California Dreaming

The successful dispatch of paratroopers during the flight test campaign over Ger Azet drop zone in southern France in September 2019.

SHAH ALAM: California Dreaming. Despite what I wrote on the previous post regarding the new 11th Squadron, I can say now that the UAS to be delivered soon is not the MALE-UAS being considered for RMAF. It is in fact basically a smaller one, a training tool before the procurement of the MALE-UAS which is expected to be funded in RMK12 which starts next year. It is likely the MALE-UAS once procured will be operated by the squadron though.

You can read more about it here at Janes subscription website. I apologised for not putting the whole story here as there are many people out there who just copy and paste stories on their website as if it is their right.

Anyhow, things may also change if the talk of a new government is realised either via a show of support or a snap general election.

It must be noted that RMAF cannot simply buy a MALE-UAS without having the training and preparation including experienced personnel in unmanned aircraft, first. RMAF did not have any difficulties in absorbing the EC725,A400M and the Pilatus PC-7 MK II as it had long experience similar aircraft. The same cannot said about the Mig-29 and Sukhoi Su-30MKMs though.

Paratroopers from a Hercules during the 2019 Pahlawan exercise. MAB

Talking about the A400M, Airbus announced that it had achieved full certification to drop 116 paratroopers simultaneously on June 2.

The successful dispatch of paratroopers during the flight test campaign over Ger Azet drop zone in southern France in September 2019.

Airbus press release.

The Airbus A400M new generation airlifter has successfully achieved certification of the simultaneous paratrooper dispatch capability and completed the full industrial development of the type’s paratrooping deployment capacity, with a maximum dispatch of 116 paratroopers using both side doors (58 + 58).

The certification fight test, completed in May 2020 in coordination with the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) and supported by the French and Belgian Armed Forces, combined an extensive paratrooping campaign of more than 1,000 jumps along with the implementation of new capability development methodologies based on recording and 3D modelling of paratrooper jump trajectories.

“This certification completes a challenging journey to achieve this next generation capability. The achievement reinforces the strategic value the A400M already offers to air force operators and society, as demonstrated during Covid-19 times,” said Dirk Hoke, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Defence and Space.

With the completion of this key milestone, the A400M excels in its paratrooping role, being able to carry 116 paratroopers who can jump two at a time from the ramp in freefall, or through the paratroop side doors with automatic parachute opening, a state-of-the-art capability that greatly increments its operational possibilities.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2186 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. “certification to drop 116 paratroopers simultaneously”
    This is done with the modified shield doors. Does it apply to our units that is w/o this mod?

    If not already fitted, it could be fixed within hours

  2. “If not already fitted, it could be fixed within hours”
    But we would have to pay for it, am rite?

    I don’t think so as other improvements to meet the original specifications were done FOC

  3. En Marhalim, any update on the Japanese P 3 for Malaysia?

    What’s there to update anymore, check my previous posts on it

  4. Right thing to do before we can operate a male uav system/squadron..Now that Rmaf dont really need to splash the money to buy 2 MPA that they are intended to buy in upcoming RMK with CN235 conversion into MPA, i’ll say RMAF should/must procure a full uav system not just merely 3 unit of uavs..

  5. Any update on the F18 Hornet from Kuwait? Their new aircrafts are coming next year. The silence from MINDEF these days are deafening…

    Everything is still up in the air

  6. Smaller version UAV. It could be local make UAV if just to familiarize. By the way, how is our make in Malaysia UAV operate at Sabah?

    No more contract expired around 2016/2017

  7. @ Hazwan 88

    My current opinion? Forget about getting more Hornets and save our money to get credible number of LCA/LIFT instead.

    The problem is that those hornets are only to be sold after all the new super hornets has been delivered to Kuwait. That is about 2022 the earliest. We should be deciding on the 5th Gen MRCA replacement for the Hornets by around 2031.

  8. …The problem is our fighters is not enough to begin with..cant really scramble the flankers all the time.must try to get at the very least 10 of kuwaiti hornets if indeed we got the chance to get them be it directly from kuwait or via saudi (14 to 20 will be better).I get what u mean to save our money to get LCAs but even the most capable LCA cant do a hornet’s job right? Or it can?..Its just that kuwaiti hornets are just too good to ditch for us..Beggars cant be chooser right..and to make thing a slightly more harder, our 8 hornets are due for depot level maintanance untill 2024 in oz..

  9. Salam Marhalim,

    I subscribe to Jane’s but couldn’t find the news you mentioned in the June 3 JDW. Would you mind sharing the date and publication. Thanks

    It’s on the paywall version of the website, which even I don’t have access to, though I have been told by my editor thats its there

  10. @…
    The intention of getting 2nd hand Hornets isn’t to replace the LCA function but to relief the current Hornet fleet and tide us over for a little longer before deciding which MRCA to get. With the Hornet fleet boosted, we aren’t under pressure to get 4.5gen planes so we could wait further for more affordable 5th gen plane types to materialise. IMHO we still need to get hem Kuwaiti Hornets irrespective of how many LCAs we can buy. Performance-wise the Hornets are still more capabled to any modern LCAs anyway.

  11. @…

    If we can have the Kuwaiti hornets hot transferred to us, I don’t see why the RMAF will reject it. At the very least we can ask for the 8 units D model, to have a full Skn 18.

    Btw, in the article you posted it mentioned about Kuwaiti obtaining sniper pods. How on earth if they can transfer those to us at one go.

  12. @ Firdaus

    That is why we actually need a LCA with supersonic capability in meaningful numbers as soon as possible. Using a supersonic capable LCA to do peacetime QRA missions will cost much less than using MiG-29, F/A-18D or Su-30MKM. Which means that we can finally really afford to have a 24h QRA capability in the 1st place.

    @ joe

    Yes, of course ideally we need to beef up our hornet squadron to have more airframes. I would also like that to happen. But it should happen like now ideally, and not in like 2-3 more years from now, which IMO is too little too late. As it cannot happen now, IMO we should just forget about it, and concentrate on LCA/LIFT. We need to replace the Hornet by 2031-2035 anyway, so lets also start on planning for the hornet replacement too.

    @ hornet lover

    Those sniper pods will be transferred to the new Kuwaiti super hornets, not to be sold with the legacy hornets.

  13. @…
    Realistically, even if we had selected the LCA today, we’re still looking at 2-3 years or more before we even get the first units in, and that still don’t cover the operational familiarity needed both by our aircrew and ground staff. As Hornet Lover mentioned, if we could get the Kuwaiti Hornets hot transferred, we’re looking at readiness from the get go at 2022-3. Even if they got only 10-15 years more lifespan, its still money well spent provided the price is right.

    My idea for LCA is not for a one off buy but progressive purchases thru multiple RMKs to gradually build up the LCA fleet (6-8 planes per RMK for a span of 3 RMKs). The LCAs should perform their own tasks and the Hornets their own, but as we receive more and more LCAs we can phase in the new LCAs into some of Hornets’ role as the fleet gets wound down and flighthours conserved. The Hornet fleet (existing & ex-Kuwaiti) could then be preserved and still be operational way past 2035.

  14. @ joe

    the issue is

    – we need the LCA/LIFT in numbers by 2030, we cannot afford to take 15 years to get them. We are not upgrading our hawks and mb339cm and we need to replace that and get our fighter numbers up all at the same time.

    – Even if we can fly the hornets past 2035, the question is should we? We will be the only remaining operator then, while stealth fighters should have been operational in our neighborhood for nearly a decade by then. We need to have our own 5th gen fighters in 2031-2040, and retaining the hornets would not help with that cause.

  15. @…
    Which is why getting sufficient Kuwaiti Hornets makes perfect sense. Having them operational immediately can help relief Hawks from frontline service and wound them down to training & conversion roles. Once the LCA & MRCA fleet is sufficient to replace the Hornets from frontline, they in turn gets wound down to 2ndary roles & training. Phase in, phase out seamlessly. We could even setup aggressor squadrons with the legacy Hornets if managed right.

    My plan isn’t to jeorpardise the LCA nor MRCA but to rationalise the expense for LCA without eating into MRCA budgetary while giving us ample time & options for 5th gen MRCA buy.

  16. @ joe

    We don’t have unlimited budget and we need to prioritise.

    Those Kuwaiti hornets wouldn’t be free. Millions paying for them is millions less budget for LCA/LIFT. And those additional hornets would only be used at most for 10-15 years. LCA/LIFT would be used for probably 40 years into the future? That is like up to 2065.

    Getting additional hornets would in overall give how many % increase in our overall capability? 5%? Not getting additional hornets is is not a big impact compared to say having the LCA/LIFT late into the decade. Getting the LCA/LIFT in numbers will increase the quantity of fighters that we have, will give the air force a great learning platform for future pilots (LIFT), a more capable fighter as a replacement of the hawks and shouldering QRA tasks left behind by thr MiG-29N. That would give quite a substantial increase in the overall capability of thr air force.

  17. If RMAF acquire the ex Kuwaiti legacy Hornet, there were things to take in minds, need some expenses to refurbished and upgraded the engine’s, avionics, radars and sensors…I think worth it cos this hornet are still have a sting..

