[singlepic id=26 w=320 h=240 float=left]KUALA LUMPUR: Contrary to the statements by the Defence Minister recently that RMAF Fuclrums will be retired soon, these jets are expected to remain in service for at least another two years. In fact, the PAT in his Armed Forces Day interview told the press that RMAF is conducting a mid-life review of the fleet. The service lives of these Fulcrums could be extended further, Malaysian Defence is informed, if the Government funded their SLEP which will see them flying at least until 2017.
So why is the Fulcrum being targeted for retirement when it remained serviceable? Its the high cost of maintenance as mentioned in our earlier postings. But there is more too that.
The high cost of maintainance has nothing to do with the Russian archaic logistics system (well it may affect it to some degree) but apparently the real culprit lies squarely on the New Economic Policy, which mandated that government procurement must be done via Bumiputera companies.
So the powers-that-be mandated that several companies, duly registered with the Ministry of Finance, are selected as the panel of spares and parts provider for the Fulcrum fleet. The system is also mandatory for other Armed Forces (government) equipment apart from those arms purchased from the United States. So whenever the air force or its maintainance provider, ATSC, need spares or parts/ stuff to keep these planes flying, they have to order them from the panel of companies, which in turn, buy them from the Russians or God knows whom.
So what does these middlemen in turn do to the Armed Forces? Instead of being grateful, they, of course, does the opposite, making sure the cost of spares and parts to be exorbitantly high, thus ensuring the maintainance of the Fulcrums to be a costly affair. Coupled with other dirty tactics to ensure maximum profits, RMAF Fulcrum fleet has turned into a maintainance black hole.
Thats the reason, Kementah wanted to kill off the Fulcrums. Good riddance they say. Forgetting of course, there are many other equipment in the Armed Forces which spares and parts are dependent on the Mafia. Flankers, Scorpene, A109s, Nuri…welll the list goes on…..
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