PETALING JAYA: Ok, we already know we cannot afford to purchase those super-duper MRCA planes to replace the Fulcrums and other planes including the Hawks and Hornets in RMAF inventory.
We have mentioned before that buying second planes and other arms maybe the next best thing for resource stretch Armed Forces. Some had mentioned buying second hand Hornets or the Vipers. As I had mentioned before the RMAF is quite shy about going down the second hand route – following the Skyhawks and Albatross debacle. I am still skeptical about the Armed Forces buying second hand arms but the latest news from US need to be explained in the Malaysian context.
At a recent testimony in Congress, US Air Force general spoke about “upgrading” their F16 fleet. What they said:
“That means a service life extension program for newer-model F-16s, pushing them from life spans of 8,000 flight hours per jet to about 10,000 hours. Carlisle said the Air Force will SLEP between 300 and 350 of its Block 40 and Block 50 F-16s — though it has enough aircraft that it could upgrade around 600, if it ever needed to.
Lindell said officials expect that to cost about $9.4 million per airplane, enabling the fighters to stay in service until around 2030. “We expect some viability out of the F-16 fleet if we’re going to spend that much money to SLEP the aircraft,” he said.”
Since 2nd hand late generation Vipers could be procured below USD50 million (around RM155 million, could be lower if we bargain) and the cost of upgrading them is US9.4 million (RM28), for around RM3 billion we can get around 30 planes! And these jets could last until 2030! If the USAF think a fleet of Vipers is good enough, why cant we? Yes, I know buying second hand jets through FMS cheaply means no offsets (yes we could still ask for offsets but that why I said cheap) and the need to forgo other luxuries but….
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