Artillery Regiment Ad Hoc Formed Up

The guns of 8th RAD. BTDM

SHAH ALAM: Barely two months after it was stood up, the 8th Royal Artillery Regiment (ad-hoc) has already conducted its first stable (inspection) parade on Nov. 17 at its new headquarters at the Kem Penrissen Lama, Kuching, Sarawak. The unit was stood up on Sept. 8 with 14 officers and men at the Kem Sungei Besi.

For the parade, 8th RAD has five officers and 114 other ranks together with a complement of Oto Melara 105mm Pack Howitzer guns and Weststar GK-M1 gun towers. As it is still an ad-hoc unit, most of the men were attached to the regiment from other units until the administration work is complete to make their transfer permanent.

The CO of 8th RAD taking a salute at the stable parade on Nov. 17 2021. BTDM

Some officers and soldiers of course would returned to their old units as others are transferred to the unit. The unit will lose the ad-hoc designation once it is declared fully operational though it is unclear when will it be done. Perhaps it will take one year as with the 1st RAD.
Checking the equipment of the Weststar GK-M1 gun towers.

As for the guns and vehicles, again this would be transferred from other units or the Army”s reserve stocks. The 105mm guns are likely those from the 1 RAD (Para) which had converted to the Nexter LG1 MkIII 105mm guns.
All there? Inspecting the equipment for the 105mm PH guns.

It is likely that the Army will stand up another RAD unit this time in Sabah as part of its realignment of TDM units based on the Army Strategic Capability Development Plan (Army 4NextG). It is likely that the new unit will also get hand-me-down equipment though that may have to wait for new ones to be bought first of course.
1st RAD Nexter guns on the firing line. BTDM


— Malaysian Defence

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60 Comments

  1. An additional firepower in S&S is always welcome. Even indonesia is stationing their hard hitters in kalimantan (both the KH-178 and 179) so we need to do the same to at least keep the parity

  2. Making something out of nothing like a conjuring trick, by parceling out a clutch of existing men & equipment from currently available to setup a whole new unit. Maybe is just to justify an increased budget next year on the pretext of additional staff & equipment for the new unit.

  3. 6th Royal Artillery Regiment with 105mm pack howitzers in Lok Kawi Sabah has been for quite a long time the only permanent artillery regiment in East Malaysia. If a new regiment to stand up in Sabah, it would be for 155mm guns, or a GAPU unit?

  4. ”by parceling out a clutch of existing men & equipment from currently available to setup a whole new unit. Maybe is just to justify an increased budget next year”

    Using personnel from an existing unit to form a cadre of a new unit [which can be expanded on a t a later date] is a common occurrence here and worldwide. Without resorting to this there would be no other way of raising a new unit. We did the same things with all the sub units of the new Division in Sabah and with virtually every new unit we raise. Some of the transfers are temporary; some aren’t.

    The trick is to transfer personnel from an existing unit in order to assist in the raising of a new unit; without having adverse affects on the existing unit.

  5. @Gonggok
    I suspect the new unit might get hand me down G5s from Peninsular based 155mm arty units which are going to transition to SPH when it eventually arrives.

  6. Marhalim,
    Now I can see what you said before if PH did not cancel those M109, TDM would have better options and flexibility to strategies their positioning. Now it’s like don’t have the M109 for the number required and not knowing when the government will approve funding for the new SPH. Fault of all the politicians with their own agenda…

  7. @Ed Liew
    As I said before, something is better than nothing. But the ATM brass & even some commenters here think that having nothing is the better choice which to use to defend our country.

  8. Something is better than nothing is not right, really. However the excuse for cancelling the M109 – they were too old – was not the real reason. It was just an excuse

  9. everyone knows that the TD was forced by PH government to save money.

    they tried with the MD530 but the contract was watertight.

    the only thing they could offer for the sacrifice was the M109.

  10. “even some commenters here think that having nothing is the better choice which to use to defend our country”

    Some commnentors fail to take into account that there are various long term factors which have to be considered and that the “something better than nothing” is a simplistic subjective cliche which looks great on paper but does not take into account various factors.

  11. gonggok – the only thing they could offer for the sacrifice was the M109″

    In the first place they weren’t ethusiastic about it as they never even asked for it and they had already set their sights on wheeled platform. The army was fully prepared to wait a bit longer for a systen which fitted into its CONOPs and was in line with other requirements.

  12. Gonggok Joe,
    Perhaps Marhalim is just being polite not to open PH can of worms.
    Azlan,
    How would you categories the army SPH priority to other requirements?

  13. Nobody disputes buying new is better than 2nd hand. Like buying cars, certainly buying new confers more long term benefits: longer warranty & service, better reliability, cheaper maintenance & spareparts in the next decades, wider scope of upgrades, and simply who doesn’t like new when one have the option to go for it, right?

    But buying new is an expensive affair and while it has all those long term benefits, the problem is high entry cost of brand new. Our pertinent problem is short term (ie lack of cash) and not long term worries. With a limited budget, sure, we could still get brand new but not at the numbers we envisioned (a little of everything but not enough to be significance) or else, like TDM, not buy anything until such a day when the Government finally decides relent to TDM desires (when that is, is not set in stone).

    Meanwhile hoping that nothing serious will happen, naturally of course we aren’t in danger of serious conflict with anyone, hence why TDM played their gambit with the M109/Ceasar issue, but that was gamble they took with our national security.

  14. Not to worry we are renowned for our ‘menabung first’ philosophy..but strangely enough after ‘menabung first’ for quite a long time still cant buy a thing lol

  15. Really curious about that mpa and male uav tenders..close to one year already after their tender offers concluded..

  16. @Firdaus
    If you see where the development money goes to, you will realise what happen to those duit ditabung: “…the Labuan airbase will also see a number developments to boost its capability and capacity in RMK12 with an allocation of some RM118 million, Ikmal said.
    The bulk of the money is to build 97 family housing of various classes which will start next year”

  17. Ed,

    Personally I feel that the Royal Artillery Corps has not received the same level of attention as the army’s other combat arms. SPHs should be a priority, before the 6x6s.