  18. Off topic

    Nice video of one of the A-4L Bu. No.147761 that we allocated for spareparts and left behind in the Arizona desert, salvaged by some resourceful americans and now flying again.

    If you look closely, this aircraft has never been upgraded into the A-4PTM standards by Grumman. It still has only 3 weapon pylons of the A-4L standard, compared to 5 weapon pylons of A-4PTM. It also has no additional brake parachute fairing at the bottom of the tailpipe.

    It has been noted that any A4 that was left in the US that was supposed to be part of the deal was never paid for by Malaysia. I dont know the exact number of these leftovers or whether their parts were ever used to refurbish our own A4s. The actual numbers are with Mindef.

  19. @ marhalim

    On the Skyhawks

    The 88 A-4L allocated to malaysia is given as EDA for free. We only need to pay for the refurbishment and upgrade by Grumman. 40 was upgraded, around 14 non-upgraded airframe was also bought back as christmas trees. The rest was left in Arizona, and in mid 90s malaysia actually sold all of the airframes left (which is the 34 in the book) in Arizona to a company (Aviation Technologies) in the US.

  20. @…
    “Those Kuwaiti hornets wouldn’t be free. Millions paying for them is millions less budget for LCA/LIFT.
    And those additional hornets would only be used at most for 10-15 years. LCA/LIFT would be used for probably 40 years into the future? That is like up to 2065.”

    This is like saying if I don’t buy medical insurance for 10 years I’ll save up enough money for a kidney transplant 10 years later. We’re betting on nothing is going to happen in the next 10 years/we can nego our way out of trouble.

    Our air force fighting capability is stretch so thin that it’s been laughed at as the National Day fly past aerobatic team. We have what, 8+18 +10 fighter fleet?

    Will the additional hornets provide more teeth and intimidation? No, but any addition of a single hornet it’s an increase of 3% of our fighter force!.

    Maybe we should see whether how many hours of life is left in the Kuwaiti Hornets airframe and engine, and how much is needed to spend in to a fleet of x airframe for y flyable samples for z operational hours.

  21. @ hornet lover

    Additional 8-10 hornets isnt going to add anything much to our overall capability.

    Saving the money and getting 40 to 50 new LCA/LIFT instead will.

    Those LCA/LIFT operational cost is like 25% of the hornets, enabling us to fly more sorties for air patrols and Quick Reaction Alerts.

    Getting LCA/LIFT in numbers by 2030 will enable us to economically execute

    1) 24hr QRA alert for both west malaysia and east malaysia.
    2) regular air patrols
    3) Effective lead in fighter training for our new fighter pilots
    4) Regular flying time for operational pilots due to low operating costs and if all of the platform has 2 seaters, flying time for 2 pilot on the cost of just 1.

    Dont get me wrong, I personally would love to see additional hornets with TUDM. But logically, getting and spending money on them to use for just around 10 years is not a good investment IMO. Unless we can get some for free then I am all for it.

  22. @…
    So you’re betting on one RMK getting us 40-50 new LCA/LIFT planes? Now who is the one thinking we have unlimited budget.

    And do we have an operational need for that many planes? That is near doubling our fighter fleet, our maintenance & ground crew will drown in budget & manpower shortages.

  23. Whatever it is..RMAF should/must secure at least 10 kuwaiti hornet with low flying hour to serve up untill 2030+..In maritime strike role almost no other jets can match hornet prowess except maybe for super hornet (hopefully future legacy hornet replacement)…

  24. @ joe

    Actually 2 RMKs from 2021 up till 2030

    Just for a comparison
    TUDM 1997 fighter fleet consisted of – 14 F-5E/F-5F/RF-5E, 18 MiG-29N/NUB, 8 F/A-18D, 18 Hawk 208, 10 Hawk 108, 10 MB-339AM – around 78 fighters

    Our current fighter fleet consists of – 18 Su-30MKM, 8 F/A-18D, 13 Hawk 208, 5 Hawk 108, 7 MB-339CM – around 51 fighters. If minus the MB-339CM as i am sure it has been grounded, just 44 fighters.

    IMO we need to have our fighter numbers up to around our 1997 level before 2030. We currently dont have enough fighters to even cover both of our land areas. Only way to do that is to concentrate our budget to get as many LCA/LIFT as we can get.

    By retiring hawk, mb-339, MiG-29, F-5E and replacing it with just 1 type of fighter would give substantial cost savings. Centralized maintenance of just 1 type would also give cost savings too.

    BTW I am probably the last person here who thinks that TUDM and malaysian government has unlimited budgets. I have written something on TUDM CAP55 Phase 1 2021-2030, waiting to see if Marhalim would publish it. That would explain where i am coming from much more clearly.

  25. @…

    “Additional 8-10 hornets isnt going to add anything much to our overall capability.”

    Indeed, but when you’ve next to nothing, any bit of capability is better than no capability. I believe that’s what happened to RMN to relife 40 years old FACs. Unless we just pray hard nothing will happen until your envisioned 40+ LCA enter into full service.

    I’d say I’m not against your plan, but we should look at it in a more holistic approach.

    Let’s do our math by taking in all figures that we can obtain from the public domain.

    Say, we intend to push 12 ex-Kuwaiti Hornet into service in 2022 and it’s hot-transferred.

    Airframe – say friendship price at USD 10M each, with 2000 hours left.

    Operational cost – same as the current RMAF hornet, USD 20k per hour?

    Yearly operational hours 150-200 hours.

    Get 8 more airframes as spare.
    Major overhaul should be excluded, since we intend to use them until kaput. Pakai then buang.

    So in total we pay 200M for 20 airframes, operational cost 4M for 200 hours yearly per airframe, or 40M for 10-13 years running at 150-200 hours.

    Or in another words we have 2000×12=24000 hornet flight hours

    Cost is 200+(40×12)=USD 680M
    Per hour cost is USD 28.33k

    Note that the usd 20k should cover some major repair work, since the number I saw quoted for US marine F/A 18D is usd 12.5k only.

    Now I don’t know the cost+operational cost for FA-50. Maybe you can help to enlighten us?

  26. For F-5E Tiger for exemple, some other country like Switzerland, Thailand, Brazil and last time Singapore, they spend mil usd for upgrading they tigers up to more than 10 years operational.. b4 they looking or consider other aircraft… if we want to be premature in aviation industry we must gain experience from this field so we can be
    creative and innovative ideas for next future aviation projects.

  27. @ hornet lover

    this would be a good discussion IMO.

    Lets see what the FA/TA-50 costs. to make it apple to apple comparison, lets also compare the cost of 12 FA-50

    Based on the Philippines buy, 12 FA-50 would cost USD421 million. but this can be operational for say 40 years. so cost for 10 years is about USD105 million.

    operational cost? for botswana KAI said that overall costs would be 1/3 of the gripen.
    But as we dont have the operating cost of the FA-50, I will assume it is the same as the gripen, which is about usd7.5k per hour, which would be on a very high side of the equation.

    so for 200 hours annually for 10 years the operating cost would be
    7.5x200x10= 15 million

    so costs for 10 years with FA-50 would be
    105+(15×12)= 285million

    so for about 10 years for a total of 24k flight hours with 12 aircraft, the cost is
    F/A-18=USD680 million,
    FA-50=USD285 million

    Or i could say that we actually could fly 28 FA-50 for the budget of 12 used Kuwaiti hornets.

    So which is more cost effective, or will give much more overall increase in capability do you think?

  28. @…
    But you’re only going to fly that 28 FA-50s in 2030 while we could already be flying the 12 ex-Kuwaiti Hornets in 2022 earliest. You can’t buy time when crisis happens.

  29. @ joe

    That is why I have stressed before that we really need to decide on the LCA/LIFT ASAP. We need to have like 12 before 2025 and the rest before 2030. If we can decide by early 2022 the latest on the LCA/LIFT, I dont see why we cant have at least 12 of them by 2025.

    And my cost calculation is extremely on the safe side. I actually took FA-50 buying cost and use the gripen operational cost, which is by the KAI paper to the Botswanan government, is much more expensive than the FA-50. The actual cost should be much more lower than my calculations.

  30. @ joe

    Say if we based our timelines on the Philippines contract.

    On 28 March 2014, the Philippines’ Department of National Defense signed a contract for 12 FA-50 light attack aircraft worth P18.9 billion (US$421.12 million). Deliveries began in November 2015 and were was completed in May 2017.

    So if we say signed the contract for FA-50 in march 2022, we should be getting the 1st plane in around November 2023 and the 12th plane by may 2025. And if you know how the koreans work, even meeting the deadline is not good enough for them. You are sure that you will be getting the plane on time.

  31. IMO what we could do is to sign a long term contract with korean government and KAI to get both our LCA/LIFT and MRCA. 20 year contract to end with getting KF-X for the hornet replacement.

    16 TA-50, 36 FA-50 and 32 KF-X.

    KAI badly needs a big order for its FA-50 after losing the USAF T-X competition. They also need a confirmed export buyer for its KF-X now after having no assurance from Indonesia of them ever buying the KF-X in the 1st place. It could really be a big win-win for both korea and malaysia.

  32. @…
    You can not compare F/A-18 to FA-50. It is not apple to apple at the first place.
    F/A-18 is a double engine jet while F/A-50 is just single engine. Both have different role and capability.

