SHAH ALAM: I know, Lima 2011 ended almost a week ago. But I was too busy to do anything about it until now. Anyways actually nothing happened at the show. Only the wonderful flight line – one of the best ever for the Lima series – which featured the debut of the Dassault Rafale, Saab Gripen, Boeing Globemaster C-17 and A330 MRTT (the Typhoon only made daily appearance during aerial display) – made up for the lack of oomph.
The appearance of the two Thai Gripens (a single seater and twin seater) was indeed a testament of RTAF and Saab confidence on the capability of an aircraft only delivered two years ago.
One would expect the SGPV/LCS/Frigate contract to be sign at Lima but the stand-off between DCNS and RMN made it impossible. DCNS is insistent that the ship uses the Setis (think about 30 year long support contract) but RMN is rightly holding back the contract signing for the Thales Tacticos (yes, I know Thales will also have a 30 year-old support contract but the relationship between RMN and DCNS had soured on support cost issues for the two TAR submarines).
As pundits had argued that any defence procurements would be put on hold until the general elections we might not see the contract signing during DSA 2012, scheduled to be held in April.
As expected the MRO contract for the Sukhois went to ATSC (despite a strong bid by Boustead together with several other companies) although according to sources – Boustead through its newly setup BHIC AeroServices Sdn Bhd will be selected for the potential MRO contract for the Eurocopter EC-725 Cougar. Still its early and BHIC Aeroservices is a newly set-up concern and might not make it to the finishing line. This will definitely something to watch out for during the next few years.
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