Border Security Redux

RMAF A400M M54-01 being loaded with face masks bound for Sarawak on April 10 2020. TUDM

SHAH ALAM: Border security redux. The security services are deploying more men and equipment to border areas as the Covid 19 pandemic threatens to unleash a new wave of refugees to the country. The Armed Forces said it was ready to beef up its forces in the border areas as directed by the government.

A Super Lynx being put on board the A400M. RMAF in May 2020 likely bound for Sabah.

The Malaysian Armed Forces said it is ready to beef up border enforcement to prevent a potential Covid-19 outbreak from illegal immigrants entering the country.

In a statement on Friday (April 10), the Armed Forces said its chief Jen Tan Sri Affendi Buang stressed that the MAF was always ready to strengthen enforcement across the borders.

“Following new instructions based on the Prime Minister’s special speech, the MAF will increase control and surveillance, land, sea and air, so that it is at a high level.

“The Armed Forces will take several matters into consideration in creating a strategic plan to defend the country which will include any situation, especially when the nation is facing the spread of Covid-19,” it said.

It said illegal immigrants entering the country via illegal means could impact the Covid-19 spread.

The statement said despite its role in the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO), other operations were being carried as usual.

It is also said stronger enforcement operations at the borders would not disrupt its manpower.

KD Lekiu at LIMA 2019. Zaq Sayuti

RMN, based on their social media, is also preparing its ships for patrol along the maritime borders. Apart from the military, both police and MMEA have also announced that they will be beefing up operations to prevent illegal immigrants.
MMEA AW139 M72-03. Apart from its duty with APMM, the helicopter is also used for various other duties. Picture taken in late 2013. Malaysian Defence

MMEA has stationed an AW139 helicopter to bolster its fleet of patrol boats in Langkawi to detect boats carrying Rohingya illegal immigrants to the island. Last week, a boat carrying some 200 Rohingyas beached itself on the island after its crew jumped ship likely to avoid arrests.It must be said if indeed the pandemic went out of control in neighbouring countries and unleashed waves of refugees, the crisis will be totally unimaginable.


— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 1728 Articles
Shah Alam

73 Comments

  1. I see 2 likely scenarios playing out. 1) the pandemic in S. Asia contained 2) the pandemic getting worse with more trying to leave S. Asia! That will test Malaysia’s resolve

  2. If gomen doesnt hv enuff money to add more Cougars for the air forces, just get cheaper and common ones like the AW139 for all the branches.

  3. En Marhalim, any insight on how the Rohinyas boat ikan get to land at Langkawi, without being intercepted

    Reply
    No idea

  4. Zulkhairi,

    There is a very long sea boundary and coastline. Even if the MMEA has 3-4 times the number of sea and air assets it actually has; ensuring that each and every intrusion is detected and prevented cannot be guaranteed.

    Note that even European countries with much more resources than us (including ground based sensors) fail to stop each and every boatload of refugees from reaching their shores.

  5. AW139 (even AW149 for that matter) is too small for nuri replacement. Prolly better for Navy’s MUH programme.

    Government should also consider adding more helicopters for Bomba. By the looks of it, they’re the one that should lead the task of peacetime disaster response (medevac, mercy flight, cargo transport evac) instead of the air force.

    Reply
    Not Bomba as their role is mostly for fire and rescue. Buying more helicopters for them will burned their budget for their main role

  6. We shall buy Brunei 8 old Blackhawks for the Army and Navy MUH. We really do urgently need it for patrol and emergency response ie send food and supplies to the interior.

  7. @ Mohd Hazwan

    Brunei only has 4 “old” blackhawks that we actually declined when it was actually given out nearly for free.

    There was 2 more brunei VIP blackhawks not under TUDB but already sold to USA and now converted into firefighting helicopters.

  8. Alex,

    No doubt BOMBA needs additional helicopters to perform various types of roles but when it comes to disaster relief or other emergency type situations; it should be a joint effort comprising various agencies, under a unified command. In the past BOMBA air assets have performed mercy flights and disaster relief.

    Hazwan,

    It will take months at minimum to certify crews to operate and maintain S-70s. Yes we have crews that are certified but they’re merely a handful.

  9. During this MCO I have been evaluating how the Malaysian future budget will be reemphasise. Based on current practice, education has always been given the priority, followed by health care, rural development. I do sense this may change with health care and social security will be given more emphasise. As such how would that impact spending on defense and internal security. With lower oil price, cpo and drop in E&E export, the tax collection can be lower for the next foreseeable future will drop by at least 15% and our borrowing is current capped at 55% gdo, it can be increased. Say assuming priority to social security a nd health are, how would future security and defense need would be met with at least 15% cut in the budget?

  10. Kamal – “, how would future security and defense need would be met with at least 15% cut in the budget””

    The armed services will continue to make do with what they have, thr operating budget might be affected, the bulk of the population wouldn’t care less and there will be more delays and uncertainty with regards to equipment that has been agreed to in principle but awaiting funding.

    On top of the virus and external factors affecting the economy; the political situation once the virus subsides is also subject to uncertainty. The present occupants of Putrajaya will seek to stay in office and the previous occupants will try to evict them – not good for the overall market.

  11. Let’s doa that DS Ismail Sabri is as competent in defence matters as he is in health disaster management. I feel comfortable with the man at the helm. Let’s hope he can shine some light into several outstanding defence procurement matters whilst maintaining prudent spending. Being a Senior Minister must have some leverage that may work positively for MinDef.

  12. “It will take months at minimum to certify crews to operate and maintain S-70s. Yes we have crews that are certified but they’re merely a handful.”

    In addition, it would have been expensive to set up a training establishment and logistics train for just four ageing aircraft that would have required intensive maintenance.

  13. @ AM

    We already have blackhawk support in place (for our whitehawks), and resources for the nuri (manpower, technical support) can be reallocated to the blackhawk.

    We have missed the boat on the aussie hornets, with our bleak economic realities, i hope our mindef could have a serious look at aussie blackhawks for PUTD.

  14. My understanding is the Whitehawks fly very infrequently and therefore I doubt we have much of a support structure, which we would need if we had a larger fleet. Also not sure whose budget pays for the Whitehawks.

    Reply
    Yes they do fly infrequently but at least one is usually available at a short notice as with many VIP aircraft.

  15. AM,

    Indeed. What we have at the moment are crews for just 2
    S-70s. Getting 4 for the RMAF and getting them operational would take months at minimum; for additional crews (whether ex Nuri ot otherwise) to be rated for the type. On top of that a support/training infrastructure to be created: which goes way beyond what currently exists for the pair of S-70s which are owned by the PM’s Department.

    If there is a urgent need for additional helis to perform roles such as food/supplies delivery (to supplement the Cougars) the fastest and most practical immediate solution would be to engage the services of a private helicopter company. Prior to the MCO the RMAF was already in discussions with a certain company to fill in the gap left by the Nuri’s departure.

