Hardly Believe It

Kuwait F/A-18 C Hornet. Flickr

SHAH ALAM: Hardly believe it. It appears that the government is warming up to the idea of getting the Hornets soon to be retired by Kuwait. This is the impression I got when told that the proposal to get the Kuwaiti Hornets was being discussed during the various events held to discuss the Defence White Paper (DWP).

Don’t count your chickens though, as it remained part of the discussions and yet to be codified in the document with the funding approved. However, as I was told that during the discussions that funds for new airframes will not be available until 2030, it is likely that going the Kuwaiti way is still the best option for the moment to boost our combat aircraft fleet.

Kuwait AF F/A-18C Hornet. USAF

As for the Aussie Hornets, it will be a source of spares only as reported previously.

That said all of this planning will come to nothing if indeed Malaysia is going to have a security and defence cooperation with Iran. From Bernama.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 (Bernama) — Malaysia and Iran are taking steps to fine-tune security and defence cooperation involving both countries.

The matter was discussed at a bilateral meeting between Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu and Iran’s Defence and Armed Forces Logistics Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami.

The meeting took place in conjunction with Mohamad’s working visit to Tehran from April 26 to May 1, according to a statement by the Ministry of Defence today.

He was accompanied by Malaysian Ambassador to Iran Datuk Rustam Yahaya and several senior officials of the ministry and the Malaysian Armed Forces.


RMAF RF-5E Tiger II M29-19 at LIMA 2007.

If the above come to pass, we will probably have to return our F-5Es back into service including Lucky 19 pictured above. Or go full monty with Russian and China arms.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2187 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Good news if we can get those Hornet ASAP. At least Kuwaiti Hornets still young and compatible (or more advance) if compared with some of ASEAN air forces fighters.
    If I’m not mistaken Kuwaiti Hornets far younger than Indonesia F-16 Block32ID.

  2. Possible to do defense cooperation with Iran? With economic sanction even try to do insurance with Iranian citizen or company prohibited

  3. Well, let’s hope YB Mat Sabu, MinDef and PM is listening to our discussions here and sign on to the idea of procuring those Kuwaiti Hornets. We need those and that can be had in a jiffy if the nod if given. Just as soon as the Kuwaitis retire them they should be winging their way back to Boeing or to Malaysia for an overhaul.
    Be damned that majority are C single seater airframes. Enough dawdling on the subject.

  4. “that funds for new airframes will not be available until 2030”
    Sigh. As I have stressed before, beggars can’t be choosers and sometimes we have to consider making do with what we already have, even if they are obsoleted. Yet some are still dreaming and pushing to get new toys.

  5. Good to know. Hope that this logic grow within the government and we actually get to count those chicken 😉
    “…funds for new airframes will not be available until 2030” – Does this mean we won’t be shopping for the LCA anytime soon?

    See the last line…

  6. I had no idea why we need military corporate with Iran. Yes, make a friend better make an enemy but problem you may lead to others unfriend u…

    if Kuwait accept 50 to 80% the deal using our palm oil, i think we will get it. After get it, will we upgrade? Or just life extension without change latest down grade AESA?

    i think RMAF hardly get any new airframe unless someone accept a lot of palm oil from us. Hawk upgrade and MPA also fail to proceed, so I dun see much hope on this?

    We might still able get few UAV for operation, maybe we can look for china make Wing Loong.

  7. “…funds for new airframes will not be available until 2030”

    We cannot afford not to buy LCA/LIFT, MPA and AWACs before 2030.

    Just want to remind KEMENTAH that our neighbours starting next year are steadily increasing their defence budget. If you dont plan to spend on major items in the next 10 years, we will surely be the Philippines of nowadays in 2030, the weakest military in SEA. And be prepared to lose our oilfields and fishing areas to the 9-dash line.

  8. This didn’t really suprise me since mat sabu is well known for his limited ability 2 think.lol.This problem r hidden all these years becoz he is in the opposition Camp n all they have 2do is criticize. But now he in the gov his incompetence shines.

  9. Malaysia usually operating 2 seat airfighter, while Kuwait’s Hornet is C version, a single seat version.

    I’m wondering if there is change of direction for RMAF.

    Marhalim, what is your thought about this?

    Its not a problem for RMAF

  10. kudos to RMAF if we get Kuwaiti Hornets …really hope we get them…

    but no budget for new MPA and LIFT until 2030???then we will get problem later. hope they will address this problem soon

  11. @ Mohd Azrul Che Aziz

    Our MiG-29N are also single seater. Any additional single seater kuwaiti hornets can be used to reactivate those former MiG skuadrons.

    Next questions would be when would it be the earliest timeframe we can get those hornets?

    Another conundrum would be what would happen if we kick the can down road to 2030, we surely wouldnt have the budget to buy the replacements of MRCA, LCA, LIFT, MPA all at the same time. And there would not be any budget for AWACS or EW to increase our capabilities. Dont even go to what kind of capabilities our neighbours going to have in 2030.

    New planes, new squadrons.

  12. ” New planes, new squadrons. ”

    That is not written in stone.

    The 11 Skuadron was reactivated for Su-30MKM.

    Its written in the billets

  13. Marhalim, what numbers are we talking about, just enough to make the current 8 into a squadron or all 28 Kuwaiti Hornets?

    I am not sure of numbers. It’s still early days

  14. @Mohd Azrul Che Aziz
    Historically, no. We have single seat F-5s, Hawks, Fulcrums.
    It is only recently did we specified the MKMs to be twin seater. 2 seater variants we have are typically used for training new drivers and since the Hornet is a well known plane to us, it is not necessary to get a twin-seater version. Though imho, we should try to get as many airframes as possible (single and twin seaters) and even grounded ones for cannibalisation. Get enough, and together with our current Hornets & MKMs, it can very well last us til 2030.

  15. Now it is being discussed seriously, what are the steps to really get those birds?

    1. Do not piss off the gulf council. Any defence matters Kuwait does must be fine for Saudi, UAE, Oman etc.

    2. Do not piss off USA. They have the last say if those hornets can be transferred to us or not.

    What KEMENTAH is doing this last few days is not helping out a bit.

    Off topic Mexico is looking at getting the FA-50 to replace its aged F-5Es.


    @ tom tom

    Kuwait still has about 38 Hornets out of original 40 bought.

  16. Sorry for the long rant

    For MPA. No need to buy new aircraft. We can modify our existing CN-235 into MPAs. Tender can be opened for subsystems to be installed in the CN-235. Should not cost arm and leg.

    For LCA/LIFT. IMO whatever political or diplomatic concerns, technically the TA/FA-50 is the best fit for TUDM. A budget of USD1.4 billion could get us 16 TA LIFT version and 24 FA LCA version, for a total of 40 aircraft. Our LCA/LIFT has been greatly reduced by attrition from 28 hawks and 8 MB339CM, to now of only around 25 aircrafts. Is USD1.4 billion for 40 aircrafts not affordable by the government?

  17. Based on the expected delivery date of the Eurofighter and super hornet to the Kuwaiti Airforce of between June 2020 to 2023, I believe earliest we can get the first ex-kuwaiti hornet bu June 2021 (assuming 1 year for refurbishment/upgrades etc).

    Assuming we go for the full 27 C and 7 D (per wiki), the last example should arrive to TUDM by 2024 (assuming we make the deal with Kuwaiti by next year latest).

    So if new MRCA only available for funding earliest 2030 and give a lead time 4 years for contract delivery, we would be using teh horning till 2034 earliest. By that time the SU30 also would be prime for replacement.

    On AEWAC, maybe we should consider the 2nd hand route by requesting for excess E2C or D from US Navy stocks?

  18. The Iran defence cooperation is just mostly for diplomacy deskwork. It is not like we are investing or conducting military exercise. Qatar and Kuwait has been known to be the most reasonable of the gulf. I dont think it will affect our effort. Rather it is in the Gulf interest that Kuwaiti Hornets deal go through. An arms deal is the best way to build military alliances and swing us back into their orbit.

    The US will feel the same. The US CAATSA Act objective are to encourage countries to swing toward the US and their allies, including the Gulf. Not towards Russia or Iran. This make the deal alligned to US interest. They might offer us themselves. The US Navy just happen to retire their last legacy Hornets squadrons despite the US Marine upgrading theirs for service upto 2030. But their airframes had long hours already and the ‘Skyhawk Syndrome’ might turn off the RMAF.

    Dr M is known to be a great balancer of superpower influences during his previous tenure. Using their interest for achieving our own.The recent ECRL deal and Look East(Japan) policy is an example. The timing of this news right behind the heel of Mat Sabu’s back-to-back visit to Russia and Iran and Dr M visit to China does show his trademark craft. The old man still got the moves.

  19. “The old man still got the moves.”
    By basically pissing off everybody bigger than us then come begging to them for help. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Before we even talk about more US 2nd hand stuff, lets cross our fingers and hope we will get the MD530Gs & M109s on time and without hiccups.

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