SHAH ALAM: Fulcrum revival? It appears that the on-and-off idea of reviving the RMAF Mig-29N Fulcrum fleet is currently back in vogue again. Two years ago, the matter was discussed by the previous government but nothing came out of it. The current government – likely defence ministry officials – are now thinking of doing the same thing, with the issue coming up during discussions with Russian state owned arms corporation, Rostec officials at LIMA 19.
Rostec international cooperation and regional policy director Viktor Kladov told a media briefing at LIMA 19 that they gave several options in the discussions regarding the Fulcrums even though it was difficult to gauge whether the latest one was definitive as Malaysia had been flip-flopping over the issue for the last ten years.
A four ship of MiG-29 aircraft from the Royal Malaysian Air Force(RMAF) aerobatic display team the “Smokey Bandits” perform during the 2012 Singapore Airshow on Feb. 15, 2012.
He said if Malaysia really wants to put back the Fulcrums into service, there were two ways of doing it. One, a simple refurbishment that will allow the 16-strong Fulcrum fleet (around six was flying until they were stored in late 2016) back into service as quickly as possible. The second one was to refurbish and upgrade the Fulcrums to the latest standard, the Mig-35. Kladov said he had told Malaysian officials that the Fulcrums had a long service live, 40 years, actually.
Fulcrum M43-18 – with its green camo was parked inside a hangar used as a VIP holding room.
He said if Malaysia did not want to put back the fleet into service, the airframes could be sold to Russia in exchange for “three to four” Sukhoi Su-30MKM or the latest Su-35s. Otherwise, Russia could also sell the airframes to other users like Bangladesh or India, with the proceeds, paid to Malaysia.
Two Fulcrums taking off for the flypast during RMAF anniversary parade in June 1, 2016. One of the last time Malaysian Defence saw the Fulcrums flying.
Kladov, who was involved in the purchase of the Fulcrums and Flankers – he was based in Kuala Lumpur from 2001 to 2009, said he had discussed both options with Malaysian government officials, from both the current and previous governments.
Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten performing a display at LIMA 2019. Zaq Sayuti.
He also said Russia is willing to buy palm oil as part of a counter trade for the two RMAF aircraft as well as the Yak-130 combat trainer, one of the candidates for the LCA project.
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