First Fulcrum as Gate Guard

Mig-29s over Subang as part of a flypast training on Dec. 19, 2016. Malaysian Defence picture.

SHAH ALAM: It appears that the first RMAF Mig-29 Fulcrum to be turn into a gate guard has left Kuantan airbase. A video on Facebook by Adam Johan dated January 4 showed tail number M43-06 being taken out from the base aircraft shelters and placed on a low-loader truck.

In the comments section, Adam said that the aircraft was being sent to the nearby Joint Force Command headquarters in Sungai Panching – some 5km away from the airbase. He also said other Fulcrum airframes will be sent out to other locations as well.

Mig-29N M43-06 while in service with RMAF. Credit: Unknown.

It is likely one airframe will be put up at Kuantan airbase as well as the aircraft was based there during its entire service with RMAF. The airbase also has two other gate guards (if I remember correctly) – a Tebuan located just inside the main gate and an F-5E near the main air movement terminal).
Tail number 06 being towed from the aircraft shelter. Facebook video screengrab.

Talk is rife that one Fulcrum airframe will be installed as the Dataran Pahlawan in Putrajaya where other retired military vehicles, missiles and other stuff are put-up as gate guards. A Fulcrum airframe is also likely to be an exhibit at the RMAF museum at the Sendayan airbase. Do note that the museum has not been to the public just yet.
Tail number 06 being lifted onto the low loader. Note her wings, nose and engines have been taken off her.

Interestingly, not a single Nuri is placed at Dataran Pahlawan even though arguably it is one of the most successful and significant military equipment since Merdeka. The Nuri, perhaps, do not look the part of a significant military item.
Nuri M23-28 from No. 8 Skuadron which was stripped down to its airframe for relocation from Tawau to Kuching on 1 Sept. 2020. For storing purpose there is no need to take out the engines though. RMAF picture

Like other military equipment and aircraft, both the Nuri and Fulcrum fleets were put to pasture without any formal ceremonies.

HT to EL.
–Malaysian Defence

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64 Comments

  1. Melayu – ”Why not resell to India or Ukraine?”

    We are non aligned; we don’t take sides. Selling to the Ukraine means pissing off the Russians. As for India years ago it wanted the Fulcrums but now; as of 2024?

  2. There are also A4 Skyhawk monument inside the Kuantan Airbase. That monument place called Dataran Skyhawk if Im not mistaken.

  3. We missed the chance to sell to Ukraine when they needed Russki gear. Now they have transitioned to Western stuff (F16) so no longer interested anymore.

    “what we going to do with our Flankers?”
    Actually we could have proposed to sell the MKM as well with the Migs as a package in return for Uncle Sam to give us good terms for latest F16/F15/SH. Ukraine AF had used SU27 and the West could easily maintain the various Western parts we stuff inside that plane. As for displeasing Russia, we have no love lost after what they did to MH17.

  4. Joe “Actually we could have proposed to sell the MKM as well with the Migs as a package in return for Uncle Sam to give us good terms for latest F16/F15/SH”.

    The trade & security relationship between us & Russia is negligible and like NK we can afford to pissed them Russian off provided uncle Sam pays us the right price. Though getting cheap 4.5gen fighter in a 5th gen world is not what I would called the right price.

    From what I understand the MIG donations from Slovakia & Poland was symbolic in nature & more of a PR exercise. Those jet won’t increased the number of jet flying in Ukrainian airspace but rather the most likely thing that happen is that the jet are being cannibalise for parts.

    Thus technically speaking using the airframe as a gate guard afford us the opportunity to ship out her parts to Ukrainian quietly if we wanted too.

  5. zaft – ”From what I understand the MIG donations from Slovakia & Poland was symbolic in nature & more of a PR exercise. ”

    Nonsense… They were badly needed due to the high attrition rate with Ukrainian Fulcrums. It was not ”symbolic” as you confidently but erroneously claim and you’d know it you looked it up before hitting the keyboard/pad.

    zaft – ” rather the most likely thing that happen is that the jet are being cannibalise for parts.”

    If you care to look it up; many Fulcrums which arrived from abroad were pressed into service and spares – lots of them – were also provided.

  6. Azlan “as you confidently but erroneously claim and you’d know it you looked it up before hitting the keyboard/pad.”..

    Sure sure. Only information you get is true & valid others are not everyone else’s are just inventing stuff from their head.

