timelines. The most important item in a plan is the program timeline. How can we plan without set times? In contrast the TLDM 15 to 5 plan is so comprehensive, a document that shows a very deep planning of what operational outcomes that is required from TLDM, and what resources that they need to accomplish that.

RMAF Sukhoi Su-30MKM seemed to hang in the air at the Singapore Airshow 2018

After studying more in depth about our budget allocation for defence, it is clear that my previous assumption of USD2 billion per Rancangan Malaysia for each Service cannot be afforded by the government.

Instead I have put an even lower target of USD1.6 billion per 5 year Rancangan Malaysia for the air force. With lower realistic budget comes very hard decisions to be made. As stated in the very simple 9 pages long CAP55 PDF, basic planning (asas perancangan) needs to consider:

1. Kemampuan (affordability)
2. Tepat pada masa (timeliness)
3. Efektif (effective)
4. Realistik (realistic)

A lot of the targets need to be set to more realistic (ie lower) levels. All of the items laid out in the CAP55 plan also needs to be taken into account.

The most important thing in my opinion is for the plan to have a clear focus of operational outcome. For example
1. Fighters – To have 24h QRA capabilities. Clear CAS, Strike and Air Superiority goals.
2. C4ISR air – Information superiority and sharing from air of the air, marine and ground domain. Ability to jam and degrade enemy radar and communication ability. MPA/UAV capability able to reach any part of malaysian waters. Able to find and locate any boats or ships in malaysian waters in 24 hours.
3. C4ISR ground – clear 24hr information picture of malaysian airspace
4. Helicopter – CSAR and SOF capability. Most transport duties and VIP passed to Army PUTD.
5. Transport – strong airbridge between east and west Malaysia, ability to support deployment and sustainment of PARA forces.

RMAF CN235 M44-05. TUDM picture.

From the CAP55, it is clear that some of the tasks to be passed on to other services. General helicopter transport duties to be borne by Army PUTD as the helicopter squadrons to be halved from 4 to just 2. Similarly PUTD could require some small fixed wing aircrafts like the Twin otter or the M28 Skytruck as a partial replacement of CN-235 capabilites. APMM on the other hand would need to shoulder some of the maritime patrol duties, especially those basic surface surveillance done by the Beechcraft B200T King Airs. Actually I would prefer the 3 remaining King Airs to be passed on to APMM.

Below is the revised plan taking into account of just USD1.6 billion for each 5 year Rancangan Malaysia’s

RMK11 16-20 1.1bil
A400M payment 600mil last 1/3rd payment of the USD 1.8 billion contract
28 F/A-18A/B(used Aussie) 100mil 12 F/A-18A, 8 F/A-18B, 8 F/A-18D, 8 F/A-18A spare. 18Skn + 12Skn.
12 EC-225LP(used) 120mil
SU-30MKM overhaul 150mil
12 Ecarys ES15 UAV 120mil 4 systems with 3 uav per system

RMK12 21-25 1.6bil
40 TA/FA-50M 1300mil 16 TA-50, 24 FA-50. Hawk/MB-339CM replacement 2 operational Sqn, 1 FLIT Sqn
6 CN-235 MPA conversion 140mil
1 GroundMaster GM403 radar 30mil
SU-30MKM overhaul 130mil
-3+1 C-130H Avionics Upgrade 0mil Sell of 3 long fuselage Hercules to fund the Hercules upgrade. Buy 1 short fuselage Hercules (the one in AIROD) and convert to special forces support aircraft with air refuelling, FLIR, DIRCM, ESM system, SATCOM, armour and extra fuel tanks.

RMK13 26-30 1.6bil
2 A400M 320mil partly used spain/UK/Germany allocation
8 PC-24 80mil multi-engine training, Medevec, utility, VIP
2 A319CJ 100mil Used aircraft to replace leased A319/20CJ
C-130H-30 upgrade 100mil 8-blade propeller, engine, SATCOM upgrade for rest of the fleet.
3 G6000 Erieye ER AEW&C 600mil
1 G6000 HAVASOJ EW 150mil 1 EW jammer,
2 G6000 (used) 50mil 2 VIP/training (used) to replace Global Express

IMO the best time to have the LCA/FLIT is in RMK12 2021-2025. Right now our remaining quantity of Hawks (13 single and 5 dual seat) and MB-339CM (7 dual seat) is not enough to fill up 2 operational and 1 FLIT squadrons. If we delay this further, then we will have to spend money to replace the Hawk, MB-339 and Hornets all at the same time, something we surely don’t have the budget to do so. How do I get the USD1.3 billion? I based it on around USD420 million cost of 12 FA-50 for the Philippines and USD400 million cost for 16 T-50 for Indonesia.

