Coming Soon Or Next Change

A RMAF Hawk and a Hornet flew alongside a B-52. USAF

SHAH ALAM: Coming soon or next change. In a previous post, Malaysian Defence wrote that the PM10 administration will have to deal with the legacy issues like the LCS and things like the SPH/4X4s LOIs and the tenders for MPA/MALE UAS and FLIT/LCA.

Yes, there are other issues which needs the attention of PM10 but since this is a site concentrating on national security issues, of course it will be the main ones being discussed here. Anyhow, another issue that will crop up in the next year or so, will be the Kuwaiti Hornets.

Two Hornets flies in formation with a Flanker over South China Sea. Note the ACMI pod on the wingtip rail of the near Hornet. RMAF picture

Malaysian Defence has been told that when the Kuwaiti government wants to sell its classic Hornets, Malaysia will be the priority customer. When, is tricky to answer as it depends on when Kuwait is taking delivery of the 28 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jets ordered in 2016.
Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II and Royal Malaysian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30MKM, F/A-18D Hornet and Hawk MK108 aircraft in a five ship formation over RMAF Butterworth Air Base, Malaysia during Exercise Elangaroo 22.

Boeing has completed the delivery of the 28 Super Hornets to US Navy in September 2021 though there is no word when the aircraft will make it to Kuwait. Six Eurofighter Typhoons has already been delivered to Kuwait as off September 2022, out of 28 aircraft ordered in 2016.
A RMAF Hornet flying over the Kota Belud range

And when the delivery of Super Hornets to Kuwait takes place, we will then have to get permission from the US to start the procurement process. It is this part that requires the movement from PM10. Defence Minister DS Mohamad Hasan will have to ask permission from the Cabinet to get the US approval. And if the Cabinet says no, that is the end of it even if we have first dibs on the Kuwaiti Hornets.
Kuwait AF F/A-18C Hornet. USAF

In December 2021, the Defence Ministry stated it was interested in the Kuwaiti Hornets.

The-then Deputy Defence Minister DS Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz told Parliament on December 22 that the ministry was interested in purchasing the Kuwaiti Hornets. He said it would be a “lock, stock and barrel” procurement of 33 Kuwaiti Air Force F/A-18C/D aircraft which were still in good condition and with low operating hours.

Eurofighter Typhoon of Kuwaiti Air Force landing in the country on March 29, 2022. Credit Alessandro Maggia. Via Leonardo

Unfortunately, the reports on the interest had taken the deputy minister’s statement out of context leading to a denial by the Kuwaitis.
Kuwait F/A-18 C Hornet. Flickr

It is likely that the Kuwaiti Hornets procurement was the reason a large allocation was provided for the maintenance and upgrades of the RMAF Hornets in the proposed 2023 budget. Hopefully, the new budget to be tabled next year will give an indication of the intention.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 1772 Articles
Shah Alam

71 Comments

  1. As I said before, if the MRCA buy is going to be pushed back to 2040 or later, and the MKM fleet will sooner than later need to go into deep SLEP within the same time, we need those Kuwaiti Hornets tho not at the 33units as said by the then DMenHan. What we need to get at all the D models to augment our fleet and some C models as backup and as for spares.

  2. Is anyone in government buddies with the Kuwaits 😁? Maybe they will be sold for USD$1.00 each or some token amount.

  3. They knew for a long time already

    We should tie the F/A-18 acquisition with FA-50. Upgrade them with similar radar, do joint weapon acquisition for both types, et cetera

  4. Tom Tom – ”Maybe they will be sold for USD$1.00 each or some token amount.”

    The hard part comes later. We’ll have to allocate sufficient funding for sustainment [as they get older the airframes will get more maintenance extensive]; for ordnance; for ground support equipment [can’t assume the Kuwaitis will throw that in] and for other things.

  5. Alex – ”We should tie the F/A-18 acquisition with FA-50. Upgrade them with similar”

    We should do a lot of things and the armed services do plan accordingly but you reckon the politicians and bureaucrats actually plan that far with the needed sense of urgency based on logic and practicality? Also lets not forget that once we actually make a request for the Kuwaiti Hornets; it involves the Pentagon, State Department and other entities having to approve it. Approval is not the concern but the fact that it’s a long tedious process.

