KUALA LUMPUR: Its not official but the recent announcement that the replacement of the Fulcrum will be delayed at least until 2015 (as I had said before), it most probably means that Malaysia will be the “battleground” for the F35 or the PAK-FA.
However it may not even turn into a zero sum game as our historic vacillations may even see the unthinkable, both the F35 and PAK-FA in RMAF roundels!
And I had even considered that the present government may be replaced by another one! The truth is that our politicians may not see eye-to-eye politically but in the matters of foreign relations, ties between the US and Russia, both will likely seek the middle ground and will try to please both sides.
It may not be the best thing for RMAF and the Malaysian Armed Forces but who can stand up say that they have a better option? Not buying fighter planes, by the way is not a very argument however. I know we dont have the money but our infantry needs fighter cover very badly.
I know the Gripen supporters will say that their plane is the best compromise but if money is only available around 2015 (as I had said many times before), the first planes they ordered would probably be in our shores by 2020, hence only the F35 and PAK-FA, which is supposed to be operational in 2015 will be the only game in town.
I know this is confusing but I also lacked the gray matter to think through this predicament. What about China? What if they come out with their own fifth-generation fighter? There are none at the moment but they could be in the works but if that really happens and our politicians think its a good idea to buy the plane, we may even end up doing so!
We will be the only country in the world with 3 types of fifth-generation fighters!
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