  18. ”Nobody disputes buying new is better than 2nd hand.”

    Incorrect. Buying new isn’t always better as it depends on the particular piece of kit and the circumstances. In this case the army clearly did not want to track platform which did not fit into its CONOPS and other requirements.

    Nopthing wrong with buying new as long as it meets CONOPS and other requirements as set by the end user and doesn’t not lead to any long term issues. No point achieving short term costs savings only to have to a pay a penalty at a later date …..

    ”but that was gamble they took with our national security.”

    That’s how you see it in your line with your narrative but in actual reality the army made the needed trade offs/decisions after weighting a whole list of long term pertinent factors on totality…

  19. Ed Liew – Yes it would open the PH can of worms, ie saving money at all costs and ending contracts with non-PH friendly entities.

    The SPH was something much more of a priority than the MD530G. SPH american excess defence article request was from the service, not something pushed by political hands like the MD530G. At the time, te line of thought is that it was better to get the nearly free M109 rather than wait for wheeled SPH budget probably only available in RMK12 as most of the army development budget is locked in the Gempita project. But then for the first time in malaysian history a new political master emerged, and force you to sacrifice something to save money, something has to go. The army (and Mat Sabu) first choice was to end the MD530G contract. Kementah tried everything from delaying to find corruption evidence, to non-compliance with contracts, but the contract was watertight and they cannot cancel without inflicting serious costs on the kementah. The next low hanging fruit was the M109 SPH, and that is why it was cancelled.

    Joe – buying new depends. For example why should anyone buy brand new Alza right now even with 2.5k discount when it is going to be out of production in 2 month’s time? As you said, you need to look at the long term benefits. Buying something new now that will be detrimental to our long term requirements is not a good buy. Buying 2nd hand as a short-term gap to get a much more potent equipment in the near future is better than getting something new but will be obsolete in less than a decade from now.

    Examples?

    Getting new Rafale or Typhoon now, instead of getting used hornets as stop gap and buying platforms with stealthy characteristics in 10-15 years time.

  20. ” by political hands like the MD530G. At the time,”

    The M109s offer came via the DA’s office at the embassy [from time to time we get EDA offers] and it too initially was a political thing on our part.

    “The next low hanging fruit was the M109 SPH, and that is why it was cancelled.”

    It was also cancelled because it didn’t fit in the army’s CONOPs, the Artillery Directorate wanting a cheaper to buy and maintain wheeled platform.

    “but will be obsolete in less than a decade from now.”

    Correct which is why we have to be very selective, some things pre owned will suit us in the long term and some won’t. Depends.

  21. “Nopthing wrong with buying new”
    And I see nothing wrong with buying used either as long we made the necessary refurb & upgrades prior to use and know what we’re getting without any preconceived notion or bias. To each their own, nice to have new if got money. But what happens if not?

    “the army made the needed trade offs”
    That trade off was our national security. If we had stuck to M109s we’d gotten them by 2019/2020 and now 2-3 years later we still have nothing to show. As I said, we got lucky nothing happened so far. But what if something did happen?

  22. “upgrades prior to use and know what we’re getting without any preconceived notion or bias”

    Again. It did not fit into the CONOPs and for reasons I have given a wheeled platform was selected. This was after years of planning and evaluation abd not due to any “preconcieved notion or bias’ as you would have us believe.

    ‘That trade off was our national security’

    To you no doubt but in actual reality it wasn’t. It was after taking into account a whole list of long term factors relating to CONOPS, suitability, costs, etc …

  23. @gonggok
    “that is why it was cancelled”
    Political expediency but also with tacit approval from TDM when they could forced down a decision to get new later on by discrediting buying used.

    Regardless even if it were going to be out of production soon, it is still a newer platform and brand new out from factory, hence warranty & spares will get better support. That is the crux of someone’s point of argument but nobody disputing that. The M109 is an venerable platform but importantly still in production now into the A7 iteration, the US Forces will continue to use it for the next decades and other users could extend that further.

    “factors relating to CONOPS”
    To you no doubt everything must follow CONOPS but CONOPS is not set in stone and should be flexible enough to cater for changes & enhancements. Again, it is nice to have plans laid out with everything you want, but the world in reality not everything will go according to plan and often major adjustments have to be made, that includes not getting the exact brand new tools that one prefers but instead only can get used ones or inferior ones. One has to make lemonade out of lemons and not just mope & throw tantrum refusing other alternatives because the only other alternative is NOTHING, which is exactly what we got for 2 year and running. Nice to talk about CONOPS, suitability, costs, etc, when there is nothing on hand. Just cakap kosong atas angin while waiting for new toys to arrive dunno when.

    If we’re uppity about everything must be spanking brand new or nothing, we’d soon find ourselves facing a very real counterpart at the border armed with very real used SPHs and what do have as parity? NOTHING.

  24. “Nice to talk about CONOPS, suitability, costs, etc, when there is nothing on hand”

    Also very nice to look at things from a paper perspective in line with ones narrow and centered view of things without understanding that the army has legitimate reasons why it felt that pre owned M-109s were simply not suited for its needs [based on a paper evaluation of it as well as feasibility studies done on SPHs over the years] and also based on operating costs of a tracked platform and other inherent issues that it simply wasn’t a sound long term investment. The army is resource intensive and has on many occasions paid the price of being forced to operate stuff ill suited for its needs. Again : silly to gain short term savings only to have to pay a penalty at a later date.

  25. ”To you no doubt everything must follow CONOPS”

    Incorrect chum … Sorry to break it to you; I know it’s a revelation but everything armies do are driven by CONOPS, doctrine and various considerations.

    ”not set in stone and should be flexible enough to cater for changes & enhancements.”

    Nothing is holy writ but this in this case the army had a choice and it made a choice after careful evaluation and making the needed trade offs : it wasn’t a case of being bias or having pre conceived notions as you’d have everyone belief. If it was forced to accept the M-109s [like various other things in the past] it would have made the needed trade offs. Don’t convey the – inaccurate/misleading – assumption that the army is incapable of readjusting or making the needed changes when presented with no alternative.

