As Expected…

SHAH ALAM: DESPITE the hype about Rafales and the Russian’s Mistral, as expected no contracts were agreed upon during the high profile visit of the French Defence Minister today.

Infact, only the Rafale was discussed during the Joint Higher Defence Strategic Meeting (it has been on offer for the last five years, of course it would!) while the Russian’s Mistral was not even included in the agenda!

The Reuters story on the Star.

“Hisham: Malaysia reviewing French proposal for Rafale fighter jets
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is reviewing a proposal from France to buy Rafale fighter jets but any decision would depend on how affordable the aircraft are, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein (pic) said on Tuesday.”

Of course Reuters spiced up the story by saying Malaysia is reviewing the Rafale proposal while actually they are looking at all of the proposals! However, at least Reuters stated that there was no discussions about the Russian Mistrals.

In the meantime, the New Straits Times reported Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as saying that Malaysia, France is to enhance intelligence sharing to combat IS.

“KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will enhance intelligence sharing with France in efforts to counter the growing threat of the Islamic State (IS). Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said it would be impossible for Malaysia deal with such threats alone and with France’s involvement, to combat threats together was timely. “Abu Sayyaf, MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) and BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter) have declared allegiance to IS.

Read More :

Apart from Hishammuddin, the French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also met with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. The Bernama report is here.

Le Drian shaking hands with Najib. PMO picture
Le Drian shaking hands with Najib. PMO picture

Before meeting Najib, Le Drian also made a stop-over at the Subang airbase, to inspect RMAF sole A400M airlifter M54-01.

RMAF A400M M54-01 landing at Subang airport after performing a flypast on Merdeka Day
RMAF A400M M54-01 landing at Subang airport after performing a flypast on Merdeka Day

I had reported earlier that no significant deal will be signed during the French Minister visit despite the hype about a deal either for the Rafale or the Russian Mistral. And as for totally getting it wrong, the biggest winner should be the Sun Daily.

I guess if you were thinking the contrary I guess you have not been reading the news either the mainstream or alternative media for the last three months! See my report on RMK11 for perspective on the MRCA programme.

Anyhow, Destini Bhd, the new builder of MMEA’s NGPC continue to hog the lime light.

The Star reported Today that:

“Government said to be buying shares in defence contractor

PETALING JAYA: The Government, through the Minister of Finance Inc (MoF Inc), is believed to have acquired a substantial stake in defence services provider and contractor Destini Bhd, a move that would raise the profile of the company.”

So will Destini become like other defence companies in which the Government has a golden share in it, like Boustead Holdings, SMEO and Airod? Only time will tell.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2227 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Malaysia has no political will to fund all kinds related defense in big skill with TOT.The are scaring to answers opposition party in Parliament.With many issues in country and attacking very systematic by opposition leader our country is going to be damned shit for defense expenditure.As expected..ha ha

  2. Personally I feel the Superhornet is the better choice. Reasons:
    1) Already in our inventory.
    2) Good safety and serviceability record (you’re more likely to see a flying F-18 than even the brand new SU-30).
    3) Reliable service and spare parts partner (the US).
    4) Pilots and ground crew familiar with the plane (reduce training and conversion costs including flight simulators and overseas training).
    5) Combat proven ground attack, naval strike and air superiority fighter (we even use it in Lahad Datu).
    6) Lots of surplus airframes at cut price once the F-35 enters service (easy to build up 2 to 3 full squadrons down the road).
    7) Maybe we have the option of getting the Growler (unlikely but fingers crossed)?
    8) Possibility of doing a bundle with a couple of scout and heavy lift choppers as well as AH-1Z attack helis (especially if the choppers are surplus frames).

  3. Well this was expected early on. The mistral is too large and too expensive to operate. I think the RMN is looking at its smaller variant like the Mistral BPC 140. It will be more practical and efficient as we will utilize its smaller but enough capabilities to the fullest.

    As for the rafale, yeah its high operating cost is not something that we cannot just passed on without any consideration. Even if the US said that any friendly countries that didnt buy F-35 will buy Rafale, without political will we wont get any of these planes. Not mentioning that the RMAF wants to have 6 MRCA squadrons. With 18 mkm, 8 legacy hornet and 10 migs, we need another 3 squadrons if we upgrade our migs. The hawks is more like a COIN planes rather than mrca in my eyes.