RMAF Hercules M30-05. File picture

C-130H upgrade
I suggest we sell some of our long fuselage C-130H-30 aircafts to fund the upgrade for our C-130 fleet. We have 14 C-130H (9 long fuselage, 5 short fuselage). We could sell 3 of the older long fuselage Hercules, and buy 1 short fuselage Hercules for special forces/CSAR support (something similar in capability to the MC-130H combat talon). The sale of 3 long fuselage Hercules could get at least USD50 million, with the Avionics modification (based on rockwell collins cost for Pakistan upgrade) on malaysian Hercules fleet to cost around USD24 million (USD2 million per aircraft). That leaves a budget of USD26 million to buy a used short fuselage C-130 Hercules (the one stored in AIROD probably), and upgrade it with FLIR turret, floor armour, SATCOM link, DIRCM, Chaff and flare launchers, In-flight refuelling probes, extra internal fuel tanks. That would leave us with 6 long fuselage Hercules, and 6 short fuselage Hercules (1 normal, 4 tanker, 1 special forces/CSAR). Another round of upgrades, this time for the 8-bladed propellers, engine upgrades, and SATCOM for the rest of the fleet to be done in RMK13

Saab GlobalEye AEW platform. This is the second aircraft undergoing its flight test. Saab

AEW&C and EW capability
The plan is to have Erieye NG radar on Bombardier Global 6000 airframe, basically a “Globaleye Lite” with only the Erieye ER radar system. It would have datalink capability to communicate with fighters, ships and land units seamlessly. One Global 6000 would also be equipped with the Aselsan HavaSOJ Electronic warfare and jamming system. This along with ground and naval based Ew systems, also with MKM’s Knirti SAP-518 systems would provide a comprehensive EW warfare capability that could be a big game changer in future conflicts.

RMAF EC725 flying at the opening ceremony of LIMA 17.

Reduction to only 2 helicopter Skuadrons from the current 4 means that some of the tasks that is borne by TUDM will need to be taken up by Army’s PUTD. This would also mean that VIP helicopter tasks would also be passed on to PUTD. An all blackhawk PUTD transport unit of around 18 units (including former TUDM VIP whitehawks) would be an adequate support to the 24 EC735/EC225LP fleet of TUDM. Plenty of sources of used Blackhawks (Brunei, Australia, USA, Jordan to name a few) is a low cost solution to finally replace all the Nuris in Malaysian service.

Ground Radars
A move to increase the quantity of ground-based radars from the current 6 to 9 radars is a good move in my opinion. Probably a move to an all GM403 radar system would be a good way to reduce the cost of many different types of radar we operate now.

Thales Raytheon GM 403 radar. TUDM

5th Gen fighters
We would need to induct new 5th gen fighters as our MRCA in around 2032-2035 to replace our Hornets. By that time, probably there would be more than a few types of in-service 5th gen fighters that we could choose from. As of buying from China, they are an emerging power of asia and the world, therefore we just cannot engage china with hostility. We need to peacefully co-exist with China. There is an increasing number of interesting military hardwares coming out of china and we should not dismiss the possibility of using some of them.

One of the two USMC F-35Bs at the Singapore Airshow 2018.

Hard times needs tough decisions. Firstly TUDM cannot continue to plan and demand things that is beyond what the government can clearly afford (like the previous request for Typhoons and Rafales), and needs start to prioritise things that will give big contribution to the operational outcome in defence of Malaysia. Secondly the government needs to give a clear indication of what is the budget amount for TUDM. But IMO it falls to TUDM to first show the plan to the government, like what TLDM did. If the request is valid and affordable then surely the government will allocate the budget to the service. I am hoping that TUDM can come out of a more comprehensive plan better than what I as a person can think of. Asia Pacific is fast becoming the new hot sport of the world and we cannot let TUDM of the future be just a shadow of its past. Of course we cannot predict what would actually happen in 30 years time but we can plan with the best of our ability to prepare for most eventualities.

* The thoughts expressed here are solely of the author, and does not reflect the views of Malaysian Defence.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 1179 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. What about the ground-based air defense (GBAD) for the RMAF in CAP 55? What are your thoughts on that, Tripledot? :V

  2. 120mil for 12 S.Puma can only pay for the pre-delivery refurbishment with the civil equipment. A realistic number is 15 mil per frame if we commit a dozen at a time.

    Blackhawks are abundant, but no matter old or new, whole or part, they are strictly restricted assets when export. And VIP blackhawks are no blackhawk. Looking at our dire supporting industry, it is always certainly more expansive comparing an up-to-date choice. Going forward, for comfort gov may just hire. Otherwise all high value transport is understand to be done by the S.Puma.

    AF looking to shrink their rotary fleet is just a weak attempt to kick the ball to the Army. Nothing fundamentally changing for the Services as a whole. S.Puma is still the de facto transport for all mission critical flight. Who owns it, who gets the burden. The only saving grace is when gov pull both the Police’s 139 and the Bomba’s 189 to MMEA, effectively taking over the future marine SAR coverage (ei Kuching/KK/Penang/Subang/Johore. At least whatever new toy they are getting will not be water down by standby machines. But this is not in their control.

