Barety with Mindef Sec-Gen Dato’ Abu Bakar Bin Hj Abdullah
KUALA LUMPUR: The French are buying five more EC725 Caracals as part of its 2009-2014 defence procurement programme. Too bad that it did not released the cost of the purchase, so at least we can compare the price quoted for the French government and for our Nuri replacement Programme.
Anyhow, apparently, they havent decided which service will get the new helicopters. The French special forces operate 10 Caracals, and the air force has four for search-and-rescue operations. Three Caracals are deployed in Afghanistan; the third arrived in October as part of efforts to boost equipment levels for French troops.
Since they havent decided which service will get the new helicopters, should we decide to continue with the Cougars as part of the NRP, we may get our helicopters sooner than expected, if of course, Eurocopter starts building the new order soon.
Furthermore, if we also decide to order the VBCI to replace the Condor and Sibmas, we can also get them sooner than expected as the French is also buying more the Nexter-built APCs.
Edited version: Some 24 hours after this post was published the Mindef website ran a story about the visit of the French ambassador to Malaysia Marc Barety to Mindef (Friday, Dec 19) for a courtesy call on the Sec-Gen. There is no official word on what was discussed during the courtesy call but one can assume all good ambassadors when visiting the Defence Ministry in the country where they are accredited would usually promote the country’s defence industry.
So we can assume that His Excellency would have discussed about the French defence industry with the Sec Gen. So perhaps HE would have informed the Sec Gen on the status of the new French defence budget and the benefits for Malaysia if we were to continue with the deferred Cougar purchase. Malaysian Defence is speculating here but it would be good if we can get an official word on what discussed during the call.
Dont assume that only the French are busy making courtesy calls to Mindef during this period. The Usual Suspects are also at it. The endless parade of dignitaries are an excellent indication the interest in our defence needs from the NRP to the new ship programme. Hopefully the same enthusiasm are contagious especially for the armed forces top brass who seemingly non-plus that yet again their long terms plans are heading no-where.
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