    ”One has to make lemonade out of lemons and not just mope & throw tantrum refusing other alternatives because the only other alternative is NOTHING”

    Strange that but with your penchant for typing in bold it would appear that you’re ”moping” and ”throwing tantrums”…. The army recommended against M-109s and when presented a chance it did away with the deal. it didn’t ”just mope & throw tantrum” as you blissfully claim.

    ”If we’re uppity about everything must be spanking brand new or nothing,”

    The only one who is ”uppity” it appears is you .. The army has no objection to buying pre owned [as you continue to insist] but it depends; it must meet its needs and it must be something which presents a sound long term return of investment.

  26. joe – we are not buying new M109. it is used. why are you fixated with just the howitzers? it is about all the things we buy for defence.

    azlan – if you compare the two, MD530G and the M109 SPH, actually the army does feel that it could do without the helicopters, with the funds freed then able to be used to buy other things. Cancelling the M109 SPH does not really save any money, just a political show that something is cancelled to “save” money. Because they are unable to cancel the MD530G which is the first choice, they went to the second in the list, which is the M109 SPH. That does not mean the MD530G is more useful than the M109 SPH. Also the M109 SPH, as it costs nearly nothing, can be presented as a stopgap capability, until there is money to buy wheeled SPHs in RMK12 or RMK13.

    More on buying used. There are things that might be not worthwhile for other country, but is ideal for us. For example, used Kuwaiti Hornets. For a country that the Hornets is a totally new aircraft for them, it is not worthwhile to get them, as the need to train, the need to create supporting infrastructures, for the just 10 years of planned useful life of those legacy Hornets. For RMAF, which has nearly 25 years experience in operating the Hornets, with multiple support infrastructures including simulators and engine test cells in place, adding used Hornets to the fleet for a stopgap 10 years of use is a no brainer. By getting used, you could always get more airframes than you need as spares source, or swap out with airframes that is used up to its maximum hours. Just discard worn out airframes and parts until all of them are worn out.

    We have bought something new and it became obsolete and unsupported in just about a decade or so. We bought new JERNAS for 315 million dollars, and just a year after our JERNAS was fully operational, UK announced it is replacing the rapier with a new system, and the rapier is now replaced by the Sky Sabre.

    MB339CM we bought new, but with many parts canibalized from our old MB339 including engines and ejection seats. We signed the contract for 88 million euro in 2009, we got the planes in 2012, and after a crash in 2016, they were grounded until now.

    Now RMAF wants to buy 24 new helicopters in RMK13 2026-2030, which is just a few years away from advanced FVL being operational with US Army. Is that a good plan? Or is it better just get used EC225 now instead of leasing to add to the existing EC725?

  27. gonggok – ””Cancelling the M109 SPH does not really save any money,”

    No it clearly was not and I didn’t suggest it was.

    gonggok – ”Also the M109 SPH, as it costs nearly nothing, can be presented as a stopgap capability”

    On paper yes. In reality the army was concerned about the operating costs of a tracked platform and the other inherent issues associated with a tracked platform. It wanted something with a lighter footprint; including something which could be air flown if required; it wanted a certain mobility level but came to the conclusion that for our terrain a wheeled platform would suffice and it wanted an upgrade which was beyond the scope of the upgrade agreed upon. in short; for it’s particular needs; in line with its resources and other issues; the end user decided that M-109s was not a sound long term investment.

    gonggok – ”For RMAF, which has nearly 25 years experience in operating the Hornets, with multiple support infrastructures including simulators and engine test cells in place, adding used Hornets to the fleet for a stopgap 10 years of use is a no brainer”

    It is a ”no brainer” on paper if certain conditions are met … All these issues have been discussed to death over the years. First ask yourself why the RMAF is reluctant to get them? It has to do with the costs associated with a 34 year old airframe which will only get older when it actually arrives. After the 15 year mark jets then to get more maintenance intensive requiring more post flight maintenance hours. Things also break down more frequently – all this equates to a strain on existing resources and more money.

    Is the government able to provide a guarantee that the used Hornets will be retired when the times comes or will they be operated indefinitely with the possibility of no replacement? Will the government use this as an excuse to further delay the MRCA programme [yes similar things have happened before]? Will the government provide additional operational funds or will the RMAF [as is often the case] expected to make do with what it has? Are we in a position to get sufficient quantities of ordnance and ground support equipment [can’t assume the previous owner will be overly generous].

    In short there are a lot of factors to consider; not merely buying something because on paper it looks logical or practical.

    gonggok – ”By getting used, you could always”

    Like others before you; you’re putting emphasis on all the plus points without factoring the various issues and nuances involved. Yes we should get the pre used Hornets but only if certain conditions are met. Failure to do that will lead to even more issues in the long term.

    gonggok – ”Or is it better just get used EC225”

    to me; if pre owned Cougars are available and can be acquired at the right price and require as little modifications as possible; then yes. As I’ve pointed out out many occasions here over the years; somethings we should get pre owned; others we shouldn’t. We have to be selective.

  28. gonggok – ”and just a year after our JERNAS was fully operational, UK announced it is replacing the rapier with a new system”

    We should not have bought Jernas but not because the Brits were binning Rapier… We should have bought something with growth potential; something with missiles in a canister; something launched vertically [for obvious reasons]; etc. Jernas is capable; it is fully networked; has an excellent radar and EO sight and has a fast reaction time but we could have gone a different route.

    gonggok – ”after a crash in 2016, they were grounded until now.”

    The MBB-339 is a decent trainer [not a LIFT per see]. The decision not to get new engines was because of a government that didn’t want to spend what was needed. Had we bought new engines the fleet would still be operational.