    120mil gets you exactly 12 Ecarys ES15 plus ground stations.

    No matter who you refer to, we do not need more Transport. Charlies at Airod yard are either in ownership trouble or financially liable. If you really fancy one, get from a legit source. No Hercs will go anywhere. They do not worth much until the next round of global war by the States. Mothball them or be a Christmas tree has better yield. Together with all the 235 retrofitted into MPAs, AF pretty much hit this target.

    As for the upgrade, If you really fancy adding two more Atlas, then there is no need for any of the KC/CSAR Charlies. the requirement left with 4 “normal” for logistic purpose. Drop their fancy dream and keep it simple for now. 1 mil all in per plane if they buy in bulk of 10. Special force dedicated ride? Think too much.

    P-24 thingy is all unnecessary and strange choice for the intended missions. King Air does the job just fine. The old Falcon can be used as jet trainer.

    The A319 will be replaced with charter flights. Smaller party will hang on to the Global Express until retire.

    As for the whole fighter situation, realistically, go all in the LIFT/CAS/FA with one type multi variant. Ride on the Flankers and Hornet for as long as they can, then switch to 1 type of 5th Gen after 2030s. 24 5th Gen split into two Sqd plus 48-64 LIFT/FA is all we can afford with projection of 5% annual growth until 2035.

  3. I like your spirit tripledot.
    But 28 FA-18 (ex-RAAF) is too much and 100mio is to cheap.
    40 TA/FA 50 also too much.

    How about operational cost and maintenance for them? How about ground support?
    8+28=36 hornet
    40 FA50
    18 MKM

    8+10=18 hornet
    24 TA/FA50
    18 MKM
    Sounds better

  4. @ m

    Well I have seen ec225lp sold at USD5 million each, and there is still one SAR version for sale publicly for USD7 million. How much is the cost to overhaul the epicyclic module? To get it to mil spec you need to add the Collins Aerospace Talon RT-8200 programmable digital communication systems, new GPS/NAV, any others?

    As for the charlies, I am looking at a reduced fleet of 12, if those stored at airod are gone case then probably from other sources. Just thinking of some of the hercs would be used as the replacement of the lost CN-235 capability.

    PC-24 costs just a little bit more than the king air 350, got jet speeds (800kph), standard rapid change cabin, standard cargo door, plus even shorter takeoff and landing distances than the king air. It is even designed from the start to be able to land on unprepared airstrips. So why not?

    Remember there is ‘DIRAJA’ in the airforces name somewhere. It is embarassing to see the agong to be flown on chartered aircraft and piloted not by airforce pilots. Selling the global express and getting Global 6000 will standardise the maintenance and training of the AEW&C, EW SOJ and VIP fleet.

    In my original writing there is a priority list and a phase out timeline.

    Priority list
    1. additional hornets
    2. MPA/ISR
    3. LCA/FLIT
    4. AEW&C/EW
    5. 5th gen MRCA

    Phaseout timeline
    – MiG-29 retired
    – S-61A-4 Nuri 2020-2022 (55 years old)
    – Hawk 108/208 2023-2025 (30 years old)
    – Aermacchi MB339CM 2023-2025 (20 years old)
    – F/A-18 2031-2033 (35 years old)
    – PC-7 MkII 2038-2040 (40 years old)
    – C-130H 2041-2043 (60 years /50 years old)
    – CN-235-220 2041-2043 (40 years old)
    – SU-30MKM 2051-2055 (50 years old)
    – EC725/EC225LP 2051-2055 (40 years old)

  5. @ marhalim

    As usual, thank you for posting my thoughts on your website. Well it is quite redacted from the original writing, but the point I want to bring across is that TUDM needs to realistically plan to a lower budget than what they would be comfortable with.

    @ Xan Vreda

    GBAD? In my opinion the current Starstreaks allocated to TUDM is good enough for self defence of TUDM installations. Other than that, it is better to leave more potent systems like MR SAM to RAD GAPU.

  6. Aselsan HavaSOJ stand off jammer

    @ romeo

    Remember 25 hornets sold by australia to canada cost USD68 million.

    28 hornets but not all for operational use.

    12 single seater for 12 skn (practically a replacement for the retired MiGs)

    8 twin seaters to add to 18 skn and as trainers for the fleet

    8 more as spareparts or to rotate with the operational fleet.

  7. @ marhalim

    There is missing 5 GroundMaster GM403 radar 150mil in RMK13

    There would be another 2 GM403 in RMK14.

    My plan is actually up to RMK16 2041-2045 but as it is not published, i’ll just leave it at that.

  8. No one will actually let go at 5mil. At best you get a trashed basic transport that is too heavy for AF’s taste. You will then nego a 4 mil fixed cost C check plus all the AD/SBs. Non schedules are cost plus. Optional SB is on your bill. Comms and Nav need to go. AP and Radar need some retrofit. Structure and fuel system need bullet proofing. Cabin and doors to be retrofitted. Several dozen of fixed provision to be added. Power plant to be retrofitted. The list goes on. Just to illustrate, one of the component needed for the AP retrofit cost US$1mil. Even at US$15mil is a deal only for a bulk purchase.

