BAE Systems remains bullish of fighter deal in Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: Despite the recent setback in India, its appears that BAE Systems remained bullish of its prospects to clinch the MRCA deal in Malaysia.

Yes they know the competition will probably be delayed until after the election but with the clincher for the deal said to be the Industrial partnership and the Transfer of Technology package (off-sets in 90s speak), BAE Systems is forging ahead with its marketing backed with its 30-year presence in Malaysia as the guiding light.

Typhoon and the moon

At a briefing held on Wednesday (march 14, 2012) newly arrived BAE Systems South East Asia managing director John Brosnan spoke at length on the potential partnerships. For more read here

Yes I know its a bit dry but actually there was nothing extra-ordinary about the presentation apart from the fact that BAE director of industrial partnerships and offset, military air and information Andrew Wilson statement that it had gotten clearance from the British government to offer Malaysia almost everything in terms of technology if it choose the Typhoon, from source codes to component manufacturing.

What is the use of source codes without the people who could actually do the needful? No worries, Andy said, BAE Systems also offers training to Malaysian engineers if we want it from modifying sources codes to integration of weapons. Apparently, the British is aware the pain we are having with Vympel!

Component manufacturing will also not be limited to the Malaysian order but for the whole Typhoon manufacturing base.

Which companies will benefit from such generous package? The usual suspects of course, which may tipped back the balance to the Typhoon again.

BTW, the India media is tripping all over themselves over the decision to down-select the Rafale over the Typhoon. Read here. And here. I guess thats the reason the renewed enthusiasm by BAE Systems.

As mentioned previously I am wary of off-sets and national interest over-riding military concerns but I guess that is why we have politicians in the first place!

– Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2149 Articles
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  1. what is the meaning of this phrase “the British is aware the pain we are having with Vympel!”? do our airforce got problem with vympel missile?

  2. Isn’t it too obvious when it comes to a country called Malaysia, whoever can give the benefits most to the politicians in charged(namely PM&MOD) is the one who’ll get the contract even for a company “cop Ayam”. It’s not for the people but their pockets.

  3. Well, no matter from which country the fighter that will win the MRCA program originated from, some people will still point out that it’s all for the pocket of some people and not for the sake of the country and its people…… even if that person is doing so, he’s still contributes a lot to the people and the country unlike the fully corrupted and pro-Israel opposition’s leader and its allies that contribute nothing to the country…………..

  4. The British offer to give us anything we want sounds too good to be true doesn’t it, especially given the fact that we probably can’t afford more than 18. Then again they must be really desperate for a sale. Marhalim,during the Typhoon’s deployment last year to Penang, were any RMAF pilots given a familiarisation flight?

    Yes they did. They also went there the UK to conduct the evaluation

  5. We should ask them to sell us the nakhoda ragams at cut price if we buy the typhoons.

    No cam do. The Nakhoda Ragam is now marketed by Lurrsen (ownership most probably is with Brunei).

  6. indonesia navy is really interested with the nakhoda ragam..there are on the way lobbying their gov to buy the ships.

  7. if were to buy 18 of this typhoons,and quit the 10 migs,its just an additional 8 aircraft.not a leap in fire power i guess.marhalim,wud like to ask ur opinion on the adequate number of fighters shud we have?

  8. Whatever fighter is procured, it should be in sufficient numbers (24-36) to replace not only the MiG-29s, but also the F-5s and Hawk 208s; And with options to purchase a second batch (12-18) to replace the F/A-18s in the future. IMO, our long-term goal should be to operate only 2 fighter types beyond 2020.

    It should be noted that in addition to the air forces of the Eurofighter partner states (Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) the Royal Saudi Air Force is also major operator of the Typhoon.

  9. Got RM 10 billion for 18 fighters, i guess then no problem. Kinda agreed with fareed though

    If the deal gets CTRM work for the next 10 years it will be a very incentive to go Typhoon, but I guess Boeing will also be dangling a similar deal.

  10. BAE had sold out their last major manufacturing to SpiritAero. Nothing much to benefit CTRM, at least not in economical scale wise.

