Lima 2009 Part II

Kuala Lumpur: One week after returning home from Langkawi, I finally sat down to post this story. I apologised for the delay, perhaps Malaysian Defence is already way behind the rest but I hope you bear with me.

My excuse for my tardiness in updating the Lima story is the fact that I had to please three masters while in Langkawi (myself and,,,,) and the fact that I had to flew to the island a day after arriving home from another trip (more on that later).

Most of you are already aware that deals worth around RM4.7 billion were signed during Lima, most of it real contracts unlike the past. The contracts however were the usual suspects: the supplies of parts and such which include the Kasturi class corvettes SLEP, which was a gimmick only as the deal was signed several months ago. As for the rest of the procurement plans, we will have to wait for DSA next year or even later than that for the actual contract signings.

Anyways, Datuk Seri Najib (I can no longer used the term Dear PM because you know who!) said the three main projects for defence are, in no particular order are the Army 8X8; Navy’s NGPV second batch and the Cougar procurement.

Although he did not specify which was the most important project, the NGPV project which has some 2,000 local vendors is most probably the most politically safe project especially with the next general elections coming up within the next two years. For that reason, I am assuming that the project will be given the go-ahead by the middle of next year or in early 2011. The cost of the new ships remained a big headache for everyone including to the Finance Ministry but I guess if they can set aside RM1 billion per year, the project will given the green light.

That means the Cougar project will be in the budget by 2011 and the Army 8X8 by the middle of RMK10. All of this will also depend on the result of the next GE of course but not in terms of substance but timing and the suppliers involved as the armed forces still needs those items.

In any case, Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd will have to work with a foreign partner, most likely DCNS, to validate its version of the new NGPV, which it called Second Generation Patrol Vessel. The new design will be some 8-metres longer than the Kedah class; it will have a new smoke stack to replace the current stealth version as it spews smoke into the whole ship and a new VLS for the SAM system

Boustead engineers is proposing the MK41 VLS which can accommodate the Standard SM-2 (50 km range) and the ESSM. The main gun will remain the same but the problematic 30-mm OtoBreda will be replaced with a CIWS proposed by the navy. The ship will have a hull mounted sonar and a VDS or towed array sonar again depending on what the Navy wants.
Second Generation Patrol Vessel
The same goes for the main radar and combat management system. It will be easier for Boustead to work with the same system employed in the Kedah-class but it appears the Navy is not particularly fond of the EADS TRS-16 and is hoping to get a new radar, the Thales SMART perhaps?

Boustead is also proposing that the VLS/Standard/ESSM combo to be retro-fitted to the current Kedah-class since these vessels have not been fitted with their SAM system. It could be done of course although they will have to find a place for the rear fire control radar though.

The Russians meanwhile is proposing that instead of installing a SAM system, they could install a Russian-made VLS system which could accommodate four missiles of the Brahmos type as mentioned by one of regular readers. As I mentioned before, I would prefer we buy the truck-based mobile launchers of the Brahmos, if we really go down this route.

Anyhow, apart from Boustead which displayed the model of the SGPV, ThyssenKrupp, the new owner of Blohm and Voss, the original designer of the Kedah-class had also displayed posters and brochures of their version of the Second Batch.

The proposed vessel also has a smoke stack like the Boustead SGPV, and also has the same weapons/sensors fit although the German design is two metres shorter than the Malaysian proposal. The VLS mounting behind the main gun is also flushed to the deck unlike the raised platform on the Kedah-class.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2147 Articles
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  1. For the 2nd batch of the NGPVs, both the proposed Germany-designed and the locally-designed NGPVs are good enough for the navy. Both have their own characteristic. But like wat Marhalim said, it’s politically safe if ‘they’ choose the locally made NGPVs which has some 2000 local vendors for the project.

    But, it’s not the matter of which proposed NGPVs designed they’ll selected but WHEN will the 2nd batch of the project will be signed.

    From what I heard, the 2nd batch will consist of 4 ships. Can anyone confirm this?

    As for the Nuri, I would suggest that they just need to undergoes for SLEP, no need for the all-new COugar at this moment with the tight budget.