    As an alternative measure, wont it be a waste not to buy more mkm. I mean the boys had learn from zero on how to maintain these planes and shouldn’t we use the experience to use the guidelines that our boys has produced. Rather than buying another mix of planes. Wanna pls the french, use their avionics or even ordnance. Whar r u guys opinion bout this idea? Though i also read that the rmaf doesnt want more mkm and they must hav a very good reason.

  4. The French are under no illusions that we are financially and politically able to sign a major contract at this juncture. They’re merely strengthening their position and trying to stay a step ahead of their competitors.

    Like some other Malaysians, Dr. Kua (the same one who questioned why we were still spending on defence given that the Confrontation ended decades ago) was convinced we were buying Mistral. He questioned why we had need for an “aircraft carrier”…..

  5. Good to know Malaysia financial reality is asserting itself and there would be no rush into any signing/agreement. Hope any major decision would be postponed until after the next election and would be handled by hopefully, a new and more BERSIH/competent government/leadership….

  6. Fr ankly Dr Kua is an embarrassment to the Opposition stance.

    Okay so no LHD, which is fine by me as I don’t think we have enough H for the D. Is an LST anywhere on the cards? How do we transport armour to Esscom?

    ro ro ships from the private sector. The biggest embarrassment for the Opposition is Rafizi Ramli. Dr Kua is on the fringe after he was dropped from the DAP parliamentary line up a while back.

  7. It’s a good thing,right? Getting something which is not of RMN needs simply will eat into their operation cost. More drastic for RMN have always been more number of PV to safe guard our vast sea front but this is not in the RMK11. On the other hand, we are getting MPA to do the job, which is good.
    Which ever way we look at the MRCA program, it’ll be a bigger “rojak” phase that RMAF have to go through if the government decide to go for the Rafale or Typhoon. Unless of course if we decide to get more Hornet, then again, there isn’t any good one out there to choose from at the moment.
    And since the MRCA is not listed in the RMK11 as well, we can always depend on our PM Najib to get his Arab donor to assist us on this 😉

    So if the Kuwaitis were to give up their Hornets to us for free its a bad thing?

  8. I wouldn’t expect anything more on the next defense budget. Things are just getting dull in every way…

  9. Chua,

    If there’s a need we can charter civilian lift assets to transfer heavy gear to East Malaysia – like how we did with the AV-8s. We don’t need a military spec ship to transfer stuff from Port Klang to Sepanggar.

  10. Definitely not LST, what we need is a proper ASS, but smaller than the Mistral. Dokdo might fit our pocket. If there is still no political will than we will need to find business will, probably through PFI. Its just that seemingly finding the right partner is just as hard. With nothing on the replacement of Inderapura, and instead of hyping on MRCA insist on LHD aka command ship.

  11. Definitely a good thing if Kuwait were to give us their Hornet since the government have not allocated the budget for it in RMK11. Till 2018, the time Kuwait said to retire their Hornet, what other option can we look at beside getting a bigger mix of fighters?

    Nothing apart from spending around RM5 billion at minimum on our own. There is also the T50/A50 combo as espoused by …but we still need around RM1 bilion or slight less. Of course we need to spend around 1 billion to upgrade the Hornets so it can last until 2030.

  12. fird – ”Definitely not LST, what we need is a proper ASS, but smaller than the Mistral. Dokdo might fit our pocket.”

    A mini Dokdo perhaps but not Dokdo per say; which the RMN had previously said. People tend to overlook the fact that a ship of certain tonnage and with a deep draught will not be able to dock at all our bases. There is also the question of how much pier space we have. Even at Lumut, when a foreign ships docks for 1-2 days, other ships have to make way to provide the needed space. We also don’t need a flat top as all the extra deck space would be superfluous for our needs. Something with 4 landing spots would do nicely for our needs and something that won’t be to cost prohibitive to run.

    Chua – ”Frankly Dr Kua is an embarrassment to the Opposition stance.”

    He is an ex-DAP man who now is part of an NGO. Typical of many who for political mileage have a lot to say but can’t be bothered to check his facts by doing some objective research or asking the right people. Luckily for him, they are people who believes what he writes; being equally clueless. In their world if you disagree, then you are a government agent or is someone who condones corruption.

  13. M54-01 at last I saw it with my own eyes when it buzzed Bintulu Town at low altitude 1230hrs. The powerplant sounded more like a commercial jetplane rather than the distinctive rumbling of C130.