    Its for Typhoon

  11. Adequate number of fighters we should have vs. Number of fighters we can afford (not only to buy, but also to operate). My guess…

    Adequate = 6-8 squadrons (72-96 aircraft)
    Afford = 3-4 (36-48 aircraft)

    Reality (even if we don’t agree with it):

    18 Su-30MKMs
    12 MRCA
    ~12 Hawk 208s
    8 F/A-18Ds

  12. Apologies for getting off topic. Would be very interested in getting opinions on our future artillery needs.

    1. Should we replace the Model 56s with newer 105mm guns or should we, like many other armies have done – with the key exception of the British – stick to only 155mm guns? Apart from being faster to lay and limber, due to being lighter, 105mm guns can also be slung under Nuris and Cougars, and are ideal for units like 10th Para. They downside however is that they are towed and can’t fire smart rounds. Should we choose to do way with 105mm guns, should we in turn equip infantry brigades with vehicle mounted 120mm mortars to fill in the gap?

    2. If the intention is to stick to only 155mm guns or both 105mm and 155mm, should we get a tracked or wheeled platform? Is there a need to get additional towed 155mm guns? As any future conflict in Malaysia, especially in the Peninsular, will likely be fought in an urban or semi urban setting, which would suits our needs better, the Caeser or the K-9 Thunder? The K-9 Thunder offers crew protection but is more expensive to buy and operate, and can\’t fit into a C-130 or an A400M. 3. Apart from creating FDCs, increasing the number of people in infantry platoons who are trained to call in fire, shortening the time it takes for rounds to fall on target following a request, getting simulators, using UAVs for spotting, etc, what other improvements can be done? For certain units, should we increase the number of 105mm guns that are attached organicly or should we stick to the current arrangement of having a Close Support Battalion part of every Brigade and having guns allocated to infantry battalions when needed?

    I will answer this in a separate post after some research

  13. I predict Boeing would not be able to sell its F18SH to the RMAF because no incentive for the politicians to support the purchase.
    The sale will have to be under FMS (Foreign Military Sale) between US Government and Malaysian Government.
    How to mark up?I was told the local agent unlike the submarine deals gets a commission peanut from Boeing, so how?

    But you forget the kind of prestige we will get from the American administration if we do buy Made in the USA stuff. Since the Dreamliner is totally composite it will also be good for CTRM. Alas MAS and Air Asia are not into Boeing nowdays…

  14. Source codes will be the real issue and you believe them(BAE). It is all about business. Been there done that… hahaha
    Before getting into this big dreaming procurement, tell the minister and the RMAF leaderships to sort out sexual harassment of a senior officer? Before it explodes!

  15. All brands of birds are good in their own specialities. But the problem is we don’t have the dolls and the politicians are getting screwed in all directions when it comes to defense purchases. Especially now which is near the election time. At least Indons are getting their acts together with a new procurement budget of USD10 billion for her armed forces modernization. But Malaysia? We’re heading below Indon in terms of almost everything nowadays. Our present leaders are living in the past glories and the future looks bleak. Hopefully something will change either the govt or the attitude towards the defence and security of this country, regardless of whoever won the next election. Otherwise we should disband the armed forces of Malaysia as it’s only good as a fixed deposit votes for the present govt. The armed forces of Malaysia especially the TUDM is like “Hidup Segan Mati Tak Mahu”.

  16. Taking into account TNI spending since 1997, it understandable why they are in such a rush to modernise. Like the MAF, the TNI has a long shopping list, the only differences are that that the TNI has a much larger country to take care of and unlike the MAF, which has received many new items since 1997, has been largely starved of funds to buy new gear. In short, the TNI is in much more greater need of modernisation than the MAF because it has been a victim of much more neglect and due to its operational needs.

  17. Taking into account TNI spending since 1997, it understandable why they are in such a rush to modernise. Like the MAF, the TNI has a long shopping list, the only differences are that the TNI has a much larger country to take care of and unlike the MAF, which has received many new items since 1997, has been largely starved of funds to buy new gear, until recently.

    In short, the TNI is in much greater need of modernisation than the MAF because it has been a victim of much more neglect and due to its operational needs.

  18. IMO, We cannot afford these EF fighter, the best we can get it around 8-10units.

    As for Boeing, they did offer some economy offset. I guess CTRM will get more commercial plane part to build.

