C Etait La Rafale

Dassault Rafale. Anthony Pecchi

SHAH ALAM: C Etai La Rafale, It was the Rafale. Back on April Day, 2017 I wrote a post – in French no less – that the government had signed a contract for the Dassault Rafales. We did not of course, though we came close in just a few days earlier to sign the contract. Even the French president then came to town in a last ditch effort to get the then administration to sign the deal, no matter how many, eight or 18 aircraft.

It was not to be of course. Although it was the the Rafale that had been chosen for the MRCA programme beating out the Eurofighter Typhoon. Indeed if we had signed the contract back in 2017, it is likely that RMAF will be taking delivery of the first aircraft late this year.

Dassault Rafale display at LIMA 17

The first of six Rafales, ordered by India in September, 2016 is expected to be flown home this month. The delivery would have come sooner but like most other things, it was affected by the Covid 19 pandemic. Qatar which ordered 36 Rafales in 2015, received its first Rafales in June, last year.
Rafale display at Subang in 2017, Affichage sur Subang Rafale

Why I am writing about this then? I was talking with my usual industry sources last week and when the MRCA programme was mentioned, they agreed that the Rafale had been chosen ahead of the Typhoon back then. The only consolation for them is that the government did not go ahead with the Rafale contract.
French AF Rafale meets up with the PACAF F-16 during the daily display at LIMA 2015.

A small consolation perhaps as the new RMAF MRCA will probably be decided in the next decade or so. A lifetime away, really.


— Malaysian Defence

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221 Comments

  1. on the hindsight, we are really2 lucky not to have signed for the rafales then.

    if we did, right now we would be in a deeper pile of xxxxx than we are in currently.

    It will destroy our airforce overall capability, with no money for MPA, MALE UAV, air defence radars and LCA LIFT probably till 2030.

    With the rafale our airforce fighter fleet in 2030 will look like this
    8 Rafale 10 yrs old
    18 Su-30mkm 20 yrs old
    8 F/A-18 Hornet 33 yrs old
    13 Hawk 208 38 yrs old
    5 Hawk 108 38 yrs old

    Without the rafales we can get our LCA/LIFT instead, and reduce the fighter types to just 3.

    Then the issue of being stuck with a fighter that is low in quantity, high operating costs, and not much difference in capability to our current MKMs for the next 40 years or so. By 2030 we will regress to probably the weakest air force in south east asia, with no mpa or awacs as a large portion of our aircraft is in need to be urgently replaced, while other air forces can focus to buy 5th gen MRCA at that time. There is no way if we buy the rafales, we can have enough money to buy LCA/LIFT, new 5th gen MRCA, MPAs and AWACS at the same time post 2030.

  2. @…
    More than just the monetary burden is the capability gap. If we had bought Rafales, no hope for us to get 5th gen stealth planes in at least another 15-25 years. By then we would be flying 4.5gen planes in an airspace filled with hostile 5th gen planes. Fortunately the previous previous Government had more sense and sensibility to pull out before too late.

  3. @ joe

    ” Fortunately the previous previous Government had more sense and sensibility to pull out before too late ”

    That was mostly out of luck rather than a conscious decision taking our future capability into account.

    Probably those decision makers lament the cancellation for the missed millions they could have made rather than happy to ensure we get 5th gen stealth fighters when the time comes.

  4. We were also lucky that plans to acquire Tornado IDRs and later F-20s were shelved.

    Knowing our penchant for TOTs/offsets Dassault offered us the possibility of local assembly. A disaster in the making given the lack of scale and the fact that the taxpayer would have had to pay for the assembly set up; with little or no chance of us recouping the costs.

  5. That only true if we indeed get 5th gen by 2035 the latest..but i highly doubt it..so lets buy lcas first with additional hornets and mkms and uav/ucav too..

  6. @ firdaus

    At least we will have the option then in 2035. With Rafales, we will not have the means to get those. Not when we also need to replace the hawks and other stuff that we deferred

  7. @…
    Sometimes, a battle outcome depended on luck. I will take this last minute pullback as a win no matter what the cause of it. Post COVID, we would certainly faced difficulties paying for them.

    @Firdaus
    I wholeheartedly concur with your plan but it still doesn’t justify getting Rafales especially when we already have MKMs with better capabilities. IMHO realistically we will likely start to get MRCA (hopefully 5th gen) in 2040 or thereabouts, provided our economy holds steady post COVID.

  8. “doesn’t justify getting Rafales especially when we already have MKMs with better capabilities”

    Yes and no. The MKM has greater range and payload, the Rafale has the advantage of a smaller RCS and can supercruise. The Rafale also has more advanced avionics and pilot interface. For that matter, there is a mistaken belief that the MKM has Rafale avionics or can deploy French weapons. Being a Western aircraft, the Rafale is easier to integrate into a networked force comprising Western components, which ultimately is more important than the platform’s performance itself.

    “I will take this last minute pullback as a win no matter what the cause of it.”

    Decisions on what to buy and how much to spend are made with budgetary assumptions in mind.The fact that budgetary circumstances changed later may make it fortunate that we didn’t buy an MRCA, but it does not change the fact that we’ve left a pressing requirement unfilled all these years.

    I don’t believe the Rafale is the right aircraft for us- it is simply too expensive. I would prefer a cheaper platform that leaves us able to afford an AEW. We were offered Gripen, but even that would be considered too expensive for us today.

  9. @ joe

    on covid-19

    So far malaysia has not needed to take emergency loans to counter the spread of covid-19, unlike the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.

    We are in a precarious situation in our nationhood history. Yes we are facing a pandemic, but we are also facing a threat of colonization of our seas, which has no precedence in human history. We cannot afford to reduce our defence budget allocation, and seeing all the signs IMO we can afford to ride out the economic recession caused by this pandemic without much trouble.

  10. @ AM

    ” For that matter, there is a mistaken belief that the MKM has Rafale avionics or can deploy French weapons ”

    Our MKM does have the same HUD, MFD, IFF, helmet, targeting pods as the Rafale. France actually offered the Mica missile for MKM but we did not take the offer because of cost. Su-30MKI/MKM is the first russian aircraft designed from the start to use NATO standard MIL-STD-1553 databus, which makes integrating any western avionics and weapons straightforward.

    The Rohde & Schwarz software defined radio in the MKM (which we have them from new, and indian air force learning the hard way the importance of SDR when their MKI faced with jamming from pakistan) can even be used as a datalink, maybe not a link 16 standard datalink, but a datalink nonetheless.

  11. AM – “ the Rafale has the advantage of a smaller RCS””

    It is a newer design, incorporating newer stuff. It also has a better ergonomically designed cockpit and one that is fully digital. In terms of maintenance per hours flown; it’s probably also less maintenance intensive than the MKM. The TVC of course provides certain capabilities but it also is an extra thing that needs servicing/maintenance.

    There’s an interview out there with a IAF Flanker pilot. He loves the capability offered by his aircraft but complains about it being maintenance intensive and also remarks that the cockpit ergonomics are great of a pilot has previous experience with Russian aircraft but would be uncomfortable for those with a Western aircraft background.

    Similarly if asked; RMAF MKM pilots with a Hornet background (like the initial cadre) will say they love the capabilities offered by the MKM but in various ways they prefer the Hornet.

    AM – “s, which ultimately is more important than the platform’s performance itself””

    Very true. This is a vital point which often gets overlooked – not actual platform but the “systems” that go along with it.

    AM – “I don’t believe the Rafale is the right aircraft for us- it is simply too expensive””

    Very true. The question is whether we would have allocated sufficient operational/maintenance funds and the fact that a AEW would be needed to fully exploit all the capabilities offered by Rafale.

  12. If Gripen E is to expensive for RMAF, what about F/A-50/ T/A-50 then to fullfill our LCA/Lift requirement needs.

  13. AM – “Decisions on what to buy and how much to spend are made with budgetary assumptions in mind”

    And decisions made by politicians.

    AM – “not change the fact that we’ve left a pressing requirement unfilled all these years.”

    One of several.

    It’s a gamble; pure and simple.
    If we’re going on the basis that a full fledged conflict is unlikely in the coming years; then focusing on MPAs. UASs and LCAs is the correct move. If however we are faced with a state on state conflict against one who has a numerical and qualitative advantage; our small number of fighters would be an issue and we’d regret not moving with a MRCA buy some years ago.

    All boils down to making the needed gamble/trade off (either for political or financial reasons) and hoping it turns out to be the right one.

  14. fadiman,

    The F/A-50 is one of the contenders to fulfil the LCA requirement which calls for a common combat/LIFT platform.
    Gripen no doubt will be offered by Saab but it can’t perform the LIFT role.

  15. Am a bit amused by thoughts of RMAF purchases 2 decades from now. Am probably dead by then due to cancer because of irresponsible office mates who refuse to stop smoking in front of their non-smoking colleagues!
    I’d rather see RMAF scrambling between now and 2025 to get the government to buy and operate as many LCAs as possible, be it FA 50s or M346 FAs. That’s not too much to ask for.

  16. On Damocles: discussions on this has been had previously.

    The MKM was integrated with it years before Rafale but for French use it was intended to be an interim measure until a better performing and fully capable targeting/navigational pod was available.

    The MKM indeed shares common features with Rafale but overall Rafale is a newer aircraft (also more expensive platform) continuing newer technology and has a more integrated/comprehensive avionics suite.

    Unsurprising and to be expected given the MKM is fitted with stuff originally designed from the mid to late 1990’s. Rafale also has a more comprehensive EW suite.

  17. … – “which makes integrating any western avionics and weapons straightforward”

    On paper maybe but in reality integration/certification was hit by delays and technical issues – it certainly wasn’t “straightforward “.
    At times even integration of Western to Western stuff can be challenging/problematic: as many (including us) can attest to.

  18. Ca aurait du etre la Rafale.

    IMO I think we should add more Flankers, although I am not sure whether Flankers can totally replace the Hornets. Especially if we are dependent on US weapons. Can Flankers use Link 16?

    The Rafales are too expensive even for the French. They planned to have up to 320 planes, but due to increasing costs the number is reduced to 225. I suppose that’s the better than the Raptors; the USAF was supposed to get around 300++ planes, but finally they got only around 180.

  19. @ fadiman

    What about TA and FA-50 for LCA/LIFT? Why is that even a question in malaysian defence?

    We have been talking about the TA/FA-50 for LCA/LIFT like every single time. The TA/FA-50 is already taken into account by TUDM during the RFI stage.
    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/more-details-on-lca-and-uav-rfi/

    I have been talking about this since at least 2017. You even replied in some of them.
    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/rmaf-2020/

    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/thai-t-50s-kuantan/

    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/another-view-on-tudm-cap-55/

    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/options-for-rmaf-cap-55/

  20. We did not buy thw Rafale. But dont be too happy rhat now we have rhe cash to buy thw UAV, LCAs, Radars , MPA etc etc. We may not he able to afford anything

  21. @AM
    Greater range, payload, faster, super maneuverable, Rafale avionics is likely 1 generation better but MKM has a stronger radar, weapon-wise I don’t see much deficiencies with Russki missiles – they are quite on par with USA. Nevertheless, there isn’t a pressing need for any 4.5gen planes. Now, 5th gen would be a gamechanger.

    @…
    And yet all 3 countries are upping their defence budget expenditures, so either they don’t care if their economic situation worsens or their Governments are stable enough to make it worse without incurring the wrath of their rakyats (more than likely).

  22. @…
    “Our MKM does have the same HUD, MFD, IFF, helmet, targeting pods as the Rafale. ”

    Never heard or found about french MFD. So this meant that MKM does have french avionics right?

    Right now (and even back then in 2015) we don’t actually need another type of MRCA. MKM, Fulcrums and Hornets were a very potent force back then. Getting a few more MKMs by trade in the Fulcrums or buy 8-12 used Aussie legacy Hornets would probably the best choice back then. For now just focus on getting MPA, LCA and AWACS

    @fadiman
    FA/TA-50 would suite our LCA/LIFT requirements as they are affordable, uses a variant of legacy Hornet engines and low operating cost as well as soon would have BVR capability.

  23. @ joe

    “And yet all 3 countries are upping their defence budget expenditures, so either they don’t care if their economic situation worsens or their Governments are stable enough to make it worse without incurring the wrath of their rakyats (more than likely).”

    Well the Indonesian Finance Minister gave her full support to the Indonesian Defence Minister for spending big in arms procurement.

    “What about Pak Prabowo, Minister of Defense, is it important to make our defense equipment strong? Yes, it’s important,” Sri Mulyani said.

    https://www.cnbcindonesia.com/news/20200719084449-4-173752/sri-mulyani-bela-prabowo-belanja-alutsista-triliunan-why

  24. “Rafale avionics is likely 1 generation better but MKM has a stronger radar,

    No, Rafale has AESA. The MKM’s PESA has more power but less simultaneous multi mode performance, less resolution, less jamming resistance and is more detectable.

    “weapon-wise I don’t see much deficiencies with Russki missiles – they are quite on par with USA.”

    As to weapons I would be wary of comparing brochure specs in the absence of a proper evaluation, along the lines of what was done with Germany’s MiG-29s. I would still give the lead to western weapons on account of the greater resources available to perfect them, the overall lead in electronics and and the fact that they have been fielded in quantity, unlike the newest Russian weapons. Not saying there are no exceptions, since there always are, but as a general rule.

    “Nevertheless, there isn’t a pressing need for any 4.5gen planes. Now, 5th gen would be a gamechanger.”

    No. We have a pressing need to increase the RMAF’s bench strength.

    And even twenty years from now, we would still need 4.5 gen aircraft. Cost being one reason- no air force can afford an all-5th gen fleet. Another being that there are roles where 5th generation aircraft are unnecessary or cannot perform as well as 4.5 generation aircraft.

  25. @ am

    When we first got our MKM, rafales dont have AESA radar.

    ” No. We have a pressing need to increase the RMAF’s bench strength ”
    Yes we do, but buying rafales is not the way to do it. We can increase the RMAF fleet size buy buying LCAs. Yes we still need 4.5gen fighters as we cannot afford an all 5th gen fleet, but we already have them in the shape of the MKM.

    I understand probably during the 1st 5 years of service the MKM is hated by the airforce people as it is something that was forced down their throat (the A400M is forced on then too, but that is a buy outside of their requirements), and super hornets was what they really wanted. But in the hindsight, with the USD900 million budget, we cannot get 18 fighters like what we got with the MKM, and there is nothing out there with long range for patrolling the south china sea like the MKM. But the dislike for the MKM is why they wanted a new MRCA directly after getting the MKM (very immature decision from the military leaders IMO) and forgoing other important priorities like MPA just to get the Rafale (with the egging of politicians with obvious self interests).

  26. I think the MKM is a great platform offering great capabilities but wouldn’t put it on a pedestal.

    Sure it has great range and endurance and is agile but all these qualities alone do not make the difference. I’m not into “A” VS “B” discussions/comparisons as these are pointless. Each aircraft has its respective merits but concluding how any particular aircraft fares should be based on its overall capabilities; not individual ones.

    Rafale was designed from
    Day One to be.multi role platform and incorporates much newer technologies- it’s also much more expensive.

    The MKM is derived from a platform first designed in the 1970’s and intended to be a long range interceptor and escort. It may have been fitted with Western avionics but issues inherent with Russian aircraft are still there. It also feature systems more than a generation behind Rafale and has a less integrated and comprehensive avionics and EW suite.

    Both are great fighters but both come from different generations and based on different operating philosophies. Both also have their respective merits and are intended to operate along a AEW to bring out the best in capabilities.

  27. @ azlan

    The damocles when compared to other targetting pods, is said to have lower performance. For MKM it could be upgraded (damocles XF) or even totally replaced in the future. But when we compare the capability to other air forces in south east asia, we already have targetting pod (and LG bombs) capability for decades now (since the 90s with the hornets). Indonesia is just getting targeting pods for their F-16 late last year.

    On the EW suite, yes rafale has the much more advanced SPECTRA. MKM has mostly russian EW suite (including the highly regarded SAP518 system) , but with saab MAWS system. We have high requirements for MAWS and Laser warning because from our experience with operating the MiG-29. IRST has laser ranging systems, so we put high priority to detect laser from IRST systems.

  28. …. – “The damocles when compared to other targetting pods, is said to have lower performance””

    It certainly does.

    If you recall we had this discussion some years ago when I mentioned that Damocles; although offering a navigational capability was mainly a targeting pod and was inferior to other pods. You disputed this and I asked to do your own checking.

    Which is why in French service it was seen as an interim solution and why I mentioned as part of our previous discussion) that the RSAF’s F-15s have a much superior pod with full targeting/navigational capabilities.

    …. – “. MKM has mostly russian EW suite (including the highly regarded SAP518 system) , but with saab MAWS system”

    Stuff designed from the 1990’s. Stuff that is impressive but nowhere near as comprehensive as EW suites offered with much newer and more expensive aircraft.

    You’re an AFM reader aren’t you? The May issue has an article on how Belgian F-16s have the Thales Carapace and the capability it provides.

    … – have high requirements for MAWS and Laser warning because from our experience with operating the MiG-29”

    With the MKM we wanted it to be as highly spec as possible and to have a decent self defence suite; hence what it has. The Fulcrum has a basic RWR and that’s all : like fighter without a MAWS it know it was fired upon but would have no idea as to from which angle. We wanted a capability not available on the Fulcrum and Hornet.

  29. …. – “the 1st 5 years of service the MKM is hated by the airforce people as it is something that was forced down their throat””

    No ……

    It wasn’t “hated”. They didn’t want it because they fully realised the training/support/logistical/commonality issues it would lead to and also because of concerns with the Russians. They wanted the Suoer Hornet because a training/support infrastructure was already in place and because of commonality reasons with parts, ordnance and ground support equipment. A simulator was also already in place.

    No costly and time consuming integration/certification would have been needed and we also would have received much better and efficient sales and support via FMS which although not perfect is vastly superior to what the Russians were able to offer.

    Another advantage with the Super Hornet is that we wouldn’t have had to formulate a combat syllabus on our own as we had to with the MKM as the Russians were unable to because they didn’t operate it. For the maintenance syllabus help was obtained from the IAF ( they had already translated all the manuals) and were a bigger help than the Russians.

    …. – “. But the dislike for the MKM is why they wanted a new MRCA directly””

    Incorrect. As part of natural progression; plans called for a new MRCA to be acquired years after the MKMs but only after helis, MPAs, LIFTs and basic trainers had been required.

    The later requirement for a new generation MRCA was part of plans to keep up with the times but later progressing to a more capable platform but only after other requirements had been met.

    Also nobody “dislikes” the MKM. As any pilot with experience in both and he’ll tell you the MKM has great capabilities but he’ll also tell you the Hornet is still ahead in various areas and is less maintenance intensive.

    …. – “ forgoing other important priorities like MPA just to get the Rafale (with the egging of politicians with obvious self interests””

    That’s not the right narrative. We’ve been through this many times before but I won’t tire of saying it’s untrue.

    It was the politicians who changed priorities; not the RMAF which neglected the need for MPAs because it wanted MRCAs as you insist. In fact it was Typhoon which was the political favourite; followed later by Rafale. The Defence Minister is even on record as saying that Typhoon was the favourite and that other programmes would have to be postponed to cater for Typhoon.

    Again – as part of the plan in the early to mid – 2000’s; the MKMs would have been followed with batches of LIFTs, basic trainers and LIFTs. It was only after these requirements has been met that a MRCA purchase would have bern made some years later.