  6. 17 skuadron (previously were using the migs) can be reactivated with these FA-18 and at least one permanent squadron should be tasked in S&S. Ideally there should be at least 6 FA-50 to be tasked in S&S as well on rotational basis

    With FA-50 selling like fried banana nowadays it’s hard to expect them to be delivered within 36 month after contract. Even then it would take another few years to achieve FOC. With F/A-18, sans some SLEP works it could be used from the get go

  7. Joe “if the MRCA buy is going to be pushed back to 2040 or later, the MKM fleet will sooner than later need to go into deep SLEP within the same time”

    SLEP programme could cost as much or more than a new purchase. So rather than a postponement of MRCA, money wise we could go for early retirement of MKM and acceleration of MRCA program instead.

    “What we need to get at all the D models to augment our fleet and some C models as backup and as for spares”

    Another option is to use the C model to raise another squadron rather than just using it just for spares.

    It would provide a useful Stopgap till the FA-50 with aesa reach IOC & the acquisition of MRCA.

  8. zaft – ”SLEP programme could cost as much or more than a new purchase.”

    Depends entirely on hoe extensive the upgrade is… In the case of the MKMs if it entails a new radar; new targeting/nav pod; work on the cockpit; rewiring, etc, it will not ”cost as much or more than a new purchase”…

  9. Is it possible/viable to invite turkey to upgrade our Sukhois? They already developed their own targeting pods (already used in their F-16s and pakistani JF-17) as well as unlock turkish made bombs and missiles. With Anwar being buddies with erdogan and there’s rumor about erdogan visit to malaysia we should take advantage of Turkey-Malaysia relation on top of participating on TFX project

  10. 17 Skn is being reactivated at Butterworth especially to prepare for the arrival of those additional hornets.

    Now it really depends on how our politicians see this as important to our military requirement. Govt to Govt deal have nothing for “friends with benefits”. Lets see if PH do really walk the talk on corruption.

    Taking in all 33 means even if we don’t need to use all 33, we can use say 16 to add to our current 8, and rotate and retire individual airframes as necessary for 15 years into the future. No worries about sustainment.

    Get KF-21 Block 3 with full stealth features + internal weapons bay to replace the hornets in around 2036-2040

  11. Talking about our Flankers deep SLEP; I guess things like the electronics which come from non-Russian sources shouldn’t have any problems, but the airframe and engines are Russian made. Would we get into trouble with the US over this?

  12. Alex – “Is it possible/viable to invite turkey to upgrade our Sukhois?”

    Do the Turks operate the type? Does TAI have experience working on the type? No, about as likely as AIROD being asked to upgrade Turkish F-16s. Chances ar if we upgrade the MKMs; India will be involved and it will still require Russian assistance.

    Alex – ” Anwar being buddies with erdogan”

    It’s about us having the money and desire; not about anyone being “buddies” with anyone.

    Wong – “Taking in all 33 means even if we don’t need to use all 33”

    That is the plan; we also don’t have the required manpower to fly and sustain 33 new additions in the service.

    Wong – “No worries about sustainment”

    On the contrary it is a major worry even if we end up just operating a handful: as it stands we have barely enough for what little we have and we have a history of buying things but not allocating statement costs on time and in the required level.

    We have allocate not only sustainment costs but also a whole list of other things related to any airframes we may acquire.

    Wong – ” Get KF-21 Block 3 with full stealth features”

    Never mind the LO features; I’d be contend if we proceed with the LCA programme sober rather than later; operate them at a systems rather than a platform level and not take another decade signing for a follow batch.

  13. Id take 10 to 15 of this kuwaiti’s legacy hornet (to complete hornet squadron) and then upgrade them all (maybe not simultaniously) to 25x standard like existing RMAF’s hornets and maybe replace the atflir with sniper pod..Gonna be good for another 10 years at least.Still want super hornet tough to replace legacy hornet for maritime strike roles

  14. ASM – “the electronics which come from non-Russian sources shouldn’t have any problems”

    The Russians still have to provide the object and source codes to enable non Russian stuff to be integrated to the plane’s Russian radar and mission computer.

    Firdaus – “.Still want super hornet tough to replace legacy hornet for maritime strike roles”

    I want Father Christmas to drop bundles of cash on me but alas won’t happen.

  15. Azlan “In the case of the MKMs if it entails a new radar; new targeting/nav pod; work on the cockpit; rewiring, etc, it will not ”cost as much or more than a new purchase””

    The MKM is no hornets where add on R&D & integrations cost had already been paid for by someone else and all we do is pay for parts & manpower to install it. It’s a specialized one off item afterall unable to take advantage of any economic of scale.

    A good example is the FA-50 block 30. an Aesa radar on its own cost half a million dollar, integrating the aesa on the FA-50 however increase the acquisition cost to twice the normal price.