    The company’s helis are flown by experienced pilots and its platforms are fully rated for night/bad weather flights. The only thing crews don’t train for is SAR which is not an issue for the intended requirement. In the long term of course we need a Nuri replacement but for the short term this is the most practical solution.

  16. Taib – “Let’s doa that DS Ismail Sabri is as competent in defence matters as he is in health disaster management””

    We’ve gone beyond the stage where an individual can make a difference. No matter who’s at MINDEF and no matter how competent, well intentioned or well connected he/she is; our whole procurement system and overall outlook of defence is rotten and the political/economic environment is such.

    On the Defence Minister; why is he making daily statements on MCO matters? Isn’t that the job of a Home Minister or someone else?

    Reply
    Ismail Sabri is doing it as he was appointed as the senior minister for security.

  17. AM,

    All VIP assets are owned and funded by the PM’s Department. The RMAF merely flies them.

    Yes, maintaining a pair of low usage S-70s which hardly fly and actually having them in an operational squadron which flyers regularly are different. The first thing would be to qualify crews for the type – it’s not as if we have an excess of S-70 rated crews and a large pool of trained support personnel.

  18. “What we have at the moment are crews for just 2
    S-70s.”

    How many crews does this amount to? If only one of the two aircraft is operated at a time while the other undergoes maintenance, there are probably one or two crews.

  19. @Kamal
    Safe to say whatever budget have been shot to pieces, we would be lucky not to stare at a recession in this and next year. It would be prudent to freeze all non-committed defence CAPEX and renego those that we still need to pay on time, but at same time ensure OPEX isn’t cut so as to maintain the level of readiness.

  20. For pilots to add S-70 type rating is about 2 weeks of training. Brunei currently has the most advanced S-70 simulator in south east asia. No need to travel far to do it.

    For engineers and technicians to add S-70 type rating is about 5 weeks of training.

    It can be done. At a cost cheaper than getting a totally new type or even trying to get the nuris up and running again for the airforce.

  21. Only one of the white Hawk is flying. The other is not operational. This S-70 is partly service by Airod as well.

  22. AIROD performs depot level maintenance; including structural checks after ‘x’ hours, replacement of time expired parts, etc. Routine preventive is performed at squadron level.

    As it stands; unless the situation takes a sudden and drastic turn for the worst; the pair of Labuan based Cougars can handle the task of delivering food/supplies to rural Sarawak. If things stretch for a much longer period a few Cougars can always be deployed from the peninsular.

    Priority for the RMAF now is to engage the services of a commercial company to provide heli services. In the longer term I have no idea as to what is the RMAF’s preference : to seek funding at some point in the future to expand the Cougar fleet (makes perfect sense from a commonality perspective) or seek a cheaper platform and pay the penalty of having having to establish a separate training/support infrastructure to support a 2nd heli type.

    Reply
    From what I heard before they wanted another 12 Cougars after the first batch was delivered but of course it was not approved. After the crash of the oil and gas Cougar a few years and the subsequent short grounding of the RMAF fleet, I was told they were thinking of buying another type once funding were available fearing that an all Cougar fleet would be detrimental due to the technical issues. In the background of course the Nuri upgrade was limping along, an albatross hanging over the service

  23. @ marhalim

    In the hindsight, since the north sea crashes of the civilian EC225LP, three of our neighbours, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore has also bought EC225M/EC725.

    Thailand – 12
    Indonesia – 15
    Singapore – 16

    In any case, i dont think we are in the situation where we can afford to discard the EC725 and get a totally new type to replace it in the near future.

    For TUDM, IMO what we can do is to just use the current EC725, plus additional 2nd hand comercial units (which is now drying up, snapped up by american defence contractors and other militaries). 12 current units plus 6 more additional units would give a minimum availability for both east and west malaysia.

    To suppport this, IMO we should get the to be retired S-70A-9 blackhawks from the australian army to replace the nuris in PUTD. Around 18-28 units to equip at least 2 squadrons. Right now with the retirement of the nuris, all the PUTD nuri resources have to be transferred to a new platform whether we like it or not.

    That is IMO the lowest cost move to replace the nuri in PUTD and augument the EC725 in TUDM.

  24. “In the longer term I have no idea as to what is the RMAF’s preference : to seek funding at some point in the future to expand the Cougar fleet (makes perfect sense from a commonality perspective) or seek a cheaper platform and pay the penalty of having having to establish a separate training/support infrastructure to support a 2nd heli type.”

    What’s the army’s preference? If you ask me, they should be made to adopt the Cougar or the air force’s second choice if it comes to pass. They should be barred from getting their own third, distinct type.

  25. Our helicopter capability should be looked at a wholistic, not service-specific level by the mindef.

    If we need a different type to mitigate the risk of having the EC725 grounded, then mindef should make it a point that the PUTD utility helicopter is not the EC725/EC225.

    My suggestion that the airforce stick with the EC725/EC225, while PUTD gets used S-70A-9 to replace the nuri takes that risk mitigation into account.

    If we go with that plan, actually we are only barely replacing our nuri fleet numbers one to one, with around 18 EC725/EC225 for TUDM and around 18-28 S-70A-9 for PUTD. Originally we have bought 40 nuris in all, plus 2 agusta AS-61N-1 Silvers.

    BTW is the AS-61N-1 also included together with the nuri retirement?

    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/C05ZVqnVQAALLjo.jpg

    Reply
    No, the white bird is not included in the grounding and likely retirement as well

  26. …. – “ur helicopter capability should be looked at a wholistic, not service-specific level by the mindef.””

    Indeed. Which is exactly why we need to be very careful and not rush into introducing another type; with the penalties that come with it. As it stands, unless things take a drastic turn for the worst; we can make do with what we have.

    For the short term a contract is needed with a local company to provide certain services. This will take some strain of the Cougars. In the longer term, as the dust settles and things (hopefully) get better; the RMAF and army need to evaluate what feasible options there are. – too much uncertainties present.

  27. A Nuri or two for a museum, please. Hard to think of a more deserving aircraft to preserve.

    Would it have been so hard to put a museum hangar on a plot of cheap land at a remote air base. Or to have put it in the land swap that saw Sungai Besi’s infinitely valuable land traded off for so cheap to 1MDB.

  28. AM – “What’s the army’s preference?“

    If it was up to the army it would have liked to have acquired a dedicated gunshship and a scout/recce capability whilst still relying on the RMAF for its utility needs – that of course has come to past. The army reluctantly had to accept the Nuri and because of a lack of infrastructure it struggled to raise its Nuri squadron.

    In a perfect world the RMAF and army would operate a common platform and benefit from having a common support/training infrastructure – unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world and have to make short term compromises that will haunt us in the future. The RMAF realises it needs sine level of capability to perform tri-utility needs as well as disaster relief, mercy flights and other stuff but it would like its utility fleet to focus on special forces insertion, SAR/CSAR, etc.