    You spoke a lot about plans and continuity and adequate funding. I spoke about the politicians who often shift priorities which has consequences for plans, continuity and funding.

  30. … – “ut when we compare the capability to other air forces in south east asia, we already have targetting pod””

    Yes but in a larger context a cynic can say “so what”?

    We were the first to have SSMs and naval SAMs; the first to have SARH AAMs, the first to have dedicated recce birds, the first operate both Russian and Western aircraft and the first for various other things. Until the arrival of others the Lekius and MKMs were the most capable regional fighters and frigates.

    Ultimately it doesn’t matter as we’ve regressed. It was Singapore followed by Thailand to first make the transition from a platform to a systems centric air arm and others which got stuff based on suitability rather than political factors. Others which can also deploy their armed services in a integrated/coordinated manner and others which have made better progress in “jointness”.

  31. Carapace is an old system, and basically consists of just a RWR on belgian F-16s.

    ” I was aided greatly by the Carapace system fitted to
    Belgian F-16s. This system, developed by Thales, analyses the electromagnetic environment and establishes the type of radar signal of the unidentified aircraft. It identifies the platform that is observing me by locating it. In the case of the Russian formation, after its turn over the
    Baltic, as we were approaching it at 15 nautical miles [28km], the two Flankers turned violently towards us. I was busy on my screens with the
    Link 16, not on the radar page. It was Carapace that alerted me. ”

    The SAAB Avitronics MAW-300 system combined with L-150-30 Pastel RWR and SAP-518 not only detects radars and incoming missiles, but can also actively jam incoming radar signals.

    ” The Fulcrum has a basic RWR and that’s all ”
    You misunderstood me. I meant because of our experience of the IRST system by operating the MiG-29N, we have learnt on how it works and know how to detect it. Our insistence of MAWS is because our want to detect if our fighters are being tracked by other IRST systems especially the russian OLS systems.

    ” As part of natural progression; plans called for a new MRCA to be acquired years after the MKMs but only after helis, MPAs, LIFTs and basic trainers had been required ”
    That was supposed to be the plan. But instead it was MRCA or nothing at all, and this has the full support of TUDM top brass.

    ” Ultimately it doesnt matter as we’ve regressed ”
    We regressed because of antics such as this Rafale buy that wasted so much precious time. What should be a strive for gradual increase in capability now turned into a struggle to even fulfill day to day peacetime tasks such as vertical lift, air policing and QRA, maritime patrol tasks. Now we need to quickly address these basic tasks first before even thinking about MRCA and other stuff.

  32. …. – “Our insistence of MAWS is because our want to detect if our fighters””

    No. We needed it because without it no fighter would be able to detect the angle of the approach of the incoming AAM.

    …. – “We regressed because of antics such as this Rafale buy that wasted so much precious time””

    That’s being simplistic.

    We regressed due to a multitude of reasons that go much deeper than a political reason which left to Rafale being a priority for a short period.

    …. – “ before even thinking about MRCA and other stuff.”

    Nobody’s “thinking about MRCA and other stuff” …..

    The priority – if it hasn’t been changed – are LCAs, helicopters, UASs, getting the LCSs into service and other things.

  33. … – “and this has the full support of TUDM top brass”

    So you keep saying although it’s untrue.

    It was a political decision in which – like many others – the armed services had to go along with.
    This is yet another example of a deep flaw in our system in which well thought out plans to progressively improve various things are torpedoed by politicians.

  34. “Our MKM does have the same HUD, MFD, IFF, helmet, targeting pods as the Rafale.”

    The MKM has certain French items but there are people with the vague and mistaken idea that we’ve got a Rafale in MKM’s clothing, that we’ve scored the range and post-stall maneuverability and on a bargain price to boot.

    “Su-30MKI/MKM is the first russian aircraft designed from the start to use NATO standard MIL-STD-1553 databus, which makes integrating any western avionics and weapons straightforward.”

    How straightforward? A data bus is simply a standard by which electronic modules talk to each other. To employ western weapons you need a mission computer that works with them. To get French and Russian agreement to provide data and help you integrate them into the existing mission computer, or replace it entirely with a western one that works with the MKM is hardly straightforward. Then you’ll have carriage and separation tests to make sure they work.

    I know we’ve dropped a Paveway from the MKM but that’s on the simpler end of things. How we guided it in has also not been revealed- it could have been a Hornet or a designator on the ground.

    Even physically deploying a weapon does not mean that all its functions and capabilities are available.

    “The Rohde & Schwarz software defined radio in the MKM… can even be used as a datalink, maybe not a link 16 standard datalink, but a datalink nonetheless”

    Not all datalinks are created equal. Your datalink might get the information to the pilot but he still has to export it to the relevant systems or weapons. Will this process be automated or does the pilot have to enter the data by hand?

  35. …. – “…. – “We regressed because of antics such as this Rafale“

    We’ve regressed because for us defence is not a priority and never was and because when we do spend; often then not it’s based on political factors in which the actual needs of the armed services comes second to political considerations; including benefiting the local industry.

    …. – can also actively jam incoming radar signals”

    So you say but from what I’ve been told from various sources is that they are intended to jam or disrupt the seekers of incoming AAMs and don’t have the ability to do so with radars.

  36. @… “on the hindsight, we are really2 lucky not to have signed for the rafales then.


    It will destroy our airforce overall capability, with no money for MPA, MALE UAV, air defence radars and LCA LIFT probably till 2030.”

    Is it just me or anyone that I feel we’ll NOT have money for anyof the above until 2030? Call me a pessimist, but I just don’t think we’ll have much to spend. With the current issues of Covid-19, dropping of curde oil price, weaker economy, 23 years of continuous deficit budget, financial fiasco such as IMDB… can we get back on a positive growth by 2025?

    So in hindsight I’d say we’re unlucky not to get anything earlier, because more often than not we’ll not be getting ANYTHING at all from the purported money ‘saved’. In fact there’s no such thing in the government to save a chunk of the money just because you didn’t get your toys some years earlier…

    @azlan “…. – can also actively jam incoming radar signals”

    So you say but from what I’ve been told from various sources is that they are intended to jam or disrupt the seekers of incoming AAMs and don’t have the ability to do so with radars.”

    I’d help … to answer this part by modifying his statement

    “can also actively jam incoming radar signals, emitted by the Active AAM”

  37. @Azlan
    “So you say but from what I’ve been told from various sources is that they are intended to jam or disrupt the seekers of incoming AAMs and don’t have the ability to do so with radars.”

    The seekers on AAM is a radar itself (for actively radar guided AAM). SAP-518 itself can jam enemy aircraft radars and ground and seaborne air defense. Find me a source that says it cant as i could not find any. Is your source from an MKM pilot himslef? And yes SAP 518 is not as powerful as SAP 14 but it still can jam radars other than AAM seekers. There are also many ways to jam enemy radars. Send back signals that said nothing was there (masking the signature), creating multiple false pulses/contacts in different speed and vectors etc.

  38. SAP-518 capability

    http://iz.ru/739062/aleksandr-kruglov-bogdan-stepovoi/su-30-poluchili-radioelektronnyi-shchit

    The station of active jamming of individual protection SAP-518 was created by the Kaluga Research Radio Engineering Institute. It is designed to protect aircraft from being hit by modern and advanced surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles. The system is especially effective against missiles with active radar homing systems. It also creates active interference with aircraft radar stations, ground and ship air defense systems.

  39. Luqman – “The seekers on AAM is a radar itself”

    Yes but in the context of what I wrote; by “radar” I meant the “radar” of opposing fighters or ground based ones.

    Luqman – “ Find me a source that says it cant as i could not find any”

    We’ll put this matter to rest by proving I’m wrong if you
    can help direct me to a source that says self protection jammers (as carried by fighters – not pods carried by dedicated SEAD/EW aircraft) have the ability to jam or disrupt both the seekers heads of AAMs and radars (whether ground based or mounted on fighters).

    Hornet Lover – “Call me a pessimist, but I just don’t think we’ll have much to spend””

    It appears that way but things might suddenly change. It’s not only cash that’s a factor but also politics. The politicians may approve certain purchases in coming years. For me; I’m interested in seeing whether stuff approved by the previous government (the MPAs and UAS) will move forward.

    AM – “To get French and Russian agreement to provide”

    Apart from the technical challenges; an issue is getting both sides to work together. Whether it was with the uploading of software for Damocles or the source/object codes needed for certain things; Thales (as the appointed systems integrator) had work closely with the Russians.

    I know of instances where Western to Western integration/certification was an issue; let alone Western to non Western stuff.

  40. ….

    Thank you for that.

    It states that it’s “especially effective against missiles with active radar homing systems” but also “reates active interference with aircraft radar stations, ground and ship air defense systems””.

    Thus we can surmise that it’s primarily effective against the seeker heads of AAMs:SAMs (which we know) but also has some level of capability to deal with ground/ship based radars.

  41. Luqman – “s your source from an MKM pilot himslef?””

    No it wasn’t and it would be interesting to know if as part of tests/exercises; we tested hoe effective the self protection jammers on the Hornets and Flankers are against our ground based radars.

    I did not ask an MKM pilot but I did ask – over the years – a couple of industry people at shows and a defence writer. Their answer was basically the same; that the primary use of self protection jammers (as carried by fighters) is to jam/disrupt incoming SARH AAMs. For various reasons, including a lack of power supply: they are not used to jam/disrupt ground and ships radars; as well as ones airborne.

    For that larger and dedicated jammers are employed; as well as larger dorsal ones as fitted on some RSAF’s F-16. These are intended primarily to deal with radars (whether sea, land or air) and are employed in conjunction with ARMs.

    That’s what I was told by the various sources I mentioned in my previous post.

  42. Im with hornet lover..i really want to be optimistic about our future procurement for all service not just af but i just cant..take mrca program for example..more than a decade already has passed..or almost but a suitable candidate is still not yet selected..i certainly do hope lca program will not be frozen as well..

  43. Firdaus – “..take mrca program for example..more than a decade already has passed..or almost but a suitable candidate is still not yet selected”

    No candidate has been selected for the reason that there is no MRCA programme …. It has been postponed indefinitely and the intention is to get the LCAs (which you mentioned) …

  44. @ azlan

    dont forget ” aircraft radar stations ”

    As this is a state of the art system even russian itself is just going to use it, it is understandable that US Navy was very concerned when we first displayed them on a flyover of their aircraft carriers.

  45. Excerpts taken from elsewhere on stuff on the American military; which can be applied to us.

    “Those who plan for our nation’s defense are often under pressure because of questionable spending decisions made in the past.”

    The state of the MAF today is a result of a flawed and self defeating policy which we’ve had in place since the 1980’s. Buying stuff not to ensure the end user gets the desired capability but for national interests.

    “But when budgets are tight, we pit current security needs against future security needs. That is dangerous”

    In the past we based our threat perceptions in the fact that a major conflict would never erupt: that a potential conflict would be averted by diplomatic means; as well as us having a minimal deterrent capability. We were right in the past but things are rapidly changing.

    Everybody has to make the needed trade offs with penalties they are willing to incur; based on an assessment of threat perceptions and operational requirements. The armed services plan to deal with various threats but can only focus on a few specific ones. Some (because they have other resources in place) can afford to get it right; some can’t.

    If indeed we’re right and won’t be in a major state on state conflict anytime soon then decisions to focus on stuff like LCAs, UASs and other stuff won’t cone back to haunt. If however the unexpected happens; we will regret not allocating the resources needed for follow on MRCAs, subs, SAMs, etc.

    “Moreover, as planes get older, they cost more to operate and eventually become unsafe to fly without a major overhaul, which can be staggeringly expensive. Because we’ve allowed our fighter fleet to age, we are at a point where immediate action is necessary”

    On our part there is no “immediate action”. Only a small number of LCAs have been approved with zero indication when (or even) the rest will follow. The ageing Hawks will soldier on without any upgrades and there’s no indication when the MKMs will be upgraded.

  46. …. – “t US Navy was very concerned when we first displayed them on a flyover of their aircraft carriers””

    Assuming we wanted to pick up ELINT the MKMs wouldn’t have to do a “flyover”. They can do it from a distance away. Assuming we wanted to do it; we could also have just parked VERA on the coast or use a ESM mounted on a RMN ship in the vicinity.

    Another point to consider is that frequencies and call signs used by ships and aircraft in peacetime or in a benign area in which enemies are not present; differ to the ones they’ll actually use in wartime.

  47. During the 50th Merdeka celebrations a number of foreign naval ships were docked at Port Klang.

    The editorial of Tempur mentioned that the ESMs of these ships were switched on to pick up what they could from the MKM flypast. As someone later write; if indeed this was true the ships would not have picked up anything significant given that peacetime call signs were used, if switched on radars would have been transmitting on s training or non combat frequency and ATC was not provided by the DCA not the RMAF.

  48. @Azlan

    Based on what you said so far, I supposed that there’s not much hope for us then if we are suddenly attacked?
    Hypothetically can we survive a day one strike from China (for example), whilst waiting for aid from allies?

  49. @ azlan

    ” Assuming we wanted to pick up ELINT the MKMs wouldn’t have to do a “flyover”. ”

    That was not the main concern. The main concern is the explicit fact that we (a small military power) owned an advanced jamming capability. If we can have this capability, other countries (that might be hostile to usa) can too. That is one of the catalyst for the accelerated development of next generation jammers for the growler, and the introduction of IRST systems on us fighters (to mitigate the possibility of unreliable radar data that can be spoofed by something like the SAP-518)

  50. ASM – “Hypothetically can we survive a day one strike from China (for example””

    The MAF is not equip not structured to go head to head against a much stronger power. In a state on state on conflict we would even struggle against our neighbours; some of whom not only have numerical but also a qualitative edge.

    ….. – “. The main concern is the explicit fact that we (a small military power) owned an advanced jamming capability””

    But others in the region also have similar capabilities and the U.S. has also sold us advanced jamming stuff for the Hornets.

    Sorry but I don’t buy the notion that they are concerned that “
    we (a small military power) owned an advanced jamming capability” and that because of this “other countries (that might be hostile to usa) can too”

    Irrespective of whether we have such an “advanced” system; it has bearing on others – hostile or not to the U.S. they will and can get similar capabilities. Also, it’s not as if we were the first to have such a capability or that having the capability significantly changes the regional balance of power.

  51. ASM – “that there’s not much hope for us then if we are suddenly attacked”

    Wars rarely break out overnight without a preceding period of tensions. The idea is that during the period of tensions – a Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) with some level of capability and diplomatic efforts (involving regional and other players) will avert the conflict. Which is why we participate in various military/diplomatic dialogues/platforms and why we maintain ties with various countries. Also why – despite the end of the Cold War – we still play host to the only permanent base Australia has on foreign soil.

    Unfortunately whilst maintaining the level of military and diplomatic exchanges with various players we are not correspondingly doing the same with our military. We only spend a lot when there’s extra cash and even then we tend to spend the wrong way on the wrong things.

  52. ” Wars rarely break out overnight without a preceding period of tensions. The idea is that during the period of tensions – an MAD with some level of capability and diplomatic efforts (involving regional and other players) will avert the conflict. ”

    Agree. We are in a similar situation regarding the SCS at the moment. I know a direct engagement is out of the question, hence the question if we are able to defend against China if it conducts a Pearl Harbour type of attack, while waiting for allies (if they decide to help, no guarantees there).

    MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction?

    Reply
    Its Malaysian Armed Forces or MAF actually

  53. P.S.

    Typo – “- an MAF” with some”

    ASM,

    Another thing to bear in mind is that if a full scale war breaks out involving China; it will be with the likes of America, Taiwan and Japan, Not us or the other claimants.

    Also for China to want to launch a full strike in us; the circumstances would have to be very exceptional. China also has various means to hurt us; it doesn’t have to rely on military means. As for the Spratlys if things really got bad all China has to do is deny us sea and air access to our reefs – that would really hurt us .

  54. Azlan “We only spend a lot when there’s extra cash and even then we tend to spend the wrong way on the wrong things.”

    The historical context is that we’ve assumed that we live in a benign security environment where possessing the ability to deter or repel major state threats is simply not necessary. Since the second emergency ended, we’ve not seen any reason for urgency in building a force that is effective in conventional terms or even one that has much awareness of what goes on at the borders. As you have said before, it is what led to us putting industrial interests and diplomatic benefits ahead of user preferences when we buy things.

    At this point, I’d like dispel any remaining illusions that our capabilities were ever very substantial at any point in our history. Not the handful of MiGs, not the MBTs nor MRLs nor the many other firsts that we introduced (always in small numbers) in the region.

    This assumption may have worked when our neighbours’ capabilities, or lack thereof, were all we had to be concerned about. As China merges as a major power and as even our neighbours leave us behind, this assumption becomes less and less valid. But neither the cash nor the will to change course has materialised.

  55. AM – “At this point, I’d like dispel any remaining illusions that our capabilities were ever very substantial at any point in our history””

    I doubt if anyone is under the illusion that our capabilities were ever “substantial”. We bought a bit of everything but never enough of anything” and often than not; what we bought created difficulties either from an operational or support perspective – sometimes both.

    AM – “But neither the cash nor the will to change course has materialised”

    Nor will it unless something drastic happens or the average voter forces whoever occupies Putrajaya to act.

    AM – “y other firsts that we introduced (always in small numbers) in the region””

    Indeed because by themselves those “firsts” were not significant when viewed in totality. Often than not; to add to the support issues buying ill suited stuff (the list is a long one): we failed to acquire the needed assets to work alongside (nothing works in a vacuum) what we already had and quite often failed to allocate the needed funds for support.

  56. ASM – “against China if it conducts a Pearl Harbour type of attack, while waiting for allies””

    Why would it? It doesn’t have to. We don’t pose a great enough threat and never will. Such a preemptive strike will only be conducted against the likes of America, Japan and Taiwan.

    ASM – “if we are able to defend against China if it conducts a Pearl Harbour ””

    Obviously not ….

    We don’t have the needed ISR capabilities and should I add: even if we had advance warning how would we realistically defence against the possibility of cruise missiles, IRBMs, and mines laid in large numbers? Not rust I’m suggesting such a possibility..

    Also it’s not just the hardware. How would we defend against a sustained and coordinated attack which jams our radars, SATCOM, GPSs, radios and anything else electronic? What happens if the whole AD network or C3 system is paralysed by a virus?

    We can and do take certain precautions against a variety of threats but we can only prioritise on the most likely ones. We can acquire some level of deterrence in line with our financial resources but we can never go head to head or even indirectly; or even develop a defence against a country which is UN Security Council member and one that has the manpower, finances, industrial base and other resources that cant match.

    Which is why we have defence ties with various countries (even though they are not binding treaties) and why (despite our supposed non-aligned stance) we train and have contacts with America and Australia on a more comprehensive and regular basis than with anyone else.

  57. @ ASM

    As of now, probably no chance at all.

    Can we do anything in 10 years time?

    Yes i think we can improve our deterrence capability against china in the south china sea.

    The best deterrence is to have the ability to counter strike. First we need to have a survivable strike capability. 2 things comes to mind, multi role fighters with long range and standoff weapons, and submarines that is very hard to detect (compared to surface ships) and able to do mining, maritime strike and land strike. Both to have the missiles, bombs and torpedoes that can sustain say a month of retaliatory strikes, and forcing the agressor to the diplomatic table.

    Defensively we need to have robust ISTAR capability, Cyber defence, Electronic Attack, near shore anti amphibious landing capability, long range fires, updated GBAD, and point air defence (LCA).

