MPA Requirements, Part 1

SHAH ALAM: As the media is full of the soon-to-be-ready camp in Sendayan, we might as well looked into things that for me is more interesting, like the MPA requirement. Recently, I wrote that we are hoping to get P-3C Orion MPA from Japan for free. For free because the Orions are meant to be gap fillers until we get our own MPAs.

So what kind of MPAs are being looked for the long term then? The requirements are not set in stone I was told and to get pass the military financial log jam, which doomed previous efforts, the National Security council is now the lead agency. As the NSC is the lead agency, the MPA requirement also encompassed the coast guard and police.

The unarmed Predator XP.

As for the platforms, I am told that the capabilities being sought include both manned and unmanned platforms. And for that reason, this post will only cover the unmanned platform. The Armed Forces will operate the UAV with RMAF as the lead agency, I am told.

Patroller-S is a safe and high-performance system developed to fulfill all types of homeland security missions for police forces, customs, border control, civil or environmental protection, etc. This the cilivian version of the Patroller – Safran

What type of UAV do they want to get? I have no idea as according to industry sources even the government have yet to spell out the details of the capabilities they want or the budget being allocated to it. As we have yet to operate UAVs bigger than the ScanEagles I guessed those involved will wing it based on the presentations by the manufacturers.

Thales Watchkeeper

From talks with the industry, three UAVs have been suggested for the unmanned UAv requirement namely, the Safran Patroller, Thales Watchkeeper and the Predator XP, the unarmed variant of the Predator. Industry sources told Malaysian Defence that a Thales delegation briefed the NSC on the Watchkeeper ahead of LIMA 17.

A model of the Patroller on display at Sagem’s booth at DSA 2016.

Thales officials at LIMA 17 declined to confirm or deny whether the presentation had occurred or whether they had even spoken to the NSC, however. It is also possible that China or its local marketing agents will offer its UAVs to meet the requirement though I have yet to get anyone to speak on this.

The Patroller as you are all aware beat the Watchkeeper for the French Army tactical drone system in 2016. Story here. The Watchkeeper is in service with the British Army. The XP for that matter is in service with the UAE military.

Predator XP

Both the Patroller and Watchkeeper were not displayed at LIMA 17 although a US Air Force MQ-1B Predator with the 147th Air Reconnaissance Wing of the Texas Air National Guard was on static display throughout the show.

MQ-1B Predator of the Texas ANG at LIMA 17

Apart from an outright buy, there is also the possibility that the UAV selected could be run under – the company owned, company operated concept -which will also shorten the time of getting the selected aircraft into service. Leasing will also allow the Armed Forces and other security services to develop competencies in operating in UAVs like the Patroller or Predator. And leasing will also reduce the cost of the procurement, something that must be considered due to our financial situation.

Beechcraft 200T King Air M41-03 pictured taking off from Subang on Dec. 19. This was the same aircraft which crash on Dec. 21. The crash was one of the reasons the MPA requirement was put back into the funding cycle.

My sources could not say whether the program has been funded or not. As the programme comes under the NSC, it will be pretty difficult to find out what is coming next. So I guess we will have to wait for the 2018 Budget documents to see whether or not the funding for the requirements has been allocated.

— Malaysian Defence

If you like this post, buy me an espresso. Paypal Payment


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *