If Only We Could Piggyback on The Deal….

SHAH ALAM: The story below is self-explainatory. If only we could piggyback on the deal with the Saudis financing our own purchases, with us getting an interest-free loan. If I recalled correctly Tunku once wrote that the Saudi back in the late 60s or early 70s, had offered Malaysia an interest free loan to finance the purchase of arms from jets to submarines. The offer was politely declined however.
In the current times such an offer would be very tempting indeed…..

U.S. to tell Congress of up to $60 billion Saudi arms deal
By Phil Stewart Phil Stewart Mon Sep 13, 3:54 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration will soon notify Congress of an arms package for Saudi Arabia worth up to $60 billion, U.S. officials said on Monday, a potentially record-breaking deal that may help counter Iran’s growing regional muscle.

A senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he expected the Saudis to initially commit to $30 billion in purchases, but that could double.

The package would include 84 new Boeing Co F-15 fighter jets and upgrades to another 70 of them. It also involved 72 Black Hawk helicopters built by Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp.

“It’s massive,” said Andrew Exum, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security, calling the long-anticipated deal a “shot-in-the-arm” for the U.S. defense industry.

“What the United States is trying to do here is pretty clear. (It is) basically trying to work by, with, and through our partners in the region to balance against Iran,” he said.

The regional buildup comes amid deepening international concern about Iran’s moves to bolter its military muscle, including advances in its nuclear program the West believes is aimed at developing atomic bombs — accusations Iran denies.

The United States has also flagged concern about Iran’s growing missile capabilities, and has been quietly helping Arab states boost their missile defenses.

The Saudi package, Exum said, had to be viewed in the context of other deals in the region. He cited the expected sale of a missile defense system manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp to the United Arab Emirates.

Earlier on Monday, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said he expected Congress would receive official notification of the long-anticipated Saudi deal within the next week or so.

Lapan declined to comment on details, however, saying Congress needed to be notified first.

BOOST FOR BOEING

The senior defense official said the U.S.-Saudi arms deal also included 70 of Boeing’s Apache helicopters and 36 Little Birds.

If approved, the Saudi deal would provide a huge boost to Boeing Co’s defense unit, which had several key programs axed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates last year.

“This transaction shows that there may still be a lot of life in the F-15 fighter and other Boeing legacy aircraft programs,” said defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Virginia-based Lexington Institute.

“The Saudi sale by itself will make a big difference to the company’s revenues for at least the next five years,” Thompson said.

Boeing share were up 36 cents at $64.20 in mid-afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Upon congressional notification, lawmakers get 30 days to object to the deal. But notifications are usually not sent unless lawmakers have already broadly agreed to the sale.

Saudi Arabia was the biggest buyer of U.S. weapons during a four-year span of 2005 through 2008, with $11.2 billion in deals, according to the U.S. Congressional Research Service.

(Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa, editing by Jackie Frank and Vicki Allen)

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Shah Alam

25 Comments

  1. It is bad enough that it is not F-35 or F-22, the F-15s are not even equipped with standoff cruise missiles.

    The threat scenario doesn’t seem to be from Israel and would be more likely from Iran.

    Which also begs the question, why up to 84 dumbgraded F-15s against an ageing Iranian Air Force? The current air assets are sufficient to meet the threat from Israel.

    Come to think of it, why bother with arms at all, if my memory serves me right, the last time there was a threat to the Saudis and the other pro western Arab States from Saddam Hussesin, they dialled 911 to have the US 82nd Airborne stand guard. So much for the title “Guardian of the Two Holy Mosques”!

  2. Marhalim, no need to be beholden to the Saudis by accepting the interest-free loan offer.

    We still have the financial resources to support the MAF.

    My only request to our leaders is that buy those weapon systems that are really needed to defend our country in particular pertaining to the defence of population centers, political/ economic/ social infrastructures.

    The job would have been done if only we had been wise in spending the money allocated in past Malaysia Plans for Defence in the correct manner.

  3. Marhalim,

    There have been a lot wastage in the past. Some major procurements were redundant and eventually became white elephants.

    Our decision makers must be knowledgeable and smart to distinguish between what is vital, essential and desirable procurements.