  29. Unless there are major legal or other issues; MHS’s helis should go to the RMAF. … has a point.

    Apart from minor stuff like adding a hoist, changing radios and other things; I fail to see why these platforms won’t do for the RMAF. They already have a NVG compatible cockpit.

  30. We should understand that the real world is nowhere near any ideal situations.

    Yes PUTD previously wants a dedicated gunship. But is that a prudent way to spend the limited amount of budget that is available to tentera darat? Look at TNI-AD (Indonesian army) for example. They have bought 8 units of AH-64E Apache Guardians for USD1.42 billion.
    http://www.dsca.mil/major-arms-sales/indonesia-ah-64d-apache-block-iii-longbow-attack-helicopters
    This amount is actually almost the same as the whole of tentera darat development budget for 5 year Rancangan Malaysia!

    The best way forward for the next 10 years for PUTD IMO is to leverage our experience with the AW109 to expand our use of the platform, plus getting the S-70A-9 blackhawks as the utility and gunship platform.
    http://assets.verticalmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Armed_Black_Hawk_1783.v2.jpg

    Right now we have 10 AW109LOH equipped with EO observation systems.
    http://i.pinimg.com/originals/e9/39/bd/e939bde8790f3effe982af76c4f0f542.jpg
    The EO turret is seen under the rear fuselage. We can expand the fleet by getting additional units from open market. Used AW109 Power is priced around USD1.5-2 million each. You can get utility, medevac and VIP interior versions for the price. For about USD18 million, we can get additional 10 AW109 in a mix of medevac, utility and VIP versions. Having medevac specific helicopter enables the army to have quick medevac capability at exercises and operational operations.

    To replace the nuri, and to get a credible gunship capability, getting the ex-aussie S-70A-9 would be the lowest cost option to get 2 squadron worth of helicopters. I had a radical idea of swapping our unwanted MD530G with australian S-70A-9s. It is a realistic option, as MD helicopter is also offering them to australia.
    http://www.janes.com/article/89814/mdhi-offers-single-and-twin-engined-helicopters-for-australian-sof-role

    So by 2030 the PUTD would consist of:

    880 regiment – 2x S-70A-34, 2x S-70A-9, 4x AW109E – government and royal flight – subang

    881 regiment – 10x AW109LOH, 3x AW109E Medevac, 3x AW109E utility – kluang

    882 regiment 10x S-70A-9 – kluang

    883 regiment 10x S-70A-9 – kuching

    884 regiment – fixed wing light aircraft PC-6, PC-12 etc. – kluang

    In all my PUTD plan would cost less than USD100 million inclusive of upgrades to the helicopters before entering our service.

    As for the TUDM helicopter fleet, i have written it here before.

  31. IMO for our future vertical lift capability, if possible for the next 15 years, we should not induct any new types other than what we have used now (blackhawks imo is included in the we have used now category).

    15-20 years from now, to replace the EC725, Blackhawks, AW109s, next generation multirotors, tiltrotors etc will be the norm. We should monitor closely what the US Army is researching for their FVL concept
    http://1l0044267psh26mr7fa57m09-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/fvl-graphic-2.jpg

    Small helicopters we could look at multirotors such as bell nexus
    http://www.moog.com/content/dam/moog/direct-uploads/BellNexus_PartnersInfographic-180103_PRESS.png

    http://wyho.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/21s5FXfRDk-8xPdTdVZIqg.jpg

    http://d3lcr32v2pp4l1.cloudfront.net/Pictures/2000x2000fit/7/0/1/64701_bell-nexus_78818.jpg

  32. … – “We should understand that the real world is nowhere near any ideal situations”

    I think all of us understand very well. The thing is; whatever we do has to be planned with long term consequences in mind. We can’t act rashly or with only short term considerations in mind such as filling immediate gaps or to achieve short term solutions/costs savings; only to have things came and haunt us at a later date.

    …, – “To replace the nuri, and to get a credible gunship capability””

    I have no idea what you mean by ‘credible” but a dedicated gunship capability is something we can and will continue to do without for the foreseeable future – it’s simply at the bottom of the many to do things list we have.

    I would also like to add that getting a “gunship” (whatever it is) is just one part of the equation. The harder and also very expensive part is combining the use of the gunship to operate in tandem with maneuver assets as well as supporting arms; constant practise and integration is needed.

    We also have to figure out how we want to employ the gunships from an operational perspective and to formulate a doctrine. Do we foresee gunships operating “jointly” from the decks of RMN ships in the littoral domain? Do we intend on having our gun ships having the ability to call in arty/MLRS and be linked to UASs? Will our gunships be primarily busy conducting flank screening and CAS for maneuver unit’s?

    I know for a fact that the army has no intention or operational need for additional A-109s or a platform of a similar weight/size category: irrespective of how easily inexpensive platforms can be readily sourced. It boils down to operational needs. The size of the cabin and the weight that can be carried is a limiting factor for what the army needs; a jack of all trade – CASEVAC, utility, scour/recce, logistics, etc. As it stands the A-109s are only useful got recce/observation, light resupply and CASEVAC. The RMN has a similar problem with the Lynx; it’s ability to only lift a small size PASKAL team.

    It really remains to be seen if the army – even by 2030 – will have the needed ground support infrastructure to operate and maintain the force structure you listed. It has limited number of pilots and ground crews and its resources are/were stretched to the maximum operating the
    A-109s and Nuris. To enable it operate several regiments would take considerable finances for the infrastructure to be developed.

  33. … – “Yes PUTD previously wants a dedicated gunship””

    It previously wanted a gunship but then – when the RMAF made clear it wanted to go away with the troop carrying/utility rule – rhe army shifted priority to a utility type. The RMAF’s plan then was for the Nuri upgrade and for a squadron’s worth of CSAR/SAR configured NH-90’s.

    …. – “But is that a prudent way to spend the limited amount of budget that is available to tentera darat””

    Subjective. Subject to personal opinions, requirements then and threat perceptions. The requirement for the gunships at one time also had very strong political backing so the army might not have had much say in the matter.

    Back then one could have argued that gun ships were the missing element needed to operate alongside the MBT and IFV regiment and that having a token capability was the first step. Others could have argued that the threat perception simply didn’t justify the investments needed, that with such a small number it was a neither here not there arrangement and we had other priorities needing addressing.

    Given the choice – then and now – I’d rather have utilities rather than a gunship.

  34. @ azlan

    Credible “gunship” (that term i took from your comment about dedicated gunship) IMO for our army context is basically CAS and fire support from the air. Calling in fire support would not be its function as it is actually fire support. Calling in fire support would be done by AW109LOH, forward observers, UAVs, MPAs and artillery radars. Blackhawks with ESSS and plenty of off the shelf weapons attachment is a credible gunship that is used by many countries like Colombia (Arpia), Israel, UAE and USA (MH-60L Direct Action Penetrator).