  7. @Zaft
    “MIG donations from Slovakia & Poland was symbolic in nature”
    Symbolic or whatnot it doesnt matter to the giver. Poland are being given the latest Vipers and even more help until they ran out of cash (which likely will be helped by Uncle Sam too). Slovakian too are switching over to F16s so for both it was a really good deal which we could have participated too.

  8. Joe – Poland 48 Vipers are the 50/52 Block, not the latest 70 Block version.

  9. Are there any possibility the MKM will joined the recently announced Indian Air Force MKI upgrades so that its operational life to be extended post 2035?

  10. Slovakia ordered its F16s in 2018 and has begun to receive the jets in 2024. Poland got their F16 in 2008 after signing a contract in 2003. Poland ordered F35 in 2020, years before the conflict. Both have had long-term plans to phase out Russian jets. Neither got their F16s or western jets because they donated jets to Ukraine – just because the jets are being delivered today doesn’t mean it was made yesterday. Neither country would have donated unless they got replacements. Slovakia got NATO air policing cover in exchange for retiring their Russian jets a few years early (i.e. before F16V in 2024). Poland retired their Mig-29s early only after they found KAI could deliver FA-50s quickly – contract 2022 delivery 2023. A F16V costs around USD60m, a F15EX cost around US$90m while a FA50 cost around US$30m. I’m curious how much discount could have been given for Malaysia to afford F16 and F15EX? And is the idea to fulfil the MRCA requirement with the F15EX?

  11. @Kamal
    Thats a bit too ambitious, atm we dont even know when the MKM will get their long overdued SLEP.

  12. MRCA requirement

    Anything we buy for MRCA will be used for 30-40 years after the date it arrives.

    The idea (pushed by the politicians) in 2015-2018 was to get either Rafale or Typhoon for MRCA. Now surely it would be 5th generation stealth fighters that would be the MRCA contenders.

    We will only have budget for MRCA after 2030. We will need our budget to get FA-50 batch 2 in 2026-2030

    TUDM normal allocation for development is around USD1.6 billion for each 5-year rancangan malaysia. So if MRCA budget is to stretch to 2 RMK, that would be a maximum of USD3.2 billion (leaving 0 budget for other things that needs to be bought)

    The need listed in CAP55 is for 2x MRCA squadrons. number would be from 24 (12 per squadron) to 36 (18 per squadron) fighter jets.
    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Cap55.jpg

    Would you be okay if malaysia flies F-15EX as its main fighters from 2030-2060?

    Cost

    Indonesia quote – 36x F-15ID = USD13.9 billion
    Indonesia contract – 42x Rafale = USD8.1 billion
    Czech quote – 24x F-35A = USD5.62 billion
    Slovakia quote – 14x F-16 Block 70/72V = USD2.91 billion
    KF-21 offer to thailand in Defense & Security 2023 show = USD65 million each flyaway

    Which one is within our budget?

  13. @hulubalang
    “Would you be okay if malaysia flies F-15EX as its main fighters”
    Not really, if we get 4.5gen rightly it should be the Super Hornets. But if we can get really good terms for 15EX, then why look at a gift horse by its mouth? There is suspicion that USA will not allow allies to get F35 unless they have 4.5gen planes in their inventory. So maybe its unlikely too we can straight up get F35 for our MRCA. But if we trade in our MKM & Migs (back then) for 4.5gen SH/F15, it would put us in a good chance later on to trade up and get F35. KF21 no need to see.

  14. The question on how much discount is not meant to be a real question. Thetr wont be big discounts with US gear since its not G2G its FMS. So its back to civilian leadership fault. Perhaps 2 question that may help people understand the problem is more that that. 2 questions about RMAF. 1) What is RMAF’s position on single engine jets for the MRCA? 2) What is RMAF’s position on the cheaper and barter friendly Russian jets? Perhaps play out the line of enquiry before attempting to answer.

  15. From the MRCA roundabout, a) RMAF do not want a single engine fighter jet. b) No Russian aircraft (for MRCA it was easy to reject it as they proposed the Mig-35. This was apparent since the 90s but despite their opposition the government still bought Russian aircraft.

  16. All MKM is currently undergoing 1st 10-year overhaul/SLEP and should be completed in very near future (only a handful still in process)

    This will allow our MKM to be used for 10 more years (up to 2034-35)

    During the 2nd overhaul (time window around 2033-2035), upgrades can be planned to be included. A critical item needs to be replaced during the 2nd overhaul – the Saturn AL-31FP engines. The AL-31FP have a service life of 2,000 hours, after which needs to be replaced. Hopefully the world political situation will be better at that time, or else there is a big possibility that we have to retire the MKM due to unable to get new engines. As we have to replace the engine anyway, we should get the new Saturn AL-41F1S, which is more powerful, fuel saving, and longer overhaul (1,500 hours) and service life (4,000 hours) limits.