  29. azlan – “Failure to do that will lead to even more issues in the long term”

    The hornets cannot be used past 2035 at best anyway. The support for them by NAVAIR will stop around 2030. It must be clear that the used hornets, that will be acquired at very low prices will only be a stopgap capability until a new stealthy MRCA is ordered in RMK14.

    azlan – “we could have gone a different route”

    Yes, we could have gone a different route. There are plenty of things that is currently very “capable”, typhoons and rafales for example. That does not mean we should buy brand new these items that is at the end of their growth potential, even if there are plenty of other nations right now that is looking to buy them.

    Azlan – “Had we bought new engines the fleet would still be operational.”

    The MB339 is only designed to fit the RR Viper turbojet. RR Viper brand new engines was last produced in the 1990s, so you cannot buy at any price brand new RR Vipers when those MB339CM was built. The RR Viper originally designed in the late 40s as a disposable target drone turbojet engine and was subject to many recurring maintenance issues over the years.

  30. Azlan – “the end user decided that M-109s was not a sound long term investment”

    The used Excess Defence Article M-109 buy should never be looked as “a long term investment” like you always put it. It is, like the legacy hornets, is supposed to be a minimal cost stopgap acquisition until a proper budget is available to buy brand new wheeled SPH in RMk12 or RMK13.

    Getting something as a stopgap means spending as little as possible on getting a capability you could start to train on, while waiting for available budget to buy new, or waiting for a planned new technology to be operational. Even if the acquisition costs are low, there should be enough operational budget similar to getting new stuff to make full use of the equipment.

    Getting used equipment for peanuts and later allocating zero operational budget to operate them will not be useful. Many issues with used equipments in the past was simply because of no operational budget allocated to properly operate them.

  31. On paper this on paper that. Sure on paper we could buy used Cougars but how old are those Cougars? Will the used Cougars cost more or less to operate than our Cougars due to their age? Does RMAF have enough funds and spares to operate them? Again on paper this on paper that. On the Hornets, if RMAF had started to look for Kuwaiti Hornets again, which they did, that would meant they have considered all options, pluses and minuses that comes with it ie they are willing to fork out extra money to buy, fly and maintain them of course if the government agrees also. Like gonggok said, getting used Hornet is relatively low risk and low cost for an MRCA as compared to getting more MKMs as a stop gap measure for 10 years. Getting used Hornets on paper cost a lot to fly and maintain compared to Hawk or LCA and on paper have the risk of delaying MRCA. Everything is on paper until we buy and operate them. If RMAF says it is suitable for their current requirement and CONOPS which they had hinted as a possibility, then just go buy if government agrees. If not then they wont try bother looking for them. it just shows how desperate RMAF is to have the required airframes especially when the number of Hawks keep dwindling down and the capability gap left out by the Fulcrum early retirement.

  32. Luqman – “Everything is on paper until we buy and operate them”

    Yes and no. Feasibility studies are first dobe followed by an actual technical evaluation. In the case of the used Hornets the RMAF has already performed a study relating to the impact of possible entry into service, looking at both the plus and minus points.

    Luqman – ” just shows how desperate RMAF is to have the required airframes”

    You left out the part of the RMAF also being very wary over the cost aspects of operating 3 decade old airftames, of wanting to ensure it mininises and not increases whatever problems are currently faced with regards to funding and limited resources and wanting to ensure getting used airframes does not have a detrimental impact on other areas..

    Luqman – ” if RMAF had started to look for Kuwaiti Hornets again, which they did”

    It did because it was told to,not because it actually wanted to. Also, just because it was told to look into it does not mean there is serious intent on the part of the politicians. It may hapoen but it might not. We have not made any actual moves apart from non committal inquiries.

  33. Luqman – “Will the used Cougars cost more or less to operate than our Cougars due to their age?”

    Most of the used EC225 are of the same age as our cougars, and some are even newer. Operational costs of 24 medium helicopters should be similar, no matter if it is new or used. Most medium helicopters, cougar, blackhawk and nuri has similar operational costs. So adequate operational budget should be allocated to fly 24 helicopters, no matter brand new or used. In 2035-2040 those EC225/cougars could be sold off and new advanced FVL bought in its place.

    Luqman – “especially when the number of Hawks keep dwindling down and the capability gap left out by the Fulcrum early retirement”

    For RMAF, the required airframes to be flown regularly to replace the hawks and fulcrum is not and never should be the used Hornets. It should always be the LCA/LIFT program, with low operating costs, and of course lower capability than something like Hornets and the MKM.

    Our buying budget should be spent getting the best LCA/LIFT for RMAF. The used hornets should be had for as cheap as possible, with more airframe and spares than we regularly need so that we can spend our money just on the operational costs, with negligible aircraft and spare parts costs to run for 10 years. Additional parts to run them could be had for free with US EDA requests and RAAF spares hand me downs (will not be liked by middlemans though).

  34. Azlan – “It did because it was told to”

    From your understanding who told RMAF to look at those used Hornets and why? From what I understand it was their own (although reluctant) initiative, with some prodding from the public. There are those in the RMAF that is against the idea (like the previous PTU) while some are for the used hornets.

    It was not in the personal interests of the politicians for RMAF to take up used Hornets (or used anything really), unlike brand new Rafales or Typhoons (which is sad to see none of our leaders or potential leaders right now that is really putting the interest of the nation first instead of their own personal interests).

  35. gonggok -“should be allocated to fly 24 helicopters, no matter brand new or used’

    Not possible. If the said helicopter is an aged one extra funds have to be made aavilable to count for the fact that they will need extra maintenance hours and things might break down frequently due to age – the situation we faced with the Nuris.

    gonggok – “with more airframe and spares than we regularly need so that we can spend our money just on the operational costs, with negligible aircraft and spare parts costs to run for 10 years”

    What we should do and what we actually do differs greatly. We have never been in a position of buying such an amount of spares to cover such an extended period. The normal practice is to stock up on the required number of essential spares to cover about ‘x’ hundered hours of ops or about a year or so. As for operating costs as you know it can abd does fluctuate with the RMAF having to make do. In a perfect world the acquistion of new assets would be in patallel with a coresponding increase in operational funding but alas this often than not doesn’t happen.

