Eagles, Typhoons or Tornados?

RSAF F-15C landing. Internet

SHAH ALAM: Eagles, Typhoons or Tornados? Or none of the above? Defence Minister DS Hishammuddin Hussein was quoted as saying that Malaysia is looking into the possibility buying “excess” Saudi aeroplanes and helicopters.

He did not identify the actual type or numbers apart from saying that he will need to talk further with his Saudi counterpart for the final details. He told this to reporters after sending off King Salman Abdulaziz AlSaud of Saudi Arabia at the Bunga Raya Complex Wednesday. The Saudi King was in Malaysia for a four-day state visit.

Two RSAF Eurofighter Typhoon flies in formation. BAE Systems

Hishammuddin said the possible deal for excess Saudi aircraft – fighters for RMAF and helicopters for the Army Air Wing – was part of the wide-ranging military collaboration agreed upon during the state visit. The ministry will also look into getting other assets which are suitable for the Malaysian armed forces.

Malaysia and Saudi armed forces will conduct bilateral training and exercises as part of the collaboration.

RSAF Tornado ADV. Panavia

According to him, Malaysia will offer submarine training to Saudi Navy personnel at the RMN’s base at Teluk Sepanggar, Sabah as part of the collaboration. Saudi Navy is expected to induct submarines into its fleet in the future, Hishammuddin said. The collaboration however will not involved Malaysian soldiers in the current Yemeni conflict.

RSAF Boeing F-15SA. Internet.

However, a small number of  Malaysian soldiers will be attached to the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition headquarters in Riyadh.

At the moment, I have no idea what aircraft had been offered to Malaysia by the Saudis. As it is RMAF and Royal Saudi Air Force operates a number of similar aircraft, from Hercules to Hawks. We also operate Blackhawks and Cougar helicopters as does the RSAF.

I believed we do not need extra Hercules while the Saudi’s Hawks are older than ours. They are getting new Hawks, of course, but again if they retire the old ones, it not will be very worthwhile to take over them. (the old Hawks).

RSAF BAE Systems Mk 65 Hawks. BAE Systems

What they have in excess are F-15s, Cs of course, as they are getting new Strike Eagles as well as upgrading their old ones to the same standard. They also have around 70 Eurofighter Typhoons with the possibility of ordering 24 or 48 brand new ones.

RSAF Boeing F-15SA

Will they offer the Cs or Typhoon or even the 80 Panavia Tornados which have been in service since the 1990s? Your guess is as good as mine! And what about our budget crunch which forced the cancellation of the purchase of the Brunei Blackhawks and delayed the order for the M109 SPH?

A Royal Saudi Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft participates in the airdrop competition over McChord Air Force Base, Wash., July 23, 2007. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Rose/Released)

I am not sure how this will play out but you are all aware Saudi Arabia is a much richer country than us so it can subsidise the cost of upgrading or refurbish the aircraft we want especially with the price of oil going north.

24 Boeing AH-6Is are being delivered to Saudi Arabia National Guard.

For the record, RMAF does not want any other aircraft – even stop gap measures – for its MRCA requirement. It wants the aircraft it had selected though it did not mention the name, according to written answers to questions sent to the air force ahead of LIMA 17.

For the record, Hishammuddin has said that the MRCA has been down selected to either the Typhoon or Rafale. However, the economic conditions meant that an order will only be made in 2020.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2146 Articles
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  1. According to Wiki; RSAF has got 78 F15D (2 seat) model. Since C model is single seat, it is my personal opinion, RMAF should get 24 of the D model from RSAF.

    Else, go with Typhoon T2 which RSAF has got 48 in service at the moment.

  2. The only fighters saudi is selling right now is the retired F-5E’s

    Helicopters? They haven’t retired any current types yet. The only answer would be the transfer of current operational aircrafts. Saudi has a history of sponsoring arms to friendly muslim countries. The Egyptian buy of Mistral LPD and Rafales are partly financed by them, as is a billion euro weapons buy for lebanon (which was cancelled halfway through).

