Going, Going, Gone…

The MD530G fitted with the FN Herstal rocket machine gun pod and a Gatling. This is a likely weapon configuration for the LSH.

SHAH ALAM: Going, Going, Gone. The government wants to cancel the deal for the MD530G light scout attack helicopter and the MH109A5 self propelled howitzer.

It is unclear why they want to cancel both contracts though this is likely as a result of the review ordered by the current government shortly after taking over Putrajaya following the general elections last year.

The MD530G displayed at HAI Heli-Expo is also fitted with the twin Hellfire missile launcher on its starboard pylon. The Army did not purchased the Hellfires.

Malaysian Defence has written various posts on the MD530G so please read them here and here. Destini Bhd bought over the contract from Halaman Optima here.

As for the M109SPH, here and here.

A file picture of the M109A5

It must be noted that when I checked about both deals at LIMA 2019, every thing was fine and I was told that the first batch of the helicopters and SPH were to be delivered around this time this year. In May however things begun to look shaky for the MD530G deal when the main stream media started reporting that the helicopters has yet to be delivered though the contract was signed in 2015. This culminated with a report lodged with MACC in June.
The MD530G fitted with the FN Herstal rocket machine gun pod and a Gatling. This is a likely weapon configuration for the LSAH.

After the report was lodged I again checked and was then told that it was likely that the government had decided not to take delivery of the helicopters. Further checks showed that the government wanted to cancel the contract altogether.
MD530 which was supposed to be delivered for the Malaysian Army on display at the HAI Heli-Expo in Las Vegas

This was the same with the M109A5 SPH. However, the government has yet to issue the final order, a high ranking military official said when asked for confirmation. He did not want to be quoted.
A M109-A5 howitzer is offloaded and craned onto a trailer at the port in Punta Arenas, Chile, in December, 2014. The self-propelled howitzer was one of 12 purchased by the Chilean army through the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command’s foreign military sales program.

It must be noted that I had hold on to the story as I had been made aware of another contract (not the LMS) that had been cancelled and reinstated before being duly cancelled and reinstated again. But that is for another day of course.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2191 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Oh no!

    What is the penalty for cancelling the contract? Those little birds are pretty unique to malaysia. I believe most of the 6 units are already built. Not saying that I think we really need those little birds but the contract is already very advanced it is illogical to cancel now without being hit with serious penalties.

    As for the SPH, cancelling it wont give any cost savings as it is basically free anyway.

    Want to hear more officially on this.

  2. At least now about them are all clear…really clear.
    Maybe there is a good news Tun bring back home from Russia.

    Why canceling SPH too? It is free. No money even just to upgrade and transport?

  3. We’d already have paid legal/administrative costs relating to the transfer; plus the costs needed to upgrade the M’-109s.

    As for the Little Birds; unless we can prove that the OEM or the agent is in serous breach of contractual obligations; cancelling the deal will have financial implications for us.

    On the surface this is disappointing as the Little Birds would have had a useful role in ESSCOM as a surveillance and fast faction asset and the M-109s would have complemented our MBTs and IFVs; filling in the missing element in our combined arms units.

  4. I’ll play a devil’s advocate here. Prolly Tun M’s russian spending spree is implicated by these equipments and since the government didn’t lose money anyway it’s better to simply cancel the transaction. Who knows, we might get freaking Mi-35 in place of MD530

    We still need SPH tho so hopefully we can get Caesar since the M109 deal is off

  5. I really hope this article will force the menhan to reply officially regarding this matter. I am really hoping to hear that this news is not true as i dont see any good outcome from this cancellation.

  6. If we do go through with russian helicopters as nuri replacement, some questions from me….(asking for opinions)

    1. Is it for army aviation for utility purpose and also air force for csar role? (a bit tricky since air force is already using h225m)

    2. Do we will put western avionics and defensive aids systems on the russian helicopters?

    3. Best choice if going russian’s will be mil mi-17v5 in my opinion. Any other choice?

    4. How many heli is needed by army? Optimally or minimally.

    5. Will we need 2 pipelines of helicopter training? 1 for western and another for russians?

    Thank you.