    2nd overhaul things that can be done
    – engine replacement with AL-41F1S
    – cockpit display upgrades (wide area display)
    – helmet mounted display (HMD) >> thales scorpion?
    – targeting pod upgrade/replacement >> Thales talios? Aselsan Aselpod?
    – SATCOM
    – RWR/EW/Jammer suite, SAP-513 pod replacement >> Saab Arexis?
    – BARS PESA replacement >> MKI Uttam AESA radar? KAAN AESA radar? KF-21 AESA radar? KAAN & KF-21 AESA radar will enable Meteor missile capability.
    – stand-off precision missiles integration >> Roketsan SOM? Storm Shadow? NSM?
    – quickstrike or quickstrike-like sea mines from korea(KGGB) or turkiye(Uca)
    – towed decoys?

  17. Thus the challenge with the MRCA. 1) Western jets are much more expensive than Russian, with less flexible financing terms and much lesser discounts. 2) If twin engine is a must for MRCA, a 2030 MRCA decision will not be a stealth fighter.

  18. @ joe

    What happened in the past, we cannot change. What we can is to plan the future.

    SH production line will close next year. Their hope to extend the production with Indian Navy buy has now ended as they will buy Rafales for its aircraft carriers.

    Anyway, how much is a recent cost of SH?

    Switzerland quote (2020) – 40x Super Hornets (36x E and 4x F) = USD7.452 billion

    ” There is suspicion that USA will not allow allies to get F35 unless they have 4.5gen planes in their inventory ”
    Almost all current F-35 users does not have 4.5gen fighters before they are approved to buy F-35. Those that requested F-35, but denied, are asked to buy F-16V or F-15EX instead. That is what happened to Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Qatar….

  19. “RMAF do not want a single engine fighter jet”
    This was the same requirement from the US Navy to replace their legacy Hornets/early batch SH, but in the end they had to accept the single engine F35 as their next gen carrier borne fighter. So I think that requirement by TUDM is still malleable for want of anything better. In liew of F22, the F35 will be for now & for the foreseeable future, the preeminent and best equipped amongst peer 5th gen fighters. Tempest/JFX, KFX, FCS, TFX, etc are still too far into the future to be considered for intake 2030.

  20. The MRCA buying process needs to be started at least by 2030. Delivery can be later.

    F/A-18D could be supported and flown probably up till 2023-24 (official support by NAVAIR will cease around 2030 and we will be the last legacy hornet operators by 2023-34)

    KF-21 timeline. KF-21 Block 1 mass production is starting this year, Block 2 starting end 2026 and Block 3 starting early 2029. The production plan is for 40 aircraft for ROKAF by 2028, and 120 by 2032.

  21. Joe – “Block 50s are just one block before 70, easily upgradeable if needed”

    1. Earlier you’d mentioned Poland is getting the latest Vipers, which I’d already rebuked as false. Now you change your tune stating it’s easily upgradeable when needed. So which is which?

    2. Block 70 “Vipers” ARE NOT easily upgradable. This is not like going to your neighbourhood bengkel and ask your mechanic to upgrade as you wish lol and expect it to be ready by end of January.

    You should read up on Taiwan’s and Hellenic (Greece) Air Force respective F-16s timeline to upgrade their fighters to the Block 70 standards and the total costs involved.

    FYI.

  22. MRCA procurement is very bleak. Let’s talk about money first.
    Public debt has reach RM1.5 trillion, every year a RM45 billion must be paid to service the debt. The national debt makes no one who rules have luxury to spend more money in defence. Unless, gov can reduce subsidies or increase tax which nobody dares to take this unpopular decision. Looking at price tag others experience buying MRCA, even to buy an sq of 12 MRCA 4.5 gen has cost us an arm and leg.

    If money is provided, is 5th gen is ideal for RMAF?
    Is RMAF ready to operates 5th gen MRCA? the answer is no. TUDM has limited network capability. The best option is 4.5th gen. The best option is either F15EX or Rafale if RMAF wants a twin engine MRCA. Forget about SH which her production line will be closed soon and the number of SH produced is low which makes spare parts will be difficult and pricey.

    How about F16?
    If RMAF can accept a single engine then F16V is another option. If US DoD can give 36 units of used F16 block 52 then upgrading them to viper standard then it is the best option we can buy. The F16 will be flying up to 2045.