    ” U.S. has also sold us advanced jamming stuff for the Hornets ”
    internal jammers for hornet, we got the ALQ-165 ASPJ, but was not cleared for the latest ALQ-214 IDECM.

    ” that having the capability significantly changes the regional balance of power ”

    “U.S. Navy Aims To Curb Enemy Jamming”
    by Bill Sweetman
    Aug 26, 2013

    A Boeing-led team has demonstrated that a group of EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, connected by a prototype data link, can track a moving ship accurately enough to guide a missile to it, without the help of radar.

    In follow-on tests, proposed for next year, the Growlers would be linked to an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter carrying an infrared search-and-track (IRST) system for long-range detection and tracking of airborne targets.

    Along with the U.S. Navy’s pursuit of a highly modified, longer-range Block III version of the Raytheon AIM-9X infrared-guided missile (AW&ST July 8, p. 26), the passive targeting program reflects rising concern about the use of advanced jamming technologies by potential adversaries. These use digital radio-frequency memory (DRFM) chips that can intercept, record and mimic incoming radar signals rapidly and accurately, providing very effective jamming.

    DRFM technology has been in existence since the 1980s and is used in European fighter self-protection suites. However, with the development of low-cost solid-state RF technology for commercial communications, it is becoming much more accessible and being exported by Russia and other nations. In October 2012, for example, U.S. Navy F/A-18Es visiting Malaysia flew in formation with Malaysian air force Sukhoi Su-30MKMs that carried Knirti SAP-518 jamming pods, previously seen only on Russian Su-34s. The SAP-518 is a new, high-power system that is believed to use DRFMs. ”

  58. @ ASM

    As a small country we can never have a symmetrical response to a country like China. Why we need an asymmetrical response by looking at the biggest effect for the smallest investment. One force that we can look up to is Vietnam. They have first hand experience in defeating a world super power, a living proof that David can really defeat the Goliath. Their maritime force is mainly consists of coast guard for surface fleet, but with 6 Kilo Submarines for deterrence. Then a large GBAD force, and shore based anti ship missile batteries.

  59. Azlan “I doubt if anyone is under the illusion that our capabilities were ever “substantial””

    Just to this specific point. I would say much of people’s ignorance and ignorance leans towards the impression we are quite mighty.

    For instance when we have a bilateral exercise on our soil, there are people whose impression is that we are world leaders in some technique that Tier 1 militaries come here to learn from (usually jungle ops are mentioned but one time it was chemical warfare). There are people who believe the MKM and by extension the RMAF are invincible- probably why the Raptors came to get a clue. Most of us here know better but -as I’ve cited before- it was once suggested that our acquiring MiG-29s caused a lot of consternation and reactive moves among neighbours.

    To an extent this leads to a dismissive attitude towards defence spending- if the MAF is strong and has kept the peace thus far, why should we care about how much is spent and how efficiently it is spent?

    I see a lot of parallels in the impression many have of our nation’s wealth and how it is used at the national level. We have gotten by all along, so surely we have no need to change our ways. This is not a forum for politics, nonetheless many who participate here go out of their way to declare their subscription to this belief.

  60. @ AM

    ” Most of us here know better but -as I’ve cited before- it was once suggested that our acquiring MiG-29s caused a lot of consternation and reactive moves among neighbours ”

    MiG-29s and Su-30MKM did cause reactive moves among our neighbours, but it as you said does not mean TUDM are “invincible”. MiG-29 armament of R-27 BVR missiles led to USA approving AMRAAM for singapore and thailand. Su-30MKM also led to Singapore getting the F-15SG.

    But just 1 great hardware does not create an invincible air force. Clearly we cannot afford to use the MKM for daily missions and QRA (which is why for quite a few years now i am pushing hard for LCAs instead of MRCA). We failed to scramble our fighters many times after the MH-370 happened (scoot air bomb scare was one). Many of our basic tasks, such as maritime patrol, medium utility helicopters, lead-in fighter training, air defence radars are in shambles (and why when the air force and government plays around with the want for typhoons and rafales instead of getting stuff to improve our basic tasks i was very2 upset about it).

    What i can see is that TUDM has been neglecting to take care of its basic tasks, while TLDM probably thinks too much about it and afraid to pass them on to MMEA.

    The army, while has done some things right (like the push for NCO, and the low cost but high increase in firepower capability by adopting the RPG-7), many of what it has are still with token capabilities. Our PT-91M, JERNAS, Arthur WLR, Vera E, for example are not in the numbers that we can meaningfully deploy to fully utilize their full capabilities. Our Mechanised Brigade for example, is a mix of both wheeled and tracked IFVs, which negates the advantage of both types when we want to deploy as a whole brigade. From what we currently have, and adding a 1 more battalion of gempita and PT-91M, we can create 2 brigades, one fully wheeled, and another fully tracked.

    4th Mechanised Brigade
    3x AV8 Gempita mechanised infantry battalion
    1x AV8 Gempita + JLTV cavalry regiment

    1st Armour Brigade
    2x PT91M + MIFV tank regiment
    2x ACV300 Adnan mechanised infantry regiment.

    Reply
    The issues with the Fulcrums and MKMs and their BVR missiles are simply nothing but a storm in a tea cup. They know fully well two squadrons of fighters, bought a decade apart, are just a token buy. That said kudos for them to use the fig leaf as the catalyst to buy more toys for themselves which strangely did not see a similar response with us.

  61. I’d like to ask a question about the FPDA. I once read it only covers the Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, and it’s to deter Indonesia from invading. If that is true it means if China were to swallow the SCS and all our islands and atolls there, or even to land on Bintulu shore, UK, Oz, Nz will stand and watch. Is it correct?

    Reply
    Technically, yes, the agreement was put in place in a different time and era

  62. “did not see a similar response with us”
    Do we really want or need an arms race with each other?

    Reply
    Not really but it just to show that the so called responses were actually justification for the needs of others. We don’t see or do things in that way, just national interest

  63. …. – “internal jammers for hornet, we got the ALQ-165 ASPJ, but was not cleared for the latest ALQ-214 IDECM””

    Yes but so?

    Do we actually know how both compare?

    The fact remains : us getting such a capability would would not worry then and would have zero effect on “hostiles” doing the same (as you suggested).

    It’s not a new capability (other regional players have it) and it doesn’t in anyway alter the status quo or balance of power. The Americans also were not worried about MKMs flying over their carrier with EW gear; for the simple reason that there was no cause for worry …

  64. AM – “that our acquiring MiG-29s caused a lot of consternation and reactive moves among neighbours””

    Mainly because of the Adder a “fire forget” (the term is actually misleading) capability which nobody had. In response Thailand openly stated it wanted AMRAAM for its Hornets. The U.S. position was that it would not be the first to enable a regional country to have a capability not possessed by others.

    Many also found it strange and didn’t envy the RMAF having to operate a West/East mix.

  65. “We don’t see or do things in that way, just national interest”
    IMHO that’s a good thing, somewhat? If we tried to chase with SG’s defence expenditure, we would have to sacrifice something else, like some form of welfare to the rakyat or other economic stimulus support. I have to say, compared with SG our social security net is far better & more comprehensive, only problem are the wastage & leaks. Some might prefer to sacrifice these for better national security but it depends on who they would ask really.

  66. Oh I forgot, now we have not 4, but 5 Cavalry regiments!

    5 KAD has just been stood up in Sabah, this is the resident unit that uses the Lipanbara MRAP.

    I would prefer if all 5 cavalry regiments to be similarly equipped. So IMO we need to have a batch 2 of the Gempita for this also.

    BTW marhalim, it seems that there is quite a number of gempitas now equipped with just RCWS. Any news on the final composition of the gempita order? Is the Armoured recovery version really cancelled? BTW from mallbatt 850-7 fb pages I saw one of the new Volvo wreckers is now in Lebanon.

  67. …. -!”I would prefer if all 5 cavalry regiments to be similarly equipped”

    On paper for commonality yes.

    In reality a particular regiment might find itself permanently deployed in an environment in which a different type of vehicle might be more suitable or practical.

  68. …..

    Compared to the past; EW gear is now more accessible from a variety of sources. The main problem for customers who are totally reliant on external help is that what they get may be effective for a particular type of threat but not necessarily against the type of threats they face. This is where countries with a local
    industry are advantaged as they can specify gear to deal with a particular threat.

    Another issue for countries with no local ability is that integrating/certifying stuff that is ideal for them into aircraft or ships they are acquiring may be cost prohibitive.

    During the Iran/Iraq war the Iraqis found that the RWRs on some of their Russian jets were more capable than those on their Mirages. On the other hand Soviet/Russian EW stuff didn’t perform as well in other areas. Same goes with U.S. stuff – generally a good record with some exceptions; like in Morocco where U.S. pods didn’t go well as ground threats from the Polisario.

    I have no idea how the self protection suites on the Hornets and MKMs compare in general but they were designed respectively to deal with different types threats and like everything else should – ideally – be progressively upgraded.

  69. @ azlan

    ” The Americans also were not worried about MKMs flying over their carrier with EW gear; for the simple reason that there was no cause for worry … ”

    Of course USA has no worry about the profileration of advanced jammers. Then tell me why do they suddenly they put a high priority to IRST and other non radar way of targetting?

    http://news.usni.org/2014/02/20/super-hornet-tests-new-infrared-air-air-targeting-sensor

    The new air-to-air (IRST) sensor, which is mounted inside a modified 480-gallon centerline drop tank, was developed as a direct response to evermore-capable threat electronic-warfare systems. Of particular concern to the Pentagon is the proliferation of advanced Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) jammers, which can degrade friendly radar performance and have the potential to blind the Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM’s onboard radar-seeker.

    http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-us-militarys-top-guns-the-air-have-big-weakness-14065

    The Navy and the Air Force are starting to equip the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-15 Eagle with infrared search and track systems because DRFM jammers wreak havoc on even active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars. The best option to counter DRFM jammers is to get out of using X-band radar—or to even ditch the radar in favor of infrared. “Getting out of X band is one option,” said one senior Air Force official. “Our fourth-gen AESAs aren’t a big advantage. They’re more to get us back in the game against jamming.”

  70. ” it means if China were to swallow the SCS and all our islands and atolls there, or even to land on Bintulu shore, UK, Oz, Nz will stand and watch. Is it correct?”

    Well..that’s comforting to know. I guess it will be the typical ” we stand in solidarity with you and our thoughts and prayers are with you” response when the time comes

    I am aware there’s no way for us to go head to head against China, I was thinking whether we have a sliver of chance during the opening stages of an attack. Seems that isn’t the case judging by the replies.

    The SCS seems set to be a flashpoint in the future; maybe Sabah and Sarawak will become China’s provinces.

  71. – “Su-30MKM also led to Singapore getting the F-15SG”

    I would argue that irrespective of what we bought in that period; Singapore would still have got the F-15. It was a natural follow step to add to what it already had; as part of plans to progressively upgrade the SAF.

    Something which had more direct relation to something we got was ASTROS; it led to Iron Dome being acquired.

  72. @ ASM

    ” I am aware there’s no way for us to go head to head against China, I was thinking whether we have a sliver of chance during the opening stages of an attack ”

    We can, and IMO we must.

    Vietnam has done it before, going head to head against USA, with allies giving only material help. In our case, other major powers such as US, UK, australia, japan, etc have a major interest in keeping the south china sea an international water, not becoming the unprecedented claim of a water territory by china. Other major powers, while not going to fight for us to defend our territory, but will do so to make sure south china sea (and all other waterways such as selat melaka, persian gulf, indian ocean off somalia for example) is open for everyone.

    Why i have put up plans here for just that, a chance for us to strike back to an agressor while defending our tanah air. We should not fret if our budget is not as high as our neighbors for example. But we should be angry if our meagre budget is squandered on poorly executed and questionable acquisitions. Good planning and execution can give us a big increase in our defence capability compared to what we have right now.

  73. ASM – “ was thinking whether we have a sliver of chance during the opening stages of an attack””

    What do you personally think?

    Never mind that such a possibility is unlikely but look at the means available to Chine – from land based cruise missiles and IRBMs to air launched missiles – and our ability to actually counter such a threat. Even the likes of U.S. and Japan would find such a scenario challenging.

    …., – “Then tell me why do they suddenly they put a high priority to IRST and other non radar way”

    Let get back to the start and go off tangent.

    You started of by saying US Navy was very concerned when we first displayed them on a flyover of their aircraft carriers”. I pointed out this couldn’t possibly be true.

    Then you went to say “main concern is the explicit fact that we (a small military power) owned an advanced jamming capability. If we can have this capability, other countries (that might be hostile to usa) can too” My answer was that we having the ability had zero bearing on others getting it and it’s not as if we were the first in the region or that it changed anything.

    If however you’re convinced you’re right then fine.

    …. – “Then tell me why do they suddenly they put a high priority to IRST and other non radar way of targetting””

    I don’t have to tell you anything because we’re not even in the sane page here. The U.S. is indeed concerned about others gaining an edge in this area but us having a such a system has zero bearing in the larger scheme of things.

    Thank you for the stuff you posted but i really need no convincing. I was talking about things in our context; which you brought up.

  74. Typo

    “and “not” go off tangent”

    ASM – “The SCS seems set to be a flashpoint in the future; maybe Sabah and Sarawak will become China’s provinces”

    It has long been a “flashpoint” but has only made it regularly in the news in recent years.

    On Sabah and Sarawak; unsure if you’re talking in jest or frustration but zero chance. China – as you know – doesn’t even claim them.

    A major worry for many is that at some point in the future the U.S. (for whether reason) might scale back it’s presence in the region. This would leave the rest deal with China alone. With exception of a few countries; the region might then consist of modern day Chinese vassal states.

  75. ASM – “Well..that’s comforting to know””

    The FPDA does not cover East Malaysia and also not the Spratlys which is a disputed area.

    Whilst other countries are indeed under no obligation to help us; if things got out of hand and it threatened to disrupt the existing world order; as well as their key interests; then they would intervene; not because the have a close affinity for us (or anyone else for that matter) but because it’s in their interests to do so.

    Note also that 2 of the claimants are linked to the U.S. by a binding treaty. Thus any trouble between China and these countries would bring the U.S. into the picture.

    No doubt people are fond of discussing several scenarios, including some unlikely ones but trouble in the form of a major conflict were to break out the the South China Sea; chances are it would start with the U.S. and China.

  76. @ azlan

    ” I don’t have to tell you anything because we’re not even in the sane page here. The U.S. is indeed concerned about others gaining an edge in this area but us having a such a system has zero bearing in the larger scheme of things. ”

    It was us having such systems (and showing it off by overflying a us aircraft carrier) that triggered the immediate concern on the profileration of advanced jammers that the US military immediately embarked on the urgent development of IRST systems on the super hornet and eagles. Malaysia owning such advanced DRFM jammer system is exactly what it meant by the profileration of advanced jammers. That overflight was basically the main event that triggered the reaction. Not my words, but many US Navy and USAF referred articles said so.

  77. @ azlan

    ” With exception of a few countries; the region might then consist of modern day Chinese vassal states ”

    What china should do is to respect all asian countries sovereignity, scrap the unrealistic 9 dash line fiction and uphold the UNCLOS law that it actually signed. If that is done, plenty of countries will voluntarily allywith China and abandon USA. China with a friendly diplomatic and political outlook can easily replace the inward looking USA as the new world power. But no, they went to repeat the same imperialistic way that they called out the west of doing in the past.

  78. The Soviet Union, China and other socialist countries gave materiel and diplomatic help.

    Whilst I’m not in anyway downplaying the spirit shown by the Vietnamese;I have to add this caveat in case others jump to conclusions); they also had things going in their favour: such as restrictive ROEs placed by the U.S. preventing then from hitting a variety of targets including the port of Haiphong in which the bulk of supplies were delivered.

    North Vietnam also benefited from a long and open border with China which remained undisrupted (same problem the French faced) because of American fears of dragging China into the war. North Vietnam also had the “Ho Chi Minh” trail; large parts of which ran via Cambodia and Laos – places where the U.S. only mounted a full large – brief – incursion which only temporarily disrupted the flow of supplies.

    The fighting spirit shown by the Vietnamese was admirable; as was their will to keep on going despite facing many obstacles buy its vital to look at various aspects of the war; not just a few selected ones: in order to gain a full and objective assessment.

  79. … “Of course USA has no worry about the profileration of advanced jammers. Then tell me why do they suddenly they put a high priority to IRST and other non radar way of targetting?”

    The proliferation of jammers is one reason of many for developing IRST systems. Irrespective of jamming, activating radar gives away your position or at least your presence, and for LO aircraft to do so negates the purpose of being LO in the first place. There are many applications made possible by advances in IRST technology that don’t have to do with jamming or air combat: BMD, CAS and even landing at night or in bad weather.

    “Something which had more direct relation to something we got was ASTROS; it led to Iron Dome being acquired.”

    Indonesia also has a MRL development programme and there was a terrorist plot to launch unguided rockets at Singapore from Indonesian territory not too long ago.

    ASM “Well..that’s comforting to know. I guess it will be the typical ” we stand in solidarity with you and our thoughts and prayers are with you” response when the time comes”

    Not exactly. What ANZUK will do in practice is not bound by a strict interpretation of the FPDA. Australia, New Zealand and the UK fought alongside us long before and after the establishment of the FPDA, which as was noted is not binding and only covers peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Their assistance to us during Confrontation was also not prevented by the AMDA treaty which only covered peninsular Malaysia.”

    “I am aware there’s no way for us to go head to head against China, I was thinking whether we have a sliver of chance during the opening stages of an attack. Seems that isn’t the case judging by the replies.”

    This is another matter though. For one thing even if China seizes our offshore possessions, they are unlikely to mount an attack on our mainland. For another, if an attack by China (onshore or offshore) is preceded by an ample period of tension it will still come with a degree of surprise. Even if other countries are willing to assist us, we or they may not recognise the threat in time for them to deploy sufficient forces to the region.

    joe “Do we really want or need an arms race with each other?”

    I’m quite amused by what you said before on the subject, and by the hashtag as well. https://www.malaysiandefence.com/museum-ship-of-the-navy/#comment-332553

  80. ” What do you personally think? ”

    I think we could. It’s a quite a distance between China and Malaysia so if we could disrupt the supply lines there’s a chance we could survive the initial encounter. However your knowledge in this field is greater than mine so I prefer to know both and @… opinions.

    ” On Sabah and Sarawak; unsure if you’re talking in jest or frustration but zero chance. China – as you know – doesn’t even claim them. ”

    Who knows? It wouldn’t surprise me if one day they found a “historical” document from the Qin dynasty stating the whole SEA region is China’s southernmost border.

    “This would leave the rest deal with China alone. With exception of a few countries; the region might then consist of modern day Chinese vassal states.”

    Exactly. This is my concern.I really don’t want us to march to China’s tune.
    Over the SCS now they are trying to establish ADIZ. The gall of them….

    ” We can, and IMO we must.

    Vietnam has done it before, going head to head against USA, with allies giving only material help”

    Agree. The thing is Vietnam knows the severity of the situation. In our case, like Azlan said, if there’s no political will to take defence matters seriously, we will always be handicapped.

  81. @ AM

    ” For one thing even if China seizes our offshore possessions, they are unlikely to mount an attack on our mainland. For another, if an attack by China (onshore or offshore) is preceded by an ample period of tension it will still come with a degree of surprise. ”

    Which is why, IMO other than just beefing up our defences, which will be penetrated eventually by the sheer might of the Chinese military, we also need something that can really hit them back. Our counterattack means must be able to survive a surprise attack on them. We need the ability to also sink their ships, disturb their logistics lifeline to their reefs and strike at their harbour and power installations. All the relevant intels, like all the ships and schedules of resupply run to the reefs in spratlys should be in our fingertips. The keyword in the 70s was the ability to give them the bloody nose.