    The reason why P-24 is strange because you based all those with listing price.

    Diraja has to settle with a smaller party on a GE6000 or F7 in the future. Otherwise, let the peasant PM do the travel on a charter instead.

    If Atlas is indeed position as a strategic lift, then the pilot pool will have to ramp up their hours for the level of proficiency. These hours will have excess lift volume that eats into the need for Hercs. And render Hercs a gap filler for some arbitary lifting. It is almost guarantee when Atlas reach full cap in AAR, KCs will be the first to be grounded.

    If we were to talk about realastic, no chance for additional Hornets or future MRCA if lift is funded. LIFT+FA+F-35 or european equivalent is the only choice we have.

  9. How about ex Kuwaitis AF F/A-18C/D Hornet will be available after their receipt new fighters aircraft right..

  10. If we only have 1.6bil and almost 30% is to pay for the A400 which is already here then we are in deep shit. I strongly think base closure is critical. Early retirement of some assets would release operational cash for capital purchase. Take a step back to move forward. UK lived a few years without any operational carrier and jump jets with actual war comitment while we have none. The RMAF specifically needs a turaround plan .

  11. @ m

    Additional EC225LP is basically a nuri replacement, and as is (in civilian guise) it is already way more capable than the nuri can ever be. So IMO just add mil-spec radios and nav/com and it is good to go, probably upgrades can be done later when funds are available. For missions flying into contested airspace, the EC725 is there.

    The PC-24 price is USD8.9 mil, and I actually set USD10 mil for each plane. 8 aircraft is also a bulk buy.

    6 Atlases would be flown as the main airbridge between east and west malaysia. Need to fly often? Reduce all those commercial flights to ferry military and government personnels. Get 1 simulator for the atlas. The KCs can be upgraded with new baskets for EC725 refuelling, or we can use US EDA to buy firefighting tanks for the charlies.

    My original article is edited/redacted. In planning, timelines are important. LCA/FLIT is to be bought in RMK12 2021-2025. MRCAs would be in RMK14 2031-2035. To wait it out till 2031, we need some used hornets to reinforce the 18 SKN, and partially replace the MiG numbers that has been retired. So actually used hornets, LCA/FLIT, MRCAs are all needed, just in different point in time.

    @ pendekar laut

    USD1.6 billion ceilling is just what I think TUDM can ask and what I think the government can afford. Hopefully in the white paper there will be a mention of minimum budget to be allocated for the services, without the paper is just not worth the cost of the paper it is printed on.

    @ fadiman

    It would be the best to get those kuwaiti hornets, but it seems that it would be nearer to 2025 that it would be retired, and that is something IMO we cannot wait. Next best is those aussies, available now and with known cost.

    @ Shahrudin

    Dont dwell too much on RMK11, it has probably been spent anyway. Look at RMK12 and beyond.

  12. By shrinking the fleet from 36 to 24, it is clear that the air taxi role has been kicked to the Army. AF themselves do not need rotary air taxi. All S.Puma will be expected to be CSAR/SAR capable. And even for air taxi, 332 is cheaper to buy new and run.

    P-24 is indeed $10m per frame. A 350 is at $8m. For 8 you lose two frames in comparison. And you do not need the speed and ceiling as a trainer nor the range for medevac. As a young nation, all our air strips are decently length. Why bother to spend more?

    If the LIFT is coming in dozens and the armed version is as capable as Hawks were in its era, then AF already have their patrol vehicle. Both Hornets and Flankers can then minimize hours with standbys and train on simulators. Used Hornet ABCD does not bring anything new to the table. The obsolescence issue can only be worse.

    Your Charlie obsession is going against your “realistic plan”. Again why bother to spend more on both reinventing the wheel to AR helicopters when Atlas can, and to ferry people when charter do it cheaper? Charlie H will be mothball as an important reserve for air bridge cap needed one day. 4 will remain to preserve pilot currency.

    Regardless of timeline, your plan is under budget. The actual funded asset will be half of your assumption.

    In 16-20, only Atlas and Flanker overhaul will be funded. 1 ScanEagle type system may be funded. New S.Puma fleet may be “technically funded” that in reality eats into next budget cycle. If dream comes true, the dozen of birds will also need two new bases and another 6 trainers.

    21-25 will only see 12 armed LIFT and Current Puma overhaul in the new bill. CN235 fleet need funding for both bridging and MPA conversion to maximize value. Ground radars may very well get funded. Charlies will get mandatory retrofit only. KC to retire. Additional ScanEagles is possible. Others are very unlikely.

    26-30 will see another 24 LIFT/FA, up to 12 PC-12, Flankers MLU, and 1-2 Atlas on the bill. 2nd Puma fleet will need dynamic overhaul. The MPA conversion continues. More ground radar or upgrade. Possible MRSAM introduction. Additional ScanEagles as replacement is possible.