    Money…money….and money. That is the biggest problem of all what we can buy.

  23. @hulubalang
    “Almost all current F-35 users does not have 4.5gen fighters”
    Difference are they have been close US allies, willing & able to invest in the infra & support system to operate 5th gen, and could expect extensive US technical support to manage their planes. For lesser close allies ie Thailand, they had been rebuffed and had to settle on 4.5 gen if they want F35 later in future.
    https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/products/f-16/three-reasons-the-f-16-block-72-is-the-ideal-bridge-to-fifth-generation-capabilities.html
    LM is also hinting that for step up into 5th gen has to go thru 4.5gen first.

    “The KF-21 Block 3 starting 2029 will be.”
    Will be too newly raw & untested for TUDM to consider by 2030.

    “we will be the last legacy hornet operators by 2023-34”
    RCAF might continue using their legacy Hornets boosted by exAussie stocks if their F35 delivery timeline continue to slip. By the time they retire, we could also consider taking up their remaining spareparts inventory & airframes if we needed to keep our Hornets flying for longer. We have flown aircrafts way past their OEM support dates ie F5 & Nuri, so its not like they will fall out of the sky a day after OEM support ends.

  24. @Romeo
    “Money…money….and money.”
    Indeed, defence gear are not cheap and its gonna be even more costlier as newer tech & weapons comes out. Gone are the days when a biplane cost a 100 pounds, 5th gen fighter jets are now hundred of millions. A 1% GDP with such weak currency as RM, is just barely enough to sustain what we have and buy a little of something but not enough to make a significant impact. Defence spendings need to be upped if we want to have equal standings in the near future as our regional neighbours are also doing the same. A

    And to do that, yes, something must give whether it be from the civvie benefits or Govt projects spendings. It is what it is. Or else our economy & RM could suddenly grow to be on par with SGD or USD.

  25. joe – “RCAF might continue using their legacy Hornets boosted by exAussie stocks if their F35 delivery timeline continue to slip. By the time they retire, we could also consider taking up their remaining spareparts inventory & airframes if we needed to keep our Hornets flying for longer. We have flown aircrafts way past their OEM support dates ie F5 & Nuri, so its not like they will fall out of the sky a day after OEM support ends.”

    I’m just astonished how you pluck stories out of the blue. The RCAF bought 18 RAF Hornets because their own inventories ARE NEARING the end of their “lives” and they can’t meet the minimum requirements as stated here –

    https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2020-06-19/canada-cleared-upgrade-36-boeing-cf-18-fighters

    And your grand idea is for RMAF to pick up their spares and fly their Hornets till it starts to fall from the sky? Jesus, don’t go comparing the F-18s with the Nuris and the Tigers.

    You’ve already posted the wrong info regarding the Polish Vipers “future plan” and here you are suggesting something not even worth talking about.

    And where did you get the news that the Canadian F-35s delivery timeline “continue to slip”? Canada announced the purchase only last year in 2023. The first units are scheduled to be delivered in 2026, that’s 2 years from now.

    https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/canada-ends-years-long-search-for-new-fighter-jet-with-deal-to-buy-f-35s-1.6222706

  26. Canadian F-35 delivery remains on track for 2026.
    https://skiesmag.com/news/canada-not-overly-concerned-lockheed-f35-production-delays/

    All current legacy hornet users, US, Canada, Finland, Switzerland, Spain, Kuwait are planning to retire their planes by 2030.

    Canada – 88x F-35A starting 2026
    Finland – 64x F-35A starting 2026
    Switzerland – 36x F-35A starting 2027
    Spain – 45x Typhoon Tranche 4 starting 2026.
    Kuwait – 28x Super Hornet and 28x Typhoon already ordered and delivered.

    IMO I am okay for the Hornets to fly up to 2035, provided new MRCA deliveries are being completed at around that time, at least for the same quantities of our hornets.

    As money does not grow on trees, and wishing and hoping the defence budget to suddenly become 3x what the current level is just a dream we cannot ever achieve.

    Which is why we need to plan, and buy according to what we can afford.

    Which is why we need a clear understanding of what we want our military to be able to do in an event of a war.

    For our airforce, looking at the Ukrainian war for example, what can a small airforce like Ukraine do to fight Russia? What are the thing that can the Ukrainian air force use to hit russia?

    For me, it would be
    – long range precision guided missiles like the storm shadow.
    – anti-ship missiles. We now have supersonic KH-31A and Harpoon. Add NSM into the mix would be good.