  7. @ nihd

    1. I really hope that at least there wont be russian helicopters for TUDM. For TUDM, their nuri replacement should be just additional EC225s.

    2. We can, western could be from europe, turkey or south korea.

    3. Mi-38

    4. Hmm probably 12-24.

    5. No need. Just OCU/type rating for that specific helicopter just before going into operational squadrons.

    For helicopters, my personal preference would be more EC225 for tudm, and used blackhawks for putd as nuri replacements. There are some interesting concepts out there as helicopter replacements in the future (multi rotors etc), something that we could get in say 15 years in the future.

  8. This actually takes the cake. Plus the stand to boot. The actual progress of the Little Birds are still blurry whilst we have basically paid for them. I read somewhere that we aren’t too sure who’s ‘actually’ building the helicopters now, hence explaining the predicament we’re in. But given that, we shouldn’t have sealed the deal or paid for those helicopters.
    But cancelling the Paladins? Why the heavens would the PM or Mat Sabu or the Cabinet do that? Or are we going Russian all the way?

  9. Something, something, no the US is our number one ally…

    I’m sorry, but I’ve said it before on this blog, its obvious the current administration is leaning away from them, and I’m not convinced otherwise.

  10. @Chua
    “I’m not convinced otherwise.”
    Because the US is piling pressure to put up their puppet quickly and the old man is having none of that. He needed a big counterweight, and despite his caustic comments before, he turned to China. The best politicians are the lalang type, because both sides can trust them whichever way they turn.

    Back to the topic; the MD530Gs are needed, the M109s are needed. Period. Heck we should need more of them.

  11. Chua,

    Look at things at things in entirety. To suggest that the cancellation of contracts is a sign that we are “leaning away from them” is not accurate and simplistic.

    The fact still remains we have intensive contacts at a military level in the form of bilateral and multi lateral training as well as exchanges and consultations. We train note extensively with them than anyone else and there has been no decease in USN visits to our ports/bases. Bilateral relations in fact were taken to a higher level by Mahathir himself during a Pentagon visit in 1983.

    Now I’m not trying to convince you because it’s no profound importance to me what you believe; I’m just stating the facts as they stand. Also, if we’re are indeed “leaning away” as you claim, what tangible signs are there that we are “leaning” elsewhere?

  12. @ joe

    It is not a matter of we need those things or not. It is a matter of trustworthiness on our part.

    If you want to show that you are good at doing your work, plan for new things. Not nitpicking on things already contracted and paid for.

  13. I have tried to find some official sources of this news but couldn’t find it.Is it final that we canceled those deal? Those 109 paladin is somewhat a shocking cancelation!

  14. Please for the sake of Malaysia, dear politician, don’t make ATM and National Defence as ransom or your play things.

  15. The contract is between government and a local company so once done they can sue but its highly likely it cant be enforced by the local courts. (I forgot but i saw it somewhere..gotta check..). Between this company and the US company the thinking is if they had been playing funny, i quess to hell with them.

  16. @Azlan
    First, we U-turned on MH17 and the joint investigation findings, simply to side with the anti-US Russians, and our friend made some snide remarks about supposedly US was going to use MH17 as a pretext for intervention as well – which I find quite ironic considering the circumstances of the shootdown

    Second, we’ve kept our mouth shut and taken our hands off of the SCS where the US is trying to gather local support for a pushback, despite our national interests in this area

    Third, we’ve made a big show of talking to Russia, Iran, Turkey and China, all countries on the US shit list. Since we are non-aligned, there’s no problem with keeping channels open, but we don’t have to advertise. On the flipside, if we are indeed so much closer to US than all these other guys, when was the last time this PM took a political position in support of them? Yeah.

    Fourth, or perhaps 3b, our friend also made a big noise about Palestine; now obviously there are differing views on the Middle East problem, but everybody knows that there are dozens of parties working at cross-purposes in the ongoing conflicts there, however we ignored everything and just made sweeping remarks calculated to piss off everyone on the other side of the Bosphorus

    Fifth, now we have cut these deals for no discernible reason, at an advanced stage of proceedings too – IINM the MD530s are practically completed.

