Like The Old Soldier

A gaggle of Fulcrums at LIMA 2011.

SHAH ALAM: Like the old soldier. Russian state owned news agency reported from Moscow on July 19 that Malaysia had signed an agreement to modernise RMAF Mig-29N Fulcrum fleet.

The report

A MIg-29N M43-04 flies in formation with Sukhoi Su-30MKM M52-10 and US Navy Super Hornets. Picture credit US Navy

Russia, Malaysia Sign Agreement on Modernization of Malaysian MiG-29

Russia and Malaysia have signed an agreement on the renovation and modernization of the Russia-produced MiG-29 fighter aircraft that form parts of the Royal Malaysian Air Force, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the MAKS International Aviation and Space Salon on Wednesday.ZHUKOVSKIY (Moscow Region) (Sputnik) — The document was signed by Russian Aircraft Corporation (RAC) MiG Director General Ilya Tarasenko and Malaysian Air Force representative Mohamed Fadzar bin Sufad on the margins of the MAKS.

“The agreement confirms the extension of our contractual obligations for the Malaysian Air Forces on the operation of MiG-29 fighter jets. The RAC MiG will continue its cooperation with the Malaysian Air Forces and will provide technical support for these aircraft,” Tarasenko said.

The MiG-29 supply contract was signed in Kuala Lumpur on June 7, 1994. The total contract value of 18 Russia-supplied aircraft was estimated at $560 billion. The MiG Corporation assumed the obligation to make the necessary adjustments and adapt the aircraft to Malaysian humid tropical climate. Malaysian MiG aircraft have come to be known as MiG-29N and MJG-29NUB, and formed Squadron 17 and Squadron 19 of the Royal Malaysian Air Force.

Mig-29N M43-03 flies together with a USAF F-22 Raptor at Cope Taufan 2014. 03 is one of the most pictured Fulcrum instantly recognisable for its colourful fins symbolising the 17th Squadron crest

Another report in turn says the deal will ensure that the Fulcrums will continue in service until 2020.

Russia have signed a contract with Malaysia to continue support services to the Russian supplied MiG-29 combat aircraft fleet operated by Royal Malaysian Air Force, during the MAKS 2017 Air show in Moscow.

The contract signed between RMAF and Russian MiG Corp ensures Russian support to operate the MiG-29N fleet until April 2020.

Fulcrums with ACMI pods

So what really happened on Wednesday in Moscow? I was not in Russia but most likely that the contract signed was between RAC MIG and ATSC Sdn Bhd, the Malaysian company set-up to maintain and support the Fulcrums.
An MB-339CM and a MIG-29N Fulcrum demonstrates an air-to air interception at the NCO demonstration ceremony at Kuantan airbase in May, 2016.

So will the Fulcrums be modernised, remain in service until 2020 or simply fade away?. To quote X-Files: The Truth is out there.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam


  1. There is article in defense news recently that reveal the detail about india rafale seem without modification like the indian the rafale would costs around 200m usd a piece together with training,weapon,,spare parts and facilities.the article maybe wrong of course but it is the most detailed i seen in recent if we buy 18 of these it will costs us around 3.6b. a number that we have never seen before.

  2. Malaysian Air Force representative Mohamed Fadzar bin Sufad??

    I think they meant ATSC CEO Mohd Fadzar Suhada. So its just an MOU with ATSC, not TUDM itself. So this news actually means nothing.

    Yes I think its also the ATSC CEO. My guess when they translated the story from Russian to English, the name got mix up. And the fact that the CEO business card says Lt. Col (rtd) will confuse them further.

  3. At least that’s something in the long and twisted MRCA saga.
    I wonder what the ‘renovations’ are, whether upgraded to Indian or Myanmar level. Still good news I think.

  4. Its a question of money. We dont have the budget for new MRCA yet, so the MIG will have to soldier on. I personally dont prefer an extensive upgrades but just basic overhaul of the engine and avionics, maybe refurbish the the radar and relife of the missiles which are about 20 years old (could be expired already). Just limit it to R73 missiles for air interception duty (base line already have a maximum reach around 30km while version 2 was stated to have about 40km) and put it in labuan to support the hawks.

    Hopefully post 2020 when our budget deficit is lower than 3%, maybe we can replace it.

  5. Equip those MiGs to SMT standard with Zhuk-ME, R-77 and newer RD-33MK and they can serve till 2025 at least is a better option and wait till 5th Gen planes are matured enough then get them. Better then to spend billions on 4.5 gen planes

  6. Nothing said on contract value and govt is currently silent on any contract award regarding the Fulcrum. My take on this, wait for further development.

  7. Acquisition of these fighters didn’t occur overnight. We may have to wait 5,6 years for full delivery to take place and a couple more years to familiarize. Having those migs soldiered on until all the new fighters achieve full operationality is a good move imo. Beats having to lease fighters we have no experience with

    Right now I think it’s better if rmaf improve its air surveillance capability first, with acquisition of MPA and ISR as well as to proceed with hawk and herc upgrade

  8. If the Goverment Signed The Moderized ed Of MiG-29N Should be Good To Extanded until 2025

  9. Good Thing To Upgrade These MiG-29Ns ASAP. First Thing First Is the PESA of MiG-29N need to replaced by AESA and the Cockpit is need more HUD and Even the Helmet.

  10. Off topic…
    Did MY gov buy blackhawk? Couple of blackhawk did flypast at my hometown kluang. My friend (putd pilot) also upload 3 blackhawk line up at putd base

    Post the pictures here. PUTD hosts US helicopters all the time, this time around its for Keris Strike 2017. Anyhow just dont take my word for it, just asked your PUTD pilot friend whether those are ours or not!