  16. Zaft – “The MKM is no hornets where add on R&D & integrations cost had already been paid”

    Thank you for the heads up but the costs depends the scope of the upgrade and won’t necessarily ”cost as much or more than a new purchase”. If the ”cost as much or more than a new purchase” then we won’t go ahead with it as the RMAF and bureaucrats are mindful of the need to ensure the cash on the upgrade present a good ROI when taking into consideration various factors. I can give examples of upgrades which were cancelled because the cash needed wasn’t a good ROI.

  17. Training with, what? Single seat F/A-18C ?

    Even if we use 26:airframes that would still means that 18 skuadron gets 18 airframes and 17 skuadron get 16. Both can become full strength squadron with plenty of airframes to spare for cannibalization porpoises or in the event of (God Forbid) a crash or something

  18. @Zaft
    “SLEP programme could cost as much or more than a new purchase.”
    It would still not go higher than a single F35 @USD $78mil. An extra F35 would not make much of a difference compared to a fleet of refreshed Hornets.

    “use the C model to raise another squadron”
    For their reasons, TUDM prefers 2seater D model. Perhaps easier for flight training or having a RIO makes them more effective, I dunno. A C bird could be used for CAG driver.

    “useful Stopgap till the FA-50”
    Yes, and it would help when MKMs gets taken down for deep SLEP.

  19. @ASM
    “Would we get into trouble with the US over this?”
    As I understand, in the past nope cuz existing stuff doesn’t contravene CAATSA but now due to ongoing war in Ukraine and embargo, it would be inviting trouble to engage with Russia even if its necessary.

  20. With 2 squadron of hornets & a single squadron of MKM. Wouldn’t the CAP55 original force mix of 3 LCA squadron + 2MRCA change into 2 LCA squadron + 3MRCA?

  21. CAP55 is for beyond 2030/35. The next ten years or so will be the transition period. It will still be three LCA squadrons, if they buy the second batch of the LCA and two MRCA squadrons, once they replaced the Hornets and MKMs.

  22. Most of the Kuwaiti Hornets are single seaters, with around six twin seaters (around 30 or 33 airframes). New pilots will have to train on the twin seaters before moving on to the single seat before they moved to the operational unit. It will be like the ones flying Hawks, first they qualified on the twin seaters and once they qualified, they will be training on the single seaters first before being declared operational single seat pilots. It was the same with the No 17 squadrons when they were flying the Fulcrums. New pilots trained on the NUBs, two of them, first. Once they are ready, they will fly on the single seaters in the squadron or No. 19 (depending on availability). For operational missions, they will fly the single seaters. It was likely both squadrons used the same single seaters as the numbers are too low for them to be completely divided between the two squadrons. During the last few years, No. 17 became dormant, as the number of available airframes went down to ten aircraft (not at a single time)

  23. ”For their reasons, TUDM prefers 2seater D model. ”

    The first batch were intended as training platforms; thus the D variant. There were plans for Cs and this came close to being realised when we issued a RFI for 12 Cs in 1997 which McDonnell Douglas responded to and the Pentagon and State Department cleared for sale but then came the 1997 Crisis.

    zaft – ”Wouldn’t the CAP55 original force mix of 3 LCA squadron + 2MRCA change into 2 LCA squadron + 3MRCA?”

    Who’s keeping track? Like the 15/15 the CAP 55 was politically expedient during the period it was released but nobody was under any illusions it would be adhered to; just like the 5/15 which officially the RMN maintains its committed to [it has to as the government after first hesitating approved] but is as dead as the dodo bird.

  24. Marhalim,

    A few years before the type was retired one squadron stood down and the Fulcrum was only operated by a single squadron for its remaining years in service. Same situation with the Hawks; there were 3 squadrons but the one based in Labuan stood down.

  25. Kuwait originally got 30x C and 10x D models (not 32 and 8)

    one each crashed, and two each stored. So current numbers are actually 27(+2) C model and 7(+2) D model.

    If we do get all of the flyable Kuwaiti Hornets, we could do

    17 Skn Butterworth – 8x D + 4x C
    18 Skn Butterworth – 2x D + 10x C
    extra 11x C and 5x D model to rotate with those that have major expired components around until 2035.

    15 Skn (FLIT) Kuantan – 12x TA-50
    6 Skn Kuantan (QRA) – 12x FA-50
    9 Skn Labuan (QRA) – 12x FA-50

    12 Skn Gong Kedak – 18x Su-30MKM

  26. One can only hope that PM10 will solve the legacy issues which policy is the main issue. There should be evaluation on policy then lay down a new workable plan for all branches which money can also be provided. All procurement will based on new policy and follow the new plan to the letter.