    – more guided bombs like JDAM, SDB.
    – air-launched sea mines similar to quickstrike
    – more air-to-air missiles. If possible Meteor (can have it with KF-21). MICA-ER if want to have common missile stocks with TLDM.
    – would prefer to get AWACs first in 2026-2030 before getting MRCAs.

  27. Azlan & Marhalim – Wasn’t there a proposition many years back about RMAF returning the Fulcrums and in exchange Russia gives us 6 Flankers?

  28. I heard about that but was never told about it so I cannot say much about it. I believed this was when RMAF was thinking of retiring the Fulcrums and getting the MRCA. AFAIK RMAF at that point did want any more Flankers so even if it was an official offer it was never going to be accepted.

  29. Are the Flankers that difficult to operate? Money is a problem, but the F18s seem likely to outlive 2 generations of Russian jets (Mig 29 and Su30).

  30. Yup because ours are one-off variant so we cannot learn from others or share the things. Russian AF also did not operate Sukhoi 30 until a few years ago. Meanwhile, our Hornets are basically the same aircraft as operated by US Navy.

    So much so we and them could and had trade parts to keep them flying just like commercial operators trade stuff to ensure airliners continue operating.

  31. Marhalim – I read in an article before which stated that the MKM is a direct copy of the MKI, only difference on the inside are the avionic systems where India uses Israeli made products while RMAF substitute those with European (French) components when they chose the Flankers.

    So how does that not work in India’s favours then? Since HAL also sources spare parts to us right? Or did I read the wrong info regarding this.

    And since we are stuck with the MKM it’s gonna be another white elephant soon right?

    I know Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are using the newest Su 30 derivative which is the SM so it has nothing in common with MKM.

  32. Maybe RMAF will retire some SU30 when the FA50 becomes operational. Even the Hawks seem likely to outlive the Flankers. Retiring some of the Flankers might even improve the overall readiness of the SU30 fleet and RMAF.

  33. Kel “Maybe RMAF will retire some SU30 when the FA50 becomes operational”

    I believe they preferred the term active storage.

    Personally the MKM have very limited shared situational awareness at the same time have less radar & effector range than a FA50.

  34. Having a second batch of FA50 by 2030 imho would ease TUDM operational constraint, not reducing the need for new MRCA though. The key thing for me what will be the weapon package especially air to air. Yes the block 20 will be wired for Aim 9x and Aim 120 but will we order more or rely on the 20 Aim9x and 30 Aim 120 that we currently have?

  35. AIM-9X and AIM-120 has solid fuel rockets, which usually have a long shelf life. AIM-120 has a on-wing life of 1500 hours (russian missiles like R-73 has around 40 hours on-wing life, which is why we rarely hang them on the jets). batteries usually last 10 years but replaceable.

    For AIM-9X specifically, it has a designed shelf life of 20 years (which can be extended by life-extension programs). Malaysia bought 20x AIM-9X live missiles and 8x Captive Air Training Missiles for USD22.8 million in 29/5/2012. So without life-extension, it can be used up to 2032.

    For AIM-120, it has a shelf life of 25 years, as is without life extension. Malaysia bought 20x AIM-120-C5 in 2005 and 10x AIM-120-C7 in 2015.

    TUDM also got AIM-7 Sparrows together with F/A-18D Hornets in 1997. Last live firing was in 2017 and is still seen regularly hung on the Hornets.

    Other examples, AGM-88 HARM missiles that are used by Ukraine are from the early 1980s stock, which still functions as designed.

    Still the missile quantity that we have is very small. Philippines air force bought 312x AIM-9L from Diehl Germany for its 12x FA-50PH. The contract costs USD54.6 million only. The low cost is because the missiles are actually older sidewinders refurbished to L standards. So older missiles can be refurbished for further use.

    Malaysia also has done life extension on its sidewinders before. We completed life extension of 57x AIM-9M missiles (those that is bought for F-5E?) for USD6.1 million and was completed in 2009. One AIM-9M was fired from a Hawk in 2020.

    While the FA-50 can use existing TUDM sidewinder, AMRAAM and even Sparrow stocks; we should be buying additional missiles to top up the current missile quantities.

  36. Thank you Hulubalang. Just wondering, as wikipedia (not the best source) stated we have about 280 R73, 150 R27 and 150 R77 (highly doubt this) which were bought since 1995 till 2009, I assumed most time expired already and with the Russian Vs Ukraine war now, assuming most already time expired but where and who can refurbished them? HAL maybe or AGAT of Ukraine?