    Possible used items? emm…

    M113 APC
    M109 SPH

    UH-60 Blackhawk
    AH-64 apaches??
    AS-61 Silver (same as our nuri)

    the only possible one is the transfer of some typhoons to malaysia.
    Hawks? they are purely trainer versions
    Tornados? specialized strike versions. The ADV version is retired as no longer suppored by the manufacturer
    F-15? Need US (aka Trump) approval, very expensive to operate.

  3. Or…

    What I personally prefer… is for Saudi to transfer a few typhoon to Kuwait as a return for them to transfer all (36-38) of their legacy hornets to Malaysia. A tecnically indirect help from the saudis.

    But if you get typhoons from Saudi (as the TUDM prefers i suppose), you will be directly indebted to saudi, and any future wars started by the saudis we will have no choice but to join their coalition.

    RMAF prefers the other one though they realised the politicians want the other one

  4. Saudi have 100 +++ F5E

    Excess does not necessarily mean retired

  5. Congress wouldn’t allow Saudi sell it’s F-15 to Malaysia because some ‘regional balance’ issue. Typhoon and Rafale are only option left for RMAF even budget crunch.

    How do you know Congress won’t sell us Eagles? You work on Capitol Hill?

  6. I wouldn’t be too literal with the phrase “aeroplanes and helicopters.” It might not have been that carefully spoken.

    Seeing that we have no budget for a few howitzers, it’s hard to see how we can afford any high performance aircraft right now. The Eagle and Tornado are expensive to operate, and will endanger the chance of the RMAF getting its choice which is much more high tech and flexible. It’s not surprising the RMAF is not interested. That leaves the Typhoon but I doubt the Saudis are letting them go.

    I also wonder about buying used helicopters. These will cost money to bring into service. And don’t we have excess Nuris with plenty of hours remaining that are kept in storage?

    In any case, there is nothing good that can come out of wahabbis having any influence over us.

  7. I dun think they will offer Eagle..& it also not easy to get it because still need USA approval.

  8. hope Saudi will help us getting Kuwait hornet rather than typhoons. in this economy second hand is better than nothing at all.

  9. Absolutely nothing wrong with 2nd hand stuff that have been well maintained, from Japanese OPVs to US SPH or Saudi aircraft.

    Even if the F-15 is offered, there is no reason the US will veto that, considering the small numbers anyway.

    Looks like a win-win situation.

  10. Face reality lah.Don’t dream too much.The Saudis not going to give anything for free.We are in position to buy anything based on the cancelled Blackhawk and delayed M109.

  11. This seems to be the longest running question in MAF history…….along with the Nuri replacement and a MRSS / Amphib ship…….sigh

  12. 4 typhoon + 4 c’s with full armaments would be nice to see them base in my training with mkm n hornets….

    Did the kingdom offered us mistral for free to get us involve in yemen few years back? I believe if thats the case my political rejected it for a reason..(just my personal opinion )..

  13. Marhalim, did you ever heard about Foreign Military Sale(or FMS)? One of the part said If ANY foreign want to sell the US product or second hand then it must approve by Congress. So if Saudi want to sell Eagle to Malaysia then they must have approve from Congress. Without it, it will consider a violation to FMS. If it made in Saudi with 0% US material and component then it must approve by Saudi King himself.

    And no… i don’t work on Capitol Hill. I am Techpriest of Mechanus.

    No I have never heard of FMS until your explanation. But earlier you said Congress will not approve the sale of F-15 to Malaysia due to regional balance issue. It is this part that I want to find out not an explanation about FMS. Where it is said that Congress will not sale F-15 to Malaysia, and how did you find out about it?

  14. Even if the Saudis donate all their assets to us how does that force us to participate in any conflict they are involved in?