    You’re saying our defence engagement activities are proof that we have a closer relationship. What is the true level of those activities? A demo here and there, a missile here and there, HADR interoperability, things we’ve been doing for decades… that’s it?

    A couple of demos and practice shoots, checking out each other’s equipment, doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It’s whether we move together towards the same objectives that matters.

  17. I am quite surprise Marhalim decided to break the news at this timeline. All I can say it is not done, and still can go any way. But for those that feel sad for MDs, don’t be. Because there is nothing to be sad for.

    Financially it is not not affordable, instead it is so unpalatable to the point where if MoF were to pay for it, it has to go against all regulation to do so. And if one hasn’t realize, the review also helped the end user to figure out that this bird fits non of the requirement. A frame that can only fly less than 40 min fully equipped and 1.5h standard equipped (on paper) is a bizarre choice for a mission intend to patrol for 1 hour from the base that takes 15-20 mins just to get into position.

    As for M109A5, see previous reporting from Marhalim. Army been shown the choice between a financially sustainable programme or an overreach that does not guarantee impact to operation.

    Oh, please do not bring in the Russian. They are innocent.

  18. @…
    I was stating that politics are interfering for things that are even essential to our operational needs.

    We can’t always get what we wanted, same goes for Armed Forces. Compared to NOTHING, the MD530s are still the better option.

    The M109s would give TDM an extra edge in their stratagem; self-propelled arty. They have towed G-5s but the employment strategy are vastly different compared to what a SPH can give. FYI they have been trialing SPH systems for dog years and the Ceasar buy was just blowing hot and cold, so their best shot was the M109s are it pleases both the politicians (gaining USA favour), the bean counters (we just need to pay for refurb & shipment), and the TDM (they have their SPH).

  19. @m
    Why do we not get this kind of information in the first place, I have no idea.

    Well thanks for providing an alternative point of view on things.

  20. Nihd,

    1. Yes. The RMAF has long wanted to retain a SAR/ CSAR capability whilst handing over the troop transport/support role to the army.
    2. Yes. Unfortunately that will require integration and certification but that’s the price to pay when buying Russian and adding Western stuff.
    4. No idea how many are needed by the army but how many the army can operate is determined by the number of pilots it has and its ground support infrastructure.
    5. Of course …… That’s one reason why we faced issues with our Fulcrums and MKMs. The RMAF – an under resourced air arm with limited resources – having to maintain a separate training/support infrastructure for a limited number air Western and Eastern frames. Different spares and ordnance which are not common have to be stocked and type qualification would involve specific training required by each aircraft.

  21. m,

    As has been stated here before, procurements in the name of ESSCOM are not always really intended to fulfil ESSCOM roles. Patrol and response under ESSCOM responsibilities do not require a helicopter as small and as kitted out as much as the MD530G.

    The army has wanted attack requirements for a long time. Whether the MD530G meets the army’s requirements and whether the army is happy to have them is another matter.

  22. “Compared to NOTHING, the MD530s are still the better option.”

    No. If there are more pressing requirements that are going unfulfilled, not having attack helicopters at all might well be the better option. We’ve covered here before how certain expensive things and units are luxuries for an army on our budget.

  23. @ AM

    Not having any attack helicopters would be the better option, if the contract was not signed and paid for.

    Cancelling it when it has been paid for and helicopters built, i dont see how we can get a good deal out of this. We might not get any helicopters at all while losing money by being sued for breaching the contract.

  24. In the first place; who specified the need for a light helicopter, what roles was it intended to perform within ESSCOM and did the end user actually have a say in whether it even had such a requirement?

    On the M-109s; I’ve asked before : did the army actually decide it wanted a tracked SPH or was it told to accept the M-109s on the basis that it was either that or nothing? Was it given a choice in the matter or were the M-109s selected simply because somebody decided it’s low purchase cost made it feasible?

  25. @AM
    “not having attack helicopters at all might well be the better option”
    I don’t see how not having anything is the better option. The TDM wanted Apaches or Supercobras. There was a concerted effort by Madey to push Rooivalk onto them but they resisted and went with the ‘not having at all’ option for 20 years. How long are they going to wait more?

