LIMA 2013 Day 1

LANGKAWI: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak formally launched Lima 2013 today. He did not make any announcements on the GE or the contracts to be signed at the show.

Despite the commitments in Sabah, the Armed Forces namely the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) tried its best to liven up the show as does the four MRCA candidates as well as the other teams like the TNI-AU with its Jupiter aerobatic team and the Russian Knights.

Apart from still pictures, I also shot some videos of the displays but due to the slow internet connection, I am only uploading a few for today. Among the notable aircraft on the tarmac at Lima 2013 is a Super King Air owned by L3 Communications. Note that although L3 is the manufacturer of the MC-12W ISR aircraft, it is also marketing an ITAR-compliant King Air for export.

The aircraft displayed was fitted for medevac role not ISR although the pilots said it can be figured for any mission. It is equipped with extra fuel tanks on both engines and is pretty much the same as PDRM King Airs. The pilot said the aircraft can be fitted with extra stores but not weapons.

On the contract front, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters that the Nuri SLEP programme will start “by this year”. The programme according to him will allow the 30-odd Nuri to be in service for the next 15 years, with the RMAF and later on the Army Air Wing.

He did not mention the cost for the SLEP project but I had been told much earlier that it would probably be around RM500 million. Zahid did say that some of the Nuri will be sold off to cover the cost of the SLEP project, which might see us operating, around 15 to 20 birds.

There is yet no definitive word on when the SGPV project will start, but it appears that it will be fitted with MTU engines (Boustead has set-up a subsidiary company together with MTU) and looks like the 57mm Bofors gun is the main (another Boustead subsidiary). No one at the Boustead wanted to confirm the missiles or radar selected but as I mentioned before it will probably be MBDA and Thales.

Anyhow, a subsidiary of Felda, Felda Prodata Systems Sdn Bhd, has teamed up with Swiss firm RUAG to offer simulator and training services system to the Armed Forces.

Prodata is one of many local companies which are trying to diversify into the defence industry. As they say the more the merrier!

–Malaysian Defence

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