    By sharing intel on IS, is it focused on mil-to-mil? Coincidentally going thru a BM book on intelligence history in MY,published by DBP.

    Actually I have no idea what kind Intel we can exchange with the French

  14. IBT said, “The Sevastopol (left) and the Vladivostok warships, two Mistral-class *landing helicopter dock* amphibious vessels ordered by Russia from STX…” (asterisks mine)

    Dunno how Sun Daily got it wrong 😀 Good thing it’s free.

    I imagine they’re looking at the picture and they’re arguing that since helis are a kind of aircraft and the ship carries helis, it follows that it must be … an aircraft carrier.

  15. Our little budget for anything new now has been further reduced by the fallen value of malaysian ringgit.

    One thing that we can do to mitigate this is to look back at getting part of the payment with commodity barter, especially palm oils.

  16. SG tech team in France to examine the Mistral it seem. Also reported by SG is interest in hovercraft landing craft from Textron. Could be related. If SG did buy the Mistrals and carry on with JMMS tat mean JMMS is carrier with no amphibious function.

    Apart from a possible buy they could also be there as to learn about the know how to build such ship

  17. Its funny people all over the web going crazy about mistral. Why the hell on earth we need a lhd when we dont even have enough ‘H’ to put on it. What we need is something like makassar or even jhsv to transport army goodies to the east.

  18. The sharing of intelligence could be in many ways. e.g. if a French asset in Syria discovers the arrival of Malaysian jihadists, they can share it with us or if through our sources we pick up something that the French find useful, we can share it with them. Intelligence could also be in the form of diplomatic and trade info; not necessarily confined to security; e.g. We have close working relationships with the intelligence agencies of only a handful of countries but we have ties with many.

  19. Azlan,
    Not that I am a fan of that idiot, but please educate yourselves before making inappropriate comment. The term he used is a direct translation of his Chinese language based interview and his past writings, which in many ways is correct.

    Privatise is to shed off risk, buying them back is the opposite. Looking at the purchase pattern from the government, there is no business case, if it is strictly business.

  20. John Rambo,

    The main value of an MRSS is that it can be used for disaster relief and to support operations within our backyard or the periphery in times of conflict. If the intention is just or mainly to transport troops and heavy gear to East Malaysia, leased commercial shipping would suffice. An MPSS could also be used as tender to support other ships; something the Indera Sakti class does and the former USN LSTs used to do.

  21. Azlan

    Ur 100 pcent right on the dr kua kia siong matter. Politics is everything to them. If u disagree wth their views then u are a macai. Who cares about the armed forces needs.


    U want to wait 4 the next ge? Just let the good dr be the next def minister then. Im not being a racist or something now. But listening to the dr and rafizi talk about defense is like watching two cows learning how to fly.

  22. Azlan,
    Blind me.. couldn’t agree more perhaps not Dokdo, and whoever designed our bases did not planned for the future. An Enforcer class LPD might suits our need hence explained the backdrop when the PM officiated NGVTech dock in KS. Btw lets hope the upcoming Bintulu naval base will be big enough to dock at least a Wasp class LHD, after all we are going to have our own marine unit aren’t we?

    John Rambo,
    What have you been smoking? TLDM need a strategic carrier. Perhaps you might want to ask why TUDM need the A400M when they already have C130’s. There is more to a LHD, LHT, AAS, or whatever they call it than just transporting Adnan to LD.

  23. Using commercial charter is ok during peace time. But duringvwar time, when war is declared or if a tense situstion occurs, insurance may not cover war damage. So, during wartime we must use our own assets.

  24. Marhalim & all, we should trade 29 into more mkm. And trade 18 into SH. Less rojak. How do u & the rest of the readers here think?

  25. Thanks.

    4 landing spots sounds like a lot of deck space. Why, for platoon sized heli assault? Is there a cheaper way of getting MPSS capability eg build or convert a civilian vessel?

    As we are a green water navy it seems that all we need is a civilian grade vessel with helipads, small hospital, add’l living quarters which can be converted to wards, a water desalination plant and some storage and cargo handling for aid supplies. That’s not very hard to do surely?

  26. What about all that talk about the USS Denver?

    Too old?

    Yes too old and more importantly wrong engines….

  27. nimitz,

    “Coincidentally going thru a BM book on intelligence history in MY,published by DBP.”


    Hope Marhalim’s OK with this, but care to write a book review?