    This is not like RMAF having MKMs so the purchase of MRCA is not an urgent necessity here. TDM have NOTHING for a chopper attack & recon role.

  26. “We might not get any helicopters at all while losing money by being sued for breaching the contract.”

    It seems we did not receive the helicopters because we paid the money to a local company (after skipping all the due diligence), which in turn did not pay MD Helicopters. It’s up to us to recover it from the company if we can.

    Since we appointed the company to buy the helicopters for us, there may not be a contract with the government that MD can enforce against it.



    It’s a commercial deal, between Halaman Optima and MD Helicopters, Halaman Optima has another contract with the government to supply the helicopters for the Army

  27. To buy or not to buy why does it matter.. if shit hits the fan the politicians will be the first to get out lol. It’s a matter of which would be the best bang for the buck plus a small commission for the mistress lol

  28. “I don’t see how not having anything is the better option.”

    Are you telling us that attack helicopters are the best possible way to spend RM320+ million, that it should come before all other priorities?

  29. joe – “. The TDM wanted Apaches or Supercobras. There was a concerted effort by Madey to push Rooivalk onto them but they resisted and went with the ‘not having at all’ option for 20 years“

    Get the narrative correct… .
    The army didn’t “resist” anything.
    An agreement was reached at a political level to buy Rooivalk but then came the Asian Economic Crisis ….

    The army never wanted Super Cobras; it was never even seriously offered during this time line. Bell only offered it at a later date; after the deal for Rooivskj has been shelved.

  30. If what I am assuming is correct, it is best for My Government to let the MD heli contract run through rather than cancel it but then claims LAD from Halaman Optima for not meeting agreed performance and delivery. This would create a layer for Halaman from suing the government if the government opted to cancel it. The LAD could run up to the whole purchase price for Halaman, and could really destroy them

    That’s the reason I smell something when they suddenly decided to lodge a report with MACC. The problem is of course Halaman Optima is now owned by Destini. There is the question whether Destini was asked/ordered to buy over Halaman Optima in 2017. If it was and they got the paper for it, the government is in a bad position. I am guessing that’s why they have yet to issue the cancellation order. The M109 deal is simple as it is under G-to-G we may have to pay some money to cover the cost of storage and transport as the vehicles have already been sent out to a US company storage facility for work to be done before their transfer to Malaysia within this month or so

  31. AM – “Since we appointed the company to buy the helicopters for us”

    As such this appears to be another case of the MAF not getting the desired capability and the taxpayer not getting his/her ringgit’’s worth because of another local company not doing what it was supposed to do.

    Which in turn goes back to the ultimate fact that our whole procurement system needs a revamp. With the M109s it was a government to government deal – whether a direct commercial sale or under FMS.

    In reference to the MiG-35s the Defence Minister spoke of “compatibility” issues that has to be looked at. By right these “compatibility” issues will include looking at the level of modifications (and the integration and certification that comes along with it) needed if we select the type, its projected operating cost for the duration of its period in service; as well as issues relating to spares and support.

    It’s hoped that we’d have learnt vital lessons from the Fulcrum and Flanker experience. With all the newer technologies and – hopefully – the lower MBTF/ TBO of the MiG-35’s engine, gearbox, engine nozzles, landing gear and other components; it’s hoped that the MiG-35 (also a smaller airframe) will be less maintenance and resource intensive compared to the Flankers; not that I expect it to be ordered.

  32. PS.


    Also, during that period the service that would have operated attack helicopters was the RMAF, not the army. The Roovalk deal – which Mahathir approved and Mandela pushed – didn’t proceed not because anyone “resisted” but because of the 1997 Asian Economic Crisis.

  33. ” we did not receive the helicopters because we paid the money to a local company (after skipping all the due diligence), which in turn did not pay MD Helicopters”

    Gawd, that smells familiar

    I want to say it is Wan Emdibi all over again, but let’s be honest, it’s not like that story is uncommon

  34. Chua,
    The money part is in the news. The technical part I briefly said before in one this blog.

    ESSCOM is the front line, and every budget for new asset has been geared towards this direction. Slipping in other requirement should not affect the baseline. You just can’t just buy a hammer and nail every problem.