    Next, just solved the LCS issue politically boldly because it all started on flawed policy. Scrap it and take the loss so new ship project can be started. The discussion of LCS already takes too long without any clear decision and no real progress is happened.

    Off topic…
    Meanwhile, when we are still busy wasting time, our neighbour ID is launching the first steel cutting ceremony of their locally build Arrowhead 140.

  27. Romeo – “. All procurement will based on new policy and follow the new plan to the letter”

    Isn’t just the procurement policy but everything else which is deeply flawed and self defeating. The new PM however will not do anything beyond paying lip service and mere cosmetics as defence is a integral element of the patronage system; is not something which resonates with voters and because our national interests policy will be maintained.

    On pre owned Hornets what we “can do” on paper and what we can in actual reality is profoundly different. We are unlikely to press more than 12 into service given limitations in sustainment costs and manpower. Like I pointed out; isn’t merely about getting the airframes but a host of other issues inherent with a resource strapped air arm.

  28. If the RMAF is successful in getting all the ex-Kuwaiti Hornets, identify which and how many units to keep operable – where would the RMAF store the Hornets used for spares? Our Malaysian climate is most unkind. I guess sensitive equipment can be pulled apart and kept locally (under controlled conditions) but airframes would have to be kept in desert like conditions. Would Australia be the best option due to accessibility? and part of defense pact?

    Meanwhile, what happened to ex RMAF Skyhawks (used for spares) kept in the the US? Was it sold or simply discarded?

  29. Charlie Tango – “airframes would have to be kept in desert like conditions”

    Not necessarily; especially if we don’t plan on keeping them for a decade more or so. Somewhere covered and dry with regular corrosion and other checks will suffice.

  30. If these hornets could survive operating in salt water they can survive being stored in some hangar

    Besides since the migs already being taken out of service I’d image there’s space for the hornets. There’s also new RMAF “backbone” AB in bintulu so there’s that. Hopefully the bintulu ones will house the FA-50 on rotational basis at least with options to house more capable fighter jets

  31. AFAIK most of the Skyhawks that were not kept for gate guardians were sold as scrap some years ago. Minus the engines of course. What shelters are you talking about? I think they are all stored in 17/19 hangar at Kuantan airbase. I wanted to look into that hangar when I visited the airbase back in September but didn’t make it in

  32. Romeo “Next, just solved the LCS issue politically boldly because it all started on flawed policy. Scrap it and take the loss so new ship project can be started. The discussion of LCS already takes too long without any clear decision and no real progress is happened.”

    Reboot in itself is not “bold”. It’s a cowardly act of finding an easy solution of a hole we dig ourselves in but rather than freeing ourselves such act only make us dig ourselves deeper & deeper in.

    Let remind ourselves on our history of reboot

    Bought the FA18D, failed to acquired the C, reboot as MKM 10 years later then attempt another reboot 5 years later to the Rafale which failed.

    Failed to get additional f2000, reboot as Kedah, rebooted yet again as gagah then reboot again as the LCS.

    We have been doing reboot after reboot after reboot for 20 long years and what do we gain from it?

    As for the used hornets the main limitations is neither political, physically nor technical. It’s more monetary in nature.

    It’s not about the defense budget had reduce to 1% of GDP from 1.5% previously since 2018 but more how much value is going to be paid for in MYR which the gov can afford with making the money printing machine go brrrr and how much of it is in USD.

    For stuff that going to be paid for in USD, how much the US is willing to compensate for the price with either licencing of high value added manufacturing, more FDI or preferential access to their market because at the end of the day, we acquiring the used hornets & FA-50 help the US with it own national interest.

  33. dundun – ”If these hornets could survive operating in salt water ”

    On carriers they get regular checks. As it stands even aircraft which operate over or near water but are not exposed to the sea for sustained periods can suffer corrosion. Bear in mind that even aircraft which are marinised can suffer corrosion; i.e. our Lynxs had to undergo preventive maintenance in Oman after prolonger exposure in the Gulf of Aden.

    dundun – ”they can survive being stored in some hangar”

    Will still require periodical checks due to humidity and certain components might require at minimum a dehumidifier. Even various things currently operated are provided with some protection in the form of dehumidifiers. On ships for example; CICs are known to be freezing; not for the comfort of crews but for the electronics. In lieu of dehumidifiers or purpose built storage places with temperature control; AC can be a substitute but the danger in moisture accumulation; I know of some examples but rather not mention them in an open forum.

  34. zaft – ”reboot as MKM 10 years later then attempt another reboot 5 years later to the Rafale which failed.”