    Hardwares are bought to meet the need. The need is based on the objective want to be achieved. In short, hardwares are just tool to achieve objective. F/A-18 and FA-50 is not a substitution. It is nice to have a dedicated hardware for a certain objective, eg. for CAS and anti-guerilla a super tucano is better than both FA-50 and FA-18.

    Lets buy the ex-kuwaiti and FA-50 if money is provided. If only one must be chosen then I preffer FA-50.
    At the end money is the limit what can be bought and operated. RMAF needs quantity over quality at this moment.

  33. @Joe
    That is why there is a white paper that already analized any future threat. There is a team as a think -tank that already predict the most probability threat will occur in a certain period. You can not assume something will happen or not and make panic buying based on it.

  34. @ romeo

    ” Hardwares are bought to meet the need. The need is based on the objective want to be achieved. In short, hardwares are just tool to achieve objective ”

    So enlighten me what is the objective for fighters in the context of defending our country? please list me the objectives. Then tell me which objective that absolutely needs the additional hornets to achieve.

    I actually carefully arranged my opinion in consideration of objectives (which i have listed before here actually) that TUDM need to fulfil. Do you?

  35. LCA is a must to replace hawk macchi and somehow replace the fulcrum but we also need additional hornets period..until 2030, having 36 MRCA + plus minus 24 LCA/Flit are miles better than just having 26 MRCA + 24 LCA/flit..with our southern neighbour upgrading their F16 fleet involving billions dollar for aesa radar, we must at least try to expand our MRCA in anyway not saying we dont buy LCA here..about LCA, RMAF should decide them as soon as possible as i understand they’ve already selected the aircraft just waiting for funding from govt or they still in the process of evaluating the models?

  36. ….provided if we can get that additional hornets at a dirt cheap price…if we cant get them at cheap price then i’ll agree that we should focus on LCA entirely..

  37. off topic

    Lets talk about these pictures of TUDM aircrafts circa 1963, when it was called Tentera Udara Di Raja Persekutuan.

    This is one of the Single Pioneer that in service at the time. You can see that the “roundel” has a 11 pointed star. This was before the formation of Malaysia. There is also a small writing in jawi of “tentera udara diraja”, so it was called similarly to the RAF in malay language at the time. The jawi “tentera udara diraja” can also be seen on the Twin Pioneers at the time, written below the cockpit.

    That is really an unfortunate name for an aircraft IMO 🤣🤣🤣. Seems that most of the aircraft at the time had individual names. Some that i know of
    FM1001 Lang Rajawali
    FM1041 Tirok
    FM1042 Serindit

    Does anyone knows of the individual names of other early TUDM aircrafts?

  38. @…
    While we know how Koreans work, we don’t exactly know how those Americans providing the key systems work. The Pinoy order is their first export customer so their production lines are still ‘fresh & available’ that time. I don’t know how busy their factory is now with more orders underway, likely we won’t get them as quickly as Pinoy did back then.

    Our next RMK was supposedly this year but postponed to 2021, say even if we had original intention to buy LCA/LIFT planes in the coming RMK, any decision would likely be in late Q3Q4 2021 or H1 2022 which by then we could have a fleet of Kuwaiti Hornet already ready for use. And looking at current economic situation due to COVID19, quite unlikely RMK12 would have large purchases of LCAs as it would be more focused on moving the economy. So realistically we’re looking at RMK13 for LCA/LIFT purchases and that happen in 2025/6. Meantime, we should just cross our fingers, pray hard nothing major happens, we don’t anymore planes destroyed or else just keep them in their hangars and only bring them out for Merdeka flybys.

    If you were looking those details in our DWP, you’re wasting your time. The real threat perceptions are from our Armed Forces chiefs and mostly like only shared with relevant ministers/ministry. The DWP is merely filtered air suam for the public.

    Want to ask is there a Pantone colour chart for our army digi camo?

  39. My post sunk into the SCS again…

    If the selection of platform is based purely on operational cost then nobody will choose anything but FA-50. However, apart from those mission as you mentioned in one of your earlier post, there are still missions that require a bigger platform than the FA-50. We can’t use the FAC/Keris to do the job of a frigate. In that case the consideration is beyond the lower operational cost.

    Comparing the FA-50 to the hornet, what I can think of will be heavier payload and longer range, different sensor/weapon suite, and maybe twin engine vs single engine.

  40. @ hornet lover

    ” However, apart from those mission as you mentioned in one of your earlier post, there are still missions that require a bigger platform than the FA-50 ”

    Of course i agree 100% with you on this. Those missions that require a bigger platform than the FA-50 can be performed by the Su-30MKM, which is often totally forgotten when we discuss about our fighter fleet.

    But plenty of essential missions, like Lead In Fighter Training, regular Air Patrol, 24h QRA missions on both east and west malaysia, cannot be fulfilled by our small quantity of hawks and grounded MB-339CM. We need a platform of the latest tech and low operating costs in sufficient quantity to perform the majority of our essential missions.

  41. Gaps to fill:

    8+10 LIFT (MB339 + Hawk 108)
    18 LCA (Hawk 208)
    18 Interceptor, point air defence (Mig 29)
    14 LCA (F5E)

    Total requirement 68 jets! In an ideal world we’d be getting 18 T-50 and 50 FA-50! This will need an acquisition budget of (25 x 18) + (35 x 50) = USD 2.2 billion, or about RM 10 billion!

    But we all know that we live in a less than ideal world. The best that I can see is we’ll be getting 12 T-50, and 12 FA-50. I guess if we’re to hear any news it’d be circa 2032.

    Maybe we can all put down our guess here and see 10-15 years later whose guess is nearest to the actual event turned out.

  42. Firdaus – Yes you can get dirt cheap Hornets, and fast but not from Kuwait but from the Spanish AF.

    20 Hornets (out of 24 ex US Navy Hornets) from the Gando airbase will be replaced soon by either the EF Typhoons or maybe other jet fighter.

    Malaysia can RFI for those 20 Hornets.

    Should be cheaper than the KAF Hornets.

  43. off topic..

    Another TNI mi-17 fall. Just wonder is mi-17 so poor quality?! Maybe we should just focus to 1 type of heavy helicopter for all enforcement & VIP, H225M. Forget about loading ramp requirement, we just not affordable to get AW-101 or NH-90.

  44. @ hornet lover

    So you can understand why we really need to concentrate to get our LCA/LIFT ASAP.

    16 TA-50, 36 FA-50 will cost around USD1.8 billion in all. the cost is based on
    16 T-50i Indonesia for USD400 mil
    12 FA-50 Philippines for USD421 mil
    plus upgrades and simulators etc.

    we dont need to replace all aircrafts one to one. what we need is to replace and improve on the operational capabilities that we have.

    those FA/TA-50 would be primarily used to equip
    1 LIFT squadron kuantan
    1 fighter squadron kuantan
    1 fighter squadron labuan

    to cover all the operational missions such as QRA, air patrols, training and such.

    we need to decide in the next 1-2 years on this. we really dont have the luxury to delay this.

    @ melayu ketinggalan

    Bila spain nak retire hornet tu? paling awal 2025 yg dibeli secondhand us navy punya, dan apabila habis flying hours. teramat lambat untuk kita guna, dan boleh ke kita guna?

  45. …,

    I dont think they understood the importance of BAU during peace time, financial upkeep to maintain the BAU etc hence the reason they still arguing lca vs mrca. The tool is only good if they have a practical purpose. While hornets are better than lca in general during war, lca is much more useful during peace time for intercepting and recon. Buy lca then bli hornet sikit2 sudah

  46. The best option here is buying both new LCA and all Kuwaiti used Hornets. But sometimes the best option out there cannot be obtained hence compromise need to be made. My plan is buy 3 squadrons of LCA for $1.8 billion as mentioned by @… and then buy 7 f18d Hornets + anymore C model that we could afford from Kuwait for less than $200 million including upgrades and mods. APG79 AESA radar cost $3.3 million each. This could be done in 2 RMK (2021-2030) at $1 billion each RMK which is doable.

    So by 2030 RMAF should have 85 fixed wing fighter/attack aircraft
    18 – Su30 mkm
    15 to 18 – Hornets
    36 – LCA
    16 – LIFT

    Remaining budget should be allocated to get new missiles like ASRAAM and JSM, 3 Erieye AWACS, 2 EW aircraft, 1-2 MALE UAV squadron, targeting pods and self protection/attack jammer pods.

    Too many LIFT, requirement is around 8

  47. @ marhalim

    8 might be enough for current level of fighter number. remember as the LCA/LIFT is the same platform, student pilots would be doing LIFT and OCU together and transfer to operational squadrons as a fully operational pilot. Australia for example uses 30+ hawks for its jet training requirements.

    Further more OCU will be done at squadron level especially for the Hornets and MKM

  48. Luqman – why would you still want Hornets by 2030? It will be obsolete by then.

    Like what Tripledot said by 2030 RMAF should be getting a 5th gen fighter.

