Labuan New Radar By Year End

Lockheed Martin TPS-77 Air Surveillance Radar - Transportable version of the FPS-117, the radar can be configured for C-130, C-17, truck, rail or helicopter transport.

SHAH ALAM: Defence Minister DSU Mohamad Hasan told Parliament on March 16 that the Lockheed Martin TPS-77 long range surveillance radar will be commissioned in Labuan by year end. He said it would replace the Alenia radar which has been decommissioned as it is no longer mission capable. The radar will be placed at Bukit Kubong, Labuan, the site where the Alenia used to be operated by Skuadron 340.

The TPS-77 radar is gifted by the US to Malaysia under the Building Partner Capacity programme. From a previous Malaysian Defence report.

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a firm contract from the US government to supply a long range air surveillance radar including support and training for the RMAF. The radar is likely the one to be gifted to Malaysia by the US as reported previously. Although the announcement did not mention the type, it did say it cost some US$25 million (RM104 million) and expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2025.

Mohamad was answering questions on the radar surveillance in Sabah and Sarawak. He told MPs that they should not be worried about the surveillance capabilities as RMAF continue to conduct its operations.

“For example, the radar on Gunung Ngili has full mission capability,” Mohamad told Parliament without explaining the site location or capabilities. The radar on Ngili is of course the Thales GM403 radar which is operated by RMAF Skuadron 331 operating out from the nearby Kota Samarahan.

Unfortunately, the minister did not say anything about the tender for a single long range radar published on June 2 2022 and closes on August 30. Malaysian Defence has not heard anything about the tender since then. Hopefully, I will hear something about it at LIMA 2023.

— Malaysian Defence

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13 Comments

  1. We should really consider the TPS-77 for the radar requirement. It’s a decent radar; will provide some commonality and it makes sense from a diplomatic perspective given that the Americans have given us quite a bit of stuff in recent years.

  2. The problem with US stuff is they don’t accept any offsets which is a major disadvantage from the get go, unlike European stuff. Leonardo even willing, and has done, a FOC swap with something they (or Italy) wanted, so this kind of flexibility is why we went European for radars these while.

  3. Hopefully the radar can be bundled together with MERAD procurement. Not only we can get cheaper price compared to buying them separately it’s easier to buy something that is integrated from the get go than to buy a radar then go for a system agnostic MERAD and risk them being used in isolation and to spend more time and money to try to integrate them

  4. “Not their flexibility but our own insistence”
    Goes both ways. We insist but US never budge while the Europeans are way more flexible to do a deal. If you buy something of course you’d prefer one that is flexible in their terms.

  5. Buying from US is done through the FMS. Under the FMS system, the buyer (e.g. Malaysia) doesn’t contract with the seller. Instead its a G2G deal where the US government buys through one of the military branches, who will take delivery before transferring to Malaysia. This means no hanky panky stuff. Europeans I don’t believe follows the FMS system, which is why there are so many scandals, corruption, bribery, etc cases related to European arms seller.

  6. “scandals, corruption, bribery, etc cases”
    The Europeans are practical businessmen after all.

  7. kel – ” This means no hanky panky stuff. ”

    AS I explained to someone else this prevents the participation of local companies and has been one reason why at times we don’t consider American. Under FMS a particular American services plays the part of accepting kit; ensuring contractual obligations are met and [when specified as per the contract] undertakes training. Also, not everything has to be acquired via FMS.

    kel – ”Europeans I don’t believe follows the FMS system, which is why there are so many scandals, corruption, bribery, etc cases related to European arms seller.”

    They have something similar under government to government deals. The French have things like NAVCO which undertakes services on behalf of a cust0mer or customers can contract companies to oversee certain aspects of the procurement process; ensuring the interests of the buyer is safeguarded.

    kel – ” (e.g. Malaysia) doesn’t contract with the seller”

    It does but the seller doesn’t deliver to the user. Take the Hornet deal; McDonnell Douglas was contracted but the entity which accepted delivery and ensured everything went smoothly was the USN who also as part of the FMS package conducted training with the USMC for the RMAF.

  8. I know this an old post but recently i stumbled upon a few people stating that one of the ‘shortlisted’ candidate is the Indra LTR25 (which was also recently bought by UK) while another candidate was not mentioned (still unknown). Marhalim were you able to confirm this info? Thanks

    Like Azlan mentioned, I also do agree that we should by stuff that has commonality. Given that the top 2 state of the art AESA radar we have are the GM400 and TPS77, its safe to think that we should only consider these 2 radars as an option. Why would we introducing another player to the field is unknown to me. My assumption would be either
    – the LTR25 have certain features that RMAF desired that other radar dont have
    – or RMAF really want to diversify (in a limited way) the radar models (as in if 1 radar is jammed at least another different radar can still works but with limited overlapping coverage)
    – there are things that RMAF not satisfied with the GM400 and TPS77
    – or it is just cheaper/more affordable
    – or RMAF want only LTR25 radar to be purchased for the next 7-8 units

  9. I have no heard anything about Indra, really. How is it possible we are unhappy with the TPS-77 as we have not taken delivery of the radar. Of course, agents might be unhappy with it as the US gifted it to us.
    Hopefully, I will get more clarity after Raya, and LIMA, of course,

  10. Luqman , “Given that the top 2 state of the art AESA radar we have are the GM400 and TPS77, its safe to think that we should only consider these 2 radars as an option”

    I would think so; especially if the requirement is for a primary search radar. If however a requirements arises in the future for a gap filer then maybe a radar with different specs would be required.

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