    Dedicated attack helicopters such as Apache and Tiger will cost billions for a token capability. Our army total development budget for 5 year Rancangan Malaysia is just around USD1.5 billion. Would it be prudent to spend 90% of your whole budget for 5 year on just 8 helicopters? How much increase in overall capability that those 8 helicopters provide? How vulnerable those helicopters to cheap shoulder fired missiles? It is basically should not even be an option for a small budgeted nation like malaysia.

    Additional AW109 I foresee it to be used to support the helicopter Government/Royal flight (to transfer this task from TUDM to PUTD) and also to have a dedicated helicopter medevac capability. 1-2 AW109 airframes could also be a dedicated SF support similar to UK AAC use of captured A109 from argentina.
    http://www.generalequipment.info/AGUSTA%20AW109-3.jpg
    http://ifnk2kzc2lrg7y02yhzokml4-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/TL5_3648s.jpg
    Swiss air ambulance spec AW109 with hoist, also with additional side steps.

    As for the ground support infrastructure. For 50 years we have ground support infrastructure in place for 40 Nuris, in butterworth (3 Skn), in Kuantan (10 SKn), in Kuching (7 Skn), in Labuan (5 Skn). TUDM is divesting 2 helicopter squadrons worth of resources that can be transferred to PUTD. In all, we formerly supported and flown around 60+ Nuris/Alouette IIIs, and I dont see why we cannot support around the same number of blackhawks/EC725/EC225/Aw109s with all our local helicopter support infrastructure (now additionally with almost all OE manufacturers have their own MRO support infrastructure in place in malaysia). This is why also I prefer to get blackhawks from australia. That will come with tons of spares and support equipment, the ability to get EDA spares from USA, and can leverage the huge training and support infrastructure investment by Brunei.

  35. …. – “Calling in fire support would be done by AW109LOH””

    If the day ever comes when we actually get gunships and those gunships are not able to take advantage of an opportunity provided by calling or directing arty/MLRS fire then we’e underutilising them.

    … – “In all, we formerly supported and flown around 60+ Nuris/Alouette IIIs, and I dont see why we cannot support around the same number of“”

    The major difference between those aircraft and present day ones is that modern aircraft; being much more sophisticated and complex on account of the various computers/automation/electronics require a larger logistics tail in terms of parts and test/support kits are more challenging and expensive to run and require much more skilled manpower – that is the difference and is also the main rationale behind the 5/15 and CAP 55.

    Another difference between then and now is that the number of various systems operated tri service has significantly increased; resulting in an overall much larger logistical/support tool; putting an extra strain on those task to keep those various things operational. We are also short of resources (finances and skilled technical manpower) and maintenance funds are subject to cuts and delays. On top of that, what we buy will most probably be in small numbers without economics or scale to justify creating or establishing a whole new

    Whilst I’m not suggesting we never increase the number of types operated; it must be done with long term consequences in mind; irrespective of how readily available or inexpensive something is. Not merely to achieve short term benefits which will or might come back and haunt us later.- a situation we have much experience of unfortunately.

    … – “Dedicated attack helicopters such as Apache and Tiger will cost billions for a token capability””

    You are preaching to the already converted. We simply have no use for gun ships at this period in time and we can’t afford them.

    … – “UDM is divesting 2 helicopter squadrons worth of resources that can be transferred to PUTD”

    Unless the army can expand its ground based support/training infrastructure; at the most it can operate another squadron – like with the Nuris. It simply doesn’t have the trained manpower or even the support facilities to operate anything more than 2 squadrons. Which is why it took much longer than expected getting its Nuris up and running.

  36. “How much increase in overall capability that those 8 helicopters provide?”

    Anything manned that flies is expensive to buy and to upkeep. No wonder many armies make do without attack helicopters or armed utility helicopters at all.

    There are strong arguments for pursuing a UAS capability within the proper organisational structures ahead of rotary wing fire support. For what they cost, which is a lot less than any helicopter, they provide a very substantial “increase in overall capability.” Unfortunately I don’t think I’ve heard the services express any significant interest in this area.

  37. AM – “Anything manned that flies is expensive to buy and to upkeep””

    It requires trained personnel at squadron level to operate and mountain it; requires a company that can perform MRO, requires a training infrastructure and literally thousands of parts to be stored from rotors to screws (not to mention the numerous manuals that come with it – which personnel have to be familiar with.

    AM – “ For what they cost, which is a lot less than any helicopter, they provide a very substantial “increase in overall capability””

    We should avoid the tendency to assume that UASs can replace manned assets – both are needed, both complement each other. Both having their strongpoints.

    We also have to do away with the tendency to assume that UASs will always be much cheaper in the long run compared to manned platforms; to operate and maintain. Predator for example was notoriously expensive to run and for what the U.S. used it for; labour intensive. The more systems a UAS has the note maintenance is needed.

    Another issue is to accept the fact that like manned platforms; UASs will be lost in accidents or due to technical or other reasons – no getting around this: despite the huge outlay for some systems.

    AM – “Unfortunately I don’t think I’ve heard the services express any significant interest in this area””

    There is a strong realisation on the part of the armed services on the vital need for UASs and how behind the MAF is in this regards – as always funding is the issue.

    Like with fighters, gunships, MBTs, IFVs, frigates and everything else in this day and age; effective usage of UASs is dependent on networking/integration. No point having a stand alone capability.

    We also need to avoid having a bloated bureaucratic staffing arrangement in which a single service dominates. As we transition from a inexperienced UAS operator to one with tertiary capabilities; a “UAS Command” will be needed – staffed by the right people. Not people placed there for in service political reasons or people placed in cold storage awaiting retirement.

    A proper command/control
    set up is vital. No point a UAS detecting intruders along the costal belt if the info can’t be passed in time to the nearest infantry unit. No point in a UAS dejecting a target in real time if it can’t share the information with the nearest MRCA or LCA. No point having the ESM of a UAS in the SCS detecting a search radar of a foreign ship if info can’t be shared with the nearest MPA or LCS . The bandwidth costs money, will add to the overall cost and is detectable (being non passive) but is something unavoidable.

    … – “Credible “gunship” (that term i took from your comment about dedicated gunship””

    Ok. Unless I’m mistaken I didn’t use the term ‘credible’ because to me it can mean nothing ….

    My use of “dedicated” was to (as you know) make the distinction between a dedicated (from the onset) gunship and an ad hoc one or one that does not provide the all round capabilities (whether in protection or sensor capability) as a dedicated one.

  38. @ azlan

    More skilled manpower, yes.

    More challenging and expensive to run? This is the hourly cost in US dollars of a sample list of helicopter, from US Forest service, this includes all maintenance and fuel needed.