    That’s the RM2.6 billion question..

  15. Let just say I’m as delighted by the one sentence reported in Malay mail, I’m skeptical too to “no such thing as free lunch”. For the hoo – ha of “free stuff” we might be “offer”, to the live of the soldier we might need to “sacrifice” (if they do make a request), it just don’t seem right.
    What we’re in now is what of our doing and it can only be undone by a longer term of better planning for the sake of the nation, not the ego of some individual.

  16. The writing is on the wall…..the Typhoon is what we will get.

    It’s down to Rafael and Typhoon in the selection process and the Saudis have the Typhoon only…..so isn’t it obvious?

    All this talk about the Eagle is hypothetical only.

  17. I feel insulted by those hoping we can get donations from “rich Arabs” as if giving free things to “brother Muslims” is a natural thing for them to do. Whether it is Kuwaiti Hornets or Saudi Typhoons, don’t you feel ashamed publicly speaking like this?

  18. We need ex-RSAF Tornados like we need a hole in the head. The Tornados are old, expensive to run, maintenance intensive and there are few users….

    Years ago Saudi offered to sell surplus FH-70s; we declined. this time around I won’t be surprised if they do actually transfer us stuff; after all the Saudis want friends and spreading largesse -whether in the form of cash or other means – has long been a Saudi policy. The trick will be to ensuring whatever they transfer does not lead to commonality issues on our part and does not burn a deep hole in our pockets due to being expensive to run.

  19. Tornado was hotly discussed for the last 20 years ago during the Tun era,but bae hawk were selected eventually. Typhoon and Rafale was hot rumors in the final selection, latest is either used F18 Superbug is an option and now plan are getting excess or used F15 eagle from Saudi…is it the signal that current government in the funds critical condition? Too much rumors, too many planning at the end nothing will materialize. From LIMA 2010 to this year LIMA 2017 too many things were talked, discusses and proposal, but the sure things is,the current government no specific direction at all for our defense planning.. apology…

    Money is not that critical AFAIK but whether is politically prudent to spend money on defence when critics claimed that it’s better spent elsewhere as we are not at war or that some people will get rich from the largesse.

  20. Don’t be greedy and its just not equipment, but cold hard cash. Just ask the Saudi’s for the following.
    1) Fund the refurbishment, upgrade, etc of the 4x Brunei S-70A Blackhawks (if still available).
    2) Give for free spare Hawks. I presume they can be stripped for parts seeing.
    3) Transfer and refurbish some surplus S-70A. If we can get even 4x, combined with the ex-Bruneian S-70, that’s 8 “new” helicopters.
    5) Pay for whatever the logistics cost for the M109 SPH.

    That should suffice. 8x Blackhawks. Spares for the Hawk108s, M109SPH. Pretty good multiplier effect.

  21. Kel, I was asking above if is there no shame in us asking and them giving for things we should rightly be able to pay for ourselves. It’s only our defence needs after all.

    Now you have gone further and actually produced a wish list as if it is natural.

  22. Kel,

    It’s not as clear cut as you make it out to be. It not as simple as just getting or asking for something and then seamlessly operating it alongside what we already operate. There are various issues to be considered.

    We already operate Nuris and Cougars; adding Blackhawks would mean the RMAF has a 3rd rotary type to support which equates to spares to be stocked, manuals to be studied and people to be trained. Same goes with the army, it has Nuris and A-109s; adding a 3rd type means another type to support and people to be trained to fly and maintain it. It’s not as if the army has a huge air wing with plenty of manpower and resources. The Hawk 65 have slightly different avionics compared to our 100 and 200s.

  23. @ azlan

    Actually we already supporting our 2 blackhawk VIP for a few decades now.

  24. ……….,

    I’m very aware of that ….