    Priority for the Air Force should be given to the successor of the MIG-29N which are planned to be retired by the end-of the next year.
    With the retirement of the MIGs, our air force will has their combat capability significantly reduced! This is not a small matter but a really big matter.

    As for the successor, the NG variants of the Gripen should suits the Air Force needs. But, personally, I do think that the air force is in favors of the Super Hornet and there’s no hope for the Gripen.

    But with the really tight budget and insanely-not-logic development budget per annum, there’ll be no major procurement in the next five year. Sadly to say, with the less then 0.8% of the country GDP to fund our armed forces, we shouldn’t expected anything great from the armed forces assets procurement.

    Many country are raising their defense funds despite the recent economic downturns (only some like Malaysia reduce their defense funds), so I do think that the ultimate goal in the Vision2020 that are inspired by our 4th PM, Tun Dr Mahathir would be just a dream. 6 Squadron of fighter aircraft, 27 NGPVs, 2 fully-operational frigates fleets and so on will just be a day-dream for the defense enthusiast.

  2. Though the TRS-3D is not a bad radar, according to the Danish Navy, a major problem is that it has 10 modes. The SMART, which the Danish have received, has 2 modes, making it more practical.

    It’s really suprising,finding out from your Malay Mail article that following feedback from the RMN, the Germans have now included a stack.

  3. Surprising where the money will come, coz if my calculation is right all three will worth around RM8 billion with the 2nd NGP be around RM5 billion, 8X8 will be around RM1-RM1.5 b and he cougar about RM1.64 b

    Marhalim: Yes, your calculation is about right. Perhaps they will buy the BTR-4 or its clones so they could save some money on that count but then the NGPV and the Cougars will still cost us around RM7 billion.

    Even if they decide to save some money and ditch the Cougar for RMK11 and go the Nuri upgrade instead they will still need around RM300 million (for 30 helicopters) for a modest upgrade and tripled that amount for a more comprehensive upgrade (new rotors and such).

    And theres the M4 procurement which easily cost them around another RM700 ++ million plus if they were to buy another 126,000 rifles (minus the 14,000 bought already!)

  4. Marhalim, you mentioned unhappiness with the Mauser on the Kadah class. Do you know if it’s integration related or with the gun itself?

    It seems the RMAF displayed its AMRAAMs for the first time at LIMA [saw the photos elewhere].
    Did you see it at LIMA?

    Do you know what will replace the the Creusot Loire 100mm and the 2 twin Emerlec mounts on the Kasturi class? Prior to being transfered to the MMEA, years ago the 2 Marikh OPV class had their Creusot Loire’s replaced with a Bofors Mk 1. I’ve always wondered where the Bofors Mk 1’s came from?

    Marhalim: On the Otobredas, I was told that it wasnt working as advertised. Yes, the Amraam was displayed for the first time at Lima but it was the training missiles. I will post the picture in the next posting…

    On the Kasturi, the last time I was told about it it was supposed to be the 76mm Oto Melara but I dont not know what will replaced the Emerlec. I will get more info on that…

  5. Someone here[I forgot who],mentioned a while ago that the FH-70s are no longer in use with 21 RAD because the barrels have worn out. The current Perajurit mentions that 21 RAD has now received all the G-5s from 22 RAD, which has been reorganised as 52 RAD to operate the 2nd batch of ASTROS. At least the army only operates a single 155mm calibre now.

    Marhalim, what is your personal opinion about the new fighter requirement, do you believe that the Gripen is a leading contender or that additional MKMs will be ordered to raise another squadron? I don’t really see what choice is there because the Super Hornet seems to be a dead duck now and Rafale and Typhoon can be ruled out because of their price tags.

    Marhalim: I believe it was Simon who said the FH-70s barrels have worn. I am not sure if its true or not. On the new MRCA, I believe its just a feel-good story meant for LIMA only as even the RMAF have not finalised their specifications for the new MRCA squadron. For the moment, if and when we sell of the Fulcrums it will be for us to trade them for at least six Flankers. And the MRCA it will probably be in the wishlist for the RMK11. But by the time, we should forget about buying SH, Gripen, Rafale et all. We should instead just buy a dozen or so F-35s. Yes it may cost us around Rm3 billion but …..