    31-35 will see 12 5th gen and Atlas MLU on the bill. 2nd Puma fleet will bridge the 12 year and join the fleet wide MLU with the 1st fleet. More ground radar or upgrade. MRSAM introduction continues. Hornets to retire.

    36-40 will see 12 new FA/F, LIFT overhaul/MLU, 4 C130J and 2 AEWC on the bill. 6 MALE will come with retirement of ScanEagles. MPA needs MLU. MRSAM reach full coverage. All Charlies H will retire.

    41-45 will see 12 5th gen, 3rd AEWC, 4 C130J and FA overhaul/MLU on the bill. MALE sqd stand up. Flanker retirement.

    46-50 will see 6-12 CUAV on the bill. With S.Puma fleet and MPA fleet due immediate replacement. LIFT due replacement in 5 years. Technically all target reached.

  13. @ m

    If TUDM just needs to fulfill CSAR/SAR roles, the current 12 is enough, you dont need 24 full spec CSAR birds . In reality it would still need to support the navy and army vertical lift requirements, so the additional 12 would be fine to civil O&G specs with just the addition of mil spec VHF/UHF radios and some other avionics IMO would be fine.

    At list price , PC-24 is USD8.9Mil, B350 is USD8Mil. As I said both costs nearly the same and can do the same task, so why not use jets? It would also be faster for government, military leaders to travel on jets, no?

    I just added some budget for flanker overhaul, i expect another half from OPEX budget. Most other overhauls on OPEX budget.

    And what is with the PC-12? Yes it is cheap but you cannot do multi engine rating/training in them!

    MR SAM leave it to be under the army budget.

    We need to add some used hornets to replace the numbers lost when the MiG is retired. Just 18MKM + 8 D hornets is too little top end fighter quantity. Those aussie hornets are at an even later upgrade spec than our own hornets, so no obsolescence issues there.

    Your end target would leave malaysia with just 12 MRCAs! That would be a joke of south east asia.

    I dont believe combat UAVs to be a solution to MRCAs. Heavy jamming will cause them to drop like flies.

    My original timeline

    RMK11 16-20 1.1bil
    A400M payment 600mil last 1/3rd payment of the USD 1.8 billion contract
    28 F/A-18A/B(used Aussie) 100mil 12 F/A-18A, 8 F/A-18B, 8 F/A-18D, 8 F/A-18A spare. 18Skn + 12Skn.
    12 EC-225LP(used) 120mil
    SU-30MKM overhaul 150mil
    12 Ecarys ES15 UAV 120mil 4 systems with 3 uav per system

    RMK12 21-25 1.6bil
    40 TA/FA-50M 1300mil 16 TA-50, 24 FA-50. Hawk/MB-339CM replacement 2 operational Sqn, 1 FLIT Sqn
    6 CN-235 MPA conversion 140mil
    1 GroundMaster GM403 radar 30mil
    SU-30MKM overhaul 130mil
    -3+1 C-130H Avionics Upgrade 0mil Sell of 3 long fuselage Hercules to fund the Hercules upgrade. Buy 1 short fuselage Hercules (the one in AIROD) and convert to special forces support aircraft with air refuelling, FLIR, DIRCM, ESM system, SATCOM, armour and extra fuel tanks.

    RMK13 26-30 1.6bil
    2 A400M 320mil partly used spain/UK/Germany allocation
    8 PC-24 80mil multi-engine training, Medevec, utility, VIP
    2 A319CJ 100mil Used aircraft to replace leased A319/20CJ
    C-130H-30 upgrade 100mil 8-blade propeller, engine, SATCOM upgrade for rest of the fleet.
    3 G6000 Erieye ER AEW&C 600mil
    1 G6000 HAVASOJ EW 150mil 1 EW jammer,
    2 G6000 (used) 50mil 2 VIP/training (used) to replace Global Express
    5 GroundMaster GM403 radar 150mil

    RMK14 31-35 1.6bil
    32 FC-31 1400mil MRCA part payment
    2 GroundMaster GM403 radar 60mil

    RMK15 36-40 1.6bil
    FC-31 1200mil MRCA part payment
    24 New Basic Trainer 300mil Replacement for PC-7 MkII

    RMK16 41-45 1.6bil
    12 New Tactical Transport 800mil Replacement for C-130
    6 New MPA 800mil Replacement for CN-235MPA

    RMK17 46-50, RMK18 51-55
    We don’t even know what kind of technology available at that time. I don’t think we can even plan what to buy in 2046.