    It is not too late for Mindef and MOF to give priority to vital procurements first in the coming Malaysia Plans in order to build a credible military deterrence.

    All MPs ought to play their constructive role in Parliament to help the MAF build the desired vital defensive combat capability. We need collective critical minds to move national defence forward for the challenges ahead.

    Marhalim: I totally agree with you; the problem is that the current leadership is totally oblivious to the facts….I am only suggesting that we piggyback on the Saudi deal so we can get the best price possible for the same things we are already looking to purchase, fighter jets, helicopter etc…..I am not suggesting that my suggestion will be look at very seriously by the powers that be….

  4. lekiu, the saudis, even after Iraq had invaded Kuwait, were reluctant to dial 911. It was only after Dick Cheney and Colin Powell showed King Fahd satelitte photos of Iraqi troop dispositions on the border that a request for help was made. Like all other Arab regimes, the main agenda of the Saudi government is regime survival. Even with this latest arms package it will be questionable if the Saudis can stand on their own. If it was wasn’t for the thousands of foreign contractors, the RSAF would’t be even be flying.

  5. Some one please inform me whether the latest version of F15 ie the K (for Korea) and ST (for Singapore) have stand off weapon inducted for them? I thot i read somewhere that they were especially the ST as it can fire the popeye stand off guided missile. The US C version yeah only optimise for air to air while the S version (or bomber eagle) has some limited ground attack capability. I also thot that boeing is coming up with a pimp up stealth version of the F15.

  6. May i stand corrected but i recalled when the submarine deal was open for tender in mid 90’s and early 00, there was an offer from pakistan to build 3 Agosta 90B at USD750 million financed by the saudi interest free loan

    Marhalim: I am not sure about this one but will check …

  7. I’d be happy if the Saudi’s would let us have one of their E-3, with consent from the US of course.

    Marhalim: I dont think they will allow us to that Lekiu…the Saudi E3 fleet as of the USAF ones are heavily tasked to cover the Persian Gulf region to cover you know who……

  8. Kamal,

    Check out this website : http://www.ausairpower.net/DT-Missiles-01-06.pdf. According to the report, the Koreans have been carrying AGM142 on their F-4s, never mind the new F-15s.

    But I have not read anywhere that says that Singapore have stand off missiles for their F-15s although I wouldn’t be surprised if they have.

    Since we are on the topic of cruise missile, I was quite surprised that the Indonesians have P-800 Onyx in their arsenal. That sure gives their navy some bite !

    The increasing wealth on Asian countries I suppose would only mean, increasing proliferation of bigger jets, heavier ships and longer range missiles being inducted.

  9. Looking at what the saudi planning to buy, the only thing that may be relevant for us now is the choppers. We dont need to add up more variety of jets into our mix at this moment, the ones that we have also need proper funding, maintenance, weaponry, electronics and avionics upkeep for them to run smoothly.

    just my opinion though, the black hawks would be a welcome addition as we already operates 2 of them. For the jets, i would rather we have a small operating number between 26 to 36 but with at least 80% operational readiness, full funded training and enough ammo, bombs, missiles and maintenance to fight off a conflict.

    Marhalim: yes the helos sounds a good deal although not the Apaches, we must first train on the Little Birds first before embarking on attack helo route

  10. Singapore with its higher defence spending is designed to maintain its superior military deterrence in the SEA region.They are able to do it due to its relative higher defence spending and cost effective procurement system!

  11. All this talk about buying goodies. To give some prespective on small arms prices the UK paid 19,000 pounds for 500 new L115A3 rifles, including a new sight and nght vision, making it the most ever paid for a rifle. The L115A3, chambered for .338 Lapua, is an improved version of the L96, also in use by our army. Britain pays 60 pence for its 7.62mm rounds and 30 pence for it’s 5.56mm. Wonder how much SME Ordnance charges MINDEF for its bullets….

    All this talk about the F15, if only we bought it or even the Super Hornet. Though it’a all water under the bridge at least most of the air to air and air to ground ordnance offered for the Eagle and Super Hornet has been tested in combat, unlike the Kh 31 missile and KAB 1500 ordered for the MKMs.

  12. loreng, and there is much, much less political inteference in the Republic of Singapore. And dont forget that they have a fraction of our operational comittments and a much smaller land area and waters to defend and keep an eye on.