  6. Hi ,

    I would like to diagree Firadus about the Nuri replacement for the air force . We just recently get Su30Mk while the Nuri has been in inventory for some of them more than 30 years already . The air force will need to replace the helicopters as it will be more benefical for the country overall to get the helicopters first now compare to get another bunch of MRCA . Seriosuly none of us would like to see another bunch of helicopter crash or what in the news in the next few years and the media and the opposition blasted the government for the failure of replacing the helicopter . That will be a major problem for the country eitehr defensively or politically . Well at the end of the day this is just my opinion .

    About the navy ships , did we get any deal for the replacement for KD Sri Inderapura anyway? Cause I haven heard or see any news about the replacement vessel so far . Anyone got any information about it ?

  7. It may be out of topic, but realising that the malaysian government pays nearly RM18 billion in fuel subsidies last year, would any of us consider foregoing the subsidies, pay higher fue cost and other goods for the following:-

    1) More grants to states such as Kelantan, sabah, sarawak etc

    2) Cheaper public transport
    3) Better health care
    4) Good defence spending

    say the breakdown of theose are 40%, 20%, 20% and 10%

  8. Correct me if i am wrong, but the current order for f35 is around 3,600 rite with the first fewpartners will get it as early as 2014. So for us who had yet to join the wishlist, what chance are we suppose to get it before say 2020?

    Marhalim: Yes around 2020, it will be the same time period when we are supposed to get the MRCA if we order them in 2015, which is realistically the time we can afford to buy new fighters based on current budgetary projections…

  9. I read with interest what u said about replacing the Mig’s with 6 more MKM’s. I was on the perception that the gov is not intrested in getting anymore MKM’s. Also if the gov is ought to be looking at the F 35’s come 2015, what is to be done with the 8 hornets? Personally I think the Rmaf should stick to just 2 types on planes, and since the MKM’s are a very capable, and the most recent platform, the RMAF should make a proper ” end of all” choice on its final MRCA to fill in the role that will replace the mig’s/Hornets/and take up the MRCA role. Not just choose a plane type that fits the hour, or budget at the moment of time so that it is not again sucked into operating many types of planes due to indesicions of the gov.

  10. I agreed with Marhalim, we should get the F-35s for our MRCA project. But then, with the tight budget, I would suggest the Gripen as the best fighter to complete the AF’s need. Although the Gripen is a light weight fighter, but the operating cost of the Gripen is estimated at half-of the current or future fighters of its class (lightweight class fighter such as the F-16s and the MIG-29s). So we can save a lot from the operating cost.

    Dear Tay, like what you mentioned in u’r post, we need to replace the nuri and I agree with this. I do have the same opinion like yours but, obviously even after a few helicopter crashes, the govt still didn’t decide to replace the helicopter until last year after the Genting Sempah Incident but the project still put on hold until 2day due to lack of funds.

    About the KD Sri Inderapura, from what I know our PM stated that the main priority for the navy in the next 10th MP is too get a new MPSS asides from the 2nd batch of the NGPVs and the South Korean’s Dokdo would be the navy’s favorite contender for the MPSS project.

    Marhalim: By the time the money is available, the Gripen will be old hat already that is why I am advocating the F35….

  11. It will be an airforce trainee’s wet dream to have the RMAF purchasing the F-35s. Realistically, it will not be realised. It is way out of our budget for one, secondly there will be no off set programme, ToT and that kind of stuff that the GOM normally ask for.

    As conspiratorial as this may sound, what are the chances of Singapore Government being a co participant to the F-35 programme agreeing that Malaysia achieve air power parity in purchasing the same weapons type ?

    When Boeing pitched in to sell us the Super Hornets, they offered more than just planes. We will in all probability pick the teen series this time around with some sweetener thrown in.

    Singapore has courted US for ages and they will always be the preferred partner in this region. Until some event occur that shifts US policy in favour of Malaysia, we will always be given second best items.

    We could either be contented with purchasing the Super Hornets or increase our MKM’s or hedge our bets and find another European partner.