    AW119 (no AW109, this is the closest) $1287.20
    SA316B (alouette III) $1908.31
    MD530F $1043.31
    AS355F $1468.62
    EC120 $867.31
    S-61 $4205.15
    EC225 $4075.81
    AS332L1 $4359.61
    S-70 $4091.00
    UH-1H Huey $1877.69
    CH-47 Chinook $7709.44

    You can see some old helicopters we had flown cost a lot to run like the alouette III. Old avionics like analogue gauges have low MTBF and costs a lot to overhaul. Old gearboxes need to be regularly greased unlike latest gearboxes. New solid state digital avionics rarely need servicing and just need periodic scans, and usually lifed on condition.

    My option is about how to replace the nuri capability with the least cost and with redundancy if there is any issues with EC225 or even the blackhawks. From the data, the operating costs should not be more than what we had with our previous nuri/alouette III combination. Right now it is clear that we are in no situation to afford to buy 20 brand new utility helicopters. My option is IMO the best compromise that we can execute.

    As for dedicated gunships, our situation cannot afford such a thing. Which comes to the blackhawk preference by me. A blackhawk can be re-roled into a gunship when that is needed or during gunship training missions, taken off when it is employed in normal logistical missions. Why i prefer blackhawks is also because that they are existing firefighting roll on/roll off modules designed for it, which IMO would be an important asset to help quickly extinguish forest fires. Probably we could get 3 sets of these firefighting modues for each squadron.
    http://assets.verticalmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/BHI-tank-1024×683.jpg

  39. Azlan “We should avoid the tendency to assume that UASs can replace manned assets – both are needed, both complement each other. Both having their strongpoints.”

    Certainly. Despite increasing overlap in capabilities and roles, the manned attack helicopter will be necessary for a long time to come. It should be noted that both can only realise their potential by complementing each other. Which is why teaming concepts and the ability of the AH to control UAVs have been developed.

    “We also have to do away with the tendency to assume that UASs will always be much cheaper in the long run compared to manned platforms; to operate and maintain. Predator for example was notoriously expensive to run and for what the U.S. used it for; labour intensive. The more systems a UAS has the note maintenance is needed. ”

    I see it as a general rule to which there are be exceptions. Acquisition and operating costs are much lower and so the quality of quantity can be brought into play. It should be considered that one can afford to upgrade to new models more often than one can with attack helicopters.

    And while being unmanned does not make them expendable per se, they are smaller and harder for the enemy to spot and target. Where attack helicopters have to go, UAVs can first probe to locate/stimulate defences and targets for the AH.

    Specific to Predator and Reaper, these are expensive but they are also at the high end of their class and are much more than what most users need. They carry more mission systems and are several times the weight of systems comparable to Hermes.

  40. …, – “e. A blackhawk can be re-roled into a gunship when that is needed or during gunship training missions””

    If and when the Little Birds arrive they will provide some level of – albeit only in ESSCOM – armed rotary capability; notwithstanding range/endurance limitations. The A-109s have the mini gun but of course this enables mainly a defensive fire suppression capability.

    …. – “884 regiment – fixed wing light aircraft PC-6, PC-12 etc. – kluang”

    In our scheme of things I simply don’t see the need for the army to have a fixed wing capability. Most of not all the roles performed by a light fixed wing platform can be performed by a rotary asset.

    There is also the fact that most or many bases; although they will have a landing spot for helicopters; will not have a strip for a light fixed wing to operate from. Same goes with many areas around the country in which units might find themselves deployed.

  41. @ azlan

    My plan trades our 6 little birds to australian army for their blackhawks. We really dont need the hassle of having 6 unique airframes in our fleet.

    Light fixed wing flying cost are less than a helicopter. PC-6 and PC12 can land on short grass fields like in Kluang Air base, Sg. Petani, Grik and plenty of other places. For about USD15 million (price of a brand new utility helicopter), we can get 4x PC-6 and 4x PC-12NG from used market.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/15/Pilatus_U-28_Niamey.jpg
    USAF 319th Special Operations Squadron PC-12 in rough field operations

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/20/Royal_Thai_Air_Force_Fairchild_AU-23_Peacemaker_in_2013.jpg
    Thai PC-6 equipped with 4 hardpoints under the wing with 2 rocket pods

  42. @ AM

    Regarding the UAV operations.

    What we can do is to raise a new cell (say named Cell E) within the Joint Operation Division of the Joint Forces Headquarters (JFHQ). This will coordinate all the operations and data management of all the UAV operations of all 3 services.

    As for the army UAV operations, as per most other armies heraldry, I would say that the UAV unit to be operated under the Royal Artillery Regiment. For cost effective system, I would prefer the army to use the Thales Fulmar X similar to MMEA. 2 Regiments, one each in east and west malaysia would cover most of malaysian territories.

    All long range UAVs IMO should be under TUDM taskings.

  43. … – “Light fixed wing flying cost are less than a helicopter”

    That is not the issue. The pertinent question is when things are viewed in totality, in our context, what added benefits do fixed wing platforms offer over rotary ones? Is it justifiable for the army’s AAC (a small unit with limited resources to begin with) to maintain a fixed wing capability?

    …, – “PC12 can land on short grass fields like in Kluang Air base, Sg. Petani, Grik and plenty of other places””

    Great but what about the places they can’t land? What about the various places in which units might find themselves deployed but might not have a landing strip? Ultimately which offers more overall flexibility and practicality – a rotary or fixed wing platform?

    … – “For about USD15 million (price of a brand new utility helicopter), we can get 4x PC-6 and 4x PC-12NG from used market.””

    I know you’re into prices and availability but what we get is driven by operational requirements and making the needed trade offs Sure a fixed wing platform has advantages and merits but for our needs an all wing rotary fleet is more ideal for the army.

  44. P.S.

    I could also justify why the RMN needs a fixed wing capability. A small fixed wing platform can land on the strip at Layang Layang, can airdrop supplies over the other reefs, can airdrop small
    PASKAL teams; as well as other service specific requirements – all without having to rely on the Lynx/Fennec fleet and the RMAF. The key question is whether this capability is worth having and maintaining?

  45. @ AM

    Regarding the UAV operations.

    What we can do is to raise a new cell (say named Cell E) within the Joint Operation Division of the Joint Forces Headquarters (JFHQ). This will coordinate all the operations and data management of all the UAV operations of all 3 services.

    As for the army UAV operations, as per most other armies traditions, I would say that the UAV unit to be operated under the Royal Artillery Regiment. For cost effective system, I would prefer the army to use the Thales Fulmar X similar to MMEA. 2 Regiments, one each in east and west malaysia would cover most of malaysian territories.

    All long range UAVs IMO should be under TUDM taskings.

    Another thing to note for UAV operations, the risk of losing the UAV is exponentially higher compared to manned aircraft. The UAV could be lost during takeoff and landing, lost of datalink, or even shot down due to its slow loitering mission profile. Attrition reserves is a must for any UAV systems that we are going to get.