  49. @Khairul Anwar
    In times of peace, prepare for war. During current peacetime, we shouldn’t be doing nothing and hopping nothing will happen until we are ready sometime in the future with plenty of LCAs. We need to ensure we can defend ourselves NOW with as soon as possible to bridge the gap in our Forces. The ex-Kuwaiti Hornets will allow us to regain the capacity lost with our Fulcrum retirement in the shortest possible time at the least cost with a reasonable used by date. The LCA/LIFT are the future but we shouldn’t neglect the short-medium term.

  50. @Hornet_Lover
    68 LCA for $2.2 billion is a good deal IMO. For that same price we could only buy 18 Typhoons/Rafales.

    Thanks for clarifying number of LIFT in the requirements. So they are replacing the current 5 Hawk 108 right?

  51. Yup a no no to that spanish af hornets..ex us navy then ex spanish af..not gonna be useful for us unlike that almost pristine kuwaiti hornets..Like i said, LCA is a must but we cant pass that kuwaiti hornets unless Kuwait say that they will not offload their hornet or they will keep them even after they receive their super hornet then we will have to give up on that hornets..

    @luqman..sorry to dissapoint you, but i cant see RMAF getting more than 24 LCA untill 2030..12 unit per RMK tops.So by 2030 RMAF will have at least 60 fighter jets in their arsenal (provided we indeed get at least 8 to 10 kuwaiti hornets , smooth future procurement of LCA/LIFT, smooth SLEP of MKM and Hornets and god forbid no aircraft crash until then) with 36 MRCAs and 24 LCA/FLIT.

    And until 2030 RMAF supposedly need to procure 2 batch of UAV, pay for CN235 conversion into MPA, procure some ground radar and pay for their aircraft maintanance/slep cost too..

  52. @ firdaus

    I have written a piece on CAP55 Phase 1. Hopefully marhalim would publish it and would be a much clearer overall view of what we can achieve if we plan properly by 2030.

  53. @joe

    Never said we should neglect medium role. Just to point out that beggars ain’t choosers. If we can do alot with something cheaper, do that. It’s not like the LCA is totally useless in war. Looking at the hornet roles during a conflict, I’m not savvy but I guess it’s our surgical bomber and not our superiority fighter, hope someone can enlighten me the role of Hornets and Su30 in the air force and proven record for that roles. Can’t the LCA do surgical bombing runs too?

  54. @Melayu Ketinggalan
    “why would you still want Hornets by 2030? It will be obsolete by then.”

    Then our by 2030 our ‘new’ LCA are obsolete also right? Oops…..
    I think it would be past 2035 and before 2040 that we would have new fully operation MRCA squadron given that RMAF wants to retire Hornets by 2035.

    If RMAF budget for buying new equipment for each RMK is $1.5 billion than it can be done, surely as my suggestion only use $1 billion, the remaining $0.5 billion can be use to buy new ground radar and AWACS. Remember budget for RMN is $2 billion in the last RMK (4 LCS, 4 LMS and upgrades to older ships). If we can only afford 12 LCA per RMK than MRCA will only come after 2040.

  55. @ luqman

    You must know and understand what is the operational missions our fighter need to fulfill. Our LCA/LIFT is not to be our tip of the spear so to speak. Air Policing, Quick Reaction Alerts, Close Air Support, Air Defence does not need all aspect stealth and what not. But MRCA needs to be capable of Air Superiority, Deep Strike, Maritime Strike, Suppression of Enemy Air Defence and such. The last user for legacy hornets is planned to be USMC in around 2032. Would you be comfortable for TUDM to be the last user of the type? Just look what is happening to our MB-339CM.

  56. Luqman – How can LCA be obsolete by 2030? Tripledot also said it can be used up to 2040.

    All Legacy Hornet users will retire their fleet (including RMAF) by 2030.

    Btw, prices fluctuate so you can’t just say use 1 billion for etc etc then the balance get the radar.

    RMAF Hornets are supposed to be in service until 2035 when it is replaced by the MRCA

  57. @Khairul Anwar
    This are the roles of our Hornets & MKMs;
    “berupaya melaksanakan serangan strategik dan Gerak Balas Serangan Udara (Offensive Counter Air, OCA) terhadap sasaran udara, maritim dan darat. Pada masa kini, ATM bergantung kepada pesawat F/A-18D dan SU-30MKM untuk misi ini ”

    And these ares the wishes of TUDM
    “TUDM berhasrat untuk melengkapkan No 18 Skuadron kepada 18 buah pesawat Hornet dalam RMKe-12. Kombinasi F/A-18D dan SU-30MKM adalah paling ampuh di rantau ini yang memberi kelebihan kepada Malaysia berbanding negara-negara terdekat.”

    As per detailed in DWP.

  58. @Luqman
    Defence budget for 2020 was set at RM 15.5 bil which is about USD$ 1.2bil each. This includes OPEX and CAPEX so don’t expect TUDM can spend USD$ 1.2bil on new buys. Typically big budget buys are following RMKs so for the MKMs, LCSs, & AV-8s buys which will certainly go above the yearly budget, this goes into RMK budget which typically goes in cyclic around our Armed Forces. I believe this RMK round is for TUDM’s big ticket buy.

  59. @ marhalim

    yes it is supposed to be in service up to 2035. but decision for its replacement should be decided by around 2031 the latest.

    @ joe

    Additional 10 F/A-18D is the goal. BTW Kuwait just have 8 F/A-18D actually. this has been talked about since like 4-5 years ago here in malaysiandefence, and i am actually one of its staunchest proponents.

    The problem is that now is already mid 2020, and additional news puts the time kuwait is releasing those legacy hornets is only when they have received all of their new super hornets first. At first the schedule is for kuwait to receive all super hornets by january 2021. Also their eurofighters are scheduled to be delivered from 2020-2023. Currently the first Kuwaiti hornet is not even roll out yet. now the 28 super hornets would only be delivered in 2022. To complete delivery by 2024-2025? So if malaysia wants them, it would probably be in around 2025-2026 for them to be in malaysia. Which is as i said IMO too little too late. If we can get them by say 2021 i would say yes i think.

  60. Marhalim – Sorry I just find it ridiculous if RMAF wants to maintain the Legacy Hornets till 2035.

    Jesus, even Canada and Switzerland and Spain are getting their Hornets replaced latest by 2030.

    Joe – No disrespect with the DWP but I find it laughable when it says a combo of the 8 D Hornets & 18 MKM gives it a strategic advantage with our ASEAN neighbours.

    Barring Brunei, Philippines, Laos and Cambodia we have the 5th smallest jet fighter fleet in SEA.

    Anyway I want to ask you posters, how come you all do not entertain the idea of leasing jet fighters instead of waiting for cows to fly home one day?

  61. @ melayu ketinggalan

    I know a little bit more of you from your last post…

    anyway leasing jet fighters?

    what are the options? only good one that i know of is for the gripen c/d. it would be a good short term solution for a country that does not have large area to patrol, and probably surrounded mostly by allies.

    IMO it would a waste to add a new type to the fleet for just a short time. in the long term it would be better to add more LCA/LIFT instead. For example the FA-50 could probably perform 80% of gripen c/d capability at 50% of the acquisition cost.

    Well just hit me with your suggestion that has a leased fighter at its core. Lets discuss it.

  62. Tripledot – out of 40 Hornets obtained by Kuwait the current inventory stands at

    27 C
    7 D

    Hope that helps.

  63. @ melayu k

    AFAIK actually only 1 lost. But others are not operational and stored. Probably used as spares source, but they are there. Janes and wiki is sometimes inaccurate.

  64. Tripledot,

    Good that you get to know me better. Just a simple guy who has the nation’s military aviation at heart.

    OK for leased jet fighter discussion.

    A) Like you mentioned the 16 Gripen C/D that SAAB want to offer for 10 years.

    B) F 16 block 40 from USAF.

    C) JSDF F 15 C/D totalling 100.

    D) F 18 C/D from USMC.

    That’s my take.

    Would love to read your reply, Tripledot.

  65. @Melayu Ketinggalan
    Both the Hornets and FA-50 uses the same weapons, same engine and pulse dopler type radar (even on other LCA contenders use pulse dopler radar) so if you say 1 is obsolete then same goes for another. The Hornet is not obsolete, it just have old airframe that is about to reach its limits hence retiring it by 2035. So, Hornets are not technologically obsolete compared to LCA in 2030. “Old but not obsolete”. Hope you can accept this. If u still say it is obsolete then im free to hear that.

    As for you saying maintaining hornets up to 2035 is “ridiculous”, you should probably say sorry to RMAF and not to us as that is what they are planning to do.

    Thanks for clarifying OPEX and CAPEX but the budget you quoted is for 2020 and not 1 RMK. Assuming each year RMAF got $1.2 billion then in 5 years (1 RMK) they will get total of $6 billion. Can they not get $1.5 billion for CAPEX from the total $6 billion?

    Thank you for reminding me that it was 2032 as i thought it was 2042. We are the last customer to buy new legacy hornets so there is high probability which we will be the last user. I am comfortable if we were the last legacy hornet user as long as we buy new MRCA to replace them before 2040.

  66. @…
    They intent to release all legacy Hornets ( C’s & D’s) once they received all their Super Hornets but with some nego from our side and push from Saudi, we could try to lock in an early release for their D’s as soon as they got their first batch of SHs in 2022.