    Marhalim: From my conversations with Lockheed Martin, they do not expect any objections from anyone, domestic or foreign, if our government wants to buy the F35s

  12. Few questions:-

    1) THe FH70 first come into service in the 90’s while the oto melara mod 56 105mm since 70’s. So FH70 has higher wear and tear compared to the oto melara?

    2) Is the MIG 29 is so obsolete and expensive that we really need to take it out from service prior to we finding any new replacement? or there is no need of replacement as the SU and Hornet technological advances are more than sufficient to act as a deterrent?

    3) Why should we go for 2nd NGPV when would it not be better to uparm the current 6 NGPV, hopefully will be less expensive?

    Marhalim: 1) yes, in a different world it would have been different matter but you must remember we have more of the Oto Melara to wear out than the FH70s.

    2) Yes, its the curse of the middleman mafia.

    3) Yes, but what about the 2,000 vendors in Perak? It is not the politically savvy thing to do, military wise up-arming the Kedah-class would be better.

  13. Marhalim, i check in wikipedia (yes he worst sort of sources) that stated malaysia operated 56 G45 Mkiii 155 mm cannon. Although may not be true, it does seems to jive with Perajurit November’s issue

    Marhalim: My records shows 22 guns only.

  14. The Gripen may be old, but they also have the Gripen NG on the pipeline. ALso along with the F 35, during that time there will also be the PAK FA and the Indian FGFA which will be new to the market. So i think the smart choice would be to concentrate on the remaining MKM’s and then go about deciding the complementing MRCA around 2012.

    Marhalim: As I mentioned before, realistically budget wise, we will only be able to fund another MRCA fighter purchase in 2015 unless somebody hands us a few billion bucks in the next few years (which is unlikely). Again my position if we buy the aircraft in 2015, it can only be delivered three years later and will only be operational in 2020, so the best bet remained the F-35. I know both the Indians and Pakis are working with Russia and China for a Fifth Generation Fighter but the air force I am told do not want to be left behind the technology loop and therefore the best choice for a Western fighter during that time remained the F-35. I know, I know it will be better for TUDM to operate a single type of fighter but since they bought the MKMs already, the next procurement cycle will be a Western made fighter, and again it is my personal opinion that it is better for us to buy a plane that will be flying until 2050 rather than purchasing a plane that will have a life-span until 2040.

  15. This was the first offer received from Boeing – ”a US$1.6 billion package consisting of 18 F/A-18Ds, 6 GE F404-GE402 engines, 110 Sidewinders, 51 Sparrows, 50 Mavericks, 50 Harpoons plus a training and support package.”

    To meet the RMAFs schedule, Boeing had offered to divert planes from USN stocks.

  16. Malaysia bought 22 G-5s and later ordered another 6. Fire control for the G-5 Mk3s is provided by the Thales AS2000 paired with Gunzen Mk 3 hand held field computers. The main problem we have is the time it takes to get rounds on target upon receiving a fire order and the number of times crews shoot live rounds.

  17. F35s…dream on .. Even if Lockheed Martin says ok, I doubt Jewish lobby would sit tight.We could only afford 8 Hornets without source code and AMRAAMs years later. So it’s only practical to go for either Gripens or perhaps the Fighting Falcons. Small, agile and easy to maintain single engine fighters. We could have dozens of them until the US produce new Generation A/C or deploy UCAV en masse and started mothballing the F-35, then, maybe we could get our hands on the F-35s

    Marhalim: One must remember that the Gripen is equipped with a lot of American things so we could face the same problems as the F-35, maybe less but….

  18. Referring to Kamal no 2 question, the MKMs are originally bought to replace the aging F-5s fighter. So as the MIGs are being passed out by next year, our air force offensive and defensive capability would be significantly decreased.

    The MKMs maybe advanced in many aspects, but the problem here is the number of the fighter in service. You don’t expect only 18 highly capable fighter can well protect nation. The hornets are a capable fighter of performaing Air Escort, SEAD and CAS. So at a total of 26 only capable fighter for air superiority mission, it’s a way out of logic to conclude that both fighter are sufficient enough to protect our nation.