    RM320+ million is not enough to arm these bird.

    The current gov is too liberal and believe things should be sorted by the book. But if the stakeholder does not have the will to trigger the process, the situation is stalemate. Root establish for 60 years is more resilient than the gov that merely in office a little more than a year.

  35. Maybe this is a precursor of major order from Turkey in terms of attack heli and sph, which Turkey also produces?

  36. This is new to me,
    lower MBTF(sic)/ TBO = less maintenance and resource intensive.

    Anyway there are things that the MiG-35 are at a disadvantage when compared to the Su-30MKM

    – It is similar in price to the MKM (MiG-35 cost USD50 million)
    – It has a substantially smaller radar area than even the old MiG-29 as the MiG-35 is actually based on the 2 seater airframe which has a smaller nose. Even if it is an AESA, its radar detection range is less than the MKM (MiG-35 200km vs Su-30MKM 400km)
    – no MAWS or LWS
    – no NAVFLIR
    – no wide angle HUD
    – has OLS-K targetting pod instead of Damocles of MKM
    – Only a handful of MiG-35 has been built. MKI/MKM/MKA/SM already has nearly 500 built, with plenty more ordered (russia, belarus, armenia, myanmar, india, with new orders from algeria for top up batch). Large fleet means lower cost of spares. Multiple sources of spares (russia, india, belarus, china, ukraine)
    – upgrades not only planned, but currently being built as the Su-30SMD

  37. ….. -“This is new to me,
    lower MBTF(sic)/ TBO = less maintenance and resource intensive”

    This would appear to be the case but it really shouldn’t be “news” for you.

    Complements with a longer TBO/MTBF will require required checks at longer periods than before and the aircraft will be able to fly “x” longer hours compared to before, with regards to those components having to be replaced.

    As you’ll no doubt be aware one major issue with our Russian jets is they can’t fly the same number of hours as our Western ones before requiring the replacement of vital components (more spares have to stocked) and to checks on certain compliments are required on a more frequent basis.

    What the MiG-35 doesn’t come with (whether a MAWS or a wide angle HUD) isn’t a big worry as these items would almost certainly be required by the RMAF and sources elsewhere (with the integration and certification that comes with it).

    … – “ Multiple sources of spares (russia, india, belarus, china,

    On paper yes but in reality not necessarily so. Certain users will not source spares from certain countries due to warranty/support issues from the original OEM.
    As it is the Chinese have been known to made certain parts which have not been approved of by the OEM.

  38. Cancel at get Roivalk or Tiger attack helo or from Turkey and subsitute for SPH is another batch MBT T90 is better than SPH.
    I guess this is in their minds.

  39. Our MKM is already using parts made in china regularly (cannot mention the part here) and the malaysian company that supplies that to TUDM also has a contract to supply it to TNI-AU flankers.

    Adding peculiar parts will add to the cost. Our MKM costs USD45 million with all the added components. Fully russian SM version was sold to kazakhstan at less than half of MKM cost.


  40. What Mahathir says doesn’t necessarily mean we are “leaning away” from anyone. We’ve seen this before in the 1990’s ad 2000’s; Mathathir voicing support for Palestine, condemning the U.S. over flawed policy in the Middle East, visits to Iran, criticising the “War On Terror” – nothing new. Even when ties went downhill over Gore’s remarks and U.S. opposition to the EAEC; defence ties were maintained at the same level.

    Mahathir can say what he wants but the U.S. is still a major investor here, an important market for our exports and still the dominant regional player (one we rely on to counter China). Bilateral exercises with Uncle Sam are valued by the MAF (as are multilateral ones) in that it gets to do things it wouldn’t be able to with others and new things are constantly added.

  41. @AM
    “it should come before all other priorities?”
    We have many priorities, the way we go about with the snail paced modernisation, anything we bought early on would already need to be replaced/upgraded. This will never end if we to fulfill all the other priorities. Most importantly which priorities are critical to TDM, which investment in arms will give them an extra edge. An attack scout chopper would give them that edge which they never had before. The MD530 may or may not fit the bill but at a lower cost than dedicated attack chopper, it gives them something to develop their strategy, tactics, training, logistics, & roles before they can confidently take the plunge.