    Priority list
    1. additional hornets
    2. MPA/ISR
    3. LCA/FLIT
    4. AEW&C/EW
    5. 5th gen MRCA

    – 2025 fighter fleet – 18 Su-30MKM, 28 F/A-18A/B/D, 40 TA/FA-50M
    – 2045 fighter fleet – 18 Su-30MKM, 32 FC-31, 40 TA/FA-50M

    Phaseout timeline
    – MiG-29 retired
    – S-61A-4 Nuri 2020-2022 (55 years old)
    – Hawk 108/208 2023-2025 (30 years old)
    – Aermacchi MB339CM 2023-2025 (20 years old)
    – F/A-18 2031-2033 (35 years old)
    – PC-7 MkII 2038-2040 (40 years old)
    – C-130H 2041-2043 (60 years /50 years old)
    – CN-235-220 2041-2043 (40 years old)
    – SU-30MKM 2051-2055 (50 years old)
    – EC725/EC225LP 2051-2055 (40 years old)

  14. Wanted to point out we now have five CN-235, not six. We lost one in a crash almost three years ago

    We have seven, we bought eight originally

  15. @ AM

    The one that crashed is the 7th CN-235 out of 8 we have. The last 2 CN-235 is specifically configured as VIP aircraft for the airforce leaders.

    Breaking news. Negotiations to start on the barter deal between Spain and South Korea on A-400M swap with KT-1 and T-50. Spain has 13 excess A-400M that it intends to dispose off.

  16. Hungary is selling its retired fleet of MiG-29s. It is to be sold as a lot comprising 19 aircraft (some of which are not airworthy and partly cannibalised), 20 engines, and 293 other items including integrated weapons for HUF2.8 billion or USD10 million (yes USD10 million, not a typo)

  17. I’d say we need another 8-10 used Legacy Hornets from Australia and Kuwait. The associated refurbishment may take up most of the project’s budget so extra numbers is unlikely. After all, we still need those jet trainers/LIFT cum light fighter aircraft.

  18. …,
    Am afraid you have very simple idea of what a S.Puma can do. We always commented that they “flew them like a truck, what a waste”. Can’t say no more, but should give you enough hint.

    P-24 vs King Air is getting lost. Again, your point is surrounding catalog price and spec. Unless you can access AFM and credible quote, I am afraid I cannot do more.

    Overhaul as in a C check, yes it is OPEX. But Overhaul as in Mid life overhaul is most probably development budget. But OPEX/CAPEX is only a technical discussion as the gov has never see the armed force as a technology centre. End of the day a lump sump is provided where each branch to demonstrate spliting their share into two categories that has no fundamental effect in accounting.

    MRSAM to leave it to Army? I heard that before, but most probably will not happen.

    PC-12 was a typo for PC-7.

    We are not getting any worse keeping the same frontlines and interceptors while adding some well armed LIFT. And seems that you have not much idea what is the state of the Hornet.

    I think you need to read better. The end goal is to have 24 5th gen with at least 36 light jets. But the point is moot. See below.

    CUAV has nothing to do with MRCA. And jamming cause them to drop? Perhaps you can start by reading how a seft driving car works.

    Your numbers are grossly under budget as I pointed out earlier. And in fact my list is just an adaption of yours to hit milestone like a game. But in reality, such scheme has no practibility as it will left them with half of the gained asset obsolete by 2055. And non of these assest will ever gain their full combat readiness if maning sqd is moving on every 10 years. That being said, recapitalized budget must be specially allocated like the Navy did in thier 15/5. Bulk purchase of brand new assest must be done in early 2020s to set the formation and renewal done in late 2040s will shape the final goal in 2055. Used asset will only be considered if they decided to postpone the plan beyond 2030.

  19. @ m

    What super puma can do, and what the super puma is really used for is 2 totally different matters. Is our current EC725 even equipped for CSAR duties such as armor, missile approach sensors or chaff/flare launchers? No (but thai CSAR birds do). Do we really have full operational capability to do CSAR? I dont think so. So as we use super pumas for the same missions as our nuri, as i said current EC225LP standards plus mil spec radios is more than capable to fulfil those missions.

    Thai H225M with armor visible at the pilot doors, missile approach sensors visible at nose and chaff/flare launchers on the tail.

    I’ll leave the PC-24 at that.

    The state of the hornet? Better than the MiGs obviously with tons of available free spare parts that won’t generate profits to middlemen.

    To be continued

  20. @ m

    Continued from above.

    Self driving cars do not operate in hostile jamming conditions and need datalinks to control them. They have road line and signboard recognition to guide them. The controller (passengers) is actually in the car itself, not hundreds of miles away. Im sure you have little idea on autonomous cars as you dont work in that field?

    Read my full plan carefully in the comments section. Probably not as what you want. Why do you buy LCA/FLIT and MRCA by piecemeal, with MRCA buy 1 and 2 10 years apart? BTW even USAF has no plans up till 2055. IMO the most reasonable is a plan now up till 2040. Probably in 2030 there could be a plan for 2040-2055.

    As for the fighter, we really need a long range fighter in the form of MKM or similar long range capability for south china sea. Its long range, and the ability to fire supersonic anti-ship missiles (the mach 3.5 capable Kh-31) is something most MRCA candidates does not have. MRCA is IMO something to replace our hornet capabilities. I am looking at the MKMs to serve TUDM up till 2050 at least, and hopefully a similar long range platform would be available to replace its capability. If not we will lost the unique capability when it is retired.