  36. gonggok – ”From your understanding who told RMAF to look at those used Hornets and why?”

    The RMAF was told to make a inquiry by higher ups and also to come up with the long term pros and cons; which it did. The purpose was the examine all options but we often do that. The RMAF was also not interested in P-1s and said so; plus the reasons why but it still sent an evaluation team to Japan. There are also various other pre owned stuff the RMAF [and its sister services were offered and declined due to a variety of issues; namely operating costs and suitability.

    gonggok – ”There are those in the RMAF that is against the idea ”

    There are very few in the RMAF who are for the idea; for the reason that they realise the penalties that can be incurred [we have gone through this]; the danger the government might delay the MRCAs and the realisation adequate funds might not be granted to make the needed upgrades; buy the needed ordnance and support gear and for operational needs.

    gonggok – ”It was not in the personal interests of the politicians for RMAF to take up used”

    The politicians are cognisant of the fact that maintaining aged Hornets plus their increased costs as they get older might stretch the already limited budget. In short they are reluctant to spend beyond the absolute minimum. They wan things on the cheap and also don’t wan to spend what is needed to keep things running.

    gonggok – ” (which is sad to see none of our leaders or potential leaders right now that is really putting the interest of the nation;;

    Defence is not a priority for the politicians and the average voter also couldn’t care less.

  37. Again, who told RMAF to make the inquiry? The higher ups are either the PAT or the politicians. It is hard for me to believe that the politicians are willingly want to spend more money than the allocated for LCA/FLIT especially for an asset to be used for 10 years only unless RMAF can convince them with enough concrete evidences and feasibility studies. Yes it make sense for higher ups to tell RMAF to start looking for Kuwaiti Hornets but what makes them do so? Is it because RMAF asked for it or is it genuinely from the politicians themselves?

    Should we get used or new helos? My answer is, personally I don’t see we are getting new FVL at the same same time as MRCA so it would be either before MRCA or after MRCA. If before MRCA (RMK 14 circa 2030-2035) then we should opt to not buy anything until then (around 9 more years) instead can lease out helos on per needed basis. If after MRCA (RMK16-17 circa 2040-2050) then we could plan on getting used helos in RMK13 (circa 2025-2030) and use them for another 15 years or so, another option is to go for new civilian spec helos. These are helos for RMAF though, not to be confused with Army helos.

  38. azlan – “fact that they will need extra maintenance hours and things might break down frequently due to age – the situation we faced with the Nuris”

    for helicopters, age does not matter much. either old or new, still need to overhaul the gearbox and replace the rotors blades (which is not possible to replace wings on a fixed wing, why it is difficult to maintain old fixed wings because of fatigue) after a set amount of flying hours. Which is why RMAF planned to still fly the nuri as the operational costs are actually not much different when compared to the cougars. Only after some components are found to be unserviceable that they finally had to accept that it cannot be flown anymore. Actually it can if they ask around to get that component from other airforces, like what india did recently getting Seaking spares from RAF/RN and RCAF, and pakistan from RAF/RN and Qatar.

    Azlan – “We have never been in a position of buying such an amount of spares to cover such an extended period”

    Maybe we have not had we have bought new. Also a planned 10 years of use is not something I would consider as “an extended period”. As it is, the kuwaiti hornets on its own should come with tons of spares, as they have very comprehensive maintenance package with boeing. If say we are only to need to fly 24 of those legacy hornets, getting all 38 available aircraft would give us 14 additional aircraft that we could over just 10 years rotate if the 24 used for flying is worn out. We have also received spare parts (for free) from RAAF for our current hornets. We could ask nicely for the rest of RAAF spares and maintenance equipments when they finally retire all their legacy hornets for good.

    The used hornet plan, for a 10 year stopgap is ideal for us, an experienced 25+ year hornet operator. Almost all of the hardwares will be had for almost nothing and we just have to make sure we have the operational cost ready, which is the current hornet operating cost times how many additional hornets we want to fly. We could fly all of those hornets and retire them before the major expensive SLEP flying hour limit would be reached (which is thousands of hours away for RMAF and the kuwaiti hornets).

    At least by flying this much of hornets now, when we do buy a new stealthy MRCA after 2030, the operational costs would be there, as the operational budget for 2 hornet squadron would be transferred to the 2 new MRCA aircrafts. So getting the hornets now is also making sure that we have the operational budget when we want to get the new stealthy MRCA later.

  39. gonggok – “for helicopters, age does not matter much. either old or new”

    It does actually. A case in point is the Nuri. As it got older it required more post flight maintenance hours and certain things required more frequent checks. All that equates to more money. We retired the Nuris for a few reasons, one was due to upkeep costs.

    gonggok – ” kuwaiti hornets on its own should come with tons of spares, as they have very comprehensive maintenance package with boeing”

    The key word is “should” but we cannot assume so. Do we have the cash for the needed upgrades/overhauls and the ordnance/ground support equipment? Or will the government be doing eveything on the cheap again, to the bare minimum.

  40. Luqman – ” and feasibility studies. Yes it make sense for higher ups to tell RMAF to start looking for Kuwaiti Hornets but what makes them do so?”

    What made them send a team to Japan to evaluate the P-3 eventhough the RMAF had already said it was 30 years old? Why was the government initially do gung ho about the RBAF S-70s but later decided against it? What made the RMN eveluate the offer for a Perry eventhough it had said it was a 30 odd year old hull powered by a type of engine the RMN had no experience with?

    We routinely evaluate various offers even if from the start we have no keen interest or intent. A major problem is we also want to do things on the cheap.

  41. Buying used.

    India in September 2021 bought 24 used Mirage 2000 fighters from France for 27 million euros. The first 2 of them is being transferred to IAF this week.

    Indian Air Force is an existing Mirage 2000 user, so it has no problems operating those additional fighters.

    Azlan – “Do we have the cash for the needed upgrades/overhauls and the ordnance/ground support equipment?”