    Those are owned and are funded by the PM’s Department. Having 2 VIP S-70s that hardly fly and have a handful of support crews with support mostly from AIROD is one thing. Having several in an operational RMAF squadron which requires a separate support/training infrastructure to be set up is a very different thing –
    irrespective of how one wants to spin it having the RMAF operate 3 different kinds of utility helis is not a good idea. On the 2 S-70s; we tried selling both to Brunei years ago but there was little interest.

  25. Yes. Everyone wants new gears, planes, ships, tanks, etc. Hand it down is what the country can afford. So either sit back and wait for the next MP, or the MP after the next MP to actually get any funding (think proper sealift capability, delayed LCS, obsolete naval ships, MIG-29 replacement, delayed MD530, etc.), or get second hand equipment.

    As for Blackhawks, take them and gradually phase out the Nuris. Doing a proper upgrade of the Nuris have been a black hole as far as funding and attention is concerned. Also to my understanding the army wanted ex-Bruneian Blackhawks. So the idea isn’t exactly new.

    Country has to stop thinking of shiny new toys and work on the maintenance culture. Think of how to buy second hand equipment with decent lifespan left in them and maixmise their value to the armed forces. Its not new, many countries do that. Especially countries with limited defence budget.

  26. Kel,

    As I’ve pointed out many times before; I have nothing against buying pre-used. The lifespan of pre-used gear is only part of the problem; there are other issues. The main concern is ensuring that whatever pre-used stuff we buy does not increase our logistical footprint and does not cost an arm and leg to support/maintain.

    If it does, then whatever cost savings we achieve by buying pre-used will be eventually nullified. It is for this reason that the MAF has received various offers for pre-used stuff before but has rejected them : commonality and operating costs. It’s not as if the MAF has a penchant for only ”new gears, planes, ships, tanks, etc” … It has always been willing to get pre-used but certain conditions must be first addressed.

    I have no idea if the army actually wanted the ex Brunei S-70s. The offer was made at a government to government level; if accepted the army would have had no choice but to accept the S-70’s. Note that the army struggled for many years even with its handful of Alo 3s and A-109s. The army was in no position to take delivery of ex-RMAF Nuris army earlier for the reason that it lacked the support infrastructure.

    Personally I can’t see what benefits can be gained by replacing the Nuri with pre-used S-70s. We have Nuris with lots of life left, we have a trained pool of flight and support personnel and the needed support infrastructure. Why would we need to replace the Nuris at this juncture?

  27. “For the record, RMAF does not want any other aircraft – even stop gap measures – for its MRCA requirement. It wants the aircraft it had selected though it did not mention the name.” This statement sounded like a spoiled brat giving its parents (taxpayers) the ultimatum for not buying the toy it wanted. When the entire nation is suffering under budgetary problems, what make the RMAF thinks they alone should be exempted. Even the navy has compromised in getting cheaper Chinese warships. There is the big deteriorating MiG’s vacuum to be plugged and the economy on the horizon is not looking too good. Time to face the financial reality and come out with a more affordable Option B… before you run out of fuel midair or hit the “glass ceiling”… RMAF

    It’s better to be seen as difficult rather than timidly bowing to compromise and then five years later asking for a redress. That’s what happened when they got the Sukhois…

  28. That’s how it works. It’s not about being ”spoiled” or ”giving ”ultimatums”. The armed services have to push for what they need; they have to keep the requirement alive with the Treasury and MINDEF, irrespective of whether there’s actual funding at the moment or not. If they didn’t do this they wouldn’t be doing their job.

    As for the RMN compromising it had no choice; either get something that could be funded from cash allocated for other purposes or get nothing and keep wasting funds supporting old and worn out ships.
    As it stands, there is NO indication that the RMN will get the capability it desires with the Chinese ships or even if the Chinese ships will replace some of the capabilities lost on the FACs and Laksamanas : not because of any issues with the Chinese ships per say but due to funding.

    At least with the MRCAs, if funded the RMAF will get the capabilities it needs and wants. It’s about operational requirements.

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