    We also need to up our ante in the “grey” conflict situation that china is pushing to colonize the south china sea. More ships under MMEA, beefing up our fishing vessel fleet, getting more cyber and EW systems, LRADs that we can use in a “grey” conflict situation.

  82. Dear sirs, just wanna know, if China does goes with arm confrontation with Malaysia, doesn’t it initiate FPDA into action?

    Reply
    See comments below

  83. ASM – “s a quite a distance between China and Malaysia so if we could disrupt the supply lines there’s a chance we could survive the initial encounter”

    The sentence is “if we could”. The long distance doesn’t necessarily have to be a disadvantage to them and with the number of assets we have and the assets that have in comparison; the ability of us to “disrupt” their supply lines are slim.

    Sure we can sink a few ships but so what? We can give them a “bloody nose” ( to use an often used cliche) but for how long? It’s not as if the Chinese are going to rush back to the mainland just because they’ve lost a few ships.

    Sure we can adopt a asymmetric approach but in the long run? People are more focused on what we can do …. Let’s put some though in what China can do….. If China doesn’t think twice about squaring off with the likes of America, Japan and others; you seriously think they’ll be worried about our asymmetric responses (which China can also do)?

    What if we’ve been hit to an extent that we can’t deploy our units? What if all out comms are jammed denying us the ability to command/control or if we wake up to find hundreds of mines laid off our naval bases? For that matter how long would our stocks of missiles, spares and other things last? What if Chinese subs and other assets deny us the ability to get to international
    shipping lanes?

    Ultimately such a scenario – war with China or a Chinese strike on us – is unlikely. If it wants to be nasty there are various ways it can hurt us. If indeed war broke out and we were involved; we’d be on the sidelines with others up in front. We wouldn’t be on our one.

  84. AM – “Their assistance to us during Confrontation was also not prevented by the AMDA treaty which only covered peninsular Malaysia.”

    Australia was reluctant at first to deploy forces to East Malaysia. It only did it after an initial period and urging from Britain and us.

  85. AM – “Agree. The thing is Vietnam knows the severity of the situation””

    We also know the severity of the situation; that’s why we’ve engaged in several diplomatic moves and have maintained close cooperation/dialogue with others.

    With Vietnam; fear/distrust of China goes back centuries – it’s ingrained in the national psyche. Hundreds of years ago they were occupied by China; were a vassal
    state for a long time; fought a vicious border war in 1979 and a number of naval clashes which didn’t turn out well for them. Thus how they deal with China must be seen in an overall historical context.

    …. – “Malaysia owning such advanced DRFM jammer system is exactly what it meant by the profileration of advanced jammers. That overflight was basically the main event that triggered the reaction. Not my words, but many US Navy and USAF referred articles said so.””

    Firstly I’m well aware what “proliferation” means. Secondly what was mentioned in Sweetman’s article (differs to an extent to the narrative you’re making).

    Just to get this clear; I’m not suggesting that the U.S. is not concerned and is taking steps to maintain an edge (this is agreed and doesn’t have to be repeated time and time again). What I’m disputing is the overall impact that supposedly occurred due to the realisation that we had such a system.

    The excerpt below (which you posted) mentions proliferation and the fact that Malaysia happened to have such a capability. It also mentions what we already know – the fact that such systems are more accessible compared to previously.

    .“ it is becoming much more accessible and being exported by Russia and other nations. In October 2012, for example, U.S. Navy F/A-18Es visiting Malaysia flew in formation with Malaysian air force Sukhoi Su-30MKMs that carried Knirti SAP-518 jamming pods, previously seen only on Russian Su-34s. The SAP-518 is a new, high-power system that is believed to use DRFMs”

    Whilst you’ve had a lot to say about this Russian system (yes it’s high tech and capable); I’ll reserve judgement for the simple reason that I have no idea how it compares in actual performance (as opposed to paper performance) to equivalent U.S. systems (both the ones offered to non NATO or treaty allies and those not) and the fact that it’s a system with a 1990’s lineage.

  86. @Azlan

    You seem to be implying about an all out conflict with China. That’s not what I meant. I was asking if we could hold out long enough to have others intervene/assist us because obviously we can’t match them head on.

    ” Ultimately such a scenario – war with China or a Chinese strike on us – is unlikely. ”

    Yes, you mention that many times. Hence the reason it’s ” hypothetical” scenario. Unlikely to happen, yes, but interesting subject (for me at least) to discuss

  87. ASM – “owever your knowledge in this field is greater than mine””

    Not necessarily so.

    I can’t speak for others but I’m looking at things from an overall perspective in a dispassionate manner based not only what we can do but also China. There are threats we can handle and those we can’t : those we can’t includes fighting against a major power which is a UN Permanent Security Council member, the world’s 2nd largest economy, has a much larger manpower and industrial base and spends much much much more than we do.

    We can adopt asymmetric tactics but for how long? China can respond in ways we can’t react to, can also adopt asymmetric and other tactics and has a very good idea not only what we can do but also how long we can sustain ourselves.

    The conflict will also take place at sea where there will be less places to hide and against a numerically powerful foe which can see and hit further: in a more coordinated manner. There are also the economic and other aspects consider; not just the military ones.

    As it stands we have issues meeting our peacetime commitments and would have problems against immediate neighbours; yet here we are discussing China ….

  88. ASM – “You seem to be implying about an all out conflict with China””

    If that’s not you meant than why add in the Pearl Harbour type strike scenario because such a strike would only take place in the event of “an all out conflict with China” ..

    ASM – “ng if we could hold out long enough to have others intervene/assist””

    “Hold out” in what context? Against a Pearl Harbour type strike in a scenario in which all gloves were off? Then very obviously not. Given the size of our bases; the lack of a AD network, the lack of an early warning capability, the lack of hardened structures; in relation to the various means China has at its disposal then very obviously not.

    Even countries like the U.S, Taiwan and Japan would struggle in such a scenario; let alone us.

    ASM – “Yes, you mention that many times. Hence the reason it’s ” hypothetical” scenario””

    And I’ll keep mentioning it “many” times if I see fit. I’m not suggesting by the way that we don’t discuss “hypothetical” scenarios – by all means carry on.

    IMO is we want to discuss hypothetical scenarios we should focus on ones that are more likely to occur but then I’m speaking for myself.

  89. @ASM
    ” Qin dynasty stating the whole SEA region is China’s”
    All the way back to Kesultanan Melaka Empire times (& even Majapahit?), tributes were paid to Imperial China making pur region a quasi-vassal. This is one of the gist for CC to claim heredity rights via 9 Dash Lines.

    “if we could hold out long enough”
    That will depend on how our land-based TDM performs against CC invasion might. Back in WW2, we lost air & sea superiority in the 1st weeks of invasion but the land fight continued for another one & half month, so how long can we hold it depends on TDM. Obviously there is not gonna be a ‘last stand’ in SG.

  90. @ azlan

    Please dont confuse the SAP-518 with prior systems such as the L005 Sorbitsya (this can also be found on chinese su-30mkk), L175V Khibiny or even the L265 Khibiny M.

    It looks the same, with similar external design mounted on the wingtips of Su-27, Su-30mkk, Su-34 etc. but internally they are vastly different. Even russian air force is just going to induct the SAP-518 on their Su-30SM, which shows that the SAP-518 is the latest version of the jammer pod for russian aircrafts.

    ” As it stands we have issues meeting our peacetime commitments and would have problems against immediate neighbours; yet here we are discussing China ”

    Right now our main threat to our sovereignty is no longer things like we face during confrontation or even lahad datu. We need to address both our peacetime commitments, and to ramp up our deterrence capabilities. We can no longer afford to goldplate our assets needed for our peacetime commitments (OPV comes to mind) and we need to seriously think about our deterrence capabilities (subs and getting long range anti-ship missiles, together with target acquisition capabilities)

  91. Some functions of the old L005 Sorbitsya, which is 4 generations behind the SAP-518

    The left pod is the reception (receiver), and the right the emitter (jammer).

    The L005 system can work in azimut +-60º, in vertical +-30º, and in the forward-rear hemisphere.

    The L005 can work in reception (data collecting and warning) mode only or in transmission (jamming) mode.

    The ECM modes are:

    1.- ECM against radars and radar guide missiles
    2.- ECM against some preselected types of radars.
    3.- Oscillating ECM ( when the Su-27 flies in pairs )
    4.-Low Frequency Doppler ECM.
    5.-High Frequency ECM.
    6.- ECM with ground bounce ( to interfere with missiles when flying low and redirect them to the ground. )

    @ azlan

    ” Given the size of our bases; the lack of a AD network, the lack of an early warning capability, the lack of hardened structures; in relation to the various means China has at its disposal then very obviously not ”

    Right now as i said previously, i agree with your statement. But this does not mean that we just roll over and give up our sovereignty. We can improve our defence capabilities with the right plan and execution, abd this does not need us to substantially increase our budgets which we obviously cannot afford. We can improve our GBAD capability. With the right priority we can get AWACS and airborne jammers by 2025. We do have hardened structures but this can easily be targeted. We need to have a dispersal plan, and have our MKMs and our subs in the air or under the sea when threat levels are high.
    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/oz-prepares-for-post-covid-world/#comment-429849

    @ Joe

    ” All the way back to Kesultanan Melaka Empire times (& even Majapahit?), tributes were paid to Imperial China making pur region a quasi-vassal ”

    If you want to bring up old grandfather stories, in the past China was conquered for hundreds of years by the savage Mongols. So can Ulan Bator now can claim Beijing is theirs? Another thing, territory ownership is of land for non islandic countries (which can have large internal waters). Is there any other countries that have an external water territory like the 9 dash line?

  92. … – “Please dont confuse the SAP-518 with prior systems such as the L005 Sorbitsya””

    I’m not “confusing” anything and I’m surprised you’d even bring this up.

    I’m merely and clearly offering the opinion that although the EW suite in the MKM is impressive; I wouldn’t make the assumption as to how capable it actually is in comparison to other similar system. I’m also against the notion that although the U.S. is keen on ensuring its continues to maintain and edge in this regard: the fact that we have such a system is of profound indifference to the U.S. and has no bearing on other (hostile) countries getting a similar capability (as you mentioned in the your first post on the subject); in which you also mentioned the MKMs overflying the U.S. carrier.

    … – “We need to address both our peacetime commitments, and to ramp up our deterrence capabilities””

    What we “need” to do and what we are “able” to do are 2 very completely different things. In an ideal world we would make it a point to focus on present threats/challenges whilst also progressively upgrading the MAF’s capabilities to deal with other threats.

    This is well understood. The problem is at present; we are struggling to do both and we can’t devote the same level of attention and investment in both areas. It’s about striking the right balance and hoping we get it right.

    …. – “our deterrence capabilities (subs and getting long range anti-ship missiles, together with target acquisition capabilities)””

    Maybe, maybe not. Others might argue that we also need other things; namely strong air assets. Others will also point that that the successful use of subs and long range missiles (even with a ISR capability) is dependent on us having some semblance of control of our skies and the ability to use those long tenge missiles with simultaneous strikes by other assets.

    Also “deterrence” has become a world commonly used but for me it depends on the context. Who are we intending to “deter” and what level of “deterrence” are we willing to achieve at expense of other areas. What will “deter” some might not “deter” others and to what ends and for what duration is this “deterrence” suppose to achieve and last for?

    Assuming we “deter” who we intend to; how do we ensure that we also successfully combine it with political/diplomatic efforts?

    …, – “We can no longer afford to goldplate our assets needed for our peacetime commitments (OPV comes to mind”

    It depends ….

    If those OPVs purely have a constabulary tasking then yes they require just a modest fit out. If however those OPVs also have a wartime tasking which includes roles (alongside or independent of other assets) that go beyond their “OPV” designation then it requires a certain fit out.

    Which is exactly why the Kedahs (although designated “OPV”) were fitted with stuff such as the TRS-3D and “obstacle avoidance sonar”; stuff they wouldn’t need if they were only to perform strictly as “OPVs” – for the reason that they from the very start also had other tastings and not just the peacetime constabulary role.

  93. Well retournons sur le sujet de la Rafale…

    Let’s say RMAF get the Rafales, what will happen to the Flankers and Hornets then? Sold or put into storage?

    Speaking of rojak air force, we are not the only ones having one. The Egyptians recently got hold of new Su-35s, and currently they have Fulcrums and Rafales in their inventory. Plus Apaches too. On paper it looks really potent practically it remains to be seen if they can maintain such a myriad of high performance airplanes.

    Reply
    Both the MKMs and Hornets were supposed to continue service as the MRCA was supposed to replace MiG-29s and F-5s. But it is unrealistic to see all three types to perform at their best due to the funding issues. As for Egypt, it will be a disaster of course there is no two way about it

  94. …. – “. But this does not mean that we just roll over and give up our sovereignty””

    Nothing so far in the discussion has implied that we should “roll over and give up our sovereignty” (which we’re not doing BTW) or bend over and let anyone buxxxr us up the axx ….

    …, – “We can improve our defence capabilities with the right plan and execution””

    Yes, yes we can do a lot of things. Nobody indicated otherwise or is disagreeing with you.

    With a proper and holistic defence policy which includes sustained funding and planning we can commit to; as well as a firm desire not to repeat past mistakes we can do things a lot better.

    Based on the hypothetical scenario ASM provided I was focusing on the capabilities we have at present and the foreseeable future. For the present and the foreseeable future things are unlikely to drastically change …

    ASM – “Speaking of rojak air force, we are not the only ones having one””

    Although stretched over too long a period and detailing a future force structure that is questionable and subject to many changes; one good thing about the 5/15 and CAP 55 is it significantly reduces the logistical/support footprint.

    This a problem the armed services have long been straddled with thanks to the politicians who put emphasis on the local industry and other factors; rather than ensuring the armed services get the desired capability and the taxpayer their money’s worth.

  95. Talking about IRSTs, i would suggest for RMAF to also procure the Legion Pods from US to equip our future LCAs.

    In an advent of every of our radar being jammed, the IRST pod would be useful in acquiring target coordinates for BVR engagements. Though in this high ECM situation datalinks would also be jammed so each pilot is on his own.

    These IRST pod would also be useful for monitoring the enemy without emitting any radiation which also would be advantageous if the enemy also turn off their radar.

    Regardless, Legion IRST on LCA along with datalinks, AWACS, SAP518 and ground/sea based radar would add further dimension to our overall capability. (Have to mention all of these things or else someone would point out that only having IRST pods is useless)

  96. @…
    No need to get so antsy. I said it before, CC has no direct connections (hence no heredity link) anymore than we do to the ‘glorious Kesultanan Empire’ of the past otherwise, we could probably lay claim to Sumatra today. That CC made the claim doesn’t necessarily make them right. But then again Might is Right.

  97. “Both the MKMs and Hornets were supposed to continue service as the MRCA was supposed to replace MiG-29s and F-5s.”

    Having Flankers and Hornets and Rafales is a bit of overkill, IMO. If they continue this route they should retire/sell the Hornets. Good thing the buy didn’t materialise, although I feel a little bit of pity for Hollande that he came all the way here to push for it but ended with nothing.

    Let’s say we didn’t buy Flankers back then, would Rafales be a better purchase instead?

    Reply
    No lah, the Rafale was in its infancy when we started looking for a new MRCA back in early 2000. RMAF had basically wanted the Super Hornet

  98. ASM – “Having Flankers and Hornets and Rafales is a bit of overkill, IMO””

    Of course. The RMAF’s original intention was just to have Hornets but that’s water under the bridge of course. The intention was to get a more capable platform in the late 2000’s after LIFTs and MPAs but the government shifted priorities.

    ASM – “If they continue this route they should retire/sell the Hornets””

    This would never have happened as the Hornet was the only platform the RMAF was satisfied with. It also had/has better serviceability rates than ever achieved with the MKM and via FMS a much better sakes/support service than what the Russians could offer.

    In the late 1990’s we were offered a buy back for our 8 Ds as part of a Super Hornet deal.

    ASM – “would Rafales be a better purchase instead””

    Very subjective. Whether Rafale, Gripen or Typhoon; each has its respective merits. The platform was not the problem but us getting the needed systems in place to enable us to get the best out of the platform and us having adequate operational funds.

    Luqman – “ , the IRST pod would be useful in acquiring target coordinates for BVR engagements“

    The whole idea behind the IRST was as a passive device to detect contacts; either for WVR or BVR.

  99. @ azlan

    ” I’m also against the notion that although the U.S. is keen on ensuring its continues to maintain and edge in this regard: the fact that we have such a system is of profound indifference to the U.S ”

    I understand the fact that we have such system does not does not make our airforce “invincible” or such, but us able to get our hands on such system (from the comments of the officers in those articles) was what triggered the US reaction to accelerate the development of their own IRST systems.

    @ ASM

    ” Let’s say we didn’t buy Flankers back then, would Rafales be a better purchase instead? ”

    http://www.flightglobal.com/malaysian-super-hornet-buy-is-no-closer-despite-us-fms-notification/44902.article

    If we did not get the MKM, we would be getting the super hornets. The proposed 18 super hornets would cost about USD1.5 billion, vs the MKM cost of USD0.9 billion. Even with trade-ins of our current night strike hornets, the assumed number of super hornets that we could afford was about 12. Also the super hornet would have the same radar and avionics as our legacy hornets, as the offer did not clear us to get the AESA radar.

    ” Having Flankers and Hornets and Rafales is a bit of overkill, IMO. If they continue this route they should retire/sell the Hornets ”

    Our airforce would be a top heavy force, with no operational budget to operate such a force. We would also have no budget to recapitalise our hawks and mb-339cm, which we would still need to use up till probably after 2030 (which now we know we cant even use to 2020 for our mb-339cm).

  100. @ luqman

    irst for FA-50? probably too expensive to integrate them for fa-50. Leonardo and hanwha do have a jv for irst systems for kfx

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-sDR0Sj7Glcs/W_jxGIG6B4I/AAAAAAAA-Y0/fDQ2OOMEDnAsj7AQymyBVhd7wf1g_k72wCLcBGAs/s1600/Hanwha_details_KFX_avionics_64003.jpg

    http://www.defenseworld.net/news/20996/Leonardo__Hanwha_Systems_join_Hands_to_Develop_Targeting_Systems__Aviation_Technologies#

    http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2019-01-22/kai-developing-smarter-fa-50-golden-eagle?amp

  101. @ASM
    Ok let’s say we didn’t spend USD $900mil on 18 MKMs, and instead invested it til 2016 when India went in with their order for Rafale. From their purchase, a plane each cost USD $200mil.

    So let’s say in 2016, we got USD $1.3Bil(optimistic), how many can we buy? 6-7 Rafales instead of 18 MKMs. Is that a better deal?

  102. @Azlan, @…

    Ah yes. I actually forgot that RMAF was gunning for the Super Hornets all along. Are they still on the list for MRCA?

    @joe
    Obviously not. I didn’t expect the Rafale to be that pricey, compared to the Super Hornets at least.

    Marhalim, if you decide to do a spoof post like the Rafale one next time, I am willing to help with the translation en francais.

    Reply
    Yes the Super Hornet remained in the KIV list.
    Can you do Swedish?

  103. @ Marhalim

    Double post. Sorry.
    I have some background in French so I’m fairly confident with it. But not swedish or those other Nordic/European languages, double sorry.