  67. @Melayu Ketinggalan
    “Joe – No disrespect with the DWP but I find it laughable when it says a combo of the 8 D Hornets & 18 MKM gives it a strategic advantage with our ASEAN neighbours.”

    DWP refers to 18 D Hornets & 18 MKM, not 8 D Hornets, understand? 36 MRCA along with 24-36 LCA is better than what we currently have right now. You can laugh as much as you want.

    SG – 40x F15, 60x F16
    Thai – 12x Gripen, 53x F16, 34x F5
    Vietnam – 46x Su27/30, 34x Su22
    Indonesia – 16x Su27/30, 33x F16, 24x Hawk

    Yeah right now we are behind them in term of quantity but after getting LCA and probably a few extra Hornets, we can be on par with Indonesia and Vietnam in terms of quantity. SG and Thai will still be ahead with 100 fighters plus AWACS.

    FYI, Indon and Thai are still operating their F16a/b which are much2 older than our Hornets and they are still flying. Half of SGs F16 are as old as our Hornets. We can increase Hornet airframe up to 10000 hours from original 6000 hours as done by US navy. If we keep our Hornets even after we buy new MRCA then we can close the capability gap even further (36+18+36=90 fighters) or buy 18 more LCA. But it seems likely we will retire them by 2035

  68. @ luqman

    there is plenty of things that you say that there is a reason to why it is the way it is.

    number 1

    You dont plan your 2030 fleet comparing to your neighbors 2020 fleet. You must know what is their planned 2030 fleet too.

    number 2

    There is a reason why you can use F-16 still, but not legacy hornets. USAF is planning to use F-16s way past 2050. Legacy hornets are being retired now. F-16 in its basic form is still in production now, legacy hornets production already stopped in 2000. All new F-16 have airframe s certified to 13856 hours, and all F-16C/D can also be upgraded to the same standard.

  69. @ luqman

    Legacy hornet airframe max hours is about 8000 hours, with extensive center barrel replacement (basically changing the whole center airframe with new ones). Super hornet is basically a totally new airframe design with a few similar components with legacy hornets. Only block III super hornets will have the 10000 hour airframe, and upgrades to block II super hornets. not the legacy hornets.

    F-16 SLEP is upgrading and changing multiple small components in the airframe for it to achieve a maximum of 13856 hours. How long operationally is that? say now you have 7000 hours remaining on your old F-16. If you fly 200 hours annually, it would be around 2055 when your F-16 would run out of flying hours. Even indonesian secondhand F-16s have about 4000 hours when it was bought from USAF. So even in 2050 probably there will still be F-16s still operational but of course not be the first line fighters for most nations. It will still be used and still be upgraded and maintained. It will be like F-5s of today.

    Legacy hornets will not be such a plane. Hornets will still be flying, but the super hornets, not the legacy hornets.

  70. @Luqman
    Even if TUDM had USD$ 2bil for CAPEX, not all can be allocated for plane purchases as they also intend to upgrade ground radar, ground defence, facilities, plus buying utility choppers, & I’m guessing LCAs too, all within the upcoming RMK 12. If accordingly, our defence budget is now tied to GDP or economic health of our country, don’t even expect we will get near the budgeted RM 15.5bil forecasted for this year, let alone in the next subsequent years we need to recover from COVID19.

    Mind you, this estimated fund available is a guess that the separate Forces will get even share. Let’s say if TLDM can make a compelling argument to complete LCS & more LMS, they could grab more of the pie.

    With such pressure, it is prudent for TUDM to make best of whatever money they can get. Which is why I’m all for spending USD$ 2-300mil for 8-10 Kuwaiti Hornets. If we could convince them to part with those units in storage first, we could receive them sooner than their planned retirement.

  71. @…
    USAF still operating old planes is no indicator that others can do as well. Spareparts production could stop as soon as last plane leaves the factory but remember that US has a Boneyard to scrounge for parts many decades after. They can keep B-52s still running despite being out of production for 40 years. So its no indicator that other airforces could do the same.

  72. @ melayu k

    ” OK for leased jet fighter discussion ”

    Option B C D is not going to happen. How on earth did you think plan C can even be remotely offered??

    US government only have FMS and EDA schemes. They have no leasing schemes.

    Any new types will mean all new training, dedicated people to oversee, fly and maintain it. all different spare parts too. is it worth the hassle for a temporary equipment? not for a complex equipment like a jet fighter.

  73. Tripledot,

    Many years back before Italy received its first EF Typhoons the Air Force leased 34 F 16 from US for 5 years.

    That’s where I got the suggestion for leasing F 16s.

    As for the JASDF Eagles, since Japan wants to sell off 100 of its oldest F 15s might as well broker a deal with Uncle Sam and lease to us.

    As for the USMC hornets I do agree it’s not worth it as they’re always used in combat and are already in the twilight zone.

    Btw to all posters, let’s all be respectful of other countries and don’t use deragotary words such as Indon or say Pinoy.

    The polite civilised manner is saying Indonesia and Ph for short.


  74. @ joe

    USD300 mil could get us about 9 FA-50 too. Which could be used for 40 years instead of just 15, and cost much more cheaper to fly. We right now dont have the numbers to do daily day to day tasks like QRA and air policing patrols, but we still have 18MKM + 8hornets in case of a full on war happening. Anything like Lahad Datu round 2 can be easily dealt with if we have a full complement of 2 squadrons of LCA.

    ” USAF still operating old planes is no indicator that others can do as well ”
    Right now there is about 100 new F-16V orders By Bahrain, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Taiwan. The F-16 production line will be running for quite a few more years to come. Basically if USA plans to use the plane up till 2050, others can piggyback on the huge resources that USA has. If USA is not using the aircraft, basically you need to design the upgrades and support on your own. You can do that with simple aircraft like F-5E, but extremely hard and not cost effective on complex ones like the Hornet.

  75. @…
    Number 1
    -Sg is probably going to have 1 full squadron of F35 and all 60 F16 upgraded to latest F16V standards with AESA radar
    – Indonesia is replacing Hawks with 2 squadron of F16V by 2025 and probably add 1 squadron of SU35 or KFX by 2030.
    – Thai wants to replace 24 F16a/b
    Quantity wise almost the same as right now but with upgraded/new aircraft.

    Number 2
    Legacy Hornets can still be use if we can gather enough spare parts from Kuwait or Canada or USMC. The fact that it is still supported even after 30 years stoped production means we still can use it until airframe reach its limits and Boeing can support them. Spare parts like tyres, brakes, suspension, gps,cabin pressure system etc are still being supplied by Honeywell. Even cockpits and radar can be upgraded without high cost. The engines are still being widely use on Gripens and FA50 all over the world (used by our neighbors the thais, indonesia & philippines). As long as FA50 is around, legacy hornets can still fly up to 10,000 hours (original is 6000) like on US navy hornets if we upgrade the airframes. Even indonesia can add extra 8000hrs on their f16a/b locally with help from Lockheed. We may be the only one operating legacy hornets but it can be done without the high cost of MRCA. But if RMAF really wanted to replace legacy Hornets on 1 to 1 basis rather then keeping them in another squadron, then i have no qualms. Other countries that have or is going to replace their legacy hornets (Australia, Kuwait, Finland) earlier than us because they have the money to do so, but not us. Remember, the aussie’s legacy hornet still have many flight hours left when were sold to a private company.

  76. @…

    “You dont plan your 2030 fleet comparing to your neighbors 2020 fleet. You must know what is their planned 2030 fleet too.”

    This is common sense. However, the reality and outlook is much worse that however we plan, our 2030 fleet can’t even meet the neighbours 2020 fleet!

    “F-16 in its basic form is still in production now, legacy hornets production already stopped in 2000. All new F-16 have airframe s certified to 13856 hours, and all F-16C/D can also be upgraded to the same standard.”

    So the ‘twin engine’ mafia in RMAF is just wrong not to get the F-16 since day one.

  77. @…
    “You can do that with simple aircraft like F-5E, but extremely hard and not cost effective on complex ones like the Hornet.”
    F-5E is not a simple aircraft as it does have computers, pulse dopler radar and have a turbojet engine. Sure it is a more simpler aircraft compared to Hornet but still not a simple aircraft.

    What USAF are doing with F16 is using same but strenghthened airframe with newer computers, new AESA radars, same engine. What we can do and are currently doing with our hornets are

    – New cockpit displays (currently being done, probably same as Super Hornet Block3 if not there is no point in changing cockpit displays and computers unless to the latest model)
    – New datalinks
    – Can add new AESA radar (same as Super Hornet, plug and play)
    – Maintain current engine (same as on FA50 so no issues on engine maintanance over the long run)

    Most of the equipment that our Hornets have and are going to get is the same as used on other newer fighters minus the radar. New technology can be put inside legacy Hornets as proven by our and USMC legacy hornets. So not that hard as we are currently doing most of the things that i just mentioned and not more complex because the use of the same latest tech used on more advance jets not to mention AESA are easier and cheaper to maintained than current radar as found out by US navy thus can be maintained by Boeing, GE, Raytheon and RMAF. The limiting factor here is the airframe and political will. We still havent fully utilize the potential of what the legacy hornets can do.