    As for now, SH is the only fighter we can afford to get. we can get 18units @ 1.4bil+

    Also not to forget Malaysia recently just order some training simulator for F-18 however it is not sure whether its entire for hornet only.

    As for our remaining migs, there is a high possibilities that the Mindef will trade in with 6MKM at a very discounted price.

    The current speculation we might get 18SH + 6MKM.

    Anyway we are still lacking in AEW and MPA aircraft which is also significantly very important for our national securities.

    Thank you for the wonderful information

  19. there will be super hornet vs Rafale in the end.
    super hornet look like in front runner with Boeing upgrading F/A 18 programme and US congress now look more open to RMAF ammunation request.Raytheon engage with local vendor another points and all of this bring clear clue regarding RMAF next ORBAT. RMAF evaluation team for Typhoon just to show RMAF bargain power vs Boeing.gud luck Rafale.

  20. The composite manufacturing know how the CTRM had is not up to the standard where “Since the Dreamliner is totally composite” becomes a significant factor. The sentence means something else, and “composite” itself means a lot more than what you guys expect there.

    I admit that I do not know much about composite and CTRM capabilities. But CTRM factor is there for all the competitors in the MRCA programme to exploit.

  21. Well Jentayu it not mere talks. Just take the speculation as grain of salt. SH is always be the front runner since the MRCA program started and we almost brought it twice already even before MRCA program start.

  22. Before I give my “opinion” on Azlan’s artillery questions and risk putting my foot in my mouth, does anyone know what the current state of the artillery corps is?

    According to SIPRI (if you haven’t figured it out by now, I love this source), since 1950, the artillery corps has received: 36 Astros II, 8 2R2M 120mm mortars for 8 Adnans, roughly 100 Model 56 105mm guns from Italy, roughly 10 ex-UK 105mm guns, roughly 40 M102 105mm guns from the US, 12 FH-70 155mm guns, and 22 G5 Mk.3 155mm guns from South Africa. Of course, most of these have long been worn out or written off.

    And while we’re on the topic of the army, are there any armor updates? Pars, PT-91s? Adnans, KIFVs? Scorpions and Stormers? Kind of hard to formulate one’s opinion without first knowing the true state of affairs.

    The M102s are gate guards…

  23. FareedLHS,

    I believe -looking at the number of Close Support Battalions we have and they way they are organised – we had at least about 120 Model 56s. The number of G-5s is 28. 22 were first ordered, followed by 6 more a year later. I’m not sure about the 10 ex-UK Light Guns but the Naval Dockyard did produce a single prototype as part of plans to sell the ‘Sakti. As for the M101s, I have been told by an ex-army guy only 17 were delivered.

    Perhaps we should be looking at something similar to what the Australians have done to restructure their artillery.

  24. My opinion on our future artillery needs:

    Azlan raises many good questions in his post. First among them is whether we should stick with 105s or make the transition to all 155mm guns. Considering the topography of Malaysia, particularly in the East, as well as the points that Azlan raises, I strongly feel that we should replace the Model 56s with new 105mm guns. Scouring the latest data, the options out there are Nexter’s 105LG1 MkIII, Denel’s 105mm LEO, Oto Melara’s 105/14, Hyundai Wia’s KH178, the US Army Rock Island Arsenal JMTC’s M119, or BAE System’s L118 (not currently listed as a product on their website). I don’t want to get into debating one gun versus the other, but whatever system is procured (and a system is exactly what should be procured – complete with the latest in computers, sighting, etc.), the number needs to be sufficiently high. It should also be noted that 105s are considerably cheaper than 155s in all aspects.

    Second, the issue of mortars is raised. We definitely need to procure more mortars and mortar systems for the army. I can only find 8 2R2M 120mm French mortars that we acquired for 8 Adnans. The number of vehicle-mounted mortar systems should drastically increase, as these are vital to providing immediate and devastating indirect fire for infantry units. They are a key component of modern combined arms warfare. There are many systems available out there. Two of the more exciting ones are AMOS and NEMO by Patria. Note that these can be mounted on a variety of vehicles (Adnans, Pars, etc.). I also would like to point out the large number of advanced guided mortar projects out there. BAE Systems, Saab, et al come to mind.