    @ azlan

    It is justifiable for TLDM, yes. But TLDM does not have its own airbase to support fixed wing aircraft. PUTD Kluang air base has been used for fixed wing operations since before our independence. For PUTD, it is supporting the army which is 80,000 person strong with multiple bases all around the country. Money saved by using small fixed wing aircraft instead of helicopters or even large transports by TUDM is justifiable. TUDM is also planning to divest the CN-235 transport capability, so small fixed wing aircraft by PUTD could partially be used take up that mission (similar to how PUTD is taking on some of the helicopter utility transport missions from TUDM).

  46. …. – “But TLDM does not have its own airbase to support fixed wing aircraft””

    So? Using your justification for the army; I can point out that there are various places where a small fixed wing transport can operate from to perform RMN specific roles.

    You mentioned the few places a army fixed wing platform can operate from but what about the many places it can’t? Most army bases dot t have a strip and there are far more places a helicopter can operate from. There is also no added value in the army having a fixed wing capability and there’s nothing it dan do better or more efficiently than a helicopter.

    …. – “Money saved by using small fixed wing aircraft instead of helicopters or even large transports by TUDM is justifiable””

    What about the costs associated with the army having to create and maintain a separate training/support infrastructure for a mere handful of fixed wings whose roles don’t provide any added value? You’ve made various references in the past about what you feel is a good use of resources. Is it a good use of resources for an already resource stretched and small army Aviation Wing to have to maintain both a fixed and rotary wing capability when a single type can suffice …..

    … – “All long range UAVs IMO should be under TUDM taskings””

    In this day and age everything should be “joint” in order to get the best use of one’s resources and to make sure those who need the intel get it on time.

    The RMAF will be the first to operate the HALE as it has resources but in time as we mature as a UAS operator; a UAS Command is needed.

    …. – “, I would prefer the army to use the Thales Fulmar X similar to MMEA””

    Doesn’t matter what we get as long as we get it in numbers and as long as we make proper use if it. We have to get “numbers” because it’s inevitable some will be lost to accidents and hostile fire. If need be we can even get a mix of Fulmars and other cheaper and less capable systems.

    … -“This will coordinate all the operations and data management of all the UAV operations of all 3 services”

    Or will be another case of creating bureaucracy out of existing bureaucracy? As it is we have bloated HQ/ staff elements
    (staffed by political appointees and used to justify funding) which often than not can be an obstacle rather than ensuring things run more efficiently and smoothly.

    AM – “they are smaller and harder for the enemy to spot and target””

    Depends. Is it a HALE operating a high altitude which can be easily detected and targeted? Is it a smaller system which has such a low IR signature what the seeker head of a midsize can’t lock into it? Or is the threat swarm of mini explosive laden UAS flying at tree top level whose very numbers and low RCS and IR make them hard to counter?

    The dead giveaway to the presence of a UAS is its non passive data link which like radios, GPSs, IFF and TACAN is easily detectable.

  47. …. – “, I would prefer the army to use the Thales Fulmar X similar to MMEA””

    Doesn’t matter what we get as long as we get it in numbers and as long as we make proper use if it. We have to get “numbers” because it’s inevitable some will be lost to accidents and hostile fire. If need be we can even get a mix of Fulmars and other cheaper and less capable systems.

    … -“This will coordinate all the operations and data management of all the UAV operations of all 3 services”

    Or will be another case of creating bureaucracy out of existing bureaucracy? As it is we have bloated HQ/ staff elements
    (staffed by political appointees and used to justify funding) which often than not can be an obstacle rather than ensuring things run more efficiently and smoothly.

    AM – “they are smaller and harder for the enemy to spot and target””

    Depends. Is it a HALE operating a high altitude which can be easily detected and targeted? Is it a smaller system which has such a low IR signature what the seeker head of a midsize can’t lock into it? Or is the threat swarm of mini explosive laden UAS flying at tree top level whose very numbers and low RCS and IR make them hard to counter?

    The dead giveaway to the presence of a UAS is its non passive data link which like radios, GPSs, IFF and TACAN is easily detectable

  48. @ azlan

    Without the CN-235 for transport tasks in the near future, how much operational costs we need to bear to exclusively use helicopters for all of our small tasks? How much would it cost to fly an urgent package from kuching to lahad dato using helicopters or even the C-130H?

    BTW Fulmar is actually one of the cheapest system in its class out there, as it is based on a civilian fish-finding drone. The Fulmar X system is composed of two UAVs, launch and recovery equipment and a control station. It can be mobilised in a medium-sized commercial van. A single Fulmar X system costs only about USD1.1 million. Only other credible option in that class is the Scaneagle (well israeli ones should be a no no to us).

    http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CnJ88TlWcAASM17.jpg

    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/CnJx70BWEAABxn5.jpg

    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/launch.jpg

    BTW does anyone still use TACAN in the new millennium?

  49. The only exceptions to operating things “jointly” should be mission or service centric systems like ones used by the Royal Artillery and Intelligence Corps as well as ones operated by the RMN. Even then there should be some mechanism in place for joint sharing or dissemination.

    At a higher operational or strategic level however; UASs should be “jointly” operated. The danger in having one service have control over a HALE is that service infighting and parochialism might occur and that those who require access might not have it when required. Much of where HALEs will operate will be over our maritime domain; as such the RMN should have an equal day and access.

    Same goes with MPAs. Should be operated jointly. Flown and maintained by the RMAF but manned by mixed crews. The problem of course is that the RMAF will insist the RMN also pays for the MPA.

  50. “At a higher operational or strategic level however; UASs should be “jointly” operated. The danger in having one service have control over a HALE is that service infighting and parochialism might occur and that those who require access might not have it when required.”

    Many countries have problems here, some more than others but it hasn’t stopped them from getting their UASs.

    “The problem of course is that the RMAF will insist the RMN also pays for the MPA.”

    The RMN paying for assets that exclusively service its domain is justified. The RMN paying for helicopters but drawing the line at MPAs is less justifiable. Nothing about MPAs makes them less valuable than ships or helicopters to the mission of the service.

    I know the RMAF listed MPAs in CAP55, but is there in fact any agreement that the RMAF will own and operate fixed wing aircraft?

  51. “The dead giveaway to the presence of a UAS is its non passive data link which like radios, GPSs, IFF and TACAN is easily detectable”

    Command and data links are detectable, though directional or directional even better, satellite ones would reduce the odds of detection

    IFF does not reply unless the interrogating system carries the correct code. GPS signals are one way.

    “BTW does anyone still use TACAN in the new millennium?”

    As covered previously, GPS signals are easy to spoof or jam, even though the presence of jamming is easy to notice with the right gear. TACAN and VOR themselves can be jammed and the beacons can be destroyed. As such there have to be redundant modes of navigation.

