Boeing Gives Up on MRCA?

SHAH ALAM: The Super Hornet remained in contention for the RMAF MRCA programme – officially. But it appears that even Boeing is not highly optimistic of its chances based on reports coming out from the US.

In a press briefing in Florida on June 10, Boeing among others stated it was confident of extending the production line of the Super Hornet based on an anticipated US Navy requirements and strong international interests. And the strong international interest does not include Malaysia.

From Janes:

“Speaking at Boeing’s Global Sustainment and Support (GS&S) site at Cecil Field in northern Florida, Dan Gillian, Vice President of the F/A-18 and EA-18G programmes, said that, with the USN burning through airframe hours at a far higher rate than originally intended and with additional exports expected in the near term, the company is confident of extending production from the current mid-2018 cut-off point through into the next decade.

Advanced Super Hornet. Boeing photo
Advanced Super Hornet. Boeing photo

“On the international front, Gillian noted that a deal with Kuwait is currently going through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process with the US government and should be finalised in the not-too-distant future. Current legacy Hornet operator Finland has issued a request for proposals (RfP) that Boeing is preparing its response to, as has Belgium. Spain, which also now flies the Hornet, is in the early stages of a fighter procurement project for which Boeing will bid the Super Hornet, while India and Canada are being offered the platform to fulfil their respective requirements also.”

I was not at the press conference so I am not sure what really happened there. However, a slide presentation at the press conference, entitled ‘2016 International Super Hornet Opportunities’ clearly left out Malaysia.

2016 International Super Hornet Opportunities. Tim Robinson.
2016 International Super Hornet Opportunities. Tim Robinson.

Malaysian Defence has reported that the MRCA programme is down to either the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale. However according to RMAF chief Jen Roslan Saad, the Super Hornet and Gripen are also being considered with the two European contenders.

Perhaps I am reading too much from a single press conference and in fact Boeing will come back strongly to Malaysia in 2017. Just in time for LIMA!

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2200 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Well, i do like Advanced Super Hornet because it feature Touchscreen and other new stuff for extend life. I wish the old Hornet can upgrade like that. Hope i see this in LIMA 17.

  2. The companies that will and won’t exhibit at the next LIMA will provide us with some indications. If they feel that they have no chance of sealing a deal; companies won’t bother making the effort and spending the cash to exhibit. For previous LIMAs Saab paid for the RTAF to send its Gripens but will we see RTAF Gripens next year? Will Dassault take the trouble to ensure Armee de lair Rafales are at LIMA? Companies like BAE Systems have no choice but to attend but whether it actually bring Typhoon to LIMA next year is another matter.

    It is likely that the Typhoons will be at Lima 17. US Navy will also bring the Super Hornets.

  3. It’s has been to long outstanding issue for Malaysia Government to decide on MRCA – In 2001 we choose Sukhoi over Super Hornet, we have intentions to add Super Hornet + legacy Hornet to make it full squadron plus advance training. Ever since, announcement after announcements on MRCA nothing was materialize – postpone and delay for 15 years.
    Next year we will organize another LIMA 2017 – another old story with different chapter to register Malaysia Defence interest to procure MRCA – the main intention just to attract exhibitor like Boieng, SAAB. Eurofighter, Dassault to fill in every corner Mashuri Hall to exhibit their latest defense product and little airshow for media hype.
    How much longer we can fools all big names in defense industry. Let face it – we don’t have money.

  4. I think super hornet is the most compatible MRCA for RMAF, since we currently operating 8 Hornets (F/A 18D). In spite previously the hornet “cannot shoot” AAMRAM due to the source code, but the things have been changed since we acquire the new AIM 120C7 last year. My question is, if we buy Typhoon or rafale, is there any provision to buy AEWC aircrafts?

    You have been misinformed our Hornets have always been able to shoot the Amraams. It’s just we cannot used them to shoot at US planes

  5. Put a side about offsets offer…super hornet is RMAF dream however they notice it will no upgrade for super hornet after this because US government not going to get more for US Navy/any major upgrade program. Same to F16, they not going have a major upgrade program fir their own. Indirectly the cost of operate n upgrade will getting higher n higher even the price now is cheaper than typhoon or rafale. For our Su-30mkm I think the operation cost will well maintain, as Russia begin operate it. For me maintain 2 type of fighter jet is the ideal choice…

  6. Michael – ”For me maintain 2 type of fighter jet is the ideal choice…”

    For you but in reality; operating more than one front line type is a huge drain on resources. 2 different front line types require 2 different training and support infrastructures to be established and different ordnance to be operated and maintained : not an ideal situation, which is precisely why every Tier 1 arm is trying to cut down the number of types operated.

    Lkick – ”but the things have been changed since we acquire the new AIM 120C7.

    Th AIM-120 buy was not last year and nothing has changed just because we bought it. Like everyone else the U.S. does not readily hand out source and object codes to anyone who makes a request. Same goes if we were to buy Typhoon or Gripen or anything else for that matter.

    Ben Al – ”How much longer we can fools all big names in defense industry.”

    They are fully aware that we have issues to deal with before we can commit to a firm order. Yes there has been frustrations in the past over the delays but in this period of tightening budgets and increased competition; the likes of Dassault, Boeing and BAE Systems can’t afford not to keep competing for the programme.

  7. ‘The RMN has already placed an order with the South Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) for six missile surface corvettes, to be delivered from 2018 onwards’

    This was in defence studies. Any truth in it?

    No lah this was the crap that was recycled for this story which appeared in Naval Technology.

  8. From the time Boeing sold us the 8 hornets, they have been trying the sell at least another 8

  9. nawab,

    No. In 2002 it was officially announced that Boeing had gained congressional approval for a sale of 24 Super Hornets Block 1s. In 1996 we issued a RFI for 18 Cs but then the 1997 crisis came along.

  10. Azlan, what I was trying to say is that Boeing never expected that RMAF will be operating just 8 hornets

  11. It seem the US government want Boeing to export the Super Hornets

    Of course they do

  12. With ISIL recent declaration to terrorize Malaysia,i in the opine that maybe the MRCA should be reprioritise. Not that we should stop it altogether,imho we still need it due to the situation at SCS and Natuna but relook at the option that would give us maximum benefit for lower purchasing and operating cost. What ever saving should be channeled to better ISR and domestic security requirement.

  13. Muhammad “We can now buy more UK made weapon.. GBP dropping which is good for us! More Starstreak, Hawk, etc. Etc.”

    Did you miss the effect of Brexit on the ringgit?

  14. kamal – ”What ever saving should be channeled to better ISR and domestic security requirement.”

    You have a point but counter arguments can always be made. Whilst we would like the armed services to prioritise or focus more on certain areas; the armed services don’t have the luxury, they still have to prepare for other unexpected contingencies. For the armed services [which contrary to the impression some give, do plan for a whole array of contingencies] it’s a ”damned if you do” and ”damned if you don’t” scenario : if it concentrates on dealing with non state threats but an actual scenario involving non state actors catches the armed service unprepared, the public and media will cry foul and accuse the armed services of being unable to do their job. As it is many are quick to blame the MAF over the kidnaps in Sabah yet are ignorant of the operational challenges the MAF faces due to many factors including geography, political meddling, etc.

    No doubt there is an IS threat but the main agency to deal with that threat should be the police. It has its own budget and its own assets and special units to deal with that threat. Similarly, the main agency to deal with a lot of issues we face in our maritime domain is the MMEA.

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