    Third, the tracked vs. wheeled question is raised. This reminded me of a couple of articles that I read some time ago ( and Inevitably more questions are raised: What do we imagine the battlefield to look like? And what exactly do we expect the artillery to be able to do on that battlefield? Etc. To cut right to my recommendation (and I know that I am not providing any justification here), I recommend procuring a common tracked and wheeled system. By that I mean, we acquire a turret, such as Krauss-Maffei Wegmann’s Artillery Gun Module (AGM) or Denel’s T6-52, which can be mounted to both a tracked and a wheeled platform. I made a case some time ago for a heavy common base platform (which could be utilized as a light tank, IFV, mortar carrier, etc.), such as the CV-90 or ASCOD, but that’s another post… We could outfit several batteries with a common system, with some batteries on wheels (Tatra 8x8s, for example) and some on tracks (ASCODs, see KMW’s DONAR). Such systems would be transportable.

    Fourth, I strongly recommend that we acquire additional 155mm towed guns. For this I would like to see the M777 lightweight field howitzer. BAE Systems words serve it best: “Unsurpassed tactical & strategic mobility, Low thermal & radar signature, Rapid emplacement/displacement, Low silhouette”. This gun should replace all other 155s in service, with the exception of the G5s, which probably have many years left. I’d like to add a note here regarding artillery numbers. If we take a look around us at Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia, we are not so badly outmatched in artillery. With the exception of Singapore’s superior numbers of modern guns, the Thais and Indonesians don’t have much of concern.

    Fifth, as for improvements, I believe there is strong need for an increase in artillery education and training across the board. Generals need to understand artillery and how to properly employ it operationally. Platoon leaders need to know how to employ it tactically. And the artillerymen need to be the highly proficient in the use of their guns. Even a relatively small number of artillery pieces, properly put into action, can make an overwhelming impact on the battlefield. Any historical study of artillery reveals the key role that artillery has played in almost every major conflict for hundreds of years. Some key facts: Napoleon was an artilleryman; the majority of casualties in both World Wars were caused by artillery; and a third of the Royal Army in World War II was in the artillery. Despite advances in air power, artillery should not be overlooked.

    Sixth, I support sticking with the current arrangement of having an artillery battalion as part of each brigade in a combined arms team. The infantry units should be equipped, as noted above, with mortars (up to 120mm).

    Sorry for the length, I tried to cut it short…

  25. A brief add-on just to cover the numbers:

    36 Astros IIs

    48 self-propelled, common system (two battalions (one tracked, one wheeled), 3-4 batteries each)

    22-28 G5s (one battalion, 3-4 batteries)
    48 M777s (two battalions, 3-4 batteries each)
    96 105s (four battalions, 3-4 batteries each)

    If the brigades does not transform into combined arms brigades all of that investment will be useless

  26. Up to a few years ago, a handful of M102s were still operated by the 41st Ceremonial Battery. In 1994, RDM had proposed upgrading them for us, with a new barrel and ammo. Wonder how long it will be before the retired FH-70s start appearing as gate guards. It would be good if ‘fieldboy’ was still around, he knew a lot about artillery.

    I think at least 10 of those M102s are still in use for ceremonial purposes in KL. I am guessing 10 as they usually used four during ceremonies. Perhaps during the Agong coronation in April we will be able to see this guns in action again

  27. Secondhand M109 out of question? Cheaper and as a start to build up our SPH unit.

    18 of the excess M109 from Uncle sam would be Great to complement the 48 PT91 M, the 36 astross. If can get that then the only thing lacking is self propelled SAM in the likes of pantsir etc.

    Personally I would prefer wheeled SPH instead of tracks, so there is no need for tank haulers….The only problem is that the SAAB Archer is too expensive as not many had been sold. Hopefully it will be chosen by the Indian Army, so it will be cheaper for us to buy.

  28. The BAE Systems Archer is an excellent weapon with another problem in addition to being too expensive: weight! 30 tons is a bit too much for a wheeled vehicle. It would be interesting to see the results of a mobility test in Malaysia or a similar operational environment.
    Just for comparison – the AGM (about 12.5 tons) mounted on a Tatra 8×8 (about 13 tons) would weigh about 25 tons. And a Tatra 8×8 would be much more mobile than the Volvo 6×6 that Archer is mounted too.