  37. One could theoretically kills 2 birds with 1 stone with NASAM which is probably why TUDM really really want to be in charge of GBAD

  38. RMAF can upgrade the SU-30 to fire the Astra missile like India. Astra has a longer range compared to R-77. India can also refurbish the R73 and R27. The refurbished missiles can be converted to SAM system like India’s SAMAR air defence system.

  39. zaft – ”One could theoretically kills 2 birds with 1 stone with NASAM which is probably why TUDM really really want to be in charge of GBAD”

    ”Theoretically” the same can be said if GAPU gets MICA and the RMAF does not want to be ”be in charge of GBAD” as you erroneously put it but the operator of systems with a certain range/altitude.

    zaft – ”Only information you get is true & valid others are not everyone else’s are just inventing stuff from their head.”

    The ‘pot’ shouldn’t be calling the ‘kettle’ black? Your statement that ”From what I understand the MIG donations from Slovakia & Poland was symbolic in nature & more of a PR exercise. ” is pure utter nonsense [like other drivel you spew] and you’d know that if you indulged in basic research before hitting the keyboard. The Fulcrums that the Ukraine got were pressed into service as attrition replacements for the simple reason that they lost quite a number of Fulcrums which were their main combat type. Look it up before coming up with self serving – ”Only information you get is true & valid”. ”Sure, sure” you say?

    … – ”AIM-9X and AIM-120 has solid fuel rockets, which usually have a long shelf life. ”
    3 things affect the life of a missile. [1] How it’s stored [2] Vibration caused by flying [3] How often actually gets linked to the plane’s FCS.

    … – ”For AIM-120, it has a shelf life of 25 years”

    Depending on the factors listed above. Arty ammo has a shelf life of ‘X’ years but it was found that when stored in the field for prolonged period; the shelf life drops drastically.

    … – ”Philippines air force bought 312x AIM-9L from Diehl Germany for its 12x FA-50PH.”

    Sounds a wee bit excessive. What is the source? If it’s SIPRI; they’ve known to get their numbers off.

    Melayu – ”Wasn’t there a proposition many years back about RMAF returning the Fulcrums and in exchange Russia gives us 6 Flankers?”

    In the mid-2000’s there was a feasibility study done on selling the Fulcrums to fund 6
    Su-30s. Nothing came out of it.

    kamal – ”Are there any possibility the MKM will joined the recently announced Indian Air Force MKI upgrades”

    As it stands the plan is to continue operating them and only replacing/upgrading components that are time expiring or are inoperable [like with the Laksamanas and other things] in order to keep them operational. Now one can list all the paper possibilities but the reality is there are no plans to spend beyond anything which is absolutely needed to keep them operational.

    kel – ”“Maybe RMAF will retire some SU30 when the FA50 becomes operational”

    ”Maybe” we’ll win the AFC cup or Iranian paras will drop on Haifa but in reality the plan is to retire some of the Hawks when the F/A-50s arrive and not the Su-30s. The RMAF can’t afford to replace the Flankers because it doesn’t have enough MRCAs as it is and because no replacements are imminent.

    kel – ”Western jets are much more expensive than Russian”

    Western jets also require sanitised airfields and a much more comprehensive support infrastructure. Russian jets are designed to be operated from austere conditions; places with a level of support infrastructure that would be inadequate to support a Western jet. Which is why Gripen is often touted as the more ideal solution for the Ukraine compared to the F-16. Gripen was designed with Swedish requirements in mind; operated by conscripts from austere locations. All the gear needed to support a squadron of Gripens in the field can fit into a pair of containers and various parts of Gripen can be accessed without ladders – the same can’t be said for Western types.

    kel – ”What is RMAF’s position on single engine jets for the MRCA?”
    kel – ” what is RMAF’s position on the cheaper and barter friendly Russian jets? ”

    The answer is widely known and is no mystery. The RMAF was never keen on Russian jets because in general Russian jets have components with a lower TBO/MTBF compared to Western ones [equates to less flying hours able to be attained and more expense in the long run] and there are commonality issues. On top of that we’ve learnt a long time ago that Russian product support leaves a lot to be desired and when dealing with the Russians everything has to go through Rosoboronexport. There are some horror stories from the 1990’s when we first discovered the joys of dealing with the Russians. As for twin engines; the idea being that twin engines are safer because jets have to cross the South China Sea. Same reason why various others prefer twin engines; the safety enabled in the event one engine fails. As for twin engines; the idea being that twin engines are safer because jets have to cross the South China Sea. Same reason why various others prefer twin engines; the safety enabled in the event one engine fails.

    kel – ”Are the Flankers that difficult to operate? ”

    Lets just say we enjoy much higher serviceability rates with the Hornets and if you ask any pilot – with experience on both types – which they prefer; they’ll say the Hornet.