    Before we set our sights on the Rafale there was very strong political interest in the Typhoon [in case you’re unaware the current DPM said the Typhoon was the most capable and other things might have to be delayed to fund it] and before and after that for a period the Gripen.

    If we want to start from the beginning the plan was to get MRCAS in the 200/2003 period [MKMS]; followed by MPAs to augment the Beechcrafts; PC-7 Mk2s to gradually replace the Mk1s and a new rotary platform to augment and eventually replace the Nuri – that was the roadmap as set out by the RMAF. All these requirements were approved and registered subject to funding.

    zaft- ”Failed to get additional f2000, reboot as Kedah, rebooted yet again as gagah then reboot again as the LCS.”

    Incorrect. The follow on Lekius and the requirement for a new platform to replace the Voper built PCs were totally different requirements and under different periods; as was the requirement for the pair of South Korean ships. You have jumbled everything up – there was no ”reboot”………

    zaft- ” It’s more monetary in nature.”

    To keep things brief; the RMAF welcomes pre owned Hornets if can get sufficient funding for sustainment and other things and as long as it has no adverse bearing on the LCA requirement which for the RMAF is an even more pressing requirement.

  35. RMAF could probably afford to fly a few of kuwaiti airframe even without any substantial increase in funding.

    8 is a very low number of jet to perform all duties and it also does double duty for both conversion fighter & fighters jet duty. Which mean high sorty rates which equates to high sustainment cost. Relegating the current duties those 8 currently perform to more airframe would probably more cost effective particularly if those additional airfame are bought at token prices.

    Sustainment & upgrade would mostly done locally thus the biggest hindrance is likely the armament. Which is probably why RMAF wanted to be incharge of GBAD. If they could get NASAM, they would also get a good enough amount of amraam & sidewinders stockpile

  36. zaft – ”RMAF could probably afford to fly a few of kuwaiti airframe even without any substantial increase in funding.”

    The key word is ”probably” but as has been pointed out to you; we barely have enough to sustain what little we have… Even getting another 8 airframes is a major undertaking requiring funds. Never mind the funding; do you realise the amount of planning, shuffling and administrative stuff required?

    zaft – ”Relegating the current duties those 8 currently perform to more airframe would probably more cost effective particularly if those additional airfame are bought at token prices.”

    Great on paper but in reality the RMAF is a resourced strapped air arm; one which also has limited manpower. The amount of trained fast jet pilots we have plus trained and available ground support personnel can fit a few buses…

    zaft – ”Which is probably why RMAF wanted to be incharge of GBAD.’

    When exactly did they say that? It’s requirement for a GBAD and that of GAPU’s are for two slightly different things… The RMAF has no issues with GAPU’s requirement for something similar and never wanted to be ”in charge”…..

  37. we have 8 jet thus 16 stick thus likely have 16 pilot. Probably.

    Has no idea how much it cost to train a pilot here, but the European stats shows it cost around 2/3 the acquisition price of jet. Opportunity cost wise it would be wise to put 1 in each jet rather than risk 2 of them on a single jet.

    Contrary to popular belief, I think the gov are ‘excited’ about the hornets & FA-50 mostly thanks to Azmin Ali. Not because of it firepower per say but because of it economics impact. If the US trusted us to upgrade or better yet license manufacturers highly sensitive secretive military products there’s no reason why they won’t trusted us to manufacturers highly sensitive secretive consumer products.

    Also kudos to RMAF for insisting that hornets be upgraded locally rather than taking the easy way out and upgrade it in OZ or something.

  38. zaft – ”Has no idea how much it cost to train a pilot here”

    The relevant question you should ask before making any assumptions about the RMAF’s ability to do certain things is how many pilots are enrolled annually; how many are streamed for fast jets and how many make it past FTC3? Another question you should ask yourself is how many pilots can we train annually from those we have given we have no LIFT and only send small numbers to Canada….

    zaft – ”Contrary to popular belief, I think the gov are ‘excited’ about the hornets & FA-50 ”

    Contrary to ”popular belief” the RMAF was interested in the F/A-50 way before Azmin Ali even knew what it was and the government [or rather the previous one] wasn’t ”excited” per see about the prospect of acquiring pre owned Hornets; it was open to the prospect but uncommitted.

    zaft – ”If the US trusted us to upgrade or better yet license manufacturers highly sensitive secretive military products”

    Was it 2nd SS Panzer Korps which entered Moscow in 1945 or was it the 1st Belorussian Front which entered Berlin?

    zaft – ” Also kudos to RMAF for insisting that hornets be upgraded locally ”

    What? The RMAF didn’t ”insist” as you claim…. It was due to matters beyond its control. What gave you this notion that it ”insisted”?