  28. Ccc,
    Not sure if it has affected Msia but India’s problems with MKI make me wary of further Russkie deals. F18SH may come with political strings Msia cannot accept. Euro solution is perhaps more likely now Cameron and French Def minister have proven willing to come here for chitchat. Personally I’m hoping and wishing that we can agree to Typhoon 3b and the UK increases their own Typhoon stocks so everyone saves money and gets more of a great fighter.

    Azlan, Marhalim, thanks.

    Following on from prev thread – any chance of TUDM getting AEW craft?

    4 heli spots? Why so many, for platoon heli assault? Given that TLDM is nominally a green water navy would it be more affordable to build or convert a civilian grade ship for local MPSS service? We don’t need to perform amphib assault so no need for well deck, renovate interior to provide accom, hospital and aid supplies, park vehicles on deck maybe under a simple shelter? Instead of heli hangars just provide a few heli spots so helis will only be lily-padding on the ship from land bases?

    What political strings we cannot accept? On the AEW please check my previous posts on RMK11.

  29. Ferret,

    Yeah, the first time I saw the Wasp-Class LHD on a paper I was like… ‘What the?! An aircraft carrier?!’ and then I Google it knowing that it only carry troops, helis and amphibious vehicles.

    On some point, people always trailed off seeing this ship as an ‘aircraft carrier’ despite it’s role.

  30. Chua – ”Not sure if it has affected Msia but India’s problems with MKI make me wary of further Russkie deals.”

    Lets be clear on this. The IAF’s issues with the MKIs are also due to issues with HAL, human error and inadequate planning. It is not solely due to delays in getting spares from Russia.

    Chua – ”F18SH may come with political strings Msia cannot accept. ”

    I’ll say this again. ALL countries, not just Uncle Sam, places certain restrictions on the use of military gear. If we started rolling off daisy cutters from the back of an A400M on refugees or used A-109s to rocket refugee boats; [I’m exaggerating but you get my point], the EU would place an embargo on us.

    Lee – ”But duringvwar time, when war is declared or if a tense situstion occurs, insurance may not cover war damage.”

    There is legislation in place for Malaysian owned commercial assets to come under the operational control of the MAF in times of conflict. In such a scenario the government assumes full responsibility for these assets and has to provide compensation if needed.

  31. Malaysian harsh hot and humid weather takes its toll on most of TUDM’s fighters.

    For the MKM, all of them are hangared inside special climate controlled areas. IAF, because of the lack of hangars, park most of their MKI in the open, and subjected to the hot sun and tropical shower storms. This also has contributed to the operational problems with the MKI. If the MKM as an aircraft has a lot of problems, it wouldn’t now be adopted by Russian air force, russian navy and khazakhstan air force as the SU-30SM. And the MKM and the SM is basically 95% identical except for a few avionics systems. Because of this commonality too, now is the best time for TUDM to decide if they want to buy a few additional MKM’s as right now they can buy them virtually off the shelf (an SM could be pulled from the production line and converted to an MKM with only a few avionics changes)

  32. Ferret, I will submit the book review to MD. Had gone thru half of the book, full of hard facts, academically written and worth its position on a bookshelf of a MY military history buff.

  33. nimitz,

    Thanks. Looking forward to it. I’m not too clued up on intelligence work — the review may guide my reading.

  34. “For the MKM, all of them are hangared inside special climate controlled areas.”

    Still doesn’t solve the integration issues with MKM specific avionics and our datalinks with other aircraft. Even if you got it 70% available.

  35. @ am

    There is no issues with MKM specific avionics (only differences of SM and MKM are the saab avitronics MAWS, thales IFF and the rhode and schwartz radios)

    Datalink issue is not hardware. It is more of approval of USA (if going for link 16) or to have custom built malaysian datalink software for all platforms, sea land and air, not the issue of the MKM platform itself

    I am not sure whether we are going for a Malaysian designed datalink or LINK 16 but AFAIK the datalink whatever it is must work with the Sapura/ATM developed NCW system. The Russian ones apparently do not. Dont asked me about the NCW I have no idea when it is supposed to roll out!

  36. Fird,

    Sometime smoking till high make u dellusional. Who says rmaf need a400m at the first place ? How often a400m left it hangar to carry adnan to sabah ?

    A mistral is a nay for tldm. With 2.7m euro for both ships maintenance every month. Tldm will go bankrupt at the end of next month. Here you go a chakri naruebet 2.0

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