  52. Jointness.

    Imo assets can be operated by various units. No issue. But there should be a unified joint HQ to manage (not “control”) and distribute the taskings of the various resources. JFHQ is already there, a new cell under JFHQ J3 division could manage the resources, JFHQ J2 division could manage the information gathered.

    For example say for airborne ISR assets, which includes UAVs, MPAs and AWACs. All tasking requests will go through the joint HQ. So the customer requests the capability, and joint HQ will allocate the required resources for that request. There will be resources on long term taskings (say ESSCOM or south china sea surveillance), but there would be resources on standby ready to be allocated a task.

    This idea could also be used to manage our helicopter and tactical transporters resources.

    BTW IMO there should be no issue like MPA operations must be paid for by TLDM as it is mainly used to support them. If that is the case, the army needs to pay for fighter bombers as it is a task used to support the army. The important thing is IMO, priority taskings are fully funded, no matter who that does the taskings. If MPA is important to our maritime safety, then MINDEF needs to allocate adequate funds for TUDM to fully undertake that task.

  53. @ AM

    Detectable radio signals are the weakness you need to live with when operating a UAV. Unless you can go fully autonomous flying with zero radio emissions and get no real time data from the UAV. Against an adversary with strong EW capability, UAVs can be detected.

    Nowdays GPS is the main external navigation source, with INS (as the internal supporting source. Most of our IFVs, MBTs and howitzers have INS, as is our fighters, ships and subs.

    For example all of our PT-91M are installed with the sagem sigma 30 INS.

  54. “If that is the case, the army needs to pay for fighter bombers as it is a task used to support the army.”

    All helicopters and MPA in the SAF are organised in RSAF squadrons and flown by RSAF cockpit crews. But the attack helicopters are paid for by the army and the naval helicopters by the navy. Not that the services there face any competition for funds.

    “The important thing is IMO, priority taskings are fully funded, no matter who that does the taskings.”

    To get around disagreements on which service should pay for “joint” capabilities, one can either create a fourth budget category or take money from all services’ budgets equally.

  55. …. – “BTW IMO there should be no issue like MPA operations must be paid for by TLDM as it is mainly used to support them””

    On paper … In reality in service fighting, rivalry and parochialism remains a major issue. Each of the services is fighting for a slice of the budget and each has to preserve its turf as well as justify funding.

    AM – “Many countries have problems here, some more than others but it hasn’t stopped them from getting their UASs””

    Of course not but you’ll have noticed that users who have the right set up and deploy their assets correctly are the ones who get the best results from their assets. New UAS operators who lack the right set up and integration don’t get the best out of the capabilities offered.

    Turkey is one example of a country that has progressed into a mature UAS operator. But too long ago it’s short range systems would detect PKK units but a lack of C3 led to them not being able to deal with time sensitive targets – this has changed.

    AM -“IFF does not reply unless the interrogating system carries the correct code. GPS signals are one way””

    Nonetheless less but are easily detectable by ESM; being non passive.

    AM – “any agreement that the RMAF will own and operate fixed wing aircraft””

    Of course. Who else has the actual resources to operate MPAs? The smart thing would for RMN personnel to be included in the crew and enable the RMN to have a say.

    …, – “Without the CN-235 for transport tasks in the near future, how much operational costs we need to bear to exclusively use helicopters for all of our small tasks”

    Funny enough this is an issue I have raised several times : “what happens when say only a single pallet of supplies has to be transported” and when a A400M or Charlie is an overkill for the task?

    Ultimately the army neither has the resources, intent, operational need and justification for a fixed wing platform. All its needs are able to be performed by an all rotary fleet.

    …. – “. So the customer requests the capability, and joint HQ will allocate the required resources for that request””

    On paper. If everything worked as well as well as on paper we’d have so much lesser issues. In reality HQ/staff arrangements can still be bogged down by bureaucratic issues and actual command/control can still be an issue with regards to the 3 services being able to “talk” seamlessly.

  56. … – “em. If that is the case, the army needs to pay for fighter bombers as it is a task used to support the army””

    Wrong example. This traditionally has been a major reason used by air forces to justify funding for fighters; in the quality and quantitiy desired. The message is the Air Force is the only one who can do this job thus should be given what it needs. Why do you think the RMAF was so intent and happy on handing over the troop carrying role to the army?

  57. … – “Imo assets can be operated by various units. No issue””

    It really depends, Depends on whether that service has the resources and ability to operate it.
    Depends on whether that particular service operating it enables the best results to be obtained and shared with others.
    As it started out the SAF’s UASs were RSAF operated but as things progressed a “UAV Command” was formed to ensure overall effectiveness and minimal or no overlapping.

    …, – “. But there should be a unified joint HQ to manage (not “control”) and distribute the taskings of the various resources””

    Administrative and operational
    control. “Joint” elements also need proper SOPs in place with clear directives. Unfortunately in reality many such “joint” elements are not only bloated but have bureaucratic obstacles in place that impede effectiveness. Another issue is that posting people there can be for reasons apart from operational effectiveness and “joint” harmony.

  58. …. – “Detectable radio signals are the weakness you need to live with when operating a UAV””

    Yes and until an alternative is available there is no getting around this.

    Ships have the same problem with radar. A radar is needed for search/acquisition but with a radar switched on a ship is “visible” to everyone. The USN is looking at ways to have a radar fitted and emitting from a separate platform.

    AM – “create a fourth budget category or take money from all services’ budgets equally””

    For this to work there should be an adequate budget to begin with. No point drawing or diverting funds from a budget that inadequate to begin with.

    It’s also not just about money but the need to do away with deep rooted service parochialism and rivalry – a problem even for Tier 1 militaries who got into the “jointness” business long before us.

    The book “Not A Good Day To Die” tells how during Operation Anaconda the different Task Forces and Commands was a major issue. Different units didn’t even have the SATCOM numbers of other units and a cumbersome command structure was a hindrance, The book “The Kill Chain” explains how the tendency of the U.S. military to have large bureaucratic command arrangements for almost everything and how the response is to regularly fall back on creating new command arrangements which is essentially creating more bureaucracy out of existing bureaucracy.

  59. … – “Against an adversary with strong EW capability, UAVs can be detected.””

    One doesn’t necessarily need a ‘strong’ EW capability but ‘a’ capability. Even a EW system made for non NATO export and designed in the 1980’s can detect such signals if its looking in the right place.

  60. “Who else has the actual resources to operate MPAs? The smart thing would for RMN personnel to be included in the crew and enable the RMN to have a say. ”

    Even though the cost of several aircraft and the required infrastructure are potentially lower than that of a single vessel?

  61. AM,

    As it stands the RMN doesn’t have the needed infrastructure (neither crews trained to operate and maintain fixed wing platforms nor the ground based facilities) to operate MPAs. That leaves just the RMAF as the only service currently in a position to operate MPAs.