    Those used hornets should be used as is without any upgrades done to them, as 10 years is a short span of time, and it is supposed to be a stopgap not a permanent solution. Those hornets as is is better than no hornets at all. Existing ground support equipment of our hornets and those that will come together with the aircraft will be used, if not ask RAAF nicely for free transfer of retired ground support equipment for their legacy hornets. What we need is the proper operating budgets for them. If right now we have an annual operating budget of 8X for 8 hornets, we should have an operating budget of 32X for a total of 32 Hornets if there is to be 2 Hornets squadron operational.

  42. gonggok – “Maybe we have not had we have bought new”

    It’s because we are tight fisted and prefer to spare the bare minimum until we absolutely have to spend more. That’s why.

    Logic does not apply in the calculus. Whilst it’s great to say what we should and can do, what we actually do csn be profoundly different.

    gonggok – “, when we do buy a new stealthy MRCA after 2030′

    That “stealthy” or LO MRCA will be next to useless without a AEW. It would be nice to assume that by 2030 we’d have trasitioned from a platform centric air arm into a systems centric air arm but I’m not convinced.

  43. Luqman – “Like gonggok said, getting used Hornet is relatively low risk”

    I know what gonggok [and others way before him] are saying.. I keep hearing about all the plus points but the problem is that most people are placing emphasis on the various plus points, whilst glossing over the various factors/nuances at play relating to the upkeep of 30 odd year old airframes by a resource limited RMAF.
    It is not “low risk” as you’d like to believe and over the years I have pointed out why.

    Like it ir not there are major penalties to be inccured, penalties which can have a major impact and the RMAF has very legitimate reasons to be wary. I have no issues getting pre owned but only if the needed prerequsities and commitments are obtained.

  44. Azlan – “That “stealthy” or LO MRCA will be next to useless without a AEW”

    You are really jumping too far ahead. If that is the case, can you say that our current Hornets and MKM is also “next to useless without a AEW”???

    A reason why any buy should not be looked only at that particular item, but must be seen with a much bigger overall context. Spending too much on item A will mean less budget for other equally important items.

    Take for example, RMAF plan to buy 24 new helicopter in RMK13 2026-2030. Why do you plan to buy a new helicopter at that timeframe when much more advanced FVL will be available just a few years later? Is this planned helicopter buy is even coordinated closely with what the Army PUTD wants and needs? Does RMAF really need 24 new medium lift helicopter to add to the existing 12 EC725 when TLDM is already having their HOM, and PUTD also has plans for its own medium lift helicopter? Can the budget of 24 brand new medium lift helicopter be better used to get the AEW capability instead? If not mistaken I have read here in the past a very good future plan for RMAF with AEWs in RMK12, but is now deleted?

    Azlan – “Like it ir not there are major penalties to be inccured”

    The penalty for the used hornets is that it can just be used for 10 years. It is at best just a stopgap, and should be treated as such, not as a “long term” solution. Other things such as the LCA/FLIT, the only choice for these should be brand new, with the latest state of the art training systems embedded to produce the best possible pilots for RMAF, and for a smooth transition from training to operational for these future pilots.

  45. gonggok – “You are really jumping too far ahead”

    Really? You gave the 2030 timeframe and I pointed out that the RMAF shoild by that point have transitioned from a platform to a systems centric air arm. Yet I’m “jumping ahead”?

    gonggok – ” say that our current Hornets and MKM is also “next to useless without a AEW”??”

    We are unable to fully exploit the caoabilities of both because we do not operate them on a systems level – period/full stop. All current gen jets are intended to be operated at a systems level to fully ecploit their capabilities. This is a fact – look it up..

    gonngok – “The penalty for the used hornets is that it can just be used for 10 years”

    There are actually various penalties but if want to insist they aren’t and that the RMAF does not have legitimate concerns over 30 odd year old airftames, then by all means carry on.

    As for your often mentionef “stop gap”, only if it is seen as a “stop gap” by the government and only if the government can make certain commitments.
    Sorry to break it to you but what should be done on paper and what is often done can differ greatly, a fact obvious to any long term observer. Just because you want something to be in a certain way or you believe it should doesn’t mean it is so..

    BTW, the M-109s were not seen by the government as a “stop gap” soloution.

  46. “A reason why any buy should not be looked only at that particular item, but must be seen with a much bigger overall context”

    You’re telling me? Strange that because whilst you’ve been extholling all the virtues of getting 30 odd year old airframes whilst glosding over the penalties [which you insist are minimal], I’ve been pointing out that there are various factors to be looked at and that getting it wrong can have long term widespread consequences..

    It is not as simple a matter of something being cheap and available thus logic dictating we should buy it.

  47. If we are really serious the government has to provide the funding [not just for the actual aircraft] but also for various other things including operations. We know that the D’s fly about 150 hours per year at around USD15k per flight hour. We also have to take into account that the Kuwaitis might and probably will keep most of the ground support gear and ordnance for their Super Hornets. Delivery could takes years; thus the aircraft will be older when they get here and by time various time expire or no longer supportable stuff will have to be replaced. Another factor [a major one for the RMAF] is that they will get more expensive to operate as they get older.

    ”Under U.S. Foreign Arms Export and sales laws, exported weapons platforms such as the F/A-18 C/D are not allowed to be resold without U.S. Government permission and inspection. That process can take years because Congress, State Department and DoD must sanction and approve each resale proposal and agreement of sale. The cost varies per each resale agreement and usually involves the original manufacturer, in this case, Boeing.”

    On our side the views and approval of the Cabinet, P<'S Department; Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry will be obtained. Not only do we have to officially notify Kuwait but also the U.S. government. U.S. approval for any ordnance transfers will be separate.

  48. Azlan – “Strange that because whilst you’ve been extholling all the virtues of getting 30 odd year old airframes whilst glosding over the penalties [which you insist are minimal]”

    The penalties for the used Hornets for intrim MRCA are really minimal, when compared to getting brand new Rafales or Typhoons as our MRCA, or even having nothing at all until 2035 at least.

