But the picture, to me at least, encapsulates what is wrong with our defence procurement. Putting our top-of the line MRCA as a tanker when we are short of combat planes is not too bright to say the least.
SHAH ALAM,: The picture (below) courtesy of Mindef was probably taken during the recently concluded Ex Angsa 2010. Its a spectacular picture, all right, a Sukhoi Su-30MKM preparing to off-load fuel to a Hornet with two others waiting and four Hawks in the same formation probably going to top up as well.
Its certainly nice to see the Cobham air-to-air refueling rig operational on the Flankers when the deal for them was signed during Lima 2009. It is also good that our boys in the fast jet are training to top-up fuel from a jet instead from the much slower KC-130T tanker plane.
Practising air-to-air refuelling from the much faster Flanker certainly will helped our fly-boys during the upcoming Exercise Bersama 2010 with our Five Power Defence Arrangement partners this Friday. Our partners operate jet-powered tankers from the KC-135, VC10s and soon-to-be A330 MRTT.
But the picture, to me at least, encapsulates what is wrong with our defence procurement. Putting our top-of the line MRCA as a tanker when we are already short of combat planes is not too bright to say the least.
Yes, I know the US Navy uses the Super Hornet as an aerial tanker but these planes are mostly used to top-up fuel of other planes near carriers and in emergencies only. For other missions, the US Navy rely on Hercules tankers from the Marine or USAF KC10s or allied tankers.
Yes, I know airborne tankers are mostly converted airliners which are quite expensive to procure. But since our former PM purchased an Airbus A319CJ for his exclusive usage, one can imagine that the government has the funds to procure an Airbus A319MRTT brand new or second hand.
And since the former PM had since retired, his CJ could be easily be converted into a MRTT or has it gone into service for another leader now?
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