    It’s not only about costs but actual resources available. On paper however the RMN should be the operator of MPAs.

  62. @ AM

    ‘ Even though the cost of several aircraft and the required infrastructure are potentially lower than that of a single vessel? ‘

    The air force have extensive infrastructure to fly and maintain a large MPA. Not to mention currently we are modifying TUDM CN-235 into MPAs. If we are going to pass it to TLDM, it would take a longer time to get it up and running. For our MPA capability, IMO it can be under either TUDM or TLDM, not both as that would be a redundancy in task. In any case MPA capability should be a high priority for the government, and the capability should be adequately funded by the government, which is still being overlooked now.

  63. … – “A. Not to mention currently we are modifying TUDM CN-235 into MPAs””

    The conversion involves roll on/off modules so if there really was a need the platforms could still be used for transport.

    …. – “. If we are going to pass it to TLDM, it would take a longer time to get it up and running””

    Not to mention the extra funds needed for RMN people to be trained to operate and maintain the platforms; plus the operational and maintenance budget. Like how the RMAF did with the army; an RMAF team would be on temporary secondment to the RMN to assist. P

    RMN MPAs could operate from places like Tawau, Labuan and Subang using shared facilities but in the longer run its own hangars and other things would be needed.

  64. @ marhalim

    ‘ It will not be a roll on roll off system but there is enough space to carry people or small cargo if needed ‘

    That tiny amount of cargo would be more economical to be transported with a dedicated small airplane like the PC-12 or PC-24

  65. … – “economical to be transported with a dedicated small airplane like the PC-12 or PC-24””

    Economical no doubt. Using a OPV and a lorry are more economical than a frigate or a APC but depends entirely on the need. No point having something economical if it has less utility or doesn’t deliver the intended result.

    A CN-235 being a much larger platform will be cheaper to run and support but what happens if a particular load doesn’t justify a A400M or a Charlie but is also too large to fit in a smaller platform? Also, with a CN one can fit a whole platoon for transport or jump training.

    The payoff on having a more expensive larger platform is it provides more options/flexibility. The trade off or penalty to be incurred is the operating costs for the times when its under utilised.

    Aircraft in the weight and size category of the CN are intended to bridge the gap between larger platforms like the Charlie. It’s not perfect (nothing is) but it’s the most practical solution or trade off; having 2 transports in different weight and size categories.

  66. @ azlan

    You always said TUDM knows best right?

    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Cap55T.jpg

    TUDM CAP 55 plan is going to get rid of the CN-235 in transport role (just 1 A400M and 2 C-130 squadrons remaining). So there will be no CN-235 transporters in the future. MPA configured CN-235 will not be able to carry all the load you are talking about. Small loads like a squad-sized troop or less than 1 ton of cargo would be better flown by a smaller plane rather than pulling out a MPA configured plane to do transport taskings.

  67. …. – You always said TUDM knows best right?“”

    1. I meant that in the context that the RMAF has a much better idea as to what its needs, the challenges it faces and that it has to factor in various things that most might be unaware of.

    I was not suggesting that the RMAF was infallible or that it “knows best” (to quote you) ….

    So if you want to quote me; at least do it in the right context and understand what I really meant instead of jumping to conclusions.

    2. Thanking you in advance but I’m very aware the CAP 55 intends of consolidating the transport fleet to just 2 types.

    Both plans however (as I’ve constantly stressed) are not holy writ or written in stone; subject to change due to various factors. In fact we have seen the early demise or revision of the 5/15 as we know it. Thus it really remains to be seen if the CNs are really going to lose their transport tasking anytime soon.

  68. …. – “loads like a squad-sized troop or less than 1 ton of cargo would be better flown by a smaller plane rather than pulling out a MPA configured plane to do transport taskings.””

    Right ….

    So we do away with one capability (CNs) to achieve costs savings and greater commonality but we introduce yet another capability (with the associated training/support costs) to offset the possibility or off chance that there will be instances where we have to move very small loads that don’t justify a A400M or Charlie and also don’t justify a CN.

    We add another aircraft into the equation when the original idea was to do away with the CNs and incur or accept the penalty that there may be times when a load doesn’t justify a A400M or Charlie. So we actually introduce another type to partly meet the capability shortfall that in the first place resulted from the retirement of another asset.

    If you actually think this is a great idea and a proper use of already limited resources then fine …

  69. “We add another aircraft into the equation when the original idea was to do away with the CNs and incur or accept the penalty that there may be times when a load doesn’t justify a A400M or Charlie.”

    If the CNs are retained as MPAs then it’s no trouble to retain transport roled or unconverted CNs alongside them in the same squadron. That way a Charlie or A400M does not have to be used for everything.

    “In fact we have seen the early demise or revision of the 5/15 as we know it.”

    The CAP 55 is in the first place a very general indication of the RMAF’s goals. The RMAF has not provided any elaboration beyond the structure presented or any rationale on why it proposed what it did.

    The only clear purpose of CAP55 is to communicate the need to reduce the number of types and in broad terms outline the minimum structure the RMAF needs to fulfil a basic definition of its duties, and by implication how much the RMAF falls short with the assets it currently has.

  70. AM – “If the CNs are retained as MPAs then it’s no trouble to retain transport roled or unconverted CNs””

    As part of the CAP the CNs were to have been replaced. The MPA requirement met by another aircraft. It was understood and accepted that at times a Charlie or A400M would be an overkill but retiring the CN for the light transport role to reduce the footprint was the driving factor and a penalty the RMAF was willing to incur.

    AM – “The CAP 55 is in the first place a very general indication of the RMAF’s goals”

    It’s release was PR/politically driven; the RMAF leadership being under illusions it’s even achievable. Like the 5/15 it was a plan forced on the RMAF by circumstances.

    What differs greatly from the existing plan is not the type of assets to be progressively procured (this hasn’t changed much for years now) but the timeframe.

    AM – “only clear purpose of CAP55 is to communicate the need to reduce the number of types and in broad terms outline the minimum structure the RMAF needs to fulfil a basic definition of its duties””

    Yes it does but this has been a long-standing plan anyhow. The RMAF would long have liked to standardise and reduce its footprint but political buys have not made this possible.

  71. P.S.

    One can point out that at least a plan has been presented which enables joe public/taxpayer to know how their money is being spent – very true. The Lublin lived glossy Power Point format stuff which looks impressive even if lacking the brand to be achievable.

    The thing however is that the RMAF should have come up with a more realistic plan: not in terms of capabilities but timeframe implementation. We can’t even properly plan or implement thins in 5 year cycles and yet this plan stretches to 2065.

    Like the 5/15 the CAP 55 – if ever implemented which it won’t – leaves the RNAF no room to make adjustments. It simply can’t stretch things any longer or to further downgrade requirements.

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