  104. @ASM
    Even then, with just USD $900mil, we’d only be able to afford for 9-10 SH which is half the count of MKMs and mind you with not much performance leg up on our legacy Hornets back then.

    IMHO we’ve past the time on deciding 4.5gen planes for our MRCA needs, we have MKMs to fill in the multifunction roles for now. We should instead be looking towards 5th gen stealth planes for MRCA (after all other priorities like LCA/LIFT, choppers, etc of course).

  105. …. – “ as the offer did not clear us to get the AESA radar””

    Boeing did announce that it was revising its offer to include the Block 2 which would have included an AESA; subject to approval.

    Even if for some reason we didn’t get it at time it purchase we could have done done so at a later date. The major advantage in going down the Super Hornet route was the commonality (in parts, ordnance, support equipment and a simulator) we would have achieved; plus the fact that we already had a pool trained pilots and support personnel.

    ASM – “Ah yes. I actually forgot that RMAF was gunning for the Super Hornets all along”

    And might have got if Boeing could have persuaded NASA to train an astronaut 🙂

    Way back in 1992/1993 we had actually decided only on Fulcrums (the Russians at that period first pushed the Su-27) but we eventually decided on a batch of Hornets. We later issued a RFI for 18 Cs but then came along the 1997 crisis.

  106. @…
    Which is why it is insane for many to say TUDM should have gotten this Western plane or that Western plane, without thinking about the budget they have on hand. It is easy to lament the decisions made back then but the MKMs are IMHO the best compromise for TUDM getting something to meet their needs(mostly) while keeping bean counters in government happy. The reason why MRCA with Western planes didn’t materialise was exactly because the bean counters can’t stomach the cost justification. So if armchair critics still die-die want Western planes or nothing, the end results are just that: NOTHING. No MKMs even, and we’re left with only 8 legacy Hornets to protect our skies. Is that what these people want?

  107. ASM – “. Are they still on the list for MRCA””

    Who knows? By the time the MRCA requirement is revived the Super Hornet might no longer be in production and it will makes sense to go for next gen platform.

    A mention on prices; Rafale is indeed expensive but the price really needs to be seen in a larger context : figures are getting are getting increasingly expensive due to all the avionics/systems/computers and although they have more fuel efficient engines; are also getting more expensive to operate given the need for a higher level of test/support equipment needed for all the avionics/systems/computers carried.

    There’s no getting around this – whether it’s a MBT, sub or ship; for various reasons they are getting increasingly expensive..

    Thus our desire to maintain a high/low end mix. It’s all about making the right trade offs/compromises : if we’re never faced with a state on state conflict our small numbers of MKMs, Hornets and LCAs won’t be an issue given the threat level and the fact that we won’t have to generate ‘x” numbers of sorties over a given period. If we do however are involved in a state on state conflict then it would be a major problem.

    Operating costs are a major concern : some things initially require a high level of investment to procure but over a long period are cost effective to operate/maintain and vice versa.

    Which is also why we’re very selective getting pre-owned; because some things are cheap to acquire but get increasingly cost prohibitive to maintain as they age.

  108. @ joe

    ” IMHO we’ve past the time on deciding 4.5gen planes for our MRCA needs ”

    In the current point in time, yes i agree with you.

    ” Which is why it is insane for many to say TUDM should have gotten this Western plane or that Western plane, without thinking about the budget they have on hand ”
    without thinking about the budget they have on hand – this is unfortunately a bane in our procurement process. This is still about to continue in the future, like the still ongoing new MPA project while we are going to convert 2 CN-235 using USA Maritime Security Initiative grant, or the 6×6 KJA for cavalry regiments.

    But for the original MRCA buy that we got 18 MKMs (plus a new air base with reinforced hangars in gong kedak), if we get 12 SH (with trade in of our old night strike hornets), the MRCA capability would be still to mainly cover the selat melaka, as surely the SH will still be based in Butterworth. There would also be different outcomes in our history. But that is now water under the bridge like many other things we have decided upon, like the meko 100, A400M, PT-91M, AV8, gowinds and others. We should not dwell so much on what ifs of the past, but instead think about what ifs of the future.

  109. @ azlan

    ” A mention on prices; Rafale is indeed expensive but the price really needs to be seen in a larger context ”

    Yes, to be seen in a very larger context. Read my comment on this in 2017 on the typhoon.

    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/500th-eurofighter-delivered/#comment-272607

    At that point in time, yes i would have wanted used legacy hornets if we can get them say by this year (similar to the timeline if we got the rafales). But right now, at this point in time, used hornets IMO are simply too late, and we would be better to concentrate on getting LCA/LIFT in meaningful numbers and our operational budget flying those instead.

  110. …, – “12 SH (with trade in of our old night strike hornets), the MRCA capability would be still to “mainly cover the selat melaka, as surely the SH will still be based in Butterworth””

    No. Just because they are based in Penang doesn’t mean they “would still be mainly to cover selat melaka” as you put it.

    The 8 Hornets are based in Penang but can be forward deployed anywhere they are needed; as do the MKMs and Hawks. Same goes with the Super Hornets had we bought them – just because would have been based in Penang doesn’t mean they would “mainly cover the selat melaka”.

    Being based where they are means they routinely conduct training sorties over the Melaka Straits, like how by virtue of being based in Trengganu the MKMs routinely conduct training sorties over the South China Sea; doesn’t mean they “mainly cover they area” …. They – as you very well know – are forward deployed anywhere they are needed; irrespective of where they are permanently based.

    … – “There would also be different outcomes in our history”

    Indeed. Going down the Super Hornet route would have greatly simplified things from a training/support/logistical perspective. The fact that the Hornets don’t have the range, payload or endurance of the MKMs is secondary in the overall scheme of things; when viewed objectively …. Even now the 8 Ds are less maintenance intensive than the MKMs, have parts/components with a longer TBI/MTBF and have better serviceability rates.

    Whilst it’s indeed “water under the bridge” the question is really whether we have learnt from our mistakes and have a true desire nor to repeat them …..

  111. @Azlan
    ” But right now, at this point in time, used hornets IMO are simply too late,”

    Not really.
    Simply because 8 hornet + 18 MKM are not enough to give deterrent effect until 2035. Just check out how the neighbours already had and on plan to have in the short periode. China will not delayed their claim and bully in SCS until 2035.

    Everyone will agree if LCA/LIFT is priority over new mrca.
    If money is provided for taking used hornet then go for it. The other alternative is adding mkm which is more challenging.

    The keyword is budget. Abandoning used hornet is understandable not because it is too late but money is scarce and priority should be made very carefully.

  112. Romeo – “Simply because 8 hornet + 18 MKM are not enough to give deterrent effect until 2035””

    Define what “deterrent effect” means in this context? Had a MRCA but gone ahead some years ago it would have been part of plans to progressively upgrade the RMAF’s capabilities and the extra airframes – even a mere 18 – would have significantly reduced the strain on the existing 8 Hornets and MKMs: which as part of present plans the LCA is intended to do.

    Romeo – “The keyword is budget. Abandoning used hornet is understandable””

    Not really. The key word is preference and making the right trade offs : for various reasons neither the RMAF nor the government was keen on pre owned Hornets. A collective decision was instead made to focus on LCAs – the question is when they will be ordered (will the present government change the plan) and in what numbers?

  113. I thank all those who are hopeful and confident of a changed MAF.

    I am a realist. YES, make MAF great again. But if by 2030-40, it regressed, then what? I am afraid the latter possibility is greater.

    We should also spend time and effort to improve our bilateral defence relations and alliances. Put aside petty small disagreements and come together for the higher goal of keeping China at bay or moderate its behaviour.

    In particular, I feel FPDA is underused. It could be a tighter grouping and perhaps its ambit should cover east malaysia and the South China Sea. Even as a non-commital alliance, the combined presence of FPDA ships will be immensely helpful. Singapore and Australia will have the most advanced naval and air forces in the region, never mind the UK. Too bad, Tuns govt soured the relationships somewhat but we can mend it. RSN and RAN will have at its disposal around 12 to 18(RSN – 6 MRCV+6 upgraded formidables+6OPV/light frigates) and 16 destroyers/frigates and 15 submarines (9 RAN + at least 6 RSN). RAAF and RSAF will together have more than 200+ 4.5 and 5 gen combat jets. Add that to MAF assets. Powerful detterence. And we have not added UKs.

  114. @…
    “mainly cover the selat melaka, as surely the SH will still be based in Butterworth”
    Why would they need to do that. A long range plane should be able cross over Peninsula and carry out their sorties as normal or else have a go at practicing air-air refuel on a regular basis. IMHO there is no reason for basing in West Coast as Selat Melaka is constantly congested with civie shipping and quasi-civies that might be spying, and with Sumatra so close Indonesia AF could easily observe our guys in training via ground radar. Having them now based nearer to SCS they could use the vast open airspace over it for training with lesser interference.

    “We should not dwell so much on what ifs of the past”
    I have said it before, it is what we done in the past that will point our way forward. This goes for any one in general.

    “concentrate on getting LCA/LIFT”
    We haven’t even decided yet to commit on getting it, much less deciding on which plane to get, how many numbers of LCAs and how many LIFTs, how are the payment terms, about the possibility of barter, about the delivery schedule, about training, about usage SOP, about maint, the timeframe in getting them operationally ready, the whole deal when getting a new platform. It would easily take years before we attain any reasonable level of availability, operational readiness, and pilot familiarity. That is AFTER the Government could commit to ACTUALLY putting money into this deal (as compared to lip service of agreeing in principal but no budget for it).

    Which was why I am pushing us to get Kuwaiti Hornets. It cost less to the bean counters, we just pay for it and they are ready for use.

  115. @Azlan
    “Define what “deterrent effect” means in this context? ”

    It is a common definition. Make other party to think again or having a bad result.

    “The key word is preference and making the right trade offs ”

    If money is provided as plan no trade off is needed

  116. @ azlan

    “Had a MRCA but gone ahead some years ago it would have been part of plans to progressively upgrade the RMAF’s capabilities and the extra airframes – even a mere 18 – would have significantly reduced the strain on the existing 8 Hornets and MKMs ”

    Had the MRCA in the form of Rafales gone ahead (do we even have the USD3 billion plus to get 18 rafales?) it wont give any significant capability to the airforce. It would still be as you have said, a little bit of everything but not enough of anything. The airforce still cannot undertake regular air policing patrols and standing QRAs as the rafales are much more operationally expensive then both hornets and MKMs. The hawks will instead still continue to be the one that would be heavily tasked, from patrols to even SAR as our crews has earned the longest operational flight in a hawk while doing SAR mission.

    Getting more LCA/LIFT, MPAs, MALE UAVs and AWACS will actually progressively upgrade TUDMs capabilities. Getting Rafales will actually regress the overall capabilities, as there will be no budget to get LCA/LIFT, MPAs, MALE UAVs and AWACS until probably after 2030 the earliest.

    @ joe

    A mere 12 airplanes (super hornets) cannot be operational at 3 locations (Butterworth, gong kedak and labuan) all at the same time. Super Hornets are not an airplane that i consider having long range. Right now at least we have 26 hornets + MKM.

    The purpose of the hornets based in Butterworth is to protect the busy shipping lanes of melacca straits. That is their main mission.

    ” I have said it before, it is what we done in the past that will point our way forward. ”
    Cerita pasal benda lepas, pastu asyik2 cerita kalaulah dulu mcm ni, kalaulah dulu beli tu… apa faedahnya (mcm cerita pasal kalau beli SH ni)? Bila nak maju macam tu?

    ” Which was why I am pushing us to get Kuwaiti Hornets ”
    Getting Kuwaiti hornets instead of LCAs will not solve the issue of us not affording to operationally use the hornets and MKM for our daily air patrols and QRA missions.

  117. … – “te, and we would be better to concentrate on getting LCA/LIFT in meaningful numbers and our operational budget flying those instead.””

    It’s not a question of “better” but the fact that we have no choice …

    A LCA is a logical and only step in lieu of not being able to get a MRCA. Ultimately it’s a gamble : making the needed trade off and hoping it turns out right. If things stay as they are then LCAs will suffice but if in the coming years things get hot with another country; then obviously we’ll rue the day when we didn’t invest in MRCAs and instead went for LCSs and vice versa.

    For me: my concern are the LCAs coming on time and/ – eventually – in the right numbers – given our tack record of doing things and constantly changing priorities; I’m not sanguine.

    Nazri,

    The FPDA serves a very important function but for various reasons; none of the 5 members are willing or see the to take things to a new level – lots of real politik and wider factors at stake.

  118. @ azlan

    ” If things stay as they are then LCAs will suffice but if in the coming years things get hot with another country; then obviously we’ll rue the day when we didn’t invest in MRCAs and instead went for LCSs and vice versa ”

    Unlike some countries, we cannot afford to operate an all high end fighter fleet. There are of no use to have an all high end fighter fleet if we cannot afford to fly them frequently, and our fighter pilots unable to keep their proficiency on those high end fighters. Yes we need more MRCAs, but only when we have adequate amounts of LCA to undertake our priority day to day missions, which is to secure our airspace by regular air policing and setting up QRA missions on both east and west malaysia.

    Why i planned for 52 TA/FA-50 first, later MRCAs in the shape of 5th gen fighters.

    For the next 10 years, for the deterrence/counter strike capability of our airforce is to be borne by our existing MKMs. With the use of existing Kh-31 supersonic anti-ship missiles, and could be improved by getting Brahmos NG (a smaller version of the existing brahmos) and Tubitak SOM stealth missile. NCO upgrade to the MKM with link 16 plus satcom.

    http://pbs.twimg.com/media/DDj7y_JVwAAmFOn.jpg:large

    http://pbs.twimg.com/media/ECGuNDSW4AYQhIc.jpg

    The MKMs need to have detailed plans for rapid dispersal to secondary airfields; standby ground support equipment at Butterworth, kuantan, labuan; ready alert to evacuate gong kedak in case of sudden attacks etc.

  119. Romeo – “ Make other party to think again or having a bad result.”

    That’s is the standard definition.

    In reality the type of “deterrent” we can achieve is based in the level of resources devote to it and the question of who we intend to “”deter”. What might “deter” some, will not “deter” others.

    Romeo – “If money is provided as plan no trade off is needed”

    Incorrect. Even if the budget was significantly increased; trade offs would still be needed. We’d still have to make an overall assessment of what type of capability we think we need, the type of equipment we need and the long term planning we think we need; based on the likely threats we think we might encounter.

    …. – “as the rafales are much more operationally expensive then both hornets and MKMs””

    That is something we can’t get around with – the fact that for various reasons new gen platforms are more expensive to procure and maintain – same goes with almost everything else in fact.

    …. – “Cerita pasal benda lepas, pastu asyik2 cerita kalaulah dulu mcm ni, kalaulah dulu beli tu… apa faedahnya (mcm cerita pasal kalau beli SH ni)? Bila nak maju macam tu””

    To really move forward we need a hard look/appraisal at the mistakes done in the past. The fact remains that we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again; with no desire or will to do otherwise.

    With regards to the Hornet saga this is a classic example of something we could have done right but didn’t – due to political interference. There might not be
    “faedah” of going through the topic but if this rationale is really applied; half of what we discuss here has no “faedah” …. Not only that but what topics/discussions really have “faedah” is highly subjective; subject to one’s opinions and preferences…..

    … – “The purpose of the hornets based in Butterworth is to protect the busy shipping lanes of melacca straits. That is their main mission””

    The “purpose” of the Hornets is to provide the ability to conduct a variety of roles in support of national objectives. Just because are based in Penang doesn’t necessarily mean “their main role is to protect shopping lanes in the Melaka Straits”. Whether MKMs, Hawks or Hornets; they are forward deployed wherever they are needed.

  120. … – “Getting more LCA/LIFT, MPAs, MALE UAVs and AWACS will actually progressively upgrade TUDMs capabilities””

    Which – with the exception of AEWs – is the plan for now (assuming it’s not changed). The question is when.

    Also why in the early to late 2000’s period the plan was for MPAs, LIFTs and basic trainers to come after the MKM buy; a follow on MRCA buy only coming after these requirements had been met. The plan of course was torpedoed by the politicians – like with plans made by the other services .

  121. … – “With the use of existing Kh-31 supersonic anti-ship missiles, and could be improved by getting”

    I won’t go into the ordnance but there is a need to subject the flirt to an upgrade; in various areas; not only to improve its overall capabilities but also to replace many of the 1990’s vintage stuff – as has been done with the Hornets.

    …. – “NCO upgrade to the MKM with link 16 plus satcom.”

    This was already approved under the NCO programme. It will enable the MKMs to “talk” and share a common picture not only with themselves but also with the Hornets. There is also a need for both types to be similarly linked to the ground based radar network.

  122. @…
    At such short ranges, our legacy Hornets would have sufficed, no point to base MRCA there (regardless if SH, Rafale, MKM, or 5th gen). The main threat that would require top line fighters is at SCS.

    “Bila nak maju macam tu”
    We can do that by looking at what is the current objectives of TUDM, how are they going to fulfill those objectives and what resources they need to make it happen and the time frame for it, then see what is available/going to be available resources, how to budget for it in the best & worst case scenario (ie best case 1 RMK, worst case 3 RMKs), then bidding by the makers that could meet those requirements and the flexibility of switching between best/worst case scenario payment terms.

    “our daily air patrols and QRA missions”
    LCA is well and good to meet our mid/long term needs but we have to fill in short-term needs in the mean time. We can’t think long term w/o considering how to meet what we lack today.

    “getting Brahmos NG”
    I see even you agreed with me to get Brahmos. It is an excellent deterrent weapon when combined with land-based strike missiles.

  123. @ azlan

    ” That is something we can’t get around with – the fact that for various reasons new gen platforms are more expensive to procure and maintain ”

    Why prioritization is important. We simply cannot prioritize a top end expensive to buy and operate equipment while abandoning our basic operational needs. Now our priorities have been pulled back to reality, but during the rafale/typhoon saga, it was simply out of whack. We need to realize that that dream of MRCA rafales/typhoons when our basic capabilities are in shambles was a very big mistake.

    ” Just because are based in Penang doesn’t necessarily mean “their main role is to protect shopping lanes in the Melaka Straits”. Whether MKMs, Hawks or Hornets; they are forward deployed wherever they are needed ”

    Of course all our equipments can be forward deployed anywhere. But their basing shows where the priority is. For example it is a given that 6 skn Hawks basing in Labuan means that its main operational area is in east malaysia. If we just have 12 SH (if we did not get the MKM) and 13 hawk 208, those small numbers isnt going to cover the whole of malaysia.

    Reply
    The plan was to augment the SH fleet as part of the Fulcrum/F-5 replacement programme. But the decision to buy the MKMs meant that we either went for more MKMs or different type with SH, Rafale or Typhoon. Whatever the merits of the MKMs the air force clearly did not want more of them. And now it meant that it must go into the LCA as it could no longer afford to have too many fast jet types.

  124. …. – “ We simply cannot prioritize a top end expensive to buy and operate equipment while abandoning our basic operational needs””

    Nor that I said we should ….

    It’s about making decisions and hoping those decisions turn out right. If however the unexpected happens then obviously we’ll regret not making different decisions.

    … – “Of course all our equipments can be forward deployed anywhere”

    Your of course not withstanding; the main role of the Hornets is not to protect the sea lanes of the Melaka Straits; as you put it.