    Our Hornets are not used for carrier landings so its airframes are much better than the US Navy ones and same as others. That said every Legacy Hornets including the C/D must undergo the centre barrel replacement as well.

  78. @Hornet_Lover
    “So the ‘twin engine’ mafia in RMAF is just wrong not to get the F-16 since day one.”
    Single or twin are dictated by operational needs and certainly some bit on conservancy of thought. Last year’s Hornet incident did prove they have some merit going twin engined. As for Viper vs Hornet, regardless both are legacy planes, is there an operational advantage to keep them running until 2050 or more? IMHO our Hornets numbers should be boosted and kept in working order until and after TUDM planned 2035 retirement date. If they still have some life left, we should continue flying them as support to MKMs and MRCAs but perhaps not past 2040 as their airframes would be 40+ years old.

  79. @…
    “So enlighten me what is the objective for fighters in the context of defending our country? please list me the objectives. Then tell me which objective that absolutely needs the additional hornets to achieve.”

    Objective for fighter depend on task/mission. A sq of super tucano is for CAS/anti guerilla.
    Trainning, reconnaissance/patroling, QRA, aerial defence and air support are basic daily task for AF.

    Let’s look at FA-50. Where this jets will fully effective?
    For training, T-50 will be the most suitable jet.
    For QRA, FA-50 is too slow. It has max speed of 1.5 Mach. Intercepting commercial plane and a subsonic fighter such as hawks can be done. All our neighbours AF filled with fighter jet with max speed over 1.5 Mach and they are retiring subsonic jets. The FA-50 will be smoked.
    For aerial defend, there is 3 type of air defend: air denial, air superiority and air dominance. So, where this FA-50 can play her role to achieve one of these objectives? Again, the neighbours fighter are filled with much more capable fighters.
    For Air Support, what type air support is FA-50 can do? Land/maritime bombing? Fire support? Can FA-50 be more effective against Hornet or super tucano?

    FA-50 is a limited jet for few things and too much for something else to defend malaysia.
    Right now, RMAF only has 6 flyable MKM and 8 Hornet. Will those jets give deterence effect?
    Adding 36 FA-50 will not change the situation. RMAF will be seen as a “light” air force.

  80. @ Luqman

    The F-5E is designed to be as simple as possible to be operated by illiterate 1960s third world country. F/A-18 is full of auto everything inside it. And what part of 10,000 hours is for the Super Hornet Airframe and not Legacy Hornet airframe dont you understand?? That 2 airframe is totally and utterly different!!!!!!!!

    Another issue.

    If you continue to fly F/A-18D Hornets to 2040-2045, it will mean that we will could be the only Airforce in our neighborhood not flying 5th Gen Stealth MRCA in 2040!!!!! There is no way we can collect all types of aircraft and still want to add a new 5th Gen Stealth MRCA. Our own MKM will probably fly till 2050 due to its advantage of superior range, big weapon loadout, a very long range radar and the possibility of having the MKM as a EW/EA aircraft.

    My aim
    TUDM 2040 fighter fleet could consist of – 18 Su-30MKM, 32 KF-X, 52 TA/FA-50M – around 102 fighters.

    If you continue to add more legacy hornets, say goodbye to your new 5th Gen Stealth MRCA.

    @ joe

    Keeping Hornets to 2040 means no new 5th Gen Stealth MRCA to 2040. Can you accept if we are in that situation? By 2040 Singapore would probably has flown F-35s for 17 years by then!

    On F-16 vs F/A-18. In the hindsight the F-16 would be a much better future proofed aircraft. Nobody predicted that the F-16s airframe can be flown up to 13k++ hours with just minor component changes. So it is a very big advantage for existing F-16 users.

    As for twin engine, We fly mostly over water and 2 engines is a good insurance. Why we have our MKM, and why i believe the KF-X is an ideal replacement of hornets and MiGs partly due to its twin engined configuration.

  81. @ Romeo

    ” RMAF only has 6 flyable MKM ”
    What??? This is Merdeka last year!!!

    ” For QRA, FA-50 is too slow. It has max speed of 1.5 Mach ”
    So tell me, how many times foreign fighters purposely encroach our airspace in peacetime? Can we currently afford to stand up 24hr QRA with Hornets and MKM?? Even our hornet (mach 1.8) is slower than every other fighter in our neighbourhood, Gripen, F-16, Su-30, all are mach 2 capable. So your point is moot anyway.

    ” For aerial defend, there is 3 type of air defend: air denial, air superiority and air dominance ”
    You forgot about point air defence and area defence.

    ” For Air Support, what type air support is FA-50 can do? Land/maritime bombing? Fire support? Can FA-50 be more effective against Hornet or super tucano? ”
    We are not buying SuperTucs, and FA-50 is much more better than hawks we use to bomb those lahad dato insurgents. There is no CAS weapon the hornet can carry that the FA-50 cannot.

  82. @ Romeo

    Basically our fleet should be arranged like this.

    LCA/LIFT – main bulk of the fleet. Low operating cost. Can do QRA, CAS. Seamless training path for new pilots to their 1st fighter sqn taskings. So most our our numbers should be of this type.

    MRCA – To aim for 5th gen stealth fighters to replace hornets post 2030. Getting more legacy hornets too late into the future will further delay the introduction of new MRCA. The ideal time window of getting used hornets is closing fast. Why now I think it is not feasible, and believe me, I personally wants so badly for our hornet fleet to be enlarged.

    MKM – Our long range maritime strike and air superiority fighter. Key enabler for our south china sea maritime strike capability. To explore MKM-Gowind interoprability.

    And this will off course be used in conjunction with AEW&C, MPAs and UAS as a networked system together with ground and naval elements.

  83. @…
    Nope. Where did you get that impression we would retire en bloc the Hornets when we receive MRCAs? IMHO, the MRCA was originally planned for RMK 2020 or 2025 purchase of 4.5gen planes with deliveries sometime before 2030 whilst TUDM plans to retire Hornets in 2035 so in all likelihood they will fly the skies together for some years. Also if going for 5th gen, that means we need to push the purchase further back & wait for other options unless we could suddenly afford for F-35s so regardless, we will still run the Hornets up to 2035 and probably more unless something happens.

    And what’s this arms race with neighbour states? SG can afford to be early movers of 5th gen planes because they are US ally and very well could afford it, we can’t. As we learned from MKM experience, integrating new systems into a high tech plane is time consuming and we pay much more. For 5th gen MRCA, I would prefer to sit back for a while to let other plane makers into the game, get them to mature, and let others integrate the systems, and we later go in and buy the planes off the shelf.

    If we’re going to be paranoid with SG superior advantage (which they had since the start), just buy S-400 SAMs. It is a heck lot more cheaper to take down opposing 5th gens than using our own.

  84. @…
    “And what part of 10,000 hours is for the Super Hornet Airframe and not Legacy Hornet airframe dont you understand?? That 2 airframe is totally and utterly different!!!!!!!!”

    Im sorry but this time you are wrong. Legacy hornets can extend their life up to 10,000 as done by USN & USMC

    Hornets can still fly side by side with new MRCA, albeit at lower frequency to keep cost down. Fly it just enough to keep our pilots their skills. We should make full use of its remaining airframe life. Like Marhalim said, our Hornets is getting those barrel change hence increase flight hours. We can keep the Hornets in storage in case of any emergencies happen in future just in case. If we get those 2nd squadron MRCA that u have said, sure we can fully retire the Hornets by then. That would still be at least 5 years after we got 1 new MRCA squadron.

    As for our Flankers, yeah they can be use up to 2050 if maintained properly and have avionics and radar upgraded.

  85. Add hornets and keep them flying until 2030+ only..then replace them 1 on 1 with most advance super hornet at that time…another suggestion maybe a lil absurb is to expand our fighter fleet to be a 22-jet per squadron..that is why im suggesting that we get at least 14 kuwaiti hornets.get all kuwaiti’s Ds and maybe 7 Cs..To expand mkm, just trade that mig29 with 4 more mkm or sm…If we cant trade them then just sell them as scrap to fund additional 4 mkm or sm and nego for barter trade..

  86. Joe – What’s the point of us having the S 400?

    We are not a nuclear powered country military wise.

    I do agree with Tripledot with his wishlist as it is concurrent with Malaysia’s budget. Buck for buck.

    Luqman – What new technology can be inserted into the Legacy Hornets?

    Do you even know that our Hornets are actually a bit better than USMC’s Hornets since theirs don’t even have the bird slicer on their fleet.

    If you want to know both Australia and Finland has the most advanced Legacy Hornets configuration in their fleet. So there’s nothing proven for our Hornets.

    Tripledot – If you could amuse this simple Malaysian, if we have the budget would you consider the F 35 A?

  87. @ joe

    do you know how stealth works? do you know the main reason why turkey buy S-400?

    @ luqman

    I stand corrected on the flight hours.

    But our hornets is not scheduled to have the center barrel replacement. What marhalim said is that the center barrel replacement is needed to extend the flight hours.

    Anyway we cannot afford to fly 3 different MRCA plus the LCA/LIFT. One of the reasons why we need LCAs is to afford to undertake many tasks we cannot afford to do right now.

    @ melayu k

    us hornets do have the bird slicers too.