    It was either the Apache or Tiger, with Supecobra as the 2ndary selection but they were being pushed into a corner to get Rooivalk or nothing.
    Your looking at the small picture. Yes the initial deal was scuppered by AFC. But what happen since then? 20 years we didn’t have a big ticket buy for the RMAF or TDM? That deal was still there but Madey did not continue to pursuit it despite now we have gotten more SA defence materiel; the Rooivalk was off the table.

    Turkey is currently in the spotlight of US. Any deal that cancels the US in preference for Turkey would need to be handled carefully. Sorry to say I have no confidence in PH doing a good job in that matter.

  42. It’s not only the per unit cost of whatever aircraft we get that has to be factored in but the total projected costs throughout its period in service (costs will rise as the aircraft gets older) and the number of maintenance hours – on average – it needs for every hour flown (this will also increase with age). As such an important factor for the RMAF will not only be per unit procurement costs but other vital factors as well.

    Mention on the possibility of us sourcing parts from China were first made in the 2007-8 period during a trip there by the RMAF chief. The problem with this option is that the parts have to be approved by the OEM and in case of any issues; one can’t go to the OEM for technical help as parts used were from elsewhere and and were not approved of.

  43. I understand the tone of Mahathir’s language is not new, but the background of those remarks has changed very much since the 90s. The world as a whole was in a more unipolar state in the 90s and South East Asia itself was not a region under contention by major powers. Specific to ourselves, we had much less to gain or lose from our lower economic exposure to China at the time, and we did not have to worry about our territorial features being wrested away if we displeased them.

    The changed context makes it harder to excuse Mahathir’s remarks today as intended domestic consumption. Even if the remarks critical of the US can be so attributed, it is less easy to claim that those in favour of China are also intended for domestic consumption.

    “Bilateral exercises with Uncle Sam are valued by the MAF”

    I would say that in a sense and in some cases, the US values exercises with Southeast Asian states more than the SEA states do. It is us, not they, who define the character of these exercises. We choose where the exercise takes place, which units take part and what they do.

    If we indeed “value” the exercises, how much stems from our wanting to expand defence ties with the US and how much is because we simply get learn from the experience itself?

    “new things are constantly added.”

    How true is it that “new things” are constantly added to our exercises with the US? I have to say I haven’t noticed our exercises with the US growing in scope, troop numbers involved or duration. Nor have I noticed that we’ve identified any particular area of focus. Things do not seem to have changed from years past.

    Would the selection of “new things” to exercise in itself signify a desire to expand defence ties?

  44. joe – “An attack scout chopper would give them that edge which they never had before”

    No…. Whatever was bought would only have given “that edge” when it’s operational use was tied in with other assets; operating jointly; each asset complementing each other to maximise their respective strengths and limit their weaknesses.

    joe – “The MD530 may or may not fit the bill but at a lower cost than dedicated attack chopper”

    No doubt AM will give a better overall reply but it’s plainly obvious the Little Bird comes “at a lower cost than dedicated attack chopper” – for the simple reason that it doesn’t provide the same capabilities.

    joe – “It was either the Apache or Tiger, with Supecobra as the 2ndary selection but they were being pushed into a corner to get Rooivalk or nothing”

    The Tiger wasn’t available then. The Super Cobra was only offered after the Rooivalk deal was shelved and Tiger only entered the picture in the mid 2000’s. Apache was never seriously considered although the army requested and received a briefing and Syed Hamid Albar flew in one during visit to St. Louis.

    Get the narrative right….

    joe -“Your looking at the small picture”

    And you’re looking at the “big picture”? That’s rich. I’m merely correcting your narrative …… Don’t obfuscate things; stick to the plot. You’re talking about the so called “big picture”. I’m merely taking about what was and was not offered during that period …

    joe – “the Rooivalk was off the table”

    I have no idea why I’m bothering to even write this as you seemed better informed but the personal relationship between Mahathir and Mandela played a big part in Rooivalk being selected. They also offered us the opportunity for further joint development, the possibility of tying in Oryx with the Rooivalk deal and the customary “transfer of technology” and offsets. After the Asian Economic Crisis, when things got economically better for us, our priorities shifted. By then Denel was also having financial issues which compromised its ability to further upgrade Rooivalk.