    Dear Nevidimka, it’s maybe true that the Gripen have the NG variants. Since our govt has been in talk with the Saab for the Gripen fighter, I do believe that there’s the possibility for this aircraft to be in our service.

    I agreed with Marhalim that we should get the F-35s as when we have the funds, the Gripen is too old and outdated already. But then, the price tag of a F-35 is estimated at USD 83 million per unit when it’s ready for manufacturing. Meanwhile, we can get the Super Hornet at a slightly lower prices than the F-35. Also, The Aussies orders on the Super Hornet have place concern over the possibility of the F-35s to be fully operational by 2020. For the next MRCA program, I would suggest that the govt opt the Super Hornet Block 3 fighter for the program.

    More of the Super Hornet Block 3 can be readed here:-

  19. I just couldn’t understand what’s the hype of the F35 is all about..with at least 3000 airframes on order we can expect to have our own on say..2030..40??And spending all that money only for a stealthy jet with VTOL capability..i mean past 2015 with all the sensory technology ‘stealth’ a stealthy fighter can be?Apart from these two major characteristics i believe the other european platform can perform equally well in terms of information and electronic warfare capabilities.

    Though i’m more a supporter of the Swede’s technology but if we’re going the American way i’m guessing the superbug would fit the RMAF’s requirement better rather than the JSF. The only thing is that since we’re talking on beefeing up the air force with new MRCA’s, AEW, MPA’s and seeing the SAAB’s offer as the best so far.

    In contrary..i believe Gripen C/D’s are still relevant for years to come and with induction of NG come 2015 it’s a 4.5 gen..not an old and outdated fighter as compared to the Falcons to compete with the stealthy VTOL’ish F35. And the only Americanized feature of the Gripen is the GE engine in the NG’s..and yes it is still American but if there’s any sanction or such in the guessing an all American bird would suffer more.

  20. Just a suggestion , anyone ever think of silent eagle ? It bit stealthy and it cheaper that most of those plane or bit more expensive then some. If you say you need a replacement that can last till 2030 or so get that for now and it can last till 2030 I guess .

    Marhalim: Again, the problem is when realistically when we will have the money to purchase the planes. If its today, the teen series, Typhoon and gripen are among the contenders. But if its 2015 and beyond we need to think whether the planes we are buying will last us until 2050. Thats why I am saying the F35. I am not saying you are wrong for suggesting the Silent Eagle or the rest of the pretenders….

  21. BigFoot – ”F35s…dream on .. Even if Lockheed Martin says ok, I doubt Jewish lobby would sit tight.”

    You seriously think the Jewish lobby cares a s”t about Malaysia buying the F-35? Will F-35s in RMAF colours threaten the existance of Israel or it’s interests?? Get real… And lets not start with the source codes issue again. Even NATO allies don’t get the source codes so why would Malaysia get it? Not having the source codes just means we can’t tinker around with the radar and ECM. We can’t integrate it with non-standard U.S. gear without U.S. help….

  22. I agree it would be better to look at the JSF due to the time the gov can realistically think about financing the deal. I dont think silent eagle or Superhornet can be considered considering the MAF is also having problems of finding pilots to fly 2 seated planes. I think a fleet of MKM and another of Silent Eagle/Superhoernets will also strain the MAF in terms of pilots, so a single seater lighter MRCA is the better bet IMO, and the JSF fits the bill. But its price is the stumbling block, if it costs even more than the SH’s. If the gov can fund the purchase of the SH, and can only buy 8 hornets I dont know how it will find the moolah’s to buy a squad of JSF’s.