    F-35 for malaysia? 32 F-35A for poland costs USD4.6 billion. That is like the total budget for 15 years of TUDM development budget.

  88. Tripledot,

    I was wrong, tis the USN which didn’t have the bird slicers.

    You reckon we ok with the KFX jet fighter?

  89. @…
    *So tell me, how many times foreign fighters purposely encroach our airspace in peacetime?”
    It is not about how frequent but it is about one of RMAF basic daily responsibility. Intercepting/qra is part of law enforcement. The same question to you “how many times RMAF have to fight with foreign fighter or bombing enemy in peace time? Should RMAF grounded all their MRCA?

    “You forgot about point air defence and area defence.”
    Point air defence and area air defence is ground based defence. Although is part of air defence is another story and talking about it only make how vulnerable malaysia is in term of air defence.

    “There is no CAS weapon the hornet can carry that the FA-50 cannot”
    How about accuracy and payload? Aren’t both the most important when talking about CAS or bombing?

    “LCA/LIFT – main bulk of the fleet. Low operating cost.”
    That the fact RMAF should take when defence budget will be pegged at 1% of gdp, Meanwhile the neighbours main bulk are medium fighters.

  90. I also agree that we need to look forward into the future with some matured 5th gen fighter..we should start looking and evaluating them now ,not looking and evaluating on that time..but lets take one matter at the time..should focus to complete our current mrca squadron and buy LCA asap hopefully starting at late 2021 not beyond that

  91. @Melayu Ketinggalan and @…
    I will make life simpler for you guys and just quote Wiki.

    (the S-400 was described by The Economist as “one of the best air-defence systems currently made”)

    (According to Siemon Wezeman of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the S-400 “is among the most advanced air defense systems available.”)

    (Types of targets:
    Strategic bombers such as the B-1, B-2, FB-111, and B-52H
    Electronic warfare airplanes such as the EF-111A, and EA-6
    Reconnaissance airplanes such as the TR-1
    Early-warning radar airplanes such as the E-3A and E-2C
    Fighter airplanes such as the F-15, F-16, F-35, and F-22)

    It is basically a very good AA defence system with ABM capability on top, giving it the best capacity to takedown 5th gen planes.

    And AFAIK, Turkey doesn’t have nukes either unless you guys know something many aren’t aware.

    I’m not saying we should buy Russian as my stance on MH17 remains unchanged but I’m saying there are other ways to counter 5th gens without going tete-a-tete.

    Face it, we can’t afford to be early movers and we can’t afford to PTM very high tech and costly planes like 5th gens anymore. Many had grumble on PTM’ing MKM and 5th gen is going to cost even more.

    I’m all for our MRCA being 5th gen but not now when the only viable option is F-35 and others are still paper planes.

  92. @ romeo

    ” It is not about how frequent but it is about one of RMAF basic daily responsibility. Intercepting/qra is part of law enforcement ”
    Right now because of inadequate equipment and high operational cost, we cannot afford to do this basic daily responsibility. I want TUDM to do this basic daily responsibility. What is the use to add more hornets but we cannot afford to use it for 24hr QRA alert?

    ” How about accuracy and payload? ”
    FA-50 has advanced missions computers with CCRP and CCIP calculations plus able to carry targeting pods and laser/gps guided bombs. Payload 10,000lb weapon load.

    ” That the fact RMAF should take when defence budget will be pegged at 1% of gdp ”
    The very reason why we cannot afford to fly more hornets for now.

    even korean air force actually use FA-50 for daily patrol taskings. That is a force with a clear enemy at its borders.

  93. @ joe

    the main reason turkey wants S-400 is to protect itself from ballistic missiles coming from iran and syria. they wanted patriots but us isn’t selling. they wanted Chinese missiles before but is say no too. because of political reasons they went for S-400.

    it is basically to prepare for things like what is happening to saudi now, enemies shooting ballistic missiles at Riyadh, mecca and madinah

  94. @ melayu k

    ” You reckon we ok with the KFX jet fighter? ”

    I cannot read the future, but for now, that is IMO our best bet. While Indonesia is twiddling with their thumbs on paying for the KFX R&D, we should grab this opportunity and be a partner instead.

  95. Joe – Yes I am aware of the extraordinary capability of it but the main reason Turkey went for the S 400 is because Uncle Sam won’t grant them the latest Patriot systems.

    I do agree with you Turkey isn’t a nuclear powered military country.

    I reckon Malaysia would do better with SAM installations by the coastline but I’m not versed in missile tech. If someone here can enlighten us further on what is best that would be great.

    Firdaus – Unfortunately the only matured 5th gen fighter now is the F 35.

    Tripledot – 18 F 35 sufficient for Malaysia? Price now per F 35 A is USD 85 ++ excluding hangar facility etc.

  96. @Melayu Ketinggalan
    “Luqman – What new technology can be inserted into the Legacy Hornets?”

    AESA radar which we dont have (our neighbors will have lots of fighters with AESA radar) and new faster computers/avionics plus new multi colour cockpit displays.

    “I stand corrected on the flight hours.”
    Sure that is correct 10,000 flight hours. I just quoted the whole reply. If we could not afford to operate 3 MRCA then we cannot. But if we intend to operate 32 KFX and 18 MKM just like you said, then we should maintain Hornets until we get all the 32 KFX in 2 RMK. If we can afford to operate hornets along with MKM and 1 squadron MRCA, then we should.


  97. @ melayu k

    F-35 needs tons of specialized equipments and supporting infrastructure to operate it. no way we can just spend USD85 mil per aircraft and start flying it. Reason why Poland paid USD4.6 Billion for 32 F-35A

  98. @ luqman

    Yes of course we should maintain the hornets until we get the MRCA. The question is do we really need to spend millions getting additional ones thwt we will only use for a short time?

  99. @romeo
    Yes FA50 is not the best fighter for QRA and probably not as good as Mig29 for QRA or point air defence as it is not as fast as the Migs but it still can do the job. Remember we have Hornets and MKM for QRA. FA50 can compliment/supplement them in terms of numbers for any QRA missions. Just like what @… said, what FA50 is good at is cost efficiency in daily air patrols and CAS which is what RMAF is looking for. As for the speed argument, other LCA contenders like gripen can get to Mach 2 but is more expensive to buy while the other is JF17 with Mach 1.8 but have chinese system which our arm forces is trying to avoid.

  100. Tbh no need to upgrade our hornets with aesa radar as we only planned to use them untill 2030.. and no need to massive upgrade additional hornets too if we by slim margin get additional hornets. Just maintain and service them enough to get them flying untill then..we only need to get big when we finally get to replace our legacy hornets.At that time then we can go all in

    I am one of those that prefer that RMAF would upgrade the Hornet radars for new ones, if its financially viable, for reasons the current ones are getting old and support will be limited. 15 years is a long time for electronics.

  101. Then we got a paradox here..saving for later mrca/5th gen procurement or maintain/upgrade our current fighters radar and avionic..but like u said, if it financially viable then why not..only and if only its financially viable..

  102. Mr M

    ..Upgrade current hornet’s radar only or add more hornets then upgrade all our hornets (current+ additional if any) radar?

    Both. A half measure by just getting more Hornets without upgrading them is to me not worth the effort especially when the fleet is expected to be in service until 2035.

  103. @ Firdaus

    It has always been a financial paradox. We are not those who have unlimited budget.

    You dont just look down a teropong buloh and see just the Hornet by itself. You need to see the bigger picture. Is spending any money on additional hornet worthwhile compared to say getting more bigger quantity of LCA/LIFT, getting AEW&Cs, MALE UAVs and such? Money spent on more hornets is money less for LCA/LIFT, AEW&Cs, MALE UAV etc etc. And I do want TUDM to have 5th Gen MRCA as early as posibble in the 2030s.

    As i said, personally I would want additional hornets in TUDM. The fanboi in me wants that. But logically, we should not, and the available budget better spent on things that can actually operationally increase our capability by 2030.

  104. so in a sense we still need at least to upgrade our additional hornets (if any) to 25x standard first for starters right? then come the new radar..

    The Kuwaiti ones already undergone the 25X upgrades, as they followed the US Navy advice and also take advantage of the economic of scale of doing it with them. Their aircraft are maintained by Boeing. So if we get them we can get Boeing to do the upgrade there before we fly them here. We were the last one to do it

  105. @ marhalim,

    Still, there are still some differences as theirs are older (1991) compared to us (1997). For example kuwaiti hornets has older radars (APG-68 vs APG-73 of TUDM) . But if we get those kuwaiti hornets and have a full upgrade to the radar, then all will be of the same standard (AESA radar).

    But we are really tight on budget. Right now there is no plans for our current Hornets to get the AESA radar, which is IMO not a very expensive upgrade to be done. Probably because upgrades are from OPEX budget and not CAPEX?

    It can be done both ways really it depends on how much is available really

  106. Already upgraded to 25x..? Its really is a chance that we cant possibly pass..As for aesa radar im thorn in a crossroad..on one side i kinda want our hornets to be equip with aesa radar considering the sg upgrading all their falcon with aesa radar but on the other side, we really need to do some saving to buy MRCA in the future infact to buy LCA too..

  107. One thing many seem to forget. Whichever LCA/LIFT we go for would be in production for years and probably decades to come.