  45. @ joe

    Does having an attack helicopter really gives our army a meaningful extra edge? I dont think so. If we want to develop the experience, we can perfectly use the current A109 as a surrogate attack helicopter. If you want a hovering fire support vehicle to hit a mk2 sulu force for example, a blackhawk with multiple guns and rockets pointing out of it will do just fine. Fighting another country will get a token force of attack helicopters, however advanced it is, shot out of the air within a few hours of hostility.


    BTW in the past 20 years we did buy big ticket items for TDM and TUDM. Remember the Hornet, MKM, A400M, Adnan and Gempita?

    Things that can give an extra edge to TDM?
    – ESM, Cyber and Electronic Jamming capabilities
    – improvement to our fires (C2 and seamless link between recce/observers and fire batteries even when both is always on the move. Able to find and shot critical nodes of the enemy like their command post)
    – engineering and assault pioneer capabilities
    – passive drone tracking and squad level capability to jam/bring down drones.
    – communication or networking capability without using radio waves (new tech like LiFi for example)

    @ azlan

    Whether you use alternative parts or not, it is reassuring to know that it is available in the 1st place. We can never predict what would happen in the future and options to continue maintain our aircrafts would be great. BTW Algeria, which was pushed for the MiG-35, choose the MiG-29M instead (this is just confirmed a few days ago). Less airfame numbers also means less spareparts sources available. As for us, yes we do currently buy and use spares and consumables from china for our MKM, and it does not seem to affect its warranty with russia.

  46. @Azlan
    “operating jointly; each asset complementing each other”
    Your speaking as if the MD530s would be use without any ‘jointness’ and yet you seemed upset when Chua bring up the same topic. Please make up your mind! If we’re going to get this asset it WILL be used jointly with other assets if other assets are present and involved. If its on a purely scouting mission, there is no requirement for ‘jointness’ other than being tracked by RMAF radars.

    “doesn’t provide the same capabilities.”
    Much like a Wira doesn’t have the same performance of a Mercedes E300, but it still fulfill the same purpose more or less. The MD530s of course isn’t as capable, but the airborne attack role is something we’re lacking.

    “Mahathir and Mandela played a big part”
    I never said it wasn’t, our guys certainly didn’t go clamouring for the Rooivalk, but I guess you know more so I will not carry this on.

  47. “No doubt AM will give a better overall reply but it’s plainly obvious the Little Bird comes “at a lower cost than dedicated attack chopper” – for the simple reason that it doesn’t provide the same capabilities. ”

    I will decline today. It has become a pattern for joe to make some unsupported claim and say he knows something that others don’t. Anyone can build castles in the air, it detracts from purpose of this forum to debate them.

    If I had something to share that would interest others, such as our consideration of the Rooivalk or another story grounded in fact, I will post it. But to refute wild suggestions (such as saying Brahmos or S400 will give the neighbours pause) with common reasoning or ground already covered, worse still to get everyone bogged down, is a waste of time.

  48. “As for us, yes we do currently buy and use spares and consumables from china for our MKM, and it does not seem to affect its warranty with russia.”

    In the first place, what do we mean by warranty in the context of fighter aircraft?

    Does this refer to the commonly understood sense- where the OEM undertakes to make rectifications where a fault develops or where availability falls below an agreed standard?
    For how long does warranty apply, and what are the conditions?

    If I had to venture a guess, I would say while the OEM’s warranty on the platform might have expired, parts that we’ve bought from the OEM more recently might still come under warranty and might be subject to condition that failure is not caused by our using non-OEM parts.

    Support is a different matter. As has happened with ex-Russian designs bought from third countries, an OEM might not want to provide support if one buys from non-OEM sources, even if one is willing to pay for it. This might include not selling spares or munitions.

  49. AM,

    We appear to have a troll in our midst, which for me I will ignore.

    …. – “and it does not seem to affect its warranty with russia”

    “Seem” is the major word. Do you know for certain that these parts are approved by the OEM and are the Chinese allowed to sell these parts?