    As there is no long term future for the legacy hornets, they are not going for much, unlike the still in demand F-16s. Canada got 25 additional units from Australia for just 70 million dollars. Those kuwaiti Hornets are offered to Tunisia at 1 million dollars each. F-16s, like the recent indonesian buy of 24 used F-16 costs 750 million dollars. The F-16 value is still high as they have a proven 25k hour life upgrade, so they can be used way longer than the legacy hornets can. Kuwaiti hornets are very close to the spec of RMAF own birds, except for an older radar.

    There will be big penalties if those hornets are planned to be used as a long term solution as it will need SLEP and upgrades that we will need to pay for the R&D, but it will not be used as our long term fighters. If the hornets are used as is, RMAF probably just have to pay for fuel and salaries, as worn out parts just be replaced from the spares pool or even complete extra airframes swapped out for worn out airframes. And it cannot be used more than 10 more years anyway as all supports will stop by 2030, unlike say used F-16s, which will have full factory support even past 2050.

    Going for anything totally new, used or new platforms will need to be used for long term to recoup the acquisition costs. A new type of fighter we buy now, anything from used F-16 to LCA/FLIT or Rafale/Typhoons, we will need to set up all the supporting systems, spares, manpower from scratch (something we don’t need to do if we add a few more hornets). That will cost money. It would be okay for us to fly new LCA for 30 more years, as it is to be our second tier fighter and primarily our LIFT asset. But is something like Rafale/Typhoon as our main fighter force good enough post 2030, when others are fielding LO fighters by the numbers?

    Another thing, if we do get the used hornets, rather than no used hornets at all, at least we have in our hands 18 MKM, 30+ Hornets and 24 LCA if sh#t really hits the fan in the next 10 years time, no matter if we regularly fly them or not.

    Azlan – “It is not as simple a matter of something being cheap and available thus logic dictating we should buy it”

    Yes it is not. Complicated equipment such as the Oliver Hazard Perry Frigates, Harpers Ferry LPDs should not be touched. But things we already use, such as additional EC225 for example, is a no brainer.

  49. gonggok – ”As there is no long term future for the legacy hornets, they are not going for much,”

    Nobody said they are but even so one has to be very selective’ especially a very resource strapped air arm like the RMAF.

    gonggok – ”but it will not be used as our long term fighters.”

    So you keep saying and even if they are just used for a limited period; failure to fully fund the whole operation [beyond the ‘cheap’ costs of buying them] will lead to even more issues.

    gonggok – ”The penalties for the used Hornets for intrim MRCA are really minimal, when compared to getting brand new Rafales or Typhoons ”

    Apples to oranges comparison and I suspect you know it. Different set of issues related to both; should not be conflated.

    gonggok – ”24 LCA if sh#t really hits the fan in the next 10 years time, no matter if we regularly fly them or not.”

    If the shit really gits the fan 24 extra Hornets might not make a difference.

    We tend to extensively fly every fighter we operate.

    gonggok – ”Those kuwaiti Hornets are offered to Tunisia at 1 million dollars each”

    You like most others are too fixated on the buying price. I’m not totally against the idea but I have repeatedly pointed out that things might not be so ”cheap’ in the long run’ especially as the planes get older …… Which incidentally is a major RMAF concern.

    gonggok – ”But things we already use, such as additional EC225 for example, is a no brainer.”

    We agree on something. BTW we didn’t get used USN hulls not because they are ”complicated” but because they are high mileage; expensive to run and offer little to no commomality …..

    gonggok – ”But is something like Rafale/Typhoon as our main fighter force good enough post 2030”

    ”Good enough” is highly subjective. Depends on the geo-political situation; the opponent and the nature of the conflict.

  50. gonggok – “Existing ground support equipment of our hornets and those that will come together with the aircraft will be used”

    Do not assume so. The Kuwaitis might keep some of the ground gear for their Super Hornets. Also do not assume the RAAF will be willing to help in this regard when we need it.

    gonggok – “we should have an operating budget of 32X for a total of 32 Hornets if there is to be 2 Hornets squadron operational.”

    We “should” but whether we will is another matter. As I keep pointing out to you, even for our existing stuff, funding is limited. Here you are talking about what we “should” do in a hyothetical scenario. Look at what we are forced to do in reality due to insufficient funding …. Also ask yourself how long will take to get the crews for the 32 Hornets you mentioned, given the number if pikots we have, the number which are selected on an annual basis and the fact we have no LIFT.

  51. azlan – “Also ask yourself how long will take to get the crews for the 32 Hornets you mentioned”

    there are already crew for 8, so its for another 24. Currently even for the 8, we have more crews than aircraft available. Not to mention plenty of ex-hornet drivers and WIZZOs that are also capable pilots on their own right now flying desks somewhere, and would be glad to be offered a flying post again.

    Yes we still need to recruit new pilots, but to stand up the new squadron, you could probably fill up more than half of the flying posts just by current RMAF headcounts.

  52. gonggok – “would be glad to be offered a flying post again”

    Depends. Some might be in other posts as part of their career path. Others might be awaiting retirement or placed in cold storage so to speak.

    gonggok – “you could probably fill up more than half of the flying posts just by current RMAF headcounts”

    Maybe but I doubt it. It can be done but will take a while. We have a small number of fast jet pilots as it is, we have no LIFT and only 4 Hawk 200s to train back seaters on before they are posted to Hornets.

  53. @gonggok

    Realistically, we do not have the operational budget nor the pilots operate up to total of 32 Hornets in short order especially in 10 years time these Hornet are expected to be flown. 16 to 18, maybe yes and more realistic but not 32. Remember we still have 18 LCA and FLIT to fill in.

    The extra Hornet will incure more operational cost than LCA but its a trade off for a short term (10 year) option. It’s all pros and cons and how much cons are RMAF willing to take.

  54. Luqman – “It’s all pros and cons and how much cons are RMAF willing to take.”

    Which in turn is totally dependent on how serious the government is and what level of financial commitments it’s willing to make in order for the RMAF to be able to plan and implement accordingly.

