LANGKAWI: LIMA 17 preview. I have been thinking about writing a preview of LIMA 17 for some time now. However considering that we will be muddling through the year I could not figure out what to write even with the coming of LIMA until I actually arrived at Langkawi today.
My mental block had been made worse by the decision by the government to accept Saudi Arabia offer of excess aircraft – fighters for the air force and helicopters for the army.
The air force wants its own MRCA, thank you so that is that. As, for the army it couldn’t even afford low hour Brunei Blackhawks, so a deal for high-hour helicopters from the Saudi doesn’t sound too plausible. The navy in the meantime is still grappling with the LCS, LMS and even a possible deal for the MRSS.
Hopefully, the time I spend in Langkawi this week will be beneficial and we will get some clarity on these matters. And of course, there are other outstanding issues like the Hawk and Hercules upgrades, MPA requirement and others, like the MMEA OPV as well.
As for the LMS , the Star reported today:
KUALA LUMPUR: Boustead Holdings Bhd has secured a RM1.17bil contract from the Defence Ministry for the supply of four units of littoral mission ships (LMS).
In a filing with Bursa Malaysia Monday, Boustead said its subsidiary Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) had received and accepted the letter of acceptance (LOA) dated Marc 17 from the Defence Ministry.
“The contract, which is a collaboration between the Malaysian Government Chinese Government, was awarded to BNS under direct negotiation, for collaboration with a Partner Shipyard in China at a price of RM1.17bil (including Goods and Services Tax), to be implemented over four years effective from the date of signing of the LOA by BNS,” Boustead said.
It added that the Littoral Mission Ships would be designed by the Partner Shipyard and the first two vessels would be built and delivered in China in 2019 and 2020, whilst the remaining two vessels would be built and delivered in Malaysia in 2021.
Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/03/20/boustead-naval-shipyard-wins-rm1-17bil-job/#ScAcppSvoTBeIoSR.99
It is likely that the contract signing will be done here at LIMA 17. As for other contracts, I am told that the PDRM will finally signed the deal for M4 Carbine while the RMAF is going to sign the spare deal for the Sukhois.
Some of the RMAF Sukhois are already undergoing their mandatory 10-year depot check at the recently opened technical centre. The first Sukhoi if you may recalled were delivered in 2007 while the rest in batches until 2009.
As for the rest, let me do the hard work for you, just come back often during this week,hopefully I will have something to write home about. And also pray it stop raining in the next few days, otherwise we will only have static shots!
For the record, the air display (if it does not rain) will include the Dassault Rafale, Saab Gripen, Russian Knights Su-30SM, Indonesian Air Force Team Jupiter, Korean Air Force Black Eagles, Indian Air Force Sarang display team and the home team, RMAF, of course.
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Any decision to accept ”excess articles” from Saudi will be political. Even so, lets hope those who have to operate whatever ”excess articles” are gifted/transferred/handed over/donated will have some say in the matter given the concerns regarding commonality, support and operating costs. No doubt there are some who will be excited speculating what ”excess articles” we’ll get but the reality is that aircraft don’t operate in a vacuum; they need a support infrastructure : people trained to operate and maintain them and spares to be stocked.
Before anyone speculates getting U.S. State Department approval will not be a concern as the Saudis are not giving us stuff with very ”sensitive technology [i.e. their E-3s], the Saudis have a strong lobby in Washington and it’s not as if we’re in Uncle Sam’s bad books.
A concern is what will the Saudis expect in return? Yemen has gone ratshit for them [despite all their efforts, support from Uncle Sam and ”a coalition of the willing” of countries eager to ingratiate themselves with the Gulf Sheikhs] and we are deploying a medical team with a security detail to Somalia that will use Saudi as its support base.
Well have a good time at LIMA. We’ll see what happened in these few days. Thankz for the post.
I totally agree with one of the last contributions.
Any organisation, whether military or civilian needs good capable people. Trained and motivated staff is the most important asset, regardless of equipment. (Think Viet Cong vs US). Maintenance and training equally important.
I sooo excited about the Saudi deal, but I bet you it will be Typhoons!!!
Care to elaborate about the medical team? For Somalia but based in Saudi?
I cannot think of any “excess” fighter or helicopter from saudi. They are not a long time users of helicopters so most of their fleet are very recent except of a few VIP agusta AS-61, hueys and kawasaki vertols. As for fighters other than F-5E’s all of them are still in their fleet. So anything should probably be from their current fleet. Or is the offer is just a token one during casual discussions between the leaders of the 2 countries?
It’s already widely reported that Somalia medical mission will embark from Saudi as the two RMAF Hercules are already there. They can mount many missions as Saudi is nearby as long as the funds hold out. Likely they will offer treatment at the airport.
The army have just got their Nuris, quite recently (and the nuris are planned to be upgraded), so I don’t expect they would get any new medium helos. Instead, they should press for other assets like speeding up the SPH acquisition process, getting new replacements for the Oto melaras or even contender for second batch MBT
Bahrain has confirmed it will get Typhoons but via Saudi. The only logical explanation I can think of is the possibility that some Typhoons intended for Saudi will be diverted to us. I doubt the talks are ”casual”; both countries have much to gain and need certain things from each other. Unlike to offer for S-70s from Brunei there is more political interest in a deal with the Saudis.
Despite their age, the Model 65s still have lots of life left in their barrels and plenty of spares. Replacing them is not urgent or something that can’t be put off. On the 2nd batch of MBTs; nice to have but again, not a priority given the sate of finances or the threat environment. Ideally the PT-91s will be gradually retired over the next decade and we start seriously looking at what South Korea and Turkey has to offer.
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