  11. They should upgrade the MiG-29Ns to the latest version. Since this is done by Russia it should not cost much.

  12. Marhalim,
    And maybe buy another 18 – 26 units from Russian stocks and modernise to the ‘latest’ N standards.

    There you have it, no need to think about what MRCA to buy if based on a limited budget. For now that is….

  13. Good move by the govt.We are not at war and save billions.What we actually need most is anti aircraft weapons.Sad to see that we have scrapped our commando V150 APC next will the condor and sibmas

  14. Abdul Rahim Omar,
    What we actually need ASAP is more new warships, so as not to appear meek or weak to our neighbours, namely something like (new) :

    1. 10+ Frigates (~111m – 125m)
    2. 22+ Patrol ships (~75m – 99m)
    3. 26+ FAC (~46m – 65m)
    4. 6+ MRSS (~115m – 135m)
    5. 6+ MCMV (~ 60m – 70m)
    6. 6+ LHA/LPD (~130m – 155m)

    If all the above can be “Made in Malaysia”, the better. Just my IMHO.

  15. A reminder or an opportunity?

    Austria to phase out Eurofighter jets

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    Austria has announced plans to phase out its fleet of Eurofighter military jets and replace them with cheaper alternatives, amid a long running legal battle over a past deal to buy the combat aircraft.

    The country’s 15 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft would be taken out of service from 2020, the defence ministry in Vienna said on Friday. It blamed spiralling costs and the jets’ military limitations.

    Austrian officials have already sounded out buying or leasing an alternative fleet from another government, without disclosing details.

    The decision by Vienna is a blow for Eurofighter’s Typhoon, which has struggled in recent years against lower cost rivals such as France’s Rafale.

    Austria’s Eurofighter Typhoons are currently complemented by subsonic Saab aircraft, which are due for replacement anyway from 2020. Hans Peter Doskozil, defence minister, said Vienna would switch from “the current two-fleet system, which is militarily ineffective and very costly, to a more cost-effective one-fleet system with stronger military capabilities.”

    He went on: “We need to get the escalating costs of the Eurofighter under control and minimise the enormous cost risks associated with it.”

    The announcement followed a review by Brigadier Karl Gruber, commander of the Austrian air force, which concluded the country needed supersonic aircraft with “unrestricted operational capabilities” by day and night, and the capability to respond to unauthorised incursions by hostile fighter aircraft.

    Mr Gruber said that beyond Austria, the Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 1 fleet was operated only by countries that were part of the Eurofighter group — the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. Those countries had developed different concepts for the future, he said. “Consequently, it appears likely that there will be no uniform Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 1 system in the future.”

    Eurofighter said it would not comment on “an Austrian defence procurement discussion” but added: “The Eurofighter works very well for all other customers.”

    Earlier this year, it emerged that Airbus and the international consortium that builds the Eurofighter faced a criminal investigation in Austria into alleged fraud over a €2bn deal struck in 2003 for 18 Eurofighter combat jets. In April, after it was revealed that he was being investigated as part of the probe, Tom Enders, chief executive of Airbus, accused the Austrian government of trying to score “cheap political points” and of abusing the legal system.

  16. On the hornet

    A recent report from Bernama.

    “The RMAF has plans to increase the number of F/A-18D Hornet but it depends on the government and I believe they have plans on the matter,” General Affendi Buang said.

    Is that the 1st official statement of tudm looking at getting more legacy hornets?

    Nothing is moving in that direction

  17. zainal abidin – ”If all the above can be “Made in Malaysia”, the better.”

    How can it be ”better” when nothing is actually designed or really made here? Everything, from the shaft to the generator to the radar to the ventilation system to the gun is foreign sourced. Will building the LCS under license actually benefit the local industry? Only time will tell … Even with grenades, shell and explosives ”made” here; all are foreign designs and almost all the components and raw materials are imported.

    Abdul Rahim – ”Sad to see that we have scrapped our commando V150 APC next will the condor and sibmas”

    Why ”sad”? The V-100/150s were old and worn out. Yes they could have been upgraded/refurbished but they have very thin armour. Armour that can be penetrated by 7.62mm AP, never mind anything heavier. Adding heavier armour will result in the need for a new gearbox and engine – it is worth spending so much on 40 odd year old platforms? Some things we should upgrade/refurbish and some we shouldn’t.

    As for the Sibmas, it’s a big, slow and poorly armoured vehicle. Good for use against lightly armed opposition but nothing else. Personally I think we should ditch the Cockerill [like what is being done with the Scorpions – long overdue] and convert them into resupply platforms. Note that a few Sibmas have ended up in junkyards over the years after being uneconomical to repair/fix.


    I believe the main reason the Austrians are looking to retire their Typhoons is the limited capability offered; Tranche 1s. Given that we have a requirement for a full fledged MRCA I very much doubt we’ll be interested in Austria’s Tranche 1s. According to Marhalim however, there was a previous plan to give us some Tranche 1s if we ordered newly built Typhoons from BAE Systems.

    Masterchief – ”Equip those MiGs to SMT standard”

    If we do indeed subject the fleet to a full upgrade – unlikely – it should be based on the IAF’s UPGs.

    Zainal – ”modernise to the ‘latest’ N standards.”

    ‘N’ was a designation unique to ours and was from the 1990’s. Some have questioned whether ‘N’ is really an official RMAF designation.

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