    Even if we get a smaller initial batch of LCA & LIFT, we could always come back for 2nd and more buys when we have the money. Right now we don’t and the Kuwaiti Hornets aren’t going to wait for long.

    If we could get them in pending MRCA buy, it would massively reduce the strain on current Hornet numbers, fill the Fulcrum gap and depend less on MKMs.

  108. Joe – For MRCA we should go for the F 16 Viper block 70.

    Can last until 2050.

    Learn from past mistakes.

  109. @Marhalim @Firdaus @…

    Based on USMC legacy hornet radar upgrade, each APG79v4 cost $3.3million.

    8x AESA = $26.4 million
    1x FA50 = $35 million

    For 16 hornets that is $53 million which is less than cost of 2 FA50. For me sacrificing 1 FA50 for 8 AESA radar is something that i can accept financially and practicality. Not to mention APG79 is cheaper to maintain than current radar. So Marhalim is right it is financially viable.

    APG83 SABR AESA can also fit into legacy hornets. After retire hornets we can transfer the radar to FA50. This will also benefit ROKAF as both their upgraded F16 and FA50 can use the same radar and KAI only need to install and 1 radar type (they are responsible for upgrading ROKAF F16). APG83 is the radar that sg and indon getting for their F16. Both APG79 and APG83 are plug and play with legacy hornets.

    Also some of Kuwaiti hornets have apg73 as they replace some apg65 when they were upgrading the hornets.

  110. @…
    “I cannot read the future, but for now, that is IMO our best bet. While Indonesia is twiddling with their thumbs on paying for the KFX R&D, we should grab this opportunity and be a partner instead.”

    KFX is a good option but join this KFX project is a big NO. Indonesia is not stupd and they have defence budget much bigger and their defence industry is much advance than malaysia especially in aero industry.
    If indonesia quit to join tje KFX than the issue ia not about money, it must be something else which is very important for them.
    Sorry to say, looking at LCS project which malaysian already have skill than what will happen if join KFX?

    About FA-50, I fully supported if RMAF can grab this jet as hawk and aermacchi replacement. But saying this jet can replace hornet or MKM is a big no.
    In the future, I dont know if KFX maybe can replace hornet and F-35 can replace MKM. So only 2 variants MRCA policy for RMAF still maintained.

  111. @ Melayu K
    RMAF is too late to operate F-16V, although there are some nations are buying this jet but for RMAF still hornet is the best choice while waiting KFX (or something similar) produced. F-16 is at the end of her time but KFX is still on first stage so it will last longer and improved even better in the future as 2nd MRCA for RMAF.

  112. @ romeo

    ” About FA-50, I fully supported if RMAF can grab this jet as hawk and aermacchi replacement. But saying this jet can replace hornet or MKM is a big no ”

    Nobody ever said anything about FA-50 replacing hornets or MKM. So where does that came from???

  113. It is still remain wether KFX or even TFX will have stealth capabilities on par with F35. If Lockheed could fully transfer that stealth technology to KAI for use on KFX, it should be able to achieve very close to that. F35A flight per hour cost is almost 3 times that of Super Hornet, the more reason why we should consider KFX as it will use same engines as Super Hornet while being stealthier (should be).

    Another fact, seems like operating Super Hornets are cheaper than legacy Hornets. That is not surprising as F414 engine use 3-4% less fuel while giving more thrust in a package thats same size as F404. Reason why current FA50 dont use F414 is probably due to higher cost to buy.

  114. @ luqman

    ” It is still remain wether KFX or even TFX will have stealth capabilities on par with F35 ”

    of course it wont, but it will surely be low observable. high stealth capabilities comes with high maintenance cost for the advanced coatings.

  115. “The F-16 production line will be running for quite a few more years to come. Basically if USA plans to use the plane up till 2050, others can piggyback on the huge resources that USA has. If USA is not using the aircraft, basically you need to design the upgrades and support on your own. You can do that with simple aircraft like F-5E, but extremely hard and not cost effective on complex ones like the Hornet.”

    Lets see how far this effort goes and how much it gets the cost down.

  116. @…
    Lets hope that KFX wont cost as much as F35 to operate. Their plan is to get future KFX (maybe block2) to have RCS of 0.025m^2. What’s interesting to me is their locally built AESA radar helped by SAAB and (unfortunately) Elbit. Some feature of the radar are

    -Current protoype has 1088 T/R modules (F22 have 2000 modules)
    -Production model will have 1300 T/R modules
    -Use of galium nitrade (GaN) T/R module instead of galium arsenide (F22, F35 and Gripen E/F use galium arsenide, GaN is 40% more efficient than GaAs)
    -GaN technology is used probably due to partnership with SAAB.
    -Hanwa claims it is superior to F16v APG83 radar
    -Hanwa claims detection range of 200km (im assuming this is for 0.5m^2 sized target for it to be superior than APG83 which is still very good, our Flankers can detect 1m^2 at 140km)

  117. Luqman –

    Where did you get the fact that flying SH is cheaper than LH?

    And the price that you quoted for each AESA radar cannot be used as a basis for procurement as other factors takes place also like labour costs, installation cost etc etc.

    TUDM doesn’t have a carte blance.

  118. Romeo – Why TUDM too late to purchase the Viper?

    USAF will use the F 16 up to 2040 and the system is constantly upgraded.

    Slovakia is getting the Block 70 so why not for Malaysia?

    Rather have the Vipers than the grounded Fulcrums.

  119. @Melayu Ketinggalan
    You are asking us to splurge for brand new 4th gen planes for use in a 5th gen battlefield. What lesson is that teaching us?

  120. @Luqman

    “Hanwa claims detection range of 200km (im assuming this is for 0.5m^2 sized target for it to be superior than APG83 which is still very good, our Flankers can detect 1m^2 at 140km)”

    Just curious where did you get the radar range figure for our flankers? I thought it should be super-duper powerful, enough to be a mini-awacs? Maybe it’s good enough to detect a B-52 from 300km away. Lol.

  121. Have anyone talk about taiwan jet fighters n jet trainers,all their in country built jet fighters n trainers are using 2 engine,I think its time for rmaf to look at taiwan fighter jets programme n learn a thing or 2 from them.

  122. @ melayu k

    ” Slovakia is getting the Block 70 so why not for Malaysia?

    Rather have the Vipers than the grounded Fulcrums ”

    Circumstances differ. Even between your neighbors in your neighborhood not all of you can and should buy and use a Vellfire.

    Slovakia has only MiG-29 which is older than our retired MiGs as their single type of fighter. slovakia is surrounded mostly by confirmed allies (NATO).

    Malaysia already has brand new 10 year old Su-30MKM and 20 year old F/A-18 Hornets. Malaysia is not surrounded by friendly countries but not confirmed allies. We have to replace the hornet in 10-15 years time but we need to replace our grounded MB-339CM and our Hawk fleet that has 10 aircraft crashes, decimating the fleet from 28 originally to just 18 now. Do you see the priority? If you are standing in the sun on a hot afternoon, you dont go and buy a sweater. You go and buy a good umbrella to protect you from the sun.

  123. @Melayu Ketinggalan
    “Where did you get the fact that flying SH is cheaper than LH?”
    If you click on the link i given, the statistics are from US department of defence while forbes illustrated the stats. Or did you not even see the sources that i have given you?

    As for the radar installation and integration cost, it can be done in less done 1 hour by a few RMAF technician and Raytheon employee on the tarmac. Raytheon literally said it is plug and play which meant no software modification needed. Hence very low installation cost (flight tickets and nasi lemak for raytheon technician as upah).

    “TUDM doesn’t have a carte blance.”
    Then just dont buy even a single LCA. If we could afford $1 billion++ worth of LCA then we should afford $26 million upgrade for Hornets.

  124. @Hornet_Lover
    “Just curious where did you get the radar range figure for our flankers? I thought it should be super-duper powerful, enough to be a mini-awacs? Maybe it’s good enough to detect a B-52 from 300km away. Lol”
    Here you compare all the radars in all Flanker versions. This is the best source that i could find about Flankers. And you are correct about B52/airline sized at 300km+ (it still could detect F15 at 200-250km range), the larger the target the more the detection range. Our Flanker radar is still the 2nd most powerful fighter radar in the region behind F15SG which is larger version of Super Hornet radar. This however will change when our neighbors got their F16V where in theory it should match our Flankers

  125. while we still have not finalized our LCA/LIFT, Australia is already putting out RFI to replace their Hawk LIFTs.

    aussie Hawk 127s are much more younger than malaysias, first entering service in 1999. 33 hawks are bought by Australia. As i have talked about here before, their hawks is also experiencing issues with engine blade cracking, and wing fatigue issues (which is one of the reasons why we rarely see our hawks with wingtip missiles anymore).

  126. off topic

    latest news

    Indonesian TNI-AU Hawk 209 tail number TT0209 crashed in Riau today 15-06-2020.

    It is said that the aircraft suddenly lost power during landing. Another case of engine blade cracking?

  127. D biggest factor whether we get d Kuwaiti hornet or not will depend on their price tag. Since all of us here didn’t know d exact number it is very hard to say whether they is a good investment or not. Personally i think we will get them in😄😄 .How many I don’t know 😁.

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