    Hopefully the New Economic model will start to expand the economy and its GDP to the point where we can consider this a possibility very quickly. 🙂

  23. Dear all, for me the most important is our manpower strenght, knowleadge, discipline, professional, and dedicated is the first nation priority of defence then asset management and budget, Ministry of Defence should think and able to acknowledge this needs, money for expenses in defence is belong to Malaysian people so spend it wisely, on my opinion RMAF should get additional 6 Su-30MKM to make it 24 into 2 Sqns and new 18 of first batch order MRCA but i suggest Eurofighter Typhoon or Dassault Rafale, i heard is better in choice perhap extra 18 aircraft for future requirement beside that 4 to 8 AEW System with C4IR, Saab 2000AEW or Boeing 737 mimi AWACS and the Chopper should we thing other instead of Cougar, like NH-90, AW-101 or S-92 SuperHawk, this chopper can be done multi-role transport and medium lift than CSAR and some extra A400M and CN-235 or C-295 for training purpose RMAF should consider 8 more mb-339CM or new M-345 Master, for prop trainer let goes for Super Tucanos from Brazil. RMN navy should start looking for other Frigate design from Italy or France and second batch of NGPV may started ASAP and the third batch will be follow, for MRSS i m to agree if MOD choose the Dokdo but some modification and could it be built 1 in S. Korea and 2 will b done in our dockyard, extra 2 to 4 subs should be consider, 1 or 2 sqns ASW/ASuW chopper and perhaps 1 sqn of MP/ASW/ASuW aircraft, this role must have on RMN and the airforce should eyes on AEW system and for the ARMY adds some more MBT, 6X6 or 8X8 Multi role Fighting Vehicle maybe with joined international and local support industry, attack and utility chopper for air wing, the Tiger and NH-90 is the best choice and last why dont we selected more advanced assault rifle than the M4. The purchase of these thing we should get win win situation or some transfer tech so we can produce our own defence equipment so we dont depend too much on outsiders.

  24. Dear Fadiman, we don’t have the funds for all that you listed above.
    Like what I mentioned in my older post, the Air Force will not going to get any additional units of the MKMs in their inventory in the future and instead they’ll look for other type of aircraft for the next MRCA program.
    Typhoon and Rafale maybe good in their own aspect but with the current fund available non of this would make sense. The Rafale at a fly-away price tag USD 90.5 million per unit is insanely expensive for our armed force! And the Typhoon fly-away cost per unit at around USD 63 million (aprx from Austrian order) is quite high also for the Armed forces. We can get the F-35 at even slightly lower prices than the Rafale but not the typhoon.

    But I still believe that the Super Hornet is still the air force favorite contender and I support this plan. If they are really after the Super Hornet, than the Block 3 should be put into their consideration for the program.

    Yes, the Air Force according to my sources stated that they need around 3-4 AEW&C but once again no enough budget for this. My sources also said that, only after the next emerging MRCAs purchase completed only then they’ll buy the AEW&C. The chopper will be bought after the MRCAs program completed.

    The EC-725 is a highly capable helicopter and I don’t see any problem here. More trainer aircraft shouldn’t be purchase anymore. We’re wasting money for them while we can safe the funds for procuring more capable fighter in future. We have too many trainer aircraft here in Malaysia.

    Recently, the widespread news said that the Navy will consider for a smaller-dokdo version and only 1 will be purchase for the next MP for some obvious reason although they need at least 3 MPSS.

    Extra submarine will not be purchase until the next 12th or 13th MP. The 1 SQD of the ASW/ASuW chopper will be purchase along with the MPSS if there’s fund for them. The army needed at lest another 2 tanks regiment of the MBT but with the current available fund none of this would be put into consideration. The 6×6 or 8×8 APC will the army main focus for the upcoming MP. Unconfirmed source stated that they have bought the Indon-made PINDAD-PANSER and please noted that this is the Indon-copy of the French-made VAB and I really oppose to this matter like what I’ve mentioned in my older post that there should be NO MORE ARMS MADE IN INDONESIA IN OUR INVENTORY! I believe that all Malaysian still hold the grudge towards Indon after all what they have did to our pride of Jalur Gemilang and cursing around us!

    For the M4, I don’t see any problem with the riffle and the program should be continue to replace all the old Steyr riffle in service.

    After all, if we ask the armed forces about their wishlist, it’s sad to say only less than quarter of them can be fulfill with the little tight funds for them.

    Another things, Marhalim can you confirm is it really the Armed Forces will use 5% of the LTAT funds to funds the Armed Forces and for what purpose?

  25. I prefer decommision all the old FAC’s and have them replaced by our current opv’s.

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