    BTW yesterday (friday) was APMMs 14th anniversary. Happy birthday APMM!

  21. …,
    If you are planning for your plan, no comment. But I am afraid air taxi not what the AF wants.

    You does not seem to know much about Hornet, I will have to leave it as it.

    Self driving car is indeed a good read for a quick start. If you are interested to learn, try google dependent and independent guidance.

    If your writing is about your plan which “realistic” is not part of the discussion, then there is no restriction of what you can or cannot plan for.

  22. @ m

    The air force wants alot of things, rafales for instance. But in the bigger scheme of things, which is more useful for the helicopters? waiting for the day CSAR is needed, or doing mundane tasks as what the nuri did? That is also the reason why LCA/FLIT is much more an urgent requirement rather than the MRCAs that TUDM wants for the last 10 or more years.

    On CUAV. The C in that acronym is for Combat. It does not matter if it needs GPS or has advanced internal INS systems that is jam proof that it could fly around and return to base autonomously. How can you do tactical maneuvers, say need to take out a sudden danger that is attacking friendly forces if you cannot link the controllers with the CUAV? The CUAV cannot think by itself, unlike a pilot in a Fighter jet.

  23. … “In defence, it is not essential for us to win a conflict against a bigger stonger nation like china. What is important is for us capable to defend ourselves in probably the first few weeks of conflict, fight back and force everyone to the negotiation table to diplomatically sort out the mess.”

    Ideally, you should have the means to retain control of your objectives. If you do not, the next best thing is to have means to raise the costs -in terms of political costs and the time, uncertainty, resources and losses- that the enemy must suffer in the process of taking them.

    The ways to inflict those losses have to be credible and resilient. For example, in the case of land based anti ship missiles, you need a CONOPS involving mobility and concealment so they can survive to threaten and sink enemy ships. SAMs likewise have to evade the enemy’s SEAD efforts and present a credible threat to the enemy’s aircraft for a meaningful length of time.

    One does not automatically seek to inflict heavy losses as doing so will sink the possibility of a political solution. But one needs to have credible means to be taken seriously in such a situation.

  24. “Universal adapter and fire control system for plug and play use of chinese bombs and missiles on russian or western fighters. ”

    More likely to see some people turn their transports into gunships.

  25. IMHO opinion though we certainly lack of supersonic airframes to do day to day operation, what we more lacking is the necessary budget to properly maintain the equipments in hand. True the SU30 is not the best there is in the region, but it stll packs a powerful punch and create a strong deterrence factor in our favor. If what i am hearing is right, key issue with the SU30 is that we dont want to spend up to RM1 billion of (USD320 million) for the mid life refurbishment program. If we cant afford USD320 million, how people think that we can afford up to USD2 billion in new MRCA and up to USD400-USD500 million on the LCA?

  26. Unguided ordnance might see some use. If guided, it’s practically installing a Chinese GPS tracking device on your Western fighter.

  27. @ chua

    Any electronic emissions from any devices on board an aircraft can be detected and geolocated by ESM devices, no need for specific chinese made ones.

  28. More info on the HavaSOJ stand off jammer system. 2 Global 6000 aircraft has arrived in turkey to be converted into the HavaSOJ system. FYI the Global 6000 is based on the global express aircraft, which is also used by TUDM. Global 6000 is also the platform for the Saab Globaleye AWACS system.

    IMO the HavaSOJ is a capability that TUDM needs to have to prepare for future threats.

    Aselsan HavaSOJ stand off jammer

  29. Royal australian air force is seriously upgrading its electronic warfare capability, now adding 4 MC-55 Peregrine electronic warfare aircraft to its fleet. With growlers, f-35, wedgetail and now peregrine, RAAF is building a serious EW system that would be one of the most capable in the region.

    I believe EW is something TUDM should also focus on, upgrading MKM EW suites, getting AWACS and EW platform like the HavaSOJ.

  30. There is again a push to buy MRCA now (2019) instead of later.

    I want to emphasise that we need to think in the context of time (now till around 2040) and capability of others (our neighbours and china)

    1. We still have our Su-30MKM as our MRCA. It is still one of the most advanced fighter in our neighbourhood. It is only around 10 years young, its varints will still be the main fighter for indian and russian forces for many years to come.

    2. Any expensive MRCA we buy now will be obsolete in 10 years time, no different to our current MKM. In around 5 years time our neighbours will field stealth fighters in the form of F-35 (singapore), KFX (Indonesia), J-20 & J-31 (china).

    3. We need the numbers, buying expensive MRCA now cannot solve the lack of numbers we are facing. Our current fleet is
    18x Su-30MKM
    8x F/A-18 Hornet
    12x Hawk 208
    5x Hawk 108
    Just 44 fighters. We used to have about 70 fighters. Our current hawks are good for CAS and point defence, but does not have the speed to even chase commercial airliners for QRA missions.