    …. – “ For example it is a given that 6 skn Hawks basing in Labuan means that its main operational area is in east malaysia””

    Yes but slight difference if you think about it. They don’t have a specific or main role (like your statement about the Hornets and the Melaka straits) : their role is to perform various tasks in support of national objectives within East Malaysia.

    … – “but during the rafale/typhoon saga, it was simply out of whack””

    The Typhoon/Rafale “saga” lasted a short period; is just one of many instances where politics interfered and is a prime example of how flawed and self defeating our policy is ….

  125. …. -!”ia. If we just have 12 SH (if we did not get the MKM) and 13 hawk 208, those small numbers isnt going to cover the whole of malaysia.”

    – The offer to buy back the 8 Ds May not have happened had we proceeded with a Super Hornet buy. Also, the requirement was for 18.

    – The fact remains that like the Ds; if we had proceeded with a Super Hornet buy; we would have achieved a higher operational/serviceability rate with them compared to the MKMs.
    You might say “of course” but I’d like to add the caveat that it’s not the number of assets in place that makes the difference but the number of assets which are operational at any given time.

  126. @ marhalim

    ” it could no longer afford to have too many fast jet types ”

    We had never afforded to fly many fast jet types at the same time, especially multiple variants of high end fighters.

    ” Whatever the merits of the MKMs the air force clearly did not want more of them ”

    10 years ago when we got them, the MKM was seen as a highly customized variant of a type not even used by the manufacturer country. Russia was seen to instead go for Su-35. The Su-30 MKM looks like a dead end with no upgrade path. It also has a hard 10 years/1500 hour overhaul interval, with a lot of uncertainties that hampered budget release for maintenance. Its understandable that in 2017 TUDM wants anything other than the MKM, but whatever it was, the priority at the time should have been our MPAs.

    Now russia has taken in the type as Su-30SM, with orders exceeding the Su-35. The flyaway price of the Su-30SM is half of the Su-35. Upgrades has been developed as the Su-30SMD. The overhaul interval has also been shifted to 14 years/1500 hours. We can make the MKM work as good as the SH/Rafale/Typhoon (if it is not already), if we want to.

  127. …. – “We can make the MKM work as good as the SH/Rafale/Typhoon (if it is not already), if we want to””

    Maybe …. If we also got a AEW and other assets.

    There is also the problem of the Russian support set up. Granted we are to blame for some of the issues but the fact still remains that the existing Russian support set up leaves a lot to be desired and still falls short of what Western companies are able to offer. Take the Hornets; FMS is not flawless but it beats hands down what the Russians can offer and is one reason the Hornet remains our most reliable air combat asset. Under the Russian system the end user can’t even deal directly with the various OEMs on matters pertaining to support.

    …. – “a. If we just have 12 SH (if we did not get the MKM) and 13 hawk 208, those small numbers isnt going to cover the whole of malaysia””

    “Cover the whole of Malaysia” in what context? If in the context of an all out prolonged high intensity war; even a fighter fleet of 36 might not suffice. Also, we don’t necessarily need to “cover the whole” country; only specific threatened points.

    Whether we went for MKMs or Super Hornets in the 2002 period the number would have been 18 and the proposal to sell back the Ds was made by Boeing but wasn’t seriously considered by us.

    …. – “it was, the priority at the time should have been our MPAs”

    A matter which is not disputed by anyone ….

  128. @ azlan

    ” The fact remains that like the Ds; if we had proceeded with a Super Hornet buy ”

    As i said, i dont want to dwell in what ifs in the past. This is not in the spririt of ” The fact remains that we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again; with no desire or will to do otherwise ”

    What happened has already happened, so no need to discuss of what ifs in the past but instead how can we plan for something in the future that would not repeat the same past mistakes?

  129. ….. – “What happened has already happened, so no need to discuss of what ifs in the past ””

    That’s your opinion – I think otherwise ….

    Easy to say “we should move on” (to me it’s just another cliche that can mean various things or nothing at all) but part of moving on entails a long and look look at the past and knowing where we messed up; in order not to repeat tings

    As it stands there is no indication we even intend to rectify the way we do things. How do we “move on” and avoid making the same mistakes over and over again when we there is no honest desire to change things based on how we’ve screwed things up before?

    …. – “As i said, i dont want to dwell in what ifs in the past“

    Then don’t but don’t suggest I do the same. It’s also not as if I have a monopoly dwelling in what ifs in the past” …. Not only that but I don’t “dwell” (as you put it) : I write how we’ve messed things up in the because it has a direct bearing on where we are now ……

  130. @ azlan

    ” but part of moving on entails a long and look look at the past and knowing where we messed up; in order not to repeat tings ”

    A long look of what is wrong is of course a good thing. But discussing in length of what might have been will not get us to nowhere.

  131. @ azlan

    ” “Cover the whole of Malaysia” in what context? ”

    In the context of fulfilling our basic mission to protect our airspace from incursions in peacetime. Having mainly high end fighter fleet is not going to be affordable for us to maintain our peacetime flying commitments.

    In high intensity war, our low end fighters would do point defence missions, while our MKM are best held back to be used as a counter strike weapon to hit back at our agressor. In no way can we go head to head with a big nation. We will take hit, but we need to be able to hit back, and count on international community to back the oppressed country. For example now we can see plenty of countries have officially sent letters to the UN in condemnation of chinese stand of south china sea.

    ” A matter which is not disputed by anyone …. ”
    But it is not reflected with your stand, with your backing of the whole MRCA fiasco, and not criticizing TUDM/government for prioritising the rafale/typhoon instead of MPAs.

  132. In an all out war in south china sea (which we might be the main objective, but is a fight among major powers, like europe in ww2) , i forsee that we need to be able to take a hit and hit back for 3-4 weeks before the international community steps in, or our allies will bring reinforcements to support our cause.

    For our airforce, it will operate based on the experience of Vietnam and Argentine air force. Our low end fighters would defend strategic locations from enemy strike fighters. Our MKMs will be used to attack high value maritime targets such as LPDs. Air superiority would not be on our side (we have no resources to hold on to air superiority against a more powerful agressor), but we need to be able to sneak in to strike back at the agressor. Our fighters need to be flexible and launch and recover at random airfields to avoid being destroyed on the ground. We need our LCA fleet able to hold out for that duration, take quite a loss and still have enough numbers to maintain the point defence mission.

    Our Army will be doing GBAD of important installations. To do this we need a recapitalisation for our manpads and jernas by 2030, together with the expansion of GAPU to cover both east and west malaysia.

    Our Navy will also need to be able to strike back to the aggressor navy. We cannot bring the fight symmetrically and go head to head with surface ships, so we need to beef up our submarine strike capability. Our subs will target the aggressors frigate, capital ships and logistic supply ships, lay mines, and by using land attack missiles such as sub exocet and sub NSM, strike at their harbour support installations.

  133. …. – “But it is not reflected with your stand, with your backing of the whole MRCA fiasco””

    Kindly point out where I “backed” it ….. Point out where I said that suddenly shifting priorities and going for MRCAs at that juncture – when MPAs and other stuff should have been bought after the MKMs – was the right decision.

    …. – “t criticizing TUDM/government for prioritising the rafale/typhoon instead of MPAs”

    I have consistently made it very clear what the the plan was in the early to late 2000’s period – on numerous times here and in several other posts over the years. I have made also made it very clear that it was the government which shifted priorities and the RMAF has no choice but to go along with it. .

    If we’re going to discuss/debate issues; at least try to keep on the same page.

    …. – “. But discussing in length of what might have been will not get us to nowhere@“

    That is your opinion ….. You don’t get to decide what others “discuss in length” ….

  134. …. – “In the context of fulfilling our basic mission to protect our airspace from incursions in peacetime””

    Again – we only need to deal with threatened areas. It’s not as if incursions are occurring at various points along the whole breadth of the country. Even if they were; even a fleet of 36 MRCAs might not suffice.

    …. – “e. Having mainly high end fighter fleet is not going to be affordable for us to maintain our peacetime flying commitments””

    Yes, you keep saying but this is a point nobody’s disputing. If next you’re suddenly going to claim I think otherwise; point out here.

    What I did say (in a concise manner that leaves no room for misinterpretation – as has happened many times); is that we make the needed trades off hoping it turns out to be sound. If the status quo remains in the coming years then the decision to focus on LCA will prove to be the right one.

  135. …., – “In high intensity war, our low end fighters would do point defence missions, while our MKM are best held back to be used as a counter strike weapon to hit back at our agressor”

    – Depends totally on the operational circumstances …

    – The Hornets will also be used for strike/counter missions. Yes the MKMs have long range and bigger payloads (aa you keep on pointing out) but not all sorties will require long range or full payloads …. Also, (as much as you’d like to think otherwise) depending on the circumstances the MKMs might spend most of their time doing air to air work.

    The RMAF’s ability to perform various roles in support of our objectives depends on both the Hornets and MKMs; this is a fact irrespective of you being particularly enamoured of the MKM which BTW offers great capabilities.

  136. …. – “together with the expansion of GAPU to cover both east and west malaysia””

    In terms of assets do you see you the need for an “expansion” of
    V-SHORADs/MANPADs; together with a regiment of medium range systems (as per existing plans) or do you also personally see a need for a minimal capability to deal with cruise/ballistic missiles?

  137. …. – “ Our subs will target the aggressors frigate, capital ships and logistic supply ships”

    We’ve spoken of this subject on numerous occasions before. Whilst indeed our subs on paper can perform a variety of tasks – in the event of trouble – in actual reality I’m not as sanguine as you are. What they should and can do will differ somewhat to what they can actually do.

    In such a scenario I see our subs mainly deployed within our waters or along the periphery; as a contingency measure in case an opponent resorts to certain measures. In a full blown conflict various countries will have subs (looking for other subs or orienting their surface assets) in the area and the potential for a “blue on blue” will be high.

    Not only that but an opponent deploying his own subs in the area as well as strong surface ASW units backed up by ASW airborne assets will be an issue.

    As such; in the event of a full scale conflict in the Spratlys I see our subs operating in a different manner as you and I’m not (for reasons explained) as optimistic that they’ll be able to perform the roles you foresee.

  138. Look lets have a deterrence. But it shldnt come to blows. Go for diplomacy. And please what allies? Lets be realistic. I have said b4. Wisma Putra should push for a more concrete FPDA.

  139. @ azlan

    ” In such a scenario I see our subs mainly deployed within our waters or along the periphery; as a contingency measure in case an opponent resorts to certain measures. In a full blown conflict various countries will have subs (looking for other subs or orienting their surface assets) in the area and the potential for a “blue on blue” will be high. ”

    blue on blue can be mitigated by exclusively targeting red surface fleet.

    that is just talking about the submarines. as you dont see using the subs, and expanding the sub fleet like i do, can you tell me more on how iur surface fleet instead should be used in such a scenario (a full blown conflict).

  140. Nazri “Lets be realistic. I have said b4. Wisma Putra should push for a more concrete FPDA.”

    Let’s be realistic. What will you offer the other parties in return- a mutual defence provision that obligates us to assist if they are attacked? Please explain your suggestion further.

  141. Nazri – “Wisma Putra should push for a more concrete FPDA”

    Even if Malaysia so desired; none of the other 4 members have any desire to do so as it might be contrary to their overall national interests.

  142. Nazri – “Look lets have a deterrence””

    It has long even our policy to have some level deterrence (most based on being capability driven but some based on threats) but – especially now – we have to have a clear sense of who we’re intending to deter : what will deter some; won’t deter others.

    We also need to have a long term objective appraisal of threat perceptions and the measures we’re willing or able to undertake in response. It’s not just the hardware we need but a firm and holistic policy.

  143. Azlan – which would you prefer between the Hornet and the MKM?

    Your knowledge in this matter surpasses most of us posters.

  144. …. – “blue on blue can be mitigated by exclusively targeting red surface fleet”

    By “blue on blue” I meant the possibility of our subs being engaged – by mistake – by assets operated by countries friendly to us ….

    …. – “just talking about the submarines. as you dont see using the subs, and expanding the sub fleet like i do, can you ”

    Like you do? Ok.

    Firstly, just because others don’t write about the things you do; doesn’t mean they don’t think about it or dismiss it. If memory serves me well; I’ve never suggested we don’t expand the sub fleet …

    Secondly; to answer your question about whether I “can” (you’ve used this line of reasoning many times before) this really doesn’t require an answer. By the same token; nobody has suggested you aren’t capable of something merely because you haven’t mentioned or written about it.

    …. – “can you tell me more on how iur surface fleet instead should be used in such a scenario (a full blown conflict””

    No doubt you’ll again fall back on the line that our subs are more “survivable” and I’m not disputing this. What I am disputing is whether our subs can indeed do as you mentioned. I have merely pointed out that others will also have subs in the area; as well as surface and airborne ASW assets; as such our subs may have a hard time doing what you assume or hope they’ll do.

    With only 2 boats in service we’ll obviously place them in situations where they are not too disadvantaged. Placing them in a situation where they’ll be up against numerically superior enemy surface units; backed by sub surface and air assets is playing to an enemy’s strengths.

    As to your question on what I think our surface units would do – depends entirely on the operational context doesn’t it …
    Quite obviously we won’t be sending our surface units up against numerically superior enemy surface units armed with more weapons in a modern day Jutland or Battle of the Barents Sea scenario.

    It’s not just a matter of what our forces can do but also what an opponent can do because what an opponent can do has a direct bearing on what we can do.

  145. @ AM

    Simple – Joint deterrence to prevent chinese hegemony in South East Asia e.g. freedom of passage. This translates to uninterrupted sea and air lanes of communication crucial to the economies of Asean and even Australia and New Zealand.

    Every alliance has a bogeyman. I am not suggesting open conflict. But im suggesting increased deterrence with an added insurance of an expectation of military aid.

  146. @ azlan

    ” As to your question on what I think our surface units would do – depends entirely on the operational context doesn’t it …
    Quite obviously we won’t be sending our surface units up against numerically superior enemy surface units armed with more weapons in a modern day Jutland or Battle of the Barents Sea scenario ”

    Your reply above comes back to my question on why are you agreeing that TLDM need to spend money on 18 follow on Kedahs. You always argued that TLDM needs those ships for wartime missions, while i argued that their primary mission for patrol means that their task should be left to MMEA.

    Why i disagree with the 18 PV plan in 15 to 5 is that the money for 18 PV IMO is better spent to buy submarines for a bigger deterrence factor. TLDM need to leave the peacetime patrol missions to MMEA.

  147. @Nazri
    Allying themselves with one of the claimants on SCS(us) will draw the ire of the others, and that might play into the hands of CC in allowing them opportunity to ally with another claimant nation hence defeating the purpose of “preventing a hegemony”. The Western powers will sooner do sea lane deterrence on their own or partnered with USA than to be partial to anyone of us. This has been the case way before CC came into the picture and their reason to stay out still applies. They must be seen to hold the higher moral ground against CC. I don’t foresee the current nature of FPDA will change nor an ASEAN NATO to replace it.

  148. …. – “Your reply above comes back to my question””

    You might think so but my “reply” was in response to a question of a different nature which you posed ….

    ….. – “always argued that TLDM needs those ships for wartime missions, while i argued that their primary mission for patrol means that their task should be left to MMEA.””

    A fact is a fact even though you might disagree. It’s really simple and we don’t need to keep going around in circles I never “agreed” or “argued “with anything; merely stated things as they are….

    Whether I disagree or not is immaterial. The fact remains that although the Kedahs spend a lot of time patrolling the EEZ; they have always had a wartime utility. Which is why they are fitted with stuff like the TRS-3D and the “obstacle avoidance sonar”; stuff they wouldn’t need if were purely to be employed for the constabulary type role.

    Also, if the RMN saw their role primarily to patrol the EEZ; a few years ago it wouldn’t have come up a proposal to convert some for ASW and ASuW. Yes you’ll keep insisting your narrative is right …

    As it stands the RMN is the only agency able to undertake the peacetime constabulary role until such a time when the MMEA can take over. It’s not as if it’s reluctant to hand over the role; as you’d like us to believe.

    Like many other topics; we’re gone through things countless times. I’ll keep obliging.

    ….. – “TLDM need to leave the peacetime patrol missions to MMEA”

    So you’ve said in numerous times. Yet nobody disagrees ….

    The RMN can only “leave the peacetime patrol missions to the MMEA” (as you put it) when or if the government provides the MMEA with the means to do so. Until that happens the RMN has to continue shouldering the burden ….

  149. @ joe

    I prefer to call a spade a spade. CC already has its own client nations.

    Asean is dreaming if it claims if this has not happened.

  150. “Simple – Joint deterrence to prevent chinese hegemony in South East Asia e.g. freedom of passage. This translates to uninterrupted sea and air lanes of communication crucial to the economies of Asean and even Australia and New Zealand.”

    The thing is countries don’t take binding defence pacts lightly -especially where the potential adversary is a major power- and can’t simply be talked into it by having “Wisma Putra should push for a more concrete FPDA.”

    Another factor is that countries providing the assistance are only willing to enter binding pacts if they can be assured that the recipients will act responsibly. This includes, among many other things, providing sufficiently for their own defence and not being a free rider whose relative weakness both emboldens the adversary and increases reliance on the providers.

    Specific to the SCS- there is eagerness on China’s part to show that it can win a confrontation with these countries. The situation now has us bearing responsibility for our own security, as opposed to your proposal that other countries assume responsibility for guaranteeing it. In a way, an overt guarantee can be said to increase the motivations of the Chinese to seize a reef as it would not only achieve a territorial objective but a global one in the political sense, if China successfully takes the reef by surprise, refuses to leave and the only avenue to reclaim it is a full scale conflict with China that no one is willing to start. Therefore, even if a binding agreement is available to us -which it is not- it is better that we do not ask for one since it would in fact increase risks to us.

    Specific to the SCS- if the other FPDA participants’ objective of protecting lines of communication can be met with or without the FPDA or without our active participation -beyond lending our name to the effort or providing basing, there only so little that we can contribute to a joint effort if a conflict or period of confrontation breaks out in the SCS- then they would be happy to go about it without asking for our participation in advance or at most asking for it when needed. It would hardly be necessary to commit to our defence in advance, since it’s not as if we would refuse or oppose the effort if they don’t.

    The FPDA is intended to provide a degree of assurance and in going about that, a framework of cooperation- which it does. It is not binding and the territorial scope only covers the peninsula, but it does allow for consultations in the event of threat or instability beyond the peninsula’s territory and exercises for the eventuality of the same. Therefore it has relevance to our SCS problems and it has a lot of unrealised potential- for the IADS to be upgraded and for the scope of exercises to be expanded for SCS scenarios, for example. It is even possible for Indonesia to be involved to some degree in a consultative or observer capacity.

    Before we talk about obtaining binding pacts -which are not available nor necessarily desirable- we therefore ought to improve on what we can do for our own defence and what we can contribute to a joint effort, whether FPDA or otherwise.

  151. Melayu Ketinggalan,

    I don’t have a personal preference. Each has its own merits, both are great aircraft and both are intended to be operated with a AEW in order to bring out the best they can offer. I won’t place any on a pedestal.

    The question really is which has been more suitable and reliable from an operational perspective. Which is more resource intensive – a vital point for a resource strapped strapped air arm.

    Both were originally designed in the 1970’s and both out of requirements laid down by different operators – the Flanker as a long range escort/interceptor (thus its long range and payload) and the Hornet as a multi role

    More than a decade after entering service we are still experiencing serviceability issues with the MKM and they are maintenance intensive. Sales/support via FMS is also way superior to that the Russians can offer. Al these reasons are why the Hornet is seen as a much more reliable asset and why the RMAF will fly them until they run out of hours.