  39. still need to cough up that monies though cuz that legacy hornets and mkms will not replace themselves..2024-2025 rmaf need to already plan what jets they want to replace them whether one type of 2 type of jets..But that also ofcourse depending of govt of the days’s direction and funding.The urgent need now are to make sure that MALE UAV,MPA contract signed without any further delay and sign that lca tender quick

  40. With these additional hornets and FA-50 we can afford to wait at least until TFX or when KFX will reach actual 5th gen status . What’s the point of getting new 4++ gen fighter when they’re getting obsolete soon?

    In the meantime we need to upgrade these hornets and MKM.

  41. This is not just a sustainment based decision. Its also a decision on how many new jets to get for the RMAF. Both the F-18Cs and the LCA will be new jets to the government, and therefore compete for the same aircraft acquisition funds, just like the LCS competes with the LMS Batch 2 for shipbuilding funds. Getting too many F-18s will likely reduce the LCA numbers, or stretch the acquisition unrealistically long (e.g. instead of 18 jets in 1 RMK, it becomes 18 jets in 2 RMK). Conversely, getting too many LCA will limit the number of “new” F-18s RMAF can buy. Personally, my preference is to prioritise 18 LCA in 1 RMK, and then see what’s left for F-18s. Based on past experience, there are very few opportunities to get truly new assets. LCA is the only new budgeted and approved jet fighter program since the SU-30MKM acquisition in 2003, and likely the only one until 2040. Rather take new jets then second hand interim jets if have to choose.

  42. “our biggest issue will be pilots.”
    Indeed but if FLIT comes in on time, we could boost that numbers.

    However more importantly, with more airframes we can put less stress onto the existing fleet via longer rotation cycles. This would, in effect, prolong our usage and thereby greatly help to tide us over while TUDM/Govt sort out the MRCA commitment.

    @Zaft
    “RMAF for insisting that hornets be upgraded locally”
    More of necessity due to Covid restrictions rather than a ‘want’ from TUDM. IINM they still need to go to Aussie for deep SLEP. Locally it seems just replacing worn parts to keep them flying.

  43. ”Indeed but if FLIT comes in on time, we could boost that numbers.”

    No we can’t. Not as easy as that. As explained to Zaft – ”how many pilots are enrolled annually; how many are streamed for fast jets and how many make it past FTC3? Another question you should ask yourself is how many pilots can we train annually from those we have given we have no LIFT and only send small numbers to Canada….”

    To ”boost” numbers we need several things; namely more LIFTs; more funding; more pilots making it past FTC 1 and being streamed for fast jets; etc. Ultimately only a limited numbert of pilots are enrolled annually and a smaller number get past FTC 3.

    kel – ”This is not just a sustainment based decision. Its also a decision on how many new jets to get for the RMAF. ”

    Really? How ”how many new jets to get for the RMAF” depends on how many pilots and ground crew are available and if adequate sustainment funds can be acquired. As has been mentioned before : the RMAF is a resource strapped air arm and barely has enough funds for sustaining what it has.

    kel – ”Getting too many F-18s will likely reduce the LCA numbers”

    The RMAF as I’ve been told will not touch pre used Hornets with a barge pole if funds are diverted from the LCA programme and does not plan to press into service more than 9-12 Hornets because of funding and manpower limitations; something Marhalim has also alluded to.

    kel – ”IINM they still need to go to Aussie for deep SLEP.”

    No they do not as long as the right partner is selected and as long as sufficient funds are allocated for a comprehensive overhaul/rewiring/deep maintenance.

  44. Jet are not car, it’s not an easy transition like from the Myvi to a 3 series that could be done overnight. Currently we need a LCa for LIFT & a replacement for the hawk. The FA50 even in block 30 form while could perform LIFT excellently can’t replace the hawk at least not until 2035. So it rather logical to prioritize only the 1st 8 or so to be used as LIFT. Whatever next could be stretch further apart.

    This is because operationally speaking the FA-50 even with aesa radar is a new varient, it would take years even decade to get it in order, to develop the tactics, to train the pilot, to integrate the weapons and so on for it to be operationally effective. The FA50 block 30 would likely only reach IOC in 2035.

    The hornets meanwhile is basically useable from day 1. Assuming the same family of aesa radar & armaermant then all the weapons purchase is usable from day 1 and would be operational with the FA50 when the hornets retired.