    On ”money” the issue is that current gen jets are not only getting more expensive to procure but are getting more expensive to sustain on account of the greater level of high tech stuff and the need for higher quality manpower.

  40. Gek “RMAF can upgrade the SU-30 to fire the Astra missile like India. Astra has a longer range compared to R-77.”.

    The problem with consumable is that it’s well a consumable. You going to need a whole lot of it during conflict and you better be sure you going to get your hand on it if not then you would face the same problems Argentinian AF face during the Falkland as France stop selling them anymore exocet.

  41. @ kamal a

    Either Ukrainian (especially for R-27) or most probably russian materials needs to be used on any russian missile life extensions.

    @ azlan

    AIM-120 25 year shelf life is based on information in this US government document :
    http://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/FOID/Reading%2520Room/Selected_Acquisition_Reports/FY_2018_SARS/19-F-1098_DOC_14_AMRAAM_SAR_Dec_2018.pdf

    312 missile number and cost is from Philippines government tender result documents (it is from a decade ago, i can’t find them now). This is corroborated with this somewhat vague statement from Diehl themselves
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/diehl-raytheon-missile-systeme-gmbh-captures-30-million-international-sidewinder-missile-sale-236706561.html
    That statement confirms that the missiles sold are refurbished life-extended ex-german airforce missile stocks.

  42. Later once the Ukraine war ended, we can learn much from their retrofit of Russian jets to use Western weapons. Their various plane models now can be armed with JDAM ERs, SCALP/Storm Shadow, & HARM missile. Prolly more will be coming as they expend all their Russki munitions. It opens a possibility for MKM to be armed with the JSM (air version of NSM thats on the LCS).

  43. >The problem with consumable is that it’s well a consumable. You going to need a whole lot of it during conflict and you better be sure you going to get your hand on it if not then you would face the same problems Argentinian AF face during the Falkland as France stop selling them anymore exocet.

    We are talking about the SU-30. Apart from Russia, I doubt you can integrate Uncle Sam’s missile like AMRAAM without US approval and Russia’s consent.
    The only missile now that have been integrated is the Astra. R77 is now outranged by the latest AMRAAM.

  44. Nothing that needs to be linked to the SU-30MKM avionics (especially tha NO11M BARS PESA radar) can be US-sourced, and ITAR will be invoked if it is so.

    Something that is not connected to the SU-30MKM systems like dumb bombs, rockets etc. are probably okay.

    While we can upgrade the MKM fitting “western” systems (as it has a totally western spec MIL-STD-1553 data backbone, and has thales, saab and rohde & schwarz systems on board), most probably no US-made systems (radars, targeting pods, jammers etc) will be allowed.

    Also on the cannot list so far, we know METEOR AAM is not allowed on SU-30MKI, as the missile is not allowed to be integrated and linked to russian (MKI) or Israeli (Tejas) radars. KF-21 Korean AESA radar is currently on the okay list. If we want METEOR, probably if we can retrofit the KF-21 AESA radar on the MKM, then we can use METEOR.

    So if missiles

    air-to-air
    – MICA NG (MICA originally offered for MKM but declined for cost reasons)
    – Astra
    – Anything new from Turkiye
    – Meteor if we change to european or korean AESA radar

    Air-to ground
    – storm shadow (proven on SU-24 in ukraine)
    – SOM
    – new korean cruise missiles
    – korean KGGB glide bombs
    – Turkiye glide bombs based on both russian or western bomb casings

    Anti-ship
    – NSM ?
    – ATMACA
    – Cakir

    Avionics/jammers as per my previous comments above

  45. Gek “We are talking about the SU-30. Apart from Russia, I doubt you can integrate Uncle Sam’s missile like AMRAAM without US approval and Russia’s consent.
    The only missile now that have been integrated is the Astra. R77 is now outranged by the latest Amraam”

    Hence the problem. The MKM would need hundreds of millions to keep it flying as it is. Supposedly major MRO that may cost as much as buying a new jet that suppose to be done after 10 years was pushed to 20 year’s by having the jet fly 50% less then the hornets. Speculative wise it does seem RMAF or mindef or the gov really want to ditch it after just 20 years of operation just like they did with the Mig.