  152. P.S.

    Some have pointed out that the Americans didn’t provide us with the source/object codes but we had no need for them, has no ability to utilise even if we had them and nobody readily hands out source/object codes. The MKM has great range and payload not every tasking require a full a large payload, a full fuel tank or long range. The TVC is very useful in a WVR context but air warfare has largely moved to BVR and the TVC adds another thing that has to be serviced/maintained.

    Ask any Hornet pilot and he’ll say he (of course) prefers the Hornet. Ask a MKM pilot (the first cadre were ex Hornet pilots) and he’ll say he appreciates the MKM but in various areas the Hornet comes out ahead.

    The facts speak for themselves.
    This doesn’t mean that the MKMs have no utility (I have to add this caveat because others might misinterpret me and imply things I never said in the first place).

  153. Going down this route with the FPDA would mean that the whole arrangement would have to be revised from a non binding consultative one to one this is binding. This would require a common consensus amongst all 5 members.

    The problem here is that alright all 5 members are worried about China; each is dealing with it in a different way and given that Britain and Australia is a U.S. allies linked by a treaty; doing the same with the FPDA might not lead to any added value.

    Not only that but for both these countries; bring the most militarily capable; the risk for them is they they might find themselves embroiled or obligated in a conflict which is not directly a threat to them; i.e. a minor clash between China and another – smaller power – might not necessarily lead to a prolonged war in which international sea lanes or the right to navigation are threatened.

    Dzirhan Mahadzir did an article on Malaysia/Australian relations and why both were in no hurry to take the the relationship to a new level. The same applies to the FPDA.

  154. @Nazri
    Regardless whether it be true or perceived, CC will continue to pull the strings from the shadows and won’t be seen making the first moves. The Western powers are stuck in that sense they cannot be picking sides and thus escalating matters. Mind you, we don’t have a perfect track record of neutrally dealing with our neighbours so there are fears we may turn gungho with a big brother behind. FPDA in its current guise, is palatable for all the parties involved.

    In other words, don’t expect help will be guaranteed nor forthcoming immediately.

  155. (legacy) hornet or MKM?

    Both have pros and cons. Hornets have a phaseout deadline of around 2030 which is why most current hornet users are contemplating of replacements around that time.

    Hornet advantage is that it is a known asset. Everything about it has been laid out, studied, documentations done by US Navy. It has superior HMI (human machine interface). It has been integrated with a wide range of weapons. A close ally (Australia) also uses them.

    MKM advantage is that it has a long range for our unique geographical situation, 2 land areas seperated by sea and other nation islands. It also has a long range radar, IRST, saab missile approach sensors, advanced EW suites. It is also equipped with supersonic anti-ship and anti-radar missiles. Its open architecture means we can customise it to our will.

    In the end preferences does not mean much as we need to make do on what we have in our hands. If we need to plan ahead for the future, it is clear that we need to maximise the capability of our MKM as we already have them and will be able to fly for many more years to come.

  156. If want to go for personal preferences, i am someone who likes the hornet. In fact i even written an article here 5 years ago about the hornets.

    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/sustaining-the-rmaf-hornet-fleet-to-2030-and-beyond/

    Personally i would like to have additional hornets as the MiG-29 replacement, so that we could have 2 hornet squadrons. But in the bigger scheme of things, right now it already to late to spend anything on additional hornets. If we want to get additional hornets, we should have gotten them flying in TUDM by now.

    Now is the time to concentrate getting the paperwork signed for the LCA/LIFT ASAP (amongst other things like MPA, UAV and AWACS) and seriously think about what we are going to get for MRCA post 2030.

  157. Azlan “Some have pointed out that the Americans didn’t provide us with the source/object codes but we had no need for them, has no ability to utilise even if we had them and nobody readily hands out source/object codes.”

    This “controversy” arose from comments by Mahathir 14 years ago. Here’s the speech in which he made them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSjgOcFdI9Y

    It is timely that you mentioned it now, because in May a website fabricated a non-existent interview in which Mahathir supposedly made the allegation, which spawned discussions on Malaysian and Singaporean forums.

    Never mind the fact that source codes are have no relevance to use of tje jet in operations, no matter who they are against. To say that “after several months” we “got to know” (his words) that the codes were not delivered implies that we didn’t know what we were buying or what we needed to buy. In other words, that we were stupid. To believe the argument, one also has to be stupid enough to equate an air force buying a jet fighter with someone buying a meal from the corner shop.

    Unfortunately, few on those threads recognise the issue and a few have taken the opportunity to spin it further to put the US in a bad light.

  158. Another plus point with the Hornet is that in case of an emergency; parts and ordnance are stored in Japan and Guam. Both places are only hours away flying time.

    Getting Archers, Alamos and Adders at short notice will be more problematic; as will parts for various non Russian components in the MKMs. These will have to be produced in receipt of an order and payment. Even for the Russian parts; even if they are stockpiled; getting them here with minimal delay will be problematic given the nature of the whole Russian support set up. Which is one reason HAL some years ago planned on having licensed produced parts ready for export within 25 hours if receiving payment.

    To me the Flanker’s long range is a useful thing to have but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s actually a major plus point for us when viewed in the larger scheme of things. For one thing; not all tasking will require full fuel loads. Viewed from a map; it’s obvious that the areas of concern to us in the South China Sea are well within the range of even the shorter legged Hornets: let alone the MKMs. Where the extra fuel would come in handy is if the MKMs are required to loiter for a certain period.

    A note on the Chobham pods. These were bought not so much to extend the range of the MKMs (even taking into account that a fully loaded – with ordnance – MKM would not take off with a full fuel load) but to enable the MKMs to fly circuitous route to get to where they need to, in order to achieve some element of surprise.

  159. AM – “To believe the argument, one also has to be stupid enough””

    Quite. After all it was Mahathir who approved the purchase; the cabinet, MINDEF and other ministries/bureaucracies just rubber stamped it (what they thought was irrelevant) such is the way we’ve done things for a long time. In this instance it was a sound decision but in other instances the decisions in the long run weren’t as sound.

    Back to the source/object codes. Even today many are under the illusion that it’s just the U.S. which won’t readily hand them over when the plain fact is nobody does : not the Russians, nor the French or the Chinese.

  160. Azlan – Thank you. Your points are clear and relevant in the context of TUDM’s ever lasting conundrum.

    I myself was once a fan of the Sukhois until I got to know how labour intensive and maintenance expensive it is.

    I echo the words of Tripledot where the fanboy in me also root for the venerable legacy Hornets although 8 is laughable at best.

    I rue the chance that Malaysia didn’t just add on 18 Hornets instead of the Fulcrums as well as the political interference with getting the Flankers instead of the Super Hornets.

    Btw, Azlan what’s your opinion on us getting leased jet fighters from the US or Europe?

  161. Melayu Ketinggalan,

    As far as I know only Saab is/was able to offer a leasing arrangement. I doubt other companies would be keen or able with such an arrangement. Some years ago we did look at the possibility (with Gripens) but the government decided not to.
    Prior to Typhoon and Rafale; Gripen was the political favourite.

    On the Hornets; the irony is that we initially intended on getting the only Fulcrums but later decided on the Hornets too.

    Support/maintenance issues we had with the Fulcrums as well as issues inherent with Russian aircraft played a big part in the RMAF wanting Hornets in 1997 (a RFI for 18 Cs was requested) and in 2002 and why (unless it was forced too again) the RMAF has no desire for anything Russian.

  162. Melayu Ketinggalan – “ political interference with getting the Flankers instead of the Super Hornets“

    That was just one of several instances. Which is why I’m fond of repeating that unless deep and fundamental changes are made; we’ll likely end up repeating the same self defeating and highly damaging mistakes over and over.

    It’s not enough to just have plans and for an increase in the defence budget (the increase will be temporary and we won’t put our money to good use). We have to start from the bottom; to get the prerequisites right; if we seriously intend to ensure the end user gets the desired capability and the taxpayer his/her money’s worth.

    The issues we have with the LCS and the Little Birds are prime examples of our highly flawed and rotten to the core system …

  163. lthough 8 is laughable at bestt

    On the RMAF’s part it was always the intention to increase the fleet; the initial 8 being used to provide us with the experience for gaining an initial all weather multi role capability.

    Same with the Scorpenes: the 2 boats were intended to provide us with experience in developing a sub capability which over time could be expanded once a pool of trained manpower and a shore support infrastructure has been gained.

  164. @ melayu k

    From what i got to know, if not for our interest of the MiGs, probably the hornets would not be approved for malaysia.

    The flankers got it due to the angkasawan project, and also due to the cost. Plenty of other political decisions made the day such as the A400M, PT-91M, MD-530G. There is not much use of discussing what might have been, but we can discuss what we can to to make the best use of available assets for the future.

  165. @ melayu k

    Leasing jet fighters will look good on year to year accounts, but will always cost more in the long run.

    There is probably only 1 route for leasing, that is with saab gripen C/D. I was a fan of the gripen before, but that was just me taken in by those great advertising staff in saab. There is not much USP that the gripen can that cannot be fitted in other aircrafts. The FA-50 can probably perform 80% of Gripen capability at 50% of the cost.

  166. On the subject of the source codes,having the source codes is useless without the compiler or knowing what hardware it runs on. You need source code for development work, not for usage.

    I am not sure who used the term “source codes”, in one of the 1998 issues of ADJ the term the editor used was “authorisation code” referring to the codes to enable the Hornets to fire AMRAAMs.

  167. @Melayu Ketinggalan
    “the political interference with getting the Flankers instead”
    More than just political it was the budgetary constraint factor that made going for MKMs the best option.
    IMHO the issue with MKMs isn’t that it is labour intensive, but that we couldn’t keep up to the maintenance required and the budget needed just wasn’t there. The reasons why our MKM fleet was down last year. Plus of course, the frosty relationship with Russia after MH17 didn’t help things….

    Reply
    There was no budgetary constraints that led to the MKM purchase.

  168. Melayu Ketinggalan,

    The astronaut angle played a big part but the decision must also be seen in a wider context; from a Mahathir perspective. The whole deal was intended to benefit Malaysia in various ways (e,g. Russia buying more palm oil and technology transfers for the science and aerospace sectors).
    Like how Mandela did with Rooivalk: Putin also played a part in the deal – he was also at the signing ceremony.

    Mahathir’s criticism on the “War On Terror” and knowledge that Iraq was next; played a big role as far a local politics went. As far back as 1998 when he visited Russia; Mahathir had already expressed an interest in Flankers.

  169. “There was no budgetary constraints that led to the MKM purchase.”
    Oh? That’s a revelation for me. If we really did have afforded USD $1.5Bil for the 18 SH back then, then my opinion on getting MKM has changed. IMO for the numbers we needed at below USD $1Bil the MKM was the best option, but if there is no budget cap then everything changes.

    Reply
    It must be noted that the $900 million price quoted for the Flankers was only for the aircraft, they never disclosed the cost of the French made things and the ordnance purchased. Some might still say it will be cheaper than a SH purchase based on the DSCA announcement. Also the cost of developing the Gong Kedak airbase of around RM500 million, if I recalled correctly, would have made the overall cost of the Flankers much higher than just the cost of the 18 airframes and engines alone.
    The politics of the time played a big role, the US had just experienced 9/11 and within a few months it was already threatening an invasion of Iraq. The administration at the time was of course trying to play neutral even though the US was MY biggest trading partner. It did not want to be part of the US led Global War on Terror. Of course once the invasion of Iraq took place there was no way we would have bought the SH even if they were sold to us at the same price as the Flankers

  170. Marhalim,

    Thales was also paid to act as systems integrator for the non Russian stuff. I forgot what the amount was but either Tempur or ADJ mentioned it. No idea if this was included in the overall figure.

    Reply
    AFAIK it was not included in the announcement for the deal when the contract was signed

  171. “no way we would have bought the SH even if they were sold to us”
    Oh i see. So even then we still wouldn’t have gone for SH. Call it bad luck or bad timing or bad karma, otherwise we would have gotten SH instead and all the fiasco with MKMs wouldn’t have happen. Even the huuhaa regarding Rafale/Typhoon wouldn’t have materialised as it would be a no-brainer to get more SH (if we had the money lah, not just agree on principal but pokai). On the total cost, SH arguably might still be higher as we’d be paying hard cash in full for them seeing that USA aren’t likely to take barter trade like Russia did.

    And IMHO the expenditure for Gong Kedak redevelopment would still happen even with SH as we’d still need hardened bunkers with better facilities to store the planes regardless whether be MKMs or SHs. And I suspect the hardened bunkering extends to other airbases as well, not just at GK.

    Reply
    It is likely that part of the money “saved” from not buying the SH paid for the development of GK, which promptly went over budget as it was given to a company that had no experience for this kind of project. Another company had to be found to finish the job

  172. Some Su-30MKM range details

    Max range on full tanks with missiles attached, km:-
    without refuelling 3,000km
    with one refuelling 5,200km
    with two refuellings 8,000km

    Maximum combat radius without refuelling, km:-
    in maritime AO, with 4xR-73E & 4xKh-31A -980km
    in land AO, with 2xR-73E, 2xKh-29TE & 2xKh-31P -1,010km

    Time on station without refuelling, hr:-
    200 km away from base 2.6hrs
    400 km away from base 2.1hrs
    600 km away from base 1.7hrs

    Maximum endurance (limited by crew’s physical abilities), hr:-
    10hrs

    To compare –
    The F/A-18C/D Hornet has a combat radius of 537km on a hi-lo-lo-hi mission.
    The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet has a combat radius of 722km on Interdiction with four 1,000 lb bombs, two Sidewinders,and two 1,818 liter (480 U.S. gallon: 400 Imp gallon) external tanks,navigation FLIR and targeting FLIR: Forward Looking Infra-Red hi-lo-lo-hi

  173. I am not really into technical comparisons but the ones I’m really interested in (which of course won’t be made available) is the per hour flying costs and the average number of maintenance hours needed per hour of flight.

    It’s common knowledge the
    Su-27/30 is more maintenance intensive but it would be interesting to know how much so.

  174. Rosoboronexport would also have charged a fee to work alongside Thales; which would have included the sharing of certain source/object codes and the necessary certification and documentation which works have involved other companies.

  175. “paid for the development of GK”
    Oh well, at least we didn’t have to spend an “extra” Rm500mil to upgrade those facilities. But it was still a wasted opportunity not to get SH instead of MKM.

    “given to a company that had no experience for this kind of project”
    Unfortunately that was endemic with the BN Government and -as I see- the PH Government too (see the local partners for LCA bid). I am not optimistic this will go away anytime soon.

    @…
    We could mitigate the SH shorter range by practicing air-air refueling as standard (if we had gone for SH instead).

    Reply
    There was a concern about AAR during mid/late 1990s and early 2000 as we don’t have many dedicated airborne tankers apart from the two Hercules. But two years after we signed for the Flankers, we bought the A400Ms so at that point, the concerns eased.

  176. ” It’s common knowledge the
    Su-27/30 is more maintenance intensive but it would be interesting to know how much so ”

    Russian aircraft are thought as “maintenance intensive” as most components would need to be taken out and sent for overhaul at certain intervals. They design them mostly so they dont need much care on day to day basis. But the costs will be seen much higher as you need to stump out lumps of money at specific points in time, rather than spending small amounts of money regularly.

    Then there is also the issue of why India had their MKI overhaul intervals changed in 2015 (from 10 years/1,500 hours to 14 years/1,500 hours), while we kept to the original 10 years schedule and seem not to know anything about it, resulting in the recent mass grounding of the MKM fleet and causing a big furore politically.

    Still western fighters still do need thorough periodic overhauls. F/A-18s need their so called by australians periodic “deeper maintenance” . We are going to send our Hornets to be overhauled in australia in the near future.

  177. … – “Russian aircraft are thought as “maintenance intensive” as most components would need to be taken out and sent for overhaul at certain intervals””

    I wasn’t referring to periodic checks/maintenance performed at squadron or depot level after so many hours but the level of post flight maintenance performed.

    The MKMs are known to require more post flight maintenance hours; this determines their turn around times; as well as operational rates; which in turns determines the number of sorties which can be generated and maintained.

  178. @ joe

    ” We could mitigate the SH shorter range by practicing air-air refueling as standard (if we had gone for SH instead) ”

    It is not just about the range. It can go that far while carrying four large supersonic anti-ship missiles and four short range air to air missiles.

    This is a pic in Singapore this year of the MKM with 4x KH-31, 4x R-77 plus SAP-518

    http://d3lcr32v2pp4l1.cloudfront.net/Pictures/2000x2000fit/3/7/4/67374_sukhoisu30mkmroyalmalaysianairforce_157686.jpg

  179. Plans to develop Gong Kedak into a full fledged based was first made under PERISTA. It was to have housed the F-20s. Over the years it was used as a tri service para training site and had a runway for transports to operate from.

    Hardened air shelters are nice (to provide some level of protection) but also needed are adequate dispersal areas and airfield reconstruction teams; as well as ordnance teams. Fighters that have survived an attack because they were in HASs aren’t useful if runways and dispersal areas have been damaged/destroyed or if unexploded ordnance (some time to go off at varying intervals) are not cleared.

  180. I’ve read that India did not have good experience with the MKI and that’s why they need the Rafales hot transferred from France. Rumour has it that the MKI can’t obtain a lock with R-77 on the Pakistani’s F-16. So we’ve to think about the effectiveness of the MKM in BVR warfare. But of course if the enemy is PLAAF who uses the missiles then we’ll have less to worry about. The falcon strike exercise basically exposed the effective range of the R-77 as 50km at best.

    Also, about the Kh-31. I read some years ago that US bought some as target drone to test on the effectiveness of their CIWS/RAM, and found that this thing when lauched at lower attitude has a very very short range, something like 30km. When launched at higher attitude it barely has <100km range, which is far shorter than the often quoted 100+ km range. All these are from my failing memory… So I guess if one day we're to hit any PLAN ships the harpoon + SM-39 is still the best bet.

  181. Tripledot – I believe we could have asked for some Ozzy Hornets on loan or asked US via EDA for 2nd hand Vipers (yes I prefer that name over Falcons.)

    Rather have something flying (as what Azlan pointed) on a more regular basis than having sitting ducks like the demised Fulcrums and the venerable Tigers.

    Azlan – I wasn’t aware F 20 were going to be produced on a massive scale and GK was going to house them?

  182. @…
    A fully armed SH could take off at minimal fuel load before topping up mid-air to suffice for their sorties. This is what currently practiced by USN carriers. Armament-wise, SH has greater potential with AGM-84 air launch Harpoon, AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, & AGM-158C LRASM, and with more weapons developed for F-35, the backwards compatibility meant there is still future growth for SH.

    @Azlan
    Safe to say if they intended to harden the bunkers from attack, they would have countermeasures in place for the runway as well.

  183. @ hornet lover

    ” Rumour has it that the MKI can’t obtain a lock with R-77 on the Pakistani’s F-16 ”

    The issue is not about that. The issue is the MKI communication was jammed badly by Pakistan that the pilots cannot communicate with ground control and aborted the mission. Our MKM has jamming proof software defined radios from the start.

    PLAAF issue with R-77 is that the Su-27 radar is not as powerful as BARS radar on Su-30MKM. It can only target 1 aircraft at a time, and was said to have less tracking range (this is different than detecting range) when compared to the gripen radar.

