SHAH ALAM: WITH two days to go before LIMA 2015 opened its doors officially, I will yet again hazard a show preview.
Like previous years, this year’s LIMA will not be the venue for major arms contract signing. Even the Defence Minister has hinted as such during an interview with the mainstream media early this week.
Anyhow I am told that the contracts to be signed at LIMA 15 will topped around RM1 billion, which was the same amount in 2013. And like 2013, this year’s contracts will mostly about spares and support.
Spares and support are not sexy stuff but if they signed parts for the Fulcrum it will be a definitive sign that the aircraft will be active for two years at least.
Some of the contracts signed may well be those for the RMN’s LCS project most of which had been announced already apart from the SSM and SAM.
In 2013, Weststar signed for some RM1 billion worth of helicopters at the show. However with the cheap oil prices, I do not think any of the commercial operators will sign anything this time around.
A couple of MOUs worth billions are expected to be signed but those does not count, really. It is also unlikely they will signed for the China warships during the show.
Hopefully new information will be available once I arrived in Langkawi and this post will surely be updated.
What about MRCA then? Since funds for the MRCA programme was not included in the 10th Malaysian Plan (RMK10) – AFAIK – it is obvious that it will not be signed at Langkawi.
So what will be the highlight of LIMA 2015 then? The debut of RMAF first Airbus Defence & Space A400M airlifter of course, 22nd Squadron M54-01. The aircraft left Seville on Thursday and landed on Saturday (March 14) although the official unveiling ceremony is scheduled for today (March 15).
It will fly to Langkawi on March 15 for the official opening ceremony flypast. The official handing over is planned noon on the same day.
Another highlight are the debuts of three aerobatic teams from RSAF (Black Knights), UAE Air Force (Al Fursan – The Knights) and PLA Air Force August 1st team, which flies the J-10. A French Air Force A400M is also expected to perform flight display during the show as well as TNI Jupiter aerobatic team and our own Kris Sakti team.
Update 1. Two of the KT1s of the Jupiter crashed after they clipped wings during practice today (Mar 15). Both pilots survived by ejecting from their aircraft. It is not yet confirmed whether the team will start take part in LIMA 2015.
Among the MRCA candidates, the Rafale and Super Hornet are conducting flight displays while Gripen represented by the RTAF will be on static only though it is expected to be part of the flypast on the opening day.
The Typhoon is not coming for LIMA this year but it will be represented by a full-mockup and a simulator.
The Malaysian Armed Forces and other services will be represented by its bevy of fighters and helicopters although the soon-to-be retired MIG-29N Fulcrum will be conspicuously absent from this year’s LIMA.
On the maritime side, daily displays will be conducted at the Porto Malai area while ships from various nations are also taking part.
To add the already hectic schedule, the Defence Ministry is organising the Asean Defence Minister Meeting on the 14th and 15th also at Langkawi while the 2015 Multinational Counter Terrorism Exercise will also be held during the week.
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