Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

ThalesRaytheon GM400 radar in the operating position. Internet

SHAH ALAM: Mirror, mirror on the wall. Apart from the RFIs for LCA, MPA and UAV, RMAF had also issued request for information for long range, air surveillance radars ahead of LIMA 19.

Three OEMs namely Leonardo, Saab and BAE Systems had confirmed receiving the RFI for the air surveillance radars. It is also likely that ThalesRaytheon, which had supplied the GM400 radars to RMAF, was also issued the same RFI. The radar and their command control system were purchased around ten years ago.

ThalesRaytheon GM400 radar in the operating position. Internet

It must be noted that both Leonardo and BAE Systems also have their own air surveillance radars, operational in Malaysia, namely the RAT-31 and the Martello, respectively. The Martellos was originally manufactured by the Marconi company. Both companies also promoted their latest generation air surveillance radars at LIMA 19.

Martello S 743 air surveillance radar. Internet

At LIMA 19, Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation also displayed their own long range air surveillance radars FPS-3ME and the TPS-3ME, both are AESA ones.

A model of Mitsubishi radar on display at LIMA 19. Azmin Ali Twitter

China CTEC company, meanwhile displayed its whole range of air surveillance radars, from 2D to 3D ones, on a monitor on its booth at LIMA 19. It is unclear whether RMAF had issued the RFIs to both Mitsubishi and CTEC; whether they would respond to it; though its likely local agents, both sanctioned or unsanctioned by the OEMs would’ve probably sent in theirs based on these solutions.

A model of the Leonardo RAT 31 D/L air surveillance radar.

Technically there is nothing wrong for them to do this – there is nothing in the law to say they cannot. Furthermore it is up to RMAF and Defence Ministry, to choose the best deal, of course.

Saab Giraffe 4A multi function radar.

I would also not be surprised if radar manufacturers from other countries or their local agents or wannabees had also responded to RMAF for the RFI, which according to the industry will be followed up with a Request for Proposal, soon.

The RFI says the RMAF are looking to buy three radars.

Funding one radar has been approved by the government this year,says RMAF chief Affandi Buang in an interview ahead of the service anniversary on June 1 though he did not say the type selected.

–Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam


  1. For the purpose of commonality can’t they just buy one type of radar? Must it go through RFI’s and RFP’s?

    The government wants all procurement to be done in an open competition. That said when the government approved funding for the extra two or more radar after the first one is delivered, RMAF can asked that they simply buy the same ones for the sake commonality. They cannot claimed commonality for the current radars, the newest one are ten years old already

  2. Coincidentally, philippines is also looking to bolster their radar capability with some of the similar name popping up as well, like Saab Giraffe 4A and Mitsubishi FPS-3 so I think this is something that mindef need to consider, either something of a concern or if we can learn the outcome of such deals

    I think we shouldn’t discount korean-made radars as well. Companies like Hanhwa and Lignex1 has extensive experience from their cooperation with Thales in the past and now they came up with radar system of their own

  3. Alex,

    Given that surveillance of Filipino air space is mostly the responsibility of civil operated secondary ATC radars; yes it has an urgent need for a primary surveillance radar.

    PAF got three Elta AD radars recently, like buying more as the three only cover Luzon

  4. Radar systems shouldn’t be too expensive (relative to overall defence budget), so I hope the government later on can issue yet another supplementary funding bill to buy the remaining 2 radars requested. That way I hope RMAF have no more excuse to not keep their radar ON 24/7 and avoid such nonsense like not detecting MH370.

  5. Does this mean two of those radars would be deployed in Sabah & Sarawak respectively? Or all three of them for Semenanjung only?

    No idea where they going to be deployed

  6. joe,

    1. Radars might not “expensive” but setting up SOCs are and also integrating those new radars to the existing network.

    2. Nobody – not only the RMAF – keeps their primary surveillance radars on 24 hours a day, all year around………… This is not an “excuse” but a reality. Much of the surveillance of airspace is actually done by secondary ATC radars.

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