    Kh-31 needs to be launched at hi altitude and hi speed to get the 100++km range. There are pros and cons of the Kh-31, why i suggested adding new anti ship missiles to the MKM.

    @ melayu k

    ” Rather have something flying (as what Azlan pointed) on a more regular basis ”

    That is why right now we need those LCAs. To afford flying (both missions and pilots) at more regular basis.

    We are planning to get a dozen F-20 and if it materialised, gong kedak would probably be build to something like the current kuantan air base standards, not the sprawling base with HAS it is right now.

  184. Melayu Ketinggalan,

    Under PERISTA there were plans to get the F-20. It was cancelled as was a later plan to get a few
    F-5Es.

    Hornet Lover,

    The IAFs fighter fleet are all intended to perform different roles. For the low level strike role it was a large number of MiG-27s and Jaguars. Following the retirement of the MiG-27s there was a requirement for a MRCA which amongst other things could effectively perform the low level strike role.

    Enter Rafale. For low level nap of the earth flying great stress is placed on the aircraft’s fuselage and wings. The Su-27/30 of course can fly low but it really excels at high to medium range altitude (it was after all originally designed as a high to medium altitude escort/interceptor).

    Hornet Lover,

    Whether it’s Harpoon or Kh-31 the aircraft first has to find and designate the target. By an large aircraft on such a tasking do not fly around with the radar switched on the minute they take off. Ideally the the target is first detected by a MPA or other means.

    The range the missile can be launched will be determined by a variety of factors. There is also the possibility that the target will be protected by fighters or that the aircraft might be engaged by a long range SAM.

  185. … – “There are pros and cons of the Kh-31, why i suggested adding new anti ship missiles to the MKM.”

    To me that’s secondary. Each ASM will have its pros and corns but for our needs what we have will suffice. Of greater need is to improve our target acquisition capabilities and our ability to coordinate the use of different/various assets.

  186. “…and airfield reconstruction teams; as well as ordnance teams”

    Airfield reconstruction team and UXO team, if any, are they a trade in our Army Combat Engineers?

  187. No point arguing over something that already in the past..lets moving forward..keep saving fund for mrca..ffs dont steal them or siphon them elsewhere..get additional hornet..and replace them one on one with super hornet later…if possible upgrade our flanker to super sukhoi standard to keep them relevant up until 2035+ so that we dont need to replace both fighter fleet past 2030..oh in the meantime we should hear something about lca and ucav/uav already right about now but oh well..

  188. Firdaus,

    We are not “arguing”, we are discussing.

    Discussing the past doesn’t mean we can’t “move forward” and part of “moving forward” entails a need or understanding of what occurred in the past as decisions made in the place resulted in where we are now and to certain extent determines where we move from here ….

    Nimitz,

    The army’s engineers do indeed have personnel trained to handle unexplored ordnance but in the context of the discussion it would be a RMAF thing.

  189. @Firdaus
    “replace them one on one with super hornet”
    The window to get SH has passed IMHO. In 10 years time, SG and China would have 5th gen stealth planes, possibly adding Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam too. We would be sending up 4.5gen planes in a contested airspace filled with 5th gen adversaries that we can’t “see” much less shoot at. I don’t think that is wise.

    I do agree in mean time we should get Kuwaiti Hornets to lighten our Hornet burden, and in anticipation of MKM SLEP (which got postponed according to …), plus LCA for those sorties that don’t require Hornet or MKMs.

    With the short to medium term needs taken cared, we have more time to carefully budget & select 5th gen planes for our MRCA requirement for induction around 2035-2040.

  190. @ azlan

    ” Of greater need is to improve our target acquisition capabilities and our ability to coordinate the use of different/various assets ”

    Yes. during the 2019 balakot incident, PAF has shown an integrated package of fighters, AWACS, datalinks and electronic jammers. IAF C2 broke down just because they lack software defined radios. PAF Erieye AWACS with datalinks was what gives PAF fighters situational awareness, not the individual fighter radar range vs the MKI.

    We need to have situational awareness of all warships in SCS. This can be by multiple means, MPAs, Frigates, Subs, coastal radars, AIS, Geospatial satellites, OSINT. If anything happens, we will know where to find those ships.

  191. Well..even past 2040 we really cant afford all fifth gen stealthy jet squadrons tbh..having 4.5th gen is quite adequate compared to non to complement our future 5th gen..im not saying that we dont need 5th gen at that time..just i cant see we can afford more than one squadron of fifth gens..thats why we need some beefed up 4th gen (4.5gen) to complement them like strike eagle/f15 ex or ash..or do you guys confident our govt will afford to fund all 5th gen fighter squadron in the future?

  192. Hornet Lover – “When launched at higher attitude it barely has <100km range, which is far shorter than the often quoted 100+ km range””

    If indeed this is true (I’m not too gaga over range anyhow as it’s dependent) it can be mitigated by having 2 fighters – one which is fully silent/passive and armed the missile and another with its radar switched on a linked to the launch aircraft via data link – both flying at different altitudes.

    Traditionally, once a launch aircraft was on its own and had a pretty good idea as to the direction of the target; it would fly as low as possible to minimise detection but for the actual launch it would gain altitude to give the radar a better chance of acquiring the target.

    It depends however. If the launch was conducting a strike on targets which had already been attacked; coming in low might not be needed as the target would latest be on alert.

  193. …. – “. PAF Erieye AWACS with datalinks was what gives PAF fighters situational awareness”

    Not only SA but battle management; placing the fighters in the right or most optimum or advantageous position.

    It was probably the first occasion where both sides had a AEW in the air.

    The need to coordinate various assets (e.g. the launch of sub ASMs simultaneously with say Harpoons from Hornets) will take a lot of practice and much better “jointness”. Which is why, given that the MPAs will spend much of their time in the maritime domain; ideally they will have mix RMAF/RMN crews.

    …. – “We need to have situational awareness of all warships in SCS””

    Ideally all the assets will share a common picture. A great start would be for the Maritime Institute’s radars and those of the MMEA to be linked to the RMN.

    Reply
    Not just to RMN but MAF C2 facilities

  194. @Firdaus
    Why would we need 4.5gen planes when 5th gen is on the horizon? We already have 18 MKMs which are -to me- a 4.5gen plane.

    So with 18 5th gen stealths, 18 MKMs, 16-18 legacy Hornets(plus ex-Kuwaiti) and 20-30 LCAs, are these not enough for you? Do we still need another 18 4.5gen planes? Moving on into the far future, yes, we should get used SH to replace the legacy Hornets but that is far away. No point to ponder on that.

    Reply
    We cannot afford to have many types of fast jets. If and when we buy new fighters we need to retire all of the present fleet, apart from the LCA and its trainer siblings, if we buy them. That’s why its important to see past and learnt from it.

  195. Marhalim,

    The first C2/3 system was from Marconi, part of the 1988 MOU with Britain. Who provided the present one? Sapura?

    Reply
    I am guessing its partly done by Sapura

  196. The problem is post 2035+..legacy hornet is far too old to operate that why sh/ash comes into play..if we can afford all 5th gen squadron then thats the best scenario for us..but i highly doubt it..yeah that why i proposed to upgrade mkm to super sukhoi standard with talios pod, sap 14 escort jammer etc and possibly add 2-4 more mkms..the undisputable 4.5 gen from ruski is su35..so we should try to upgrade our flanker to say su30sm level..

  197. “we buy new fighters we need to retire all of the present fleet”
    Ideally yes, moreso to simplify logistics and maintenance, but in reality we won’t be able to afford the numbers of 5th gen to fill MRCA requirements, and to replace the Hornets & MKMs. The MKMs are relatively recent so there isn’t a pressing need to replace them, unless we can no longer afford to maintain them (if true, then I would be worried if we can even afford to maintain the MRCAs). The Hornets still has a role to fill in for tasks above LCA but not necessarily needed to scramble MRCA. Ideally that is the MKM’s new role, but if uptime is undependable, we still have a need for the Hornets.

    @Firdaus
    Support might end for legacy Hornet in 2035 but that doesn’t mean we can’t use them for longer. We used Nuris far far longer than support shelf life after all, and we can still request FMS for boneyard Hornets for spares. Worse come to worse we can cannibalise the Hornets we have to keep the rest running(we can do that if we had more ie get ex-Kuwaitis).

    Once again, if it were up to me whether to pick SH or 5th gen, my opinion is the latter.

  198. @ joe

    When the support ends for the legacy hornets, that is when we need to retire them too IMO. By that time (2030-2035) our hornets are 35 years old, and would be the right time to replace them with 5th gen fighters.

    We cannot afford to run 4 different types of fighters.

    Around 2035-2040 i forsee a fighter fleet of

    18-22 Su-30MKM upgraded (1 Skn)
    24-30 KF-X (2 Skn)
    52 TA/FA-50M (2 Skn + 1 LIFT)

    The KF-X would be our 5th gen multi role fighter, designated primarily for frontal air defence against stealthy adversaries.

    The MKM would be our 4.5th gen fighter. our primary long range strike asset, EW and missile truck.

    The FA-50M would be our primary QRA aircraft and regular peacetime air patrols. It would also be our CAS and point defence asset in war situations.

    This is of course to be used along with AWACS, EW/EA, UAVs, C3I and such. Why i would prefer if we could get our AWACS and EW/EA aircrafts by 2030, then the KF-X 2031-2040.

    Why imo we should now skip getting those additional used hornets, and use the budget to get LCA/LIFT, UAVs, AWACS, EW/EA aircrafts by 2030. Keeping up our MKM maintenance and really getting LCAs in numbers would cover for not getting those used hornets.

    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/options-for-rmaf-cap-55/

  199. There’s been a lot of mention about 5th generation “low observable” (or “stealth” as many habitually incorrectly call them). A lot can change in the future but one thing can never change : the need for single
    main line figure type to eventually replace the Hornet and Flanker : period/full stop.

    The main problem here is not only the acquisition costs of acquiring a 5th gen capability but also the need to acquire a network centric capability (a 5th gen in its own is not a panacea as it doesn’t operate in a vacuum); as well as the need to factor in the higher operating/support costs of a 5th gen platform, plus the need for a more comprehensive ground support infrastructure and a much higher level of trained manpower.

    All this however lies in the future. At present we don’t even know if the present government will stay the course and follow through with the LCA programme.

    A lot can change – either for the better or worse. To say we can’t “x” or “y” till 2030 or 2040 is speculative at best …..

  200. @ azlan

    ” one thing can never change : the need for single main line figure type to eventually replace the Hornet and Flanker : period/full stop ”

    Theoretically this should be the plan. In reality i don’t see that TUDM will be down to just 2 types of fighters.

  201. ….

    Yes. Not only is money the issue but politics. A future government might still want a “not placing all our eggs in one basket”. For geo political reasons we might still end up operating 2 types of main line fighters .

    Reality and prudence dictates that we’ll learn from our mistakes in that the RMAF with its limited resources shouldn’t be required to maintain the 2 separate training/support infrastructures needed for 2 main line fighter types. The problem is; for the politicians; even if funds were sufficient: reality and prudence will might still take a 2nd seat to other factors.

    Which again goes back to us needing to get the basics sorted our first : a complete revamp in our defence policy. Everything; from how we appraise/asses long term threats, to the role we see the MAF performing, to how we handle procurement; right down to the role played by the local industry and the importance placed in it (often detrimental to the MAF); is in need of fundamental and significant change …

  202. @…
    Again let me say that I like your optimism but I again I want to stress that we just can’t, CAN’T, afford for that many 5th gen planes in 1 order by 2040. Not unless our economy & GDP suddenly gets on par with SG, I am pessimistic that will happen.

    Again we have to face harsh reality and look at historical precedence (and I keep pointing that out), we will likely keep the Hornets running past their due dates.

    It is certainly not what I like -and I like your plan- but we just can’t afford for your plan and I am pessimistic that we can keep a high MKM uptime in the future, looking at how dismal was the serviceability of them just last year. We will still need to depend on Hornets for anything above LCA but not needing MRCA and thus why I still stressed we must get the Kuwaitis. As a stopgap in short to mid term, and as spares for mid to longer term.

    I wished we had the money to buy into your plan, and I wished we had the money to get more TPS-77 MMRs to sufficiently cover both sides of Malaysia, and I wished we had even more money to network all of them into an effective C4i. But reality is, we just don’t.

  203. I’ve always wonder what was in Dr. M’s mind when we signed the deal in mid 90s to get the Mig-29 and Hornets at the same time. Looking back, the MRCA program was suppose to replace the Mig-29 and the F-5E, but the plan was in place in 2000. I remember this because that was also the time they started the angkasawan program. So it means someone either knew the Mig-29s were good for a mere 10 years or only realised it after we got them? I think the F-5E lasted longer than the Migs in the end. What a pity.

    Also, I remember reading the news about Boeing proposed to take back our less than 6 years old Hornets in part exchange for more super hornets. I thought what could be crazier than that since the “new cockpit smell” barely disappear in 2003. We got duped left right and center.

  204. Hornet Lover – “I’ve always wonder what was in Dr. M’s mind when we signed the deal in mid 90s to get the Mig-29 and Hornets”

    Simple. The deal was intended to benefit the country in various areas; not just militarily. It was hoped that the deal would lead to other trade/investment deals with the Russian Federation. The Russians included an offset deal which led to ATSC and they agreed to part payment in the form of palm oil. The Hornet deal also included an aerospace offset deal from McDonall Douglas.

    The original intention was just for the 18 Fulcrums but a later decision included the Hornets.

    Hornet Lover – “MRCA program was suppose to replace the Mig-29 and the F-5E, but the plan was in place in 2000”

    A that stage the plan was to not to replace the Fulcrums. The plan was to get additional MRCAs to improve on what we already had. The RMAF for sound reasons naturally wanted Super Hornets but the government for political reasons decided the MKM was more beneficial (in terms of how it benefit the country from an overall perspective). The astronaut element played a major part but it wasn’t the clinching factor.

    Hornet Lover – “Boeing proposed to take back our less than 6 years old Hornets”

    This was an offer made by Boeing but we never committed to it. It was based on the premise that we’d achieve some costs savings and that we’d operate an all Suoer Horner fleet. It was merely an offer; understandably the RMAF wasn’t keen on it because it desired some level of numbers.

    When the RFI and subsequent RFQ was issued it was for Block 1s but Boeing later revised its offer to include Block 2s. Naturally under FMS; we’d be offered the chance of periodical upgrades when they were available; subject of course to export approval which was never seen as a major issue; bar a few exceptions with regards to EW stuff.

    A report also emerged that the Swiss were interested and that had it gone through; Ruag would have performed the needed work.

  205. Hornet Lover – “So it means someone either knew the Mig-29s were good for a mere 10 years or only realised it after we got them”

    When a decision was made to look at the Fulcrum; the RMAF sent a technical evaluation team to Russia. This was followed by a complete assessment on how feasible and practical it would be for us to operate the type.

    Of course such assessments are merely a formality when politicians have already made their decision – like the case with the Laksamanas (someone I know was part of the evaluation team) where the RMN more than once recommended against it.

    Even before we signed the Fulcrum contact; the RMAF was well aware that the Fulcrums would lead to various issues from a operational/training/support perspective. Experience with the Fulcrum and issues inherent in dealing with the Russian way of doing things (a problem even for more experienced countries like India) played a major part in the RMAF not wanting the MKM in the 2002 period and even now (unless it was forced to) not wanting anything Russian.

    Hornet Lover – “ I think the F-5E lasted longer than the Migs in the end. What a pity””

    They also flew much less than the MiGs from the late 1990’s until they were retired. Being Western they were also designed/intended to fly a higher number of hours before needing an overhaul and compared to the Fulcrums had less avionics:systems that needed servicing.

  206. @ joe

    My air force plan based on the premise of being allocated USD1.6 billion for each RMK to around 2040. That is imo not much of a budget actually. If you plan properly, we can develop a credible air force in the future with all the things that you wish for.

  207. @Hornet Lover
    AFAIK the original plan was to get an all Hornet fleet (what TUDM wanted) but USA didn’t want to sell us/ sell us that many planes/ sell us fully specced as with USN Hornets, coupled with their refusal to take barter, which caused PM4 to throw a fit and went all Russian instead.

    Once Uncle Sam found out, they backtracked and managed to get half the deal for Hornets but they omitted the “mythical” source code, which PM4 later knew and threw another fit. I believed that was the reason given by USA in refusing to sell us AMRAAMs citing incompatibility with older firmware on our Hornet while okaying the same deal with SG, which somehow morphed into the source code fiasco. Eventually of course, we got the AMRAAMs.

    This was the story I heard thru the years but which I can’t corroborate so take it with a pinch of salt.

    @…
    I tend to look at reality for what it is and with Covid still ravaging our country and economy with no end in sight, much less the aftermath, getting USD $1.6Bil would be a tall order. I do hope it would happen but I am not so optimistic as you.

  208. @ joe

    ” Once Uncle Sam found out, they backtracked and managed to get half the deal for Hornets ”

    Nope, uncle sam backtracked and offered a full deal for the hornets (1 full squadron), but to save face with russia we bought both the Migs and the hornets.

    If not mistaken the original russian offer was for around 40+ MiG-29s.

  209. Hornet Lover,

    During the period we got the Hornets and done years after that the Clinton Administration had a policy of not being the first to introduce a new capability to the region. Thus AMRAAM was cleared to anyone. Only years later was it cleared for sale with the proviso it be stored in Guam and only made available when needed. Singapore only got cleared for it years later and only because it made an official request for it.

  210. In the late 1990’s there was speculation that we would get Adder and the Fulcrums were indeed wired for it at ATSC. Thailand even announced that request AMRAAMS for the 8 Hornets it ordered and later cancelled.

    At that period Vympel was experiencing cash issues and as a result development of Adder was delayed. It was only due to large orders from China and India which enabled Vympel to start producing Adder.

  211. @joe

    I always laugh when Dr. M mentioned about the ‘source code’ thingy. Nobody releases ‘source code’ to clients, unless it’s opensource software and was developed under something equivalent to a GPL. Just wonder when India claimed to be ‘contributing tremendously’ on the MKI software, did the Russian get a piece of it? LoL

  212. @Hornet Lover

    Exactly. You spent years and millions developing software and the other guy expects you to give it just because he bought a few planes. Not to mention what are we supposed to do with the source code if we get it?

    @Azlan
    We did get the Adders in the end? Our Flankers are equipped to fire them too ?

  213. ASM,

    Yes we did get the Adders eventually. I was just pointing out that despite all the hype about us supposedly getting them in the 1990’s (for the Fulcrums which were wired for them) we only got them the following decade and Vympel wasn’t even in a position to supply us or anyone for that matter; with them in the late 1990’s period.

    During the same period there was also hype about a ramjet version and also a long range R-77 “AWACS killer” which was to have a IR seeker. Nothing came out of both.

  214. @Hornet Lover
    To those in know, its obvious our dear glorious leader was talking out of his … rear. Back then, very few not in the programming community would ever heard of “source code” so many who listened probably thought he was right.

    But to have our dear leader so nonchalantly talk about attacking neighbouring country, a country that is a USA ally, well he certainly predates Trump by a few decades only without the big stick to backup his talk. And to think he came back a 2nd time…. *facepalm.

  215. @…
    “uncle sam backtracked and offered a full deal for the hornets”
    Yeah, I heard that too, but by then we already signed the deal for Fulcrums so as not to pay penalties (plus the barter deal was on the table), we appeased both and got half each side.

    @Azlan
    “first to introduce a new capability to the region”
    The Russkis has no qualms about that. Another reason why we kept going back for more Russki hardware.

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