    Afterall even after spending all that money it would still have limited cooperative engagement & share situational awareness capabilities, lower range of radar and effectors and a high risk of non further supplies of spare parts & effector during conflicts.

    Would that be an effective use of taxpayers money? Would it be better that the money are spend on buying used hornets or another squadron of FA50 or just used the money and bought a new MRCA?

  46. Our MKM are still potent as of today, in our region second only to F15SG, but being Russki its accepted that their operational lifespan will be shorter than Western planes, it comes to a point where upgrades are uneconomical if these will outlast the airframe and/or engines.

    This coupled with their lower uptime between flying, meant we cannot use them on a reliable manner, plus they are scheduled for SLEP lengthy downtime. The MRCA meant to replace them are only TBD in 2030 the soonest and its unlikely we will get those fighter jets delivered soon after we make an order. For that we need more Western planes to augment the legacy Hornet fleet, and right now the ones available are Kuwaiti Hornets.

  47. @joe

    Unfortunately the Kuwaiti had decided to keep their legacy hornets for themselves thus the options are

    1) buy other new or used 4.5gen as ‘gap filler’
    2) buy a 5th gen jet from that single suppliers or
    3) buy a 3rd squadrons of FA50.

  48. Just read in a different web page our FA50 does not come with additional Aim120, quite sad actually

  49. of course lah, the missiles need to be bought direct from the US under FMS. It got nothing to do with South Koreans. Even if we bought 120 FA-50s we still need to buy the AAM and most AGMs from somebody else.

  50. Joe – “Our MKM are still potent as of today, in our region second only to F15SG, but being Russki its accepted that their operational lifespan will be shorter than Western planes, it comes to a point where upgrades are uneconomical if these will outlast the airframe and/or engines.”

    Again you come up with gibberish out of thin air. I dunno whether to laugh or cry.

    You are aware right that besides Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam and most recently Myanmar also operates Su 30 Flankers.

    Vietnam has the most number of the Flankers in the region.

    And how did you come up with the Flankers, especially the MKM variation to be second to Singapore’s Strike Eagles?

    They have 40 airframes while RMAF only operates 18 airframes, and do I need to remind you Singapore also operates 60 F-16s and both the Eagles and Falcons are using both Link 16 and AESA radars.

    Please explain your findings. I am curious.

  51. @Zaft
    Kuwait will use them right until they have sufficient Eurofighters & SH in service, the will still likely be retiring most of them. Any 4.5/5th gen planes will not be gap fillers which is why we didnt pursue the Austrian Eurofighters like Indon did, as they have too much limitations to be useful in the future.

    @Kamal A
    New planes not necessarily has to come with new ordnances as they can share with our Western planes. We have stocks of AIM120 for the legacy Hornets.

  52. By 2035 there would likely be 2 6th gen jet available on the market in the form of FA-XX & GCAP. Since MRCA are supposed to be the tips of the spears then there’s nothing sharper then these 2. Money isn’t really a problem per say as we aren’t buying a lot and Its much easier to convince politicians & public to buy big shinny things then a cheaper but less shinny things in numbers.

    Thus It would be wise to spend money from now to then to acquired enablers to enable the tips of the spears to do it jobs effectively.

  53. joe – it’s Indo, please don’t use the word Indon as it’s a derogatory word just like the K word and the N word.

    I sincerely hope you be cooperative in this matter.

    Indonesia have decided not to pursue Austrian Eurofighters and also will not be buying Qatari retired Mirage 2000. FYI.

    Please fast check everything before you post here next time.

  54. @MK
    Again your nonsense precedes only your inability to comprehend. Potency has nothing to do with numbers. Nowhere in my comments have mentioned about airframe quantity.
    None of the SU30s you mentioned has as much Western gear stuffed inside as our MKM did. Please share facts. If you want to troll, go somewhere else.

    @Zaft
    Money is a problem, we dont have enough. And we most likely wont get too new platforms like 6th gen as TUDM prefer proven & well supported platforms.

  55. @MK
    “Indonesia have decided not to pursue Austrian Eurofighters”
    Eventually. But they were very keen going so far as to write an official request to pursue a deal, but all those in the industry knows it would have been a mistake as Tranche 1 has too many limitations. It was a bad deal for the Austrians and it would have been a bad deal for the Indonesians. Which is why we didnt even want to entertain such a possibility for our own. This would be the last time I entertain elaborating as I have said this much in the past but of course you wouldnt know as you just pop in here & there to troll.

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