    I wouldn’t go for second-hand M109s for a variety of reasons. First, whatever we got would surely be heavily used and require a lot of remanufacturing. Second, the upgrades would be costly.

    The Volvo chassis used for the Archer are used as dump trucks, so their performance in Malaysian terain would be quite comparable to the Tatra 8X8. I prefer the Archer more due to its automatic firing system, with only reloading done manually. One problem with the AGM is that we may end up with the wheeled chasis sole user, as Rheinmental sells both the tracked and wheeled chasis!

  29. A few countries have been put off with the Archer as it can’t fit in a C-130, which the Caesar can. Transporting Archer by air, it seems, was not a Swedish operational requirement. Wonder if it can fit in an A400M.

    Based on my readings, yes it can fit into the A400M

  30. A400M specs:

    “Its cargo hold has an inside usable width of four metres / 13ft, height of up to four metres / 13ft, and usable length of 17.71 metres / 58 ft.”

    “With a maximum payload of up to 37 tonnes (81 600 lb) and a volume of 340 m3 (12 000 ft3)…”

    Archer specs:

    Overall length – 14.1 metres
    Width – 3 metres
    Height – 3.3 metres, 4 metres with remote weapon system mounted on top of the cab.

    So, yes it will fit.

    Random notes: The problem would be providing additional transport for ammunition, crew, etc. As with Marhalim, I prefer an automated system (fewer crewmen needed). Regarding the Caesar, I don’t really like the fact that the entire crew is exposed. The whole point of self-propelled artillery should be to provide the crew with some protection. Also note that a portee system is available for the M777…

    Yes one need two A400M for the Archer and its reloading vehicle. I prefer the Archer but since beggars cannot be choosers I also accept the Caesar instead of a tracked, towed or non at all. The Caesar lacked the automatic firing system and probably need an 8-man crew – seven of them loaders. It should be mounted on the Mercedes chassis as bought by the Saudis.
    I am afraid to state numbers preferably 10 battalion strong, each with 3 batteries with six guns, a hq troop and 3 troop with UAVs and FCR/D
    But since the AV8 is the budget black hole, I am guessing that they can only afford at the most two battalions and no UAVs.

  31. Fareed could be right on the Archer, based on the specs he provided and looking at pics of the Archer I don’t see why it would not fit in a C-130, but I remember reading an article in IDR a few years ago that several countries had rejected the Archer for this reason. There is also mention of this in the links below.–pBpCdLdHvm85AJL_g

    Like the MRCAs I think we sometimes overlook the fact that its not the actual product that makes the difference but how integrate it with what we have and how we make the best use of it. Whether or not we get should get Caeser or the K-9, will be purely academic if we can’t ensure that rounds fall on target in time, we actually hit what we aim at and if we can’t utilise what we have to best suit our operational needs. I think most of us would agree that the current artillery communications infrastructure may need a serious revamp. And the current organisation of 3 troops per battery and 3 batteries per regiment worked fine during the Emergency, when guns were allocated on a need to have basis, but might be not practical for our future needs. Something that I don’t get is why we use both the Thales AS2000 FCS and hand held Gunzen ballistics computers with our G-5s.

    I am told the SPH requirement is at the back end of the long list of projects that could be funded for RMK10. The current brigade set-up is archaic and it is my believe that the brigades should be converted into combined arms brigade ala US Marines style. However, I am told that current set-up is being maintained due to historical reasons but I believe it is more likely to maintain the RMR grip on the current Army set-up and promotions.

  32. Marhalim,

    10 battalion strong! Wow, and I thought I was a spendthrift! 🙂 I guess I was being very conservative when I put forward the idea of 2 battalions of self-propelled artillery (48 units in all), 48 M777s and 96 105s. Of course, that was only to get us started; I’d like to see follow-on orders, especially for the self-propelled artillery. But as you mention the AV8 is the ‘soup du jour’. Any updates on the AV8? I was under the impression that Deftech was supposed to deliver some pre-production vehicles for testing this year.

    I prefer to retire the 105s completely, so in a sense my numbers and yours are the same in the end. The AV8 is continuing with its development, not much update yet, perhaps at DSA.

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