    Our peculiar situation means that.
    1. We cannot afford big numbers of MRCA now, and we should wait a few more years anyway to have 5th gen fighters as our MRCA option.
    2. We can add used hornets and trade MiGs for more MKMs as a stopgap for the MRCA buy post 2030. Used hornets + free additional MKM in exchange of MiGs is the lowest cost alternative to buying MRCAs now.
    3. To mitigate the low fighter numbers, our LCA should also be capable to shoulder QRA missions done previously by MiG-29s. This means that we need to have supersonic capable LCAs. We also need to have around 36-40 of these LCAs to restore the depleting fighter numbers in our fleet.

  31. “Aruna Gopinath, a former professor from Universiti Pertahanan Nasional’s Centre for Defence and International Security Studies, noted that Malaysia faced a number of challenges in maintaining its maritime security.

    Speaking to FMT, she said the challenges included those coming from international criminals operating in the Sulu Sea and those posed by countries making territorial claims in the South China Sea”

    If your concern is maritime security Professor Gopinath, your advice to TUDM should be to prioritize the long delayed MPA programme, not the MRCA, which we obviously have no budget to buy (which would cost north of USD2 billion) in the numbers that we need. How can the MRCA contribute to combat criminals in sulu sea? What can the MRCA do to monitor foreign coast guard ships encroaching our EEZ? Isnt prioritizing the MPA a better use of limited resources (money, that does not grow on trees) that we have?

    “She also noted that Vietnam and Indonesia were better equipped than Malaysia in air power. “There’s always a need to be prepared for combat,” she added.”

    Thanks for stating the obvious professor. What is your long term plan for TUDM? A pakcik or ah pek chatting in kopitiam can also say buy MRCA now. Is that the best in long term for TUDM? Or would it damage TUDM capability to train new pilots (lack of LIFT platforms) or capability to patrol our EEZ (flight international reported a few weeks ago only 1 of our beechcraft MPA is operational out of just 3).

  32. Just a recent example.

    Morocco has been cleared to buy 25 F-16V. Total cost of that deal is USD3.787 billion.

    Can we afford anything like that cost? No.

    Is it prudent to buy non-stealthy fighter now when our neighbours are looking at F-35 and KFX? No.

    Would the option of getting other assets now such as LCA/LIFT, MPA, AWACS and EW aircrafts before even looking at new MRCA better? Yes.

    Just my 2 cents. As a nobody with no PhD or Proffesor stuck to my name.

  33. “Can we afford anything like that cost? No. Is it prudent to buy non-stealthy fighter now when our neighbours are looking at F-35 and KFX? No”

    For that matter, no country can afford an all stealth fleet. Even in a full on conflict with peer states, non-stealth fighters will play many supporting roles, even in air to air combat alongside their stealth brethren. Use of these aircraft in less demanding roles frees up the stealth platforms for other things.

    The USAF and USN are retrofitting AESA to their fighters, and have ordered new build F-15X and Super Hornet Block III, which they wouldn’t be doing if non-stealth aircraft were no longer relevant.

    The important thing is that we buy what we can afford and badly need now, and that it is affordably and efficiently supportable in the long run.

    On that note, I once suggested upgrading our Hawks with PGM capability. Not to turn them into fighters, but so that we don’t have to send MKMs and Hornets whenever we simply want a PGM dropped, which effectively gives us more fighters available for air to air.

  34. @ AM

    Never did i suggest an all 5th gen stealth fighter fleet. But buying any new MRCA now will mean we will not have any steath fighters for quite a few decades. Why? If we buy new MRCA now, it would consume the best of 10 years budget to get them. By then you need to replace a very elderly fleet of hawks and MB339. Not to mention still no AWACs in sight.

    AESA can be retrofitted, but to our current hornets, to be used up till 2030. Buying new 4th gen MRCA now for the sake of AESA is not a good thing to do.

    Costs and capability is also the reason I suggest to look for a new LCA/LIFT 1st, to beef up the numbers of available fighters(at least 36-40) , improve the dire straits of fast jet training, to streamline the light jet fleet to just 1 type. However we upgrade our hawks, the number remains at just 12 single and 5 twin seaters.

    While CAP55 puts the fighter fleet to just 2 MRCA and 3 LCA/LIFT squadrons. IMO 2035 TUDM fighter fleet should look like this:

    1SKN of 22x Su-30MKM (12+4 operational, rest stanby/maintenance)

    2SKN of 24-30x 5th gen MRCA.

    3SKN of 36-40x supersonic-capable LCA/LIFT.

    And we should have dedicated MPAs and AWACS too by then.

    BTW can anyone that suggests to buy MRCA now do a multiple 5 year plan to 2040 at least, like i did in this article so we can compare? Budget USD1.6 billion per 5 year rancangan malaysia like i did, and lets see which idea would give the best capability to TUDM.

    This is my timeline to 2045

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