    Our hawk ain’t going to be flying for 10 more years. We forgo the upgrade options & thus the hawk is pretty much on it last leg. We can’t replace a working hawk with a half working fa50 couldn’t we? Thus the hornets is a pretty useful Stopgap measure to bridge between now and when the FA50 is fully operational.

    Our hawk pilot are qualified pilot thus sending them to a fa50 (a lift platforms) to undergo a conversion fighter program is extremely wasteful. Might as well train new pilot on the FA50 as lIFt before sending them to a operating FA50 squadron. Cost efficiently wise The hawk pilot would be better used to undergo conversion fighter program with the ‘new’ fa18 D, while some pilot on our D move on to C.

    The typhoon then Rafale then the FA50 had always been ‘sold’ as a catalyst for MY aerospace industry. We had always wanted to licences manufacture a jet just like the Turks, Korean did 20-30 years ago with the F16. Thus So from a manufacturing standpoint stretching the FA-50 delivery is beneficial as well.

    So I’m at the opinion that cost efficiency wise the FA50 program should be stretch out, the FA18 to provide a stopgap solutions until the Fa50 reach IOC then the FA18 be replaced by 5/6th gen fighter. But it would take time to transition to the 5/6th gen. So the FA18 may as well be with us for the next 20 years.

  45. It is okay if we would just use a dozen or so of the Kuwaiti Hornets.

    But we still should take all 34 of them in, so that we could just retire an airframe when it is worn out (6-7000 hours) and swap them for the extra airframes instead. That should enable sustainment consisting of only regular servicing without the need of any major SLEP until the planned replacement in around 2035.

  46. “Not as easy as that.”
    Yes agree, it will take a lot more money, manpower, and several years to train but at least with more planes we will have the enablers to do it rather than sitting around saying we have limited pilots because we have limited planes. But also even with current pool of pilots, it does help when they can rotate to a lot more planes and we can put up a few more in the skies as compared to currently.

    “as long as the right partner is selected”
    Im not sure if the right partner was selected for the local refurb or if they even got the competency to do Boeing-certified SLEPs. Otherwise, it still needs to be done in Aussie.

  47. The trainer version of the Golden Eagle is either the basic T50 trainer, or the light attack trainer TA50. FA50 is quite a different jet to the T50 and TA50. I’m curious to see what combination of aircrafts RMAF is getting. Is it all FA50 and use them for FLIT? Or mixture of TA50 and FA50? My view is you don’t stretch the LCA orders because the total requirement is 36 planes to form 2 squadrons. 18 planes over 5 years is 3 to 4 planes a year. Stretching 18 planes to 10 years (2 RMK) is 2 planes a year which is very slow.

  48. ”Im not sure if the right partner was selected for the local refurb or if they even got the competency to do Boeing-certified SLEPs.”

    RUAG with its local partner which it apparently sold its local stake to.

    ”if they even got the competency to do Boeing-certified SLEPs.”

    Neither the RMAF nor the government would get a non certified entiity to work on our Hornet.

  49. zaft – ”We forgo the upgrade options & thus the hawk is pretty much on it last leg. ”

    Incorrect. As long as the engine is overhauled and as long as periodical check are made and various airframe does not exceed the stipulated hours; it is not on ”its last leg”.

    zaft – ”it would take years even decade to get it in order, to develop the tactics, to train the pilot, to integrate the weapons and so on for it to be operationally effective.”

    Incorrect. Will not take a ”decade”… Even with the MKMs when the RMAF could not rely on the Russians or the Indians to help with a combat syllabus specific to the RMAF because some stuff on the MKMs was specific to it; did not take a ”decade.”

    zaft – ”The typhoon then Rafale then the FA50 had always been ‘sold’ as a catalyst for MY aerospace industry.”

    To keep things simple and avoid assumptions or obfuscation; all the jets were offered with the usual ToTs; offsets and other things because those are the things that give the policy makers/bureaucrats a stiff one in the morning. Same with the Hornets and Flankers the decade prior to that.

    zaft – ”We had always wanted to licences manufacture a jet just like the Turks, Korean ”

    Incorrect. I have no idea of where or how you came to this conclusion but we have never seriously pursued the notion of manufacturing or assembling jets here though it has been offered to us. Also, unless we can commit to a certain number over a certain period; licensed production or assembly of a planes is a sure way of losing more taxpayer’s money.

  50. “RUAG with its local partner”
    If that’s true then great! Let’s hope they can sustain that business stream and also not irk TUDM becoming persona non grata later. At least more jobs for the locals, inline with the Govt localisation and job creation push. Perhaps can expand their capacity to cover SLEP for upcoming LCA & MKMs too.

