SHAH ALAM: The Lockheed Martin TPS-77 long range surveillance radar to be gifted by the US to Malaysia under the Building Partner Capacity programme will be sited at Labuan, the deputy Defence Minister DS Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz told Parliament today.
The radar is expected to be site there in 2025 based on the previous Malaysian Defence report. Apart from the radar, the RMAF Labuan airbase will also see a number developments to boost its capability and capacity in RMK12 with an allocation of some RM118 million, Ikmal said.
The bulk of the money is to build 97 family housing of various classes which will start next year- RM63.12 million; RM9 million for slope protection; RM25 million to resurface the runway; RM10 million for new buildings and RM12 million to boost the security of the airbase. Most the projects are in the process of being tender out and under preparation. The allocation for security is mostly for new anti-intrusion fencing, CCTV cameras and look-out towers.
Perhaps the allocation for the new buildings will include shelters – even removable temporary ones – for the Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flankers whenever they are deployed there. The current aircraft shelters are too small for the Flankers so they are parked away from them at another dispersal area. A new office/rest room building has been build there for the Flankers crew whenever they are deployed to the airbase though the aircraft are still parked in the open next to it.
There are a number of hangars at the airbase – mostly used to house the resident units – No. 14 Squadron (Hercules) and No. 5 Squadron (EC-725) but these are located on the other side of the airbase. For those who have never been there, the Labuan airbase is located opposite the Labuan airport with the ATC controlled by RMAF, just like Kuantan airport. RMAF air operations is about three quarters of the Labuan’s runway which is listed at 2,300 meters.
Based on the above it is clear that the radar being bought by RMAF under a separate tender will be located near the Bintulu airport where the barebones airbase will be built.
Meanwhile in responding to another question, Ikhmal Hisham said the ministry has registered the procurement of the eight LMSes and 13 FICs for RMK12. This was a repeat of the statement by the Defence Minister previously. I believed only the FICs would be funded though – some with money from Op Benteng allocation – as done last year. The LMS Batch 2, I believed will be funded in RMK13.
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Question, if not mistaken currently there is a radar in Sabah as well right? If yes, what will happen to that radar? Will it be relocated elsewhere or permanently phased out?
Since we are already being trained over there, most probably next year?
No, radar is expected to be manufactured by 2025 as per the previous report
Yes there is one in Labuan at the moment, not sure whether they going to retire it or not, most likely
luqman – ”currently there is a radar in Sabah as well right?”
There is a primary search one and a ATC one. We also get feeds from DCA ones.
May I ask if the RMAF Labuan base is defended by any Shorads for anti air defence as this will be the first point of contact for any intrusion in our EEZ in the SCS?
Currently Labuan houses the RAT-31SL radar, of 20+ years of age. The one that needs to be replaced are probably the two S-743D Martello.
So is the current RAT-31SL of Labuan to be moved to another location?
The advantage of the TPS-77 MRR radar is that it can also be dual-role used to detect maritime targets too, a great decision basing it in Labuan.
But the personnel being trained on the new radar in USA is from Sarawak’s 330 Squadron, not Labuan’s 340 Squadron. So is the decision to place the TPS-77 in Labuan a very recent decision?
Harris – ”May I ask if the RMAF Labuan base is defended by any Shorads”
The RMAF does not state where its V-SHORADS are deployed.
Harris – ”the first point of contact for any intrusion in our EEZ in the SCS?”
The first point of contact could be in various places along the coast; not necessarily Labuan.
gonggok – ”it can also be dual-role used to detect maritime targets too”
Yes but two issues … The first is that it can only be used to scan one domain at any one time. The seconds is if it detected a sea contact do we have the mechanism in place to share it with a RMN ship or a RMAF MPA? or de we have to go through a cumbersome process? This is what I mean by ”jointness” and ”key enablers”; concepts still apparently not fully understood by some.