SHAH ALAM: Moving on. RMAF is continuing the procurement process of the three assets that have been approved and funded by the government, says its newly promoted Chief of Air Force, General Ackbal Abdul Samad.
Speaking to the media shortly after his promotion, Ackbal said the assets namely the maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) UAV and ground based air surveillance radars were currently under various procurement process from finalising the specifications and the preparation of the tender process.
He did not identify the exact process of the three assets. Based on previous statements one can assumed that the MPA and MALE UAV will not be in the stage of being ready for a tender processs yet as both are supposed to be funded in the next RMK, starting in 2021. So thats left only the ground based air surveillance radar at the stage of being tendered out.
As for its long term plan, Ackbal said RMAF will continue with its Cap 55 plan and other initiatives set out by his predecessor, General Affendi Buang. He said the service’s long term planning was necessary as RMAF assets were capital extensive and need long lead time.
Asked on his deputy’s appointment, Ackbal said Leiutenant General Ashgar Goriman will be promoted as the Deputy Chief of RMAF on January 7. The designated Air Operations Commander Mejar General MUhammad Salleh Osman will be promoted to the post on January 13. He said another 10 RMAF personnel will be promoted during the next few weeks apart of the change over of the top of leadership of the RMAF.
Do note that the LCA was not mentioned in the PC as you are aware the LCA has yet to be approved and funded by the government.
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Will Chinese radar systems be in the running?
Could it be a Leonardo ATR72MP C4ISR for MPA?
For our procurement up till 2030, we need to balance the overall capability improvement that we want.
Of course we want the best of everything, but with the limited resources available, that is just not possible. We cannot get the best MPA, UAV, Ground-based radar, LCA/LIFT all at the same time. Not to forget the nuri replacement too. Compromises need to be done.
Anyway while talking about buying things, the air force also needs to clearly and regularly show to the rakyat how all of that equipment contributed to the defence and security of malaysia. The air force needs to show our MRCAs intercepting and escorting foreign fighters and bombers out of malaysian airspace and EEZ. Regularly conducting joint maritime missions with TLDM and MMEA to patrol our EEZ, finding illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing vessels. Statistics of unidentified aircraft detected vs intercepted, maritime patrol missions, SAR missions etc need to be reported annually.
As i have written previously, the air force to have a clear focus of operational outcome. For example:
1. Fighters – To have 24h QRA capabilities. Clear CAS, Strike and Air Superiority goals.
2. C4ISR air – Information superiority and sharing from air of the air, marine and ground domain. Ability to jam and degrade enemy radar and communication ability. MPA/UAV capability able to reach any part of malaysian waters. Able to find and locate any boats or ships in malaysian waters within 24 hours.
3. C4ISR ground – clear 24hr information picture of malaysian airspace
4. Helicopter – CSAR and SOF capability. Most transport duties and VIP passed to Army PUTD.
5. Transport – strong airbridge between east and west Malaysia, ability to support deployment and sustainment of PARA forces.
Publicising the Armed Forces at work can be a double edged sword. Revealing too often our interception of air and sea incursions could make the rakyat nervous and gives the impression that our country is being threatened (a trick used by Mahathir quite often). It would portray our government as being hawkish and confrontational to the international community regardless who is at fault.
Revealing data on the incursions could also have the same effects and curious minds would be questioning who are these intruders and if we obliged to reveal that info, it could open a can of political worms. Obviously those in the know, would know who are them but most of these incidents are usually settled hush-hush via political backdoor channels. For that to happen, there is an element of secrecy hence not being publicised and potentially turning molehills into Everests.
The rakyat will be more nervous seeing with their own eyes foreign ships and aircraft in our air and sea without our own forces escorting them.
I think you misunderstood. As I said we should still be vigilant and firmly intercept any intruders and escort them out but do it quietly and without the huuhaa of medias. It would also save ‘face’ of the other party involved if it related to another country. That is diplomacy.