  13. Azlan,

    is it 19k for total 500 rifles? That is cheap man as it work out about 38 pound per rifle. It was rumoured through a business contact of mine, our ammo cost around what you have mentioned but that was 2007 data.

    Marhalim: I believed its more like 19 million pounds ….

  14. kamal, yes it was 19,000 pounds for each L115A3 rifle, making it the most expensive individual weapon ever to be issued to British troops. The price includes a night sight and a scope. About 550 were ordered for the army, Royal Marines and RAF Regiment.

  15. kamal, the British army paid 20,000 pounds for each Javelin missile!!! Expensive but not bad considering even the most heavily armoured MBT can’t stop a top attack missile like Spike and Javelin. Let’s see how much Denel charges us for the Ingwee in the future.

    I would asume that we pay more for our small arms ammo than the Brits as they order their ammo in very much larger quantities.

  16. Azlan,

    Javelin is a fire-and-forget Medium-Range ATGM which uses infra red imaging.Unlike laser-guided and beam rider ATGM, the gunner can move to another location once he presses the trigger.With Javelin no need to wait until the missile hit the target before the crew can relocate.The targeted tank will have difficulty to locate the Javelin crew so it improves their field survivability rate tremendously as compared to laser and beam rider or the obsolete wire-guided type ATGMs. It is auto top attack with direct attack mode.It weights only 22.5 kg complete unit.It is 2-men crew and can be air-drop.Only the Israeli made SPIKE can match the Javelin. Singapore had bought SPIKE many..many..many years ago.

    Marhalim: I believe a single Javelin missile minus the sights is around USD80,000…

  17. Wait a minure, did denel won the ATGM contest for the Army?

    The swweedes also got something similar is not it.. i think is called BILL.

    Well who ever the choose for the ATGM contest, hope that the quantity is sufficient though i agree the price will be at least 20% more than the international price due to some “local” participation requirement.

  18. Marhalim,

    The Javelin’s sight is called Command Launch Unit (CLU). The CLU when not in use to fire the Javelin’s missile can be detached for independent surveillance role.The passive thermal sight of the CLU could detect target at night.If acquired not only the Javelin Medium Range ATGM improve the anti-tank capability of the Army, but it will also improve its night surveillance capability by leaps and bounds.

    Marhalim: Yes, I saw the YouTube video where the CLU is used to track the missile. I dont think we will buy enough Javelins to improve the Army night surveillance capability. Such capability should come from dedicated night sights distributed down to section level…..

  19. BILL has been around since the late 80’s but hasn’t found many takers. Recently there was a report that Saudi bought BILL. The Russians are reportedly working on an infra red version of the Konkurs and India has been working on a infra red version of it’s Nag.

    Like Kamal said, let hope that whatever is bought is ordered in decent quantities. As the say, ”quantity has a certain quality of it’s own”… Strangely, the UN Arms Register [2003] says we bought 450 ‘unit’s of Bakhtar Shikan, and that sure seems like a lot considering there are only 9 Adnan’s fitted with it.

  20. The CLU sight picture is significantly crappier than a good TI sight. How do I know this? I have 4 training ‘kills’ on the Javelin simulator.
    It’s also large and a dog to handle without the missile tube as it doesn’t have a tripod. You literally need to hold it up and prop your elbows on your knees.
    You also don’t want to drain the battery on the CLU. There’s another battery on the missile that powers the seeker head.

    Simon

  21. Simon,

    That is good news the US is willing to offer the Javelin to the Malaysian Army on FMS basis.A good opportunity to equip our Army with the latest third generation ATGM which the Infantry can take into battle with great confidence.The G-to-G FMS procurement is the most cost-effective and financially prudent since no opportunity for middleman to add the normal 20-30% “local content”.

  22. Azlan,

    The Indian NAG is no go.Apparently the Indian Army is not happy with it.They are looking at JAVELIN and SPIKE, with the former having a distinct advantage since it is already battle-proven in Iraq amd Afghanistan.

  23. Simon,

    The British Army bought Javelin ATGM with tripods.The tripods could be useful for static defence but a big nuisance in mobile operations!

    Marhalim: They also used the tripod to place the Javelin on trucks…

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