  50. AM,


    The warranty period can vary depending on the contract. Even after the warranty period has expired the OEM will provide technical assistance in the event of issues; whether parts are faulty, whether the aircraft is not performing to spec, etc. If however the customer had used parts which were not approved of by the OEM then the problem starts as the OEM will refuse assistance.

    In case of modifications the OEM’s help in providing certification is also needed for warranty and support issues and depending on the equipment the OEM will have to provide source and object codes to enable integration (the case with the MKMs).

    In the past the Russians refused to deliver spares and parts for Soviet era MBTs produced by former Warsaw Pact countries as the licensing agreement stipulated that these MBTs be produced only for domestic purpose and if exported; would be with Soviet consent.

    In the past the Russians also refused to provide technical assistance for Peru’s Fulcrums sourced from Belarus. In the 1990’s we received several offers for spares and technical assistance for the Fulcrums from non Russian sources.

    With regards to Su-27 parts made in China the question of whether these parts are approved by the OEM and whether the Chinese are allowed to exports these parts arises. We have a history of buying cheaper parts not approved of by the OEM; for the Model 56s and other stuff.

    China tend to export things without any permission from anyone, Caveat Emptor

  51. @…
    “a blackhawk with multiple guns and rockets pointing out of it will do just fine.”
    Yes it might, but do we have such an equipment? The best I seen so far is door mounted minigun A109 which still need to be within gun range. We could mount stub wings on A109 as a gunship platform but will the cost of conversion justify over buying MD530s? I’m unsure.

    “20 years we did buy big ticket items for TDM and TUDM.”
    Yes, I’m aware. It was a sarcastic question since some thinks a procurement offer is only valid at one point of time. The offer was still there throughout the 20 years since (the terms would have changed of course).

    “it does not seem to affect its warranty with russia”
    Probably non-performance parts wouldn’t have trigger them.

    “We appear to have a troll in our midst”
    That is up to you. Doesn’t affect me. I don’t come here to pick an argument for nuts.

  52. I have no confirmation if it was approved by OEM. But that part is used by TUDM and TNI-AU, supplied by the same middlemen.

  53. Su27/30 TNI AU first batch have been upgraded in Belarus. Standard Su27/30 give much less headache. Vietnam, indonesia, myanmar have no serious problem in keeping their sukhoi.

    IMO, Trade in all grounded migs and MKM with standard russia jet SU30SM or SU35 is good choice. Mig35 is a new variant and considered as 4++ fighter but it is still an interceptor.

  54. romeo – “. Standard Su27/30 give much less headache. Vietnam, indonesia, myanmar have no serious problem in keeping their sukhoi”

    The minimal modifications performed by Vietnam and Indonesia means their aircraft have a smaller logistical/support footprint in that that have to deal with less suppliers. I’m sure they’ve also had “headaches” because dealing with the Russians – even in the best of times – can be frustrating and challenging.

    Even without modifications with non Russian parts however the Flanker is still maintenance intensive compared to Western types in the needed post flight maintenance hours it needs (it’s for this reason we can generate a higher number of sorties with the Hornets) and its various parts/components (the TVC is useful in WVR engagements but it also adds to the list of things that have to be maintained) which have a shorter life compared to Western equivalents.

    In the unlikely event we buy more Russian aircraft there’s no escaping the fact that we’ll have to modify then to suit our requirements – the price to pay when politics determines what we get.

    Romeo – “Mig35 is a new variant and considered as 4++ fighter but it is still an interceptor”

    It has – to be expected – major advantages over our Fulcrums in that it has a AESA, full air to ground capabilities, FADEC; as well as a host of other improvements including a reduced RCS and parts with a longer TBO/MTBF.

    So yes when viewed in entirety it is a big improvement over our 1980’s/1990’s equipped Fulcrums and being a newer aircraft will contain improvements over the MKMs but it cant be directly compared to the Flanker as both are in the different size/weight category. Yes it started life as an air to air platform but so did the Flanker.

    As it stands however we’ll only end up with it if Mahathir decides so (unlikely any time soon). and apart from a few more follow in Flankers; the RMAF has no desire for Russian.

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