  55. Luqman – “16 to 18, maybe yes and more realistic but not 32”

    16-18 means only 8-10 more than what is flown right now. Search in youtube and you can find comments of RMAF Wizzos that can fly as good as front seaters that is now posted to non-flying jobs. As for the pilots, with the pandemic, airliners are not hiring pilots much, so pilots are better off continuing their airforce career rather than retiring early. Even if we dont have the budgets or pilots, there is no harm of having in our hands 24 additional Hornets that the acquisition will cost us no more than the price of 2-3 LCA’s. Even if not all we can afford to fly regularly.

    Luqman – “The extra Hornet will incure more operational cost than LCA”

    Of course. But it will be good for RMAF to “condition” MoF and KEMENTAH to incrementally get enough operational budget for 2 squadron of Hornets within this 10 years, and that budget can be passed on to brand new LO MRCAs in 10 years time. No use of having DE budget then to buy those shiny new LO MRCAs, but MoF cannot stomach the sudden increase in operational cost request.

  56. @Gonggok
    Yes we do have extra military and civilian pilots but does the government realistically want/will triple or quadruple the operating expenditure for flying 30+ Hornets in 10 years? If RMAF can get there then it’s good for them but how about the government? Remember just a few years back we were barely maintaining our MKMs with a budget that was clearly not enough. Furthermore getting more budget to operate does not meant that those budget will go towards next MRCA. Again see what happen to our Migs and MKMs. Even after retiring our Migs RMAF still can’t maintain the MKMs. Plus we are also planning to get 18 more LCA after we got the first batch. It will be a miracle if we can get even 24 Hornets flying in 10 years time.

  57. Luqman – “but does the government realistically want/will triple or quadruple the operating expenditure for flying 30+ Hornets in 10 years?”

    The government will need to give that much of operating expenditure (or even more) if we want to fly 2 squadron’s of LO MRCA post 2030. It is better for RMAF to ask funds to be increased incrementally over the next 10 years, rather than suddenly asking for that amount when the LO MRCA comes.

    The MKM fiasco is just a political ruse by mat sabu to discredit his predecessor but eventually backfired on him.

    For the 36 LCA operating costs, if they do buy a good one like the FA-50, the operating costs would be around 20-30% of the hornets. We also already have dedicated engine test cells for the F404 engine, which can be used by both the hornet and FA-50, among a few things we can use for the maintenance of both types.

    Luqman – “It will be a miracle if we can get even 24 Hornets flying in 10 years time”

    We can, just at what frequency. RMAF needs to ask for operational cost increase little by little so that it does have enough when the real deal LO MRCA comes. Anyway defence is an insurance for the nation. Not using it frequently does not mean it is useless. For example how often does countries use nuclear bombs and nuclear ballistic missiles anyway?

    By the way, this week would be the last week RAAF is using their legacy hornets. Now is the time for RMAF to request for spares and support equipments from RAAF before they are sold off.

  58. ”RMAF to request for spares and support equipments from RAAF”

    A lot of the gear is common to the Super Hornet and the RAFF will probably retain them. We cannot work on the assumption that they will readily be made available to us.

    ”16-18 means only 8-10 more than what is flown right now”

    That ”only” 16/18 is lot for a small air arm with a limited budget and scarce resources. To get those ”on;y” 16/18 flying weill involve finding the right number of pilots and support personnel plus extras; promotions, reshuffles, funding and a host of other factors …. It will take time and sustained funding at the right level.

    ‘The MKM fiasco is just a political ruse ‘

    Sorry but it was a case of serviceability rates which had fallen because funding for spares and a overhaul was delayed ….

    ”MAF to ask funds to be increased incrementally over the next 10 years,”

    What do you think think RMAF has been trying to do? As it stands we barely have enough for what we have. You are placing emphasis as to what we should do as opposed to what is actually done.

    ” RMAF Wizzos that can fly as good as front seaters”

    There was/is one who could fly just as well ……. Our pool shrunk when we stopped the practice of having WSOs progress to the front seat. Also, the RMAF is a bureaucracy. Some former pilots might be assigned to other duties; some might be waiting retirement and some might be place in cold storage. just because we mayu have pilots with prior flying experience doesn’t mean we will assign them back to flying duties.

  59. ” No use of having DE budget then to buy those shiny new LO MRCAs, but MoF cannot stomach the sudden increase in operational cost request.”

    Understand the plans in place and the politics at play. As far as the RMAF is concerned it’s focus now is to get the LCA/LIFT programme moving; to first get the initial 18; followed by the follow on batch. If the government decides on other things as well it must not affect the LCA/LIFT programme and also the MRCA programme.

    You have a lot of great ideas as to what should be done [on paper] but the government does not work on the lines of logic. Depending on local politics and other things; priorities change; the RMAF knows very well how to play the the game even if it’s not successful. Also realise that when the MRCA programme kicks off in a decade or so the government will be more committed because it’s very high profile and will involve what the government has a penchant for : ToTs and offsets. This is unlike the case with buying 30 odd year old airframes which will get increasingly more expensive to run as they further age and will have minimal benefit to the local industry.

  60. ”Anyway defence is an insurance for the nation. Not using it frequently does not mean it is useless.”

    You know that; we know that and you’re stating the obvious but does the government see it that way? As it stands the government continues to see defence as something we should only spend extra on when times are good because it sees the possibility of an actual conflict as low and because the average voter couldn’t care less. You kept talking about ‘stopgaps” which is fine on paper but the government didn’t see the
    M-109s as a stopgap [although on paper it should have been] and it remains to be seen how it will view 30 year old Hornets. We do not have continuity and our priorities constantly shift.

    ” countries use nuclear bombs and nuclear ballistic missiles anyway?”

    I’ll be a devil’s advocate and say that the nuclear deterrent held by various countries has deterred nuclear war via MAD. We have a policy of having a limited deterrent to deter our immediate neighbours but times have evolved. The geo political situation is rapidly changing.

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