    Speaking of which… “RMAF nor the government would get a non certified”
    But they did consider, quite seriously, on using Indian-made Flanker parts for the MKMs even tho the Russians might be sketchy on that if later warranty issues do arise.

  51. Kakadu “Arent you a die-hard Rafale and M346 fanboi?

    what happened?”

    Never said I was a fan.
    Only said that during that moment when MY was a one party state, the politicians class would likely favor any non American stuff no matter if ATM & the general public wanted an American one.

    The good thing about one party state is political class has the power to redirect a country direction according to their self interest even if it’s again the collective national interest. The bad thing about one party state is political class has the power to redirect a country direction according to their self interest regardless of a collective national interest.

    As it is now it, it does seem MY is on it way to become a ‘real’ multiparty democracy and thus the political class can’t bend the country to their own personal interest anymore. Which is exactly where US want us to be and why they help fund the whole endeavours in the first place.

    Azlan “unless we can commit to a certain number over a certain period; licensed production or assembly of a planes is a sure way of losing more taxpayer’s money.”

    If we can’t get something like KAI or TAI to setup, it would be difficult to maintain political commitment to AF purchased plans. Without a TAI or KAI we either would end up with a zoo of equipment like during PM4 period or doesn’t buy anything like during PM5&6 period.

  52. zaft – ”when MY was a one party state”

    By the very definition of the word [look it up]’ Malaysia was never a ”a one party state”…..

    zaft – ”If we can’t get something like KAI or TAI to setup”

    Again I would have to disagree with you because like previous things you have come up with you are seeing things which are not there and misreading the situation… We have no intention to ”get something like KAI or TAI to setup” because both entities require a lot of cash to create [cash we don’t have]; have a home market with economics of scale; are in a much more advanced state of technological development compared to us; have holistic policies and an existential threat; etc – obvious/apparent.

    zaft – ”Without a TAI or KAI we either would end up with a zoo of equipment ”

    You are seeing things in absolutes and coming up with flawed/incorrect statements.
    It’s like me saying something as tripe as unless or until we get 500 kiloton ICBMs able to hit Beijing, Ouagadougou or the Standing Rock Indian Reservation; we can never guarantee we will never be attacked….

  53. ”on using Indian-made Flanker parts for the MKMs”

    HAL parts are cleared for use and certified by the OEM for the MKI; what they are not cleared for is export because HAL is supposed to license manufacture parts for the IAF and not for export…. About a decade ago HAL came up with a plan to license manufacture parts common to the Su-30/27 and have them ready for export within 24 hours of payment – didn’t happen. We have on the quiet obtained certain HAL made parts for the MKM; as we did for the Alo 3s years ago.

  54. Not sure why anyone thinks 3 MALE drones and 18 LCA jets make Malaysia a big and important market to justify vendors investing millions to setup manufacturing plants. Suppliers will just add on any industrial base enhancement requests (e.g. ToT, Local assembly) to the acquisition costs. RMAF doesn’t actually benefit from the industrial base enhancements because there is no long-term acquisition plans to keep the production lines running. The facilities will just be used for the orders, then close down after final deliveries. In the end RMAF is forced to fund unnecessary investments out of their own limited budget.

  55. kel – ”Not sure why anyone thinks 3 MALE drones and 18 LCA jets make Malaysia a big and important market to justify vendors investing millions to setup manufacturing plants.”’

    It’s not the ”vendors investing millions to setup manufacturing plants” but the Malaysian taxpayer. Same with ToTs and offsets paid for by the Malaysian taxpayer. It was reported somewhere that the assembly plant KAI offered us requires a 300 million figure to set up.

    kel – ”RMAF doesn’t actually benefit from the industrial base enhancements”

    Similarly’ did the RMAF benefit from SME producing Hawk pylons; CTRM producing A400M steps and various other spinoffs gained as part of offset deals? The industry benefited [as was Mahathir’s intent] but not the armed services. The Fulcrum deal was supposed to lead to significant investments and cooperation with the Russian Federation in the post Cold War period. Did it? Did the army benefit from the stud offsets we obtained along with the PT-91Ms or the Italian investment which was supposed to come due to us buying the Laksamanas which the RMN recommended against more than once because of suitability issues but was told to shut its gap? Of the dozens of MOUs we sign at DSAs and LIMAS; how many actually lead to actual tangible benefits?

  56. true just a small token purchase doesnt need inhouse production/Assembling line,mro & sparepart centre and what not..just send them to their producer when their time for maintanance come..However no matter how small we still need to purchase them lol

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