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 These amphibians were withdrawn from service less than five years after the purchase as corrosion had affected the airworthiness of the two examples, now on display at the RMAF museum in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I am willing to wage a bet of RM50 (I am a poor freelancer) that the CL-415s will be withdrawn within the next five years.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?
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