CL-415 For MMEA

A file picture of the CL-415 taken at a Malaysian port in 2002. I had the opportunity to fly on board a CL-415 during LIMA 95. The two pilots, both old geezers, tried hard to make us puke by performing some crazy flying, some actually did but I did not. After we landed and as the others scurried to find a place to puke, I shooked the pilots hands and smiled. They had a glint in their eyes!

KUALA LUMPUR: The Coast Guard is getting two CL-415 amphibians for reconnaissance and utility duties this September.

While I agree that the agency need more assets to patrol our waters and borders, one wonder whether they have really thought about getting amphibians for this role. The DG speaking in KK yesterday, however, did not disclosed the amount of the contract and other details. But I believe air force pilots will be flying these flying boats for a while before MMEA get their pilots up to standard.

The funny thing about this deal is that the Canadians have been trying to sell the CL-415 for the last twenty-years now but both the armed forces and bomba have shied away from the procurement due to the fact that these amphibians have the reputation of being hangar queens due to heavy maintenance protocols.

Sure it is nice to land in the water but do they remember the RMAF Grumman flying boats? These amphibians were withdrawn from service less than five years after the purchase as corrosion had affected the airworthiness of the two examples, now on display at the RMAF museum in Sungei Besi.

If RMAF cannot maintain these amphibians, Malaysian Defence have to wonder how MMEA will solve the corrosion issue. Unless they got a ten-year maintenance deal from Bombardier, which I doubt. While I know many foreign operators with long experience with amphibians have managed to solve the corrosion issues, through meticulous maintenance, I doubt our local operators will be as diligent when it comes to financing such tedious task.

I am willing to wage a bet of RM50 (I am a poor freelancer) that the CL-415s will be withdrawn within the next five years. Any comers?

– Malaysian Defence<

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About Marhalim Abas 2184 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Dear Sir,
    The MMEA does not have the people to maintain nor the skill and expertise. What the Canadair manage to do is to sell to the Gov’t is the concept of power by the hour. Meaning that the suppier will maintain the aircraft. In the days of this current administration unnecessary wastage and resources of the country. Senag senag bagi duit kat Mat Salleh. Orang kita banyak yang tak ada kerja. Ada MIATlah ada ex Air Forcelah kerja la ni entah apa-apa.

  2. oo..datuk amdan kurish..neway,KSU nya siapa?tq

    Marhalim: MMEA is under the JPM during peacetime, so technically KSU JPM is the agency’s head honcho although I believe Datuk Amdan report directly to the DPM.

  3. ye betul kate2 encik shahf,
    it’s not fully utilised yet.
    they want to emulate coast guard,but then tak cukup staff ke?

    Marhalim: Not even the US Coast Guard used a flying boat, japanese maybe. The main users of flying boats are for fire control as in Canada, Greece and Portugal.

    For reconmaisance duties, I believe a high endurance UAV will be much better. Perhaps they are waiting for the Aludara , our very own UAV to come online,,,
    If Shahf us right and its by the hour, perhaps it will be from Bombardier own CL-415 fleet and not an outright purchase as the time-line for the contract signing (about two weeks ago) and delivery (September) is simply unheard of. It remained to be seen how a plane capable of only flying around 5 hours will do anything worthwhile for our security….

  4. then, lebih baik beli patrol boats kan?
    hadoih..neway, does AEWC or awacs bagus for our country?

    Marhalim: Yes, better to buy oatrol boats, longer presence and cheaper to run. AWACs is good but its too expensive for us to buy in numbers that it will be a force multiplier instead of just being a pretty toy…

  5. Errr….I refer you to my posts elsewhere vis a vis MALE and HALe UAVs for surveillance. We absolutely do not have the ability to produce a competitive UAV since we lack the necessary sensor (ISAR, FLIR, EO) and comms (secure datalink) technology and infrastrcuture (geosynch sat). That consists 85% of the value of the UAV.

    We can only really buy from Uncle Sam because the other major UAV supplier is Israel. Unfortunately, not only are we considered a second or third tier friend due to our willingness to piss in the cornflakes to impress our Arab and African buddies, we’re also regarded as a potential leak of tech through our links with the Islamic Republic.

    Ergo we’re going to be way down the pecking order for Predators.

    Patrol boats in themselves have a tiny sensor footprint. They are much more effective when cued by a large footprint sensor system like a MPA or a UAV.

    But honestly, the major problem in Sabah is not a lack of tech and resources, it’s the fact that vested interests do not want to resolve the PTI issue. Malaysians are their own worst enemy……


  6. referring to meesterT
    i think there is secure datalink n they dont have to shout bout that.
    u mean, for coastal guards, patrol boats arent necessary?

  7. Dear Meester T,

    Everybody likes to do Aeromodelling. But Controlling in Real time with Telemetry Accuracies that’s the Science, Skillsd, and Knowhow. USA, Russia, UK, France Italy, Sweden have been doing this more than 50 years and we Malaysian wants to short-cut and make this in three years time….Sensors, IMU’s, and Controlling items for UAV have to be sourced from the above mentioned countries. And some are export controlled and regulated by the Uncle SAm under ITAR. Imagine these items are part of Missiles. Until we have the capabilities to design, fabricate and produce these items, the best thing to do is get a proven systems that these countries are willing to sell to you. For your info the Air Force hated so much on the Eagle ARV.

  8. shahf… ergo my comment on Predator/Mariner etc.

    Malaysian aerospace industry works on the basis of bodek for government largesse.

    YngMsian…..You must learn to read. I never said they were not necessary, rather they are much more effective when cued by large footprint sensor platforms due to their inherently limited detection range.

    If you think every PA, PZ and Sabah class PC has a secure datalink, you really are clueless. They do not. They depend on voice radio.

    Ignorance is bliss.

  9. i’m sorry bout that. u know meesterT,i’m still young.=p

    so,in order to have large footprint, besides UAV n stuffs,what do u suggest?

    Can u tell me in exact which of these “every PA,PZ and Sabah Class PC has a secure datalink,you are really clueless” that does not have yet the secured comm and secured database?


  10. Too bad I am not a betting man. Would have won that RM50 bet!

    Technically the aircraft was withdrawn for a while in 2012/2013 as the maintenance contract was not signed. It was after I wrote about it the funds was allocated! So there..

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