MRCA: Kuwait Chooses Typhoon

A CGI image of Typhoon with Kuwaiti Air Force colours. Eurofighter.

SHAH ALAM: THE Eurofighter Consortium announced today that the Sultanate of Kuwait has selected 28 Typhoons for its Air Force. Industry sources in Europe however said that they expect Kuwait will also order a similar number of Boeing Super Hornets to recapitalise its fighter force.

Kuwait is expected to order the Tranche 3 Standard Typhoon, complete with the AESA radar and full multi-role capability, the first new order for the latest variant.

A CGI image of Typhoon with Kuwaiti Air Force colours. Eurofighter.
A CGI image of Typhoon with Kuwaiti Air Force colours. Eurofighter.

How will this affect Malaysia whose own MRCA programme is expected to be delayed. Well, if we choose Typhoon, somebody else had already paid for the MRCA version. And since the Italians sold these Typhoons, it is likely that they will also be integrated with the Marte ASMs, again another plus factor for us!

A Typhoon undergoing tests with six Marte ER ASM load.
A Typhoon undergoing tests with six Marte ER ASM load.

And if indeed the Kuwaitis also go for a batch of Super Hornets, it will ensure the Super Hornet line in the US will remain open well into 2018, the year when we are supposed to have funds for the MRCA.

Kuwaiti recapitalisation also mean that we could get a bunch of legacy, low houred Hornets for RMAF, probably for free apart from the upgrading work and extra ordnance, of course.

A formation containing a Malaysian F/A-18D Hornet, a MIG 29 and an Australian F/A 18 Hornet fly over the Penang region of Malaysia, the flight was organized as a prelude flight to Bersama Lima 2011.
A formation containing a Malaysian F/A-18D Hornet, a MIG 29 and an Australian F/A 18 Hornet fly over the Penang region of Malaysia, the flight was organized as a prelude flight to Bersama Lima 2011.

Eurofighter Consortium announcement:

“Eurofighter welcomes the agreement between Italy and Kuwait for the supply of 28 Eurofighter Typhoons

The Eurofighter Consortium today welcomes the State of Kuwait as a new member of the Eurofighter community.

This new international success follows an order from the Sultanate of Oman for 12 aircraft in December 2012 and it is a further evidence of growing interest in the Eurofighter Typhoon across the globe and in the Gulf Region in particular with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman who have already ordered this combat aircraft.

On behalf of the consortium and its Eurofighter Partner Companies (EPC) the CEO of Eurofighter, Alberto Gutierrez, said: “This new agreement is the confirmation of the superiority of the Eurofighter over its competitors and will provide a great opportunity for further Eurofighter orders. We are delighted to welcome Kuwait as the newest member of our Eurofighter Typhoon family. The Eurofighter is already proven and trusted by six nations to perform in all operational environments.”

With Kuwait, the Eurofighter Typhoon confirms its role as Europe’s largest military collaborative programme with a total of 599 aircraft committed.

It provides leading-edge technologies and strengthens Europe’s defence industry in international competition. More than 100,000 jobs in 400 supplier companies are involved in this four-nation programme and deliver significant contributions.

Since entry into service of the first Eurofighter Typhoon at the end of 2003, 444 aircraft have been delivered to six nations: Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Austria and Saudi Arabia.

In December 2012, Oman became the seventh customer and ordered a total of twelve aircraft. Eurofighter Typhoon is currently in service at 22 operational units and up to now, the whole fleet has completed more than 300,000 flying hours worldwide.”

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2205 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Free legacy hornet 4 the rmaf? I doubt it.. better 4 the kuwaiti’s to sell their hornets and help fund their buy then give it 4 free to a staunch and “important” ally like malaysia. With the current gov trend of “pleasing” the rakyat it is highly unlikely that the rmaf will ever get funding 4 the mrca program. Better yet if the opposition come to power in ge14. With their projected 900 mil annual def budget will surely boost the mrca program. Either way the maf is screwd if u ask me.. its crooks vs loons. U can never win.

  2. Shed,

    Yeah, political factors still plays in our def procurement. Bet the opposition demands for another def budget cut and leave us bogel instantly. As for the legacy hornets, well, we’ll just have to wait for it if the congress ever pass or the Kuwaits would be ‘kindly’ to donate to us.

    It will be the State Government decision whether or not to release second hand US equipment.

  3. hurry,lets nego with kuwaiti to get their legacy hornet..we can use it as stop gap while waiting MRCA.
    OOT – marhalim, what is the percent of our Sukhoi MKM readiness?I’ve found the information that TNI AU’s old Sukhoi ( SU 27 if not mistaken) was canibalise to fulfill their fleet readiness.I hope this problem was not face by TUDM.

    The target is 70 per cent..

  4. “Its crooks vs loons”

    That’s a nice way of putting it, shed. He he.

    But now I can’t get Pink Floyd’s ‘Brain Damage’ out of my head.

    ‘The lunatic is in the hall
    The lunatics are in my hall
    The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
    And every day the paper boy brings more …’

  5. I hope we’d ever get those legacy hornets to support our current fleet but by that time other countries will seek another type of fighters as everyone is eyeing 5th gen by 2020s.

    If everything is fail and we don’t get the MRCA or anything at all, I suggest we go for X0-2 Wyvern or ADFX-01 Morgan to support our RMAF fleet. lol

  6. Kuwaiti legacy hornets for free?

    Probably not, but at least now the chances of malaysia buying the kuwaiti legacy hornets as a substitute for getting new mrca’s would be much better (which I 1st advocated here in malaysiandefence a few years ago). A buy of kuwaiti legacy hornets would be much more cheaper than getting a totally new fighter model, in addition to commonizing with the hornet platform. The legacy hornet would still be used by its major user, the us marines up till 2030, so this is totally viable procurement.

    This is IMO the cheapest way of getting the tudm’s target of 6 full fighter squadrons.

    1x su-30mkm sqn
    1x f/a-18d sqn (current + kuwaiti d aircrafts )
    2x f/a-18c sqn (kuwaiti aircrafts replacing the migs)
    2x bae hawks sqn (which imo could be replaced in the future with fa-50 golden eagles, higher performance than the hawks and commonality with hornet engines.)

  7. I wonder whether the idea that the Kuwaitis will ‘donate’ us the legacy Hornets is sarcasm.

    I know the Pakistanis bought some aircrafts from some Arab countries at bargain prices.

    No. Even if they sell us the planes for RM10 million each I will still consider that as a donation considering the cheapest MRCA probably cost at least RM420 million now. Even if we spend around RM50 million to upgrade each aircraft it will be a very very good deal.

  8. Another news

    Algeria adding another 14 sukhoi su-30mka (close cousins to malaysian su-30mkm’s)

    1st plane to be delivered in 2016, to be completed by 2017 (that would be some pretty fast deliveries)

    And it is widely quoted that each plane costs around $US30 million or around RM129 million now. That is without our specified equipment of course.

  9. Buying these second hand hornets is a dfferent issue. Imo its better 4 the rmaf to standardized on these 2 models (the sukhoi and the hornets) the going 4 a brand new model 4 the time being. Btw the algerian is adding another batch of sukhoi to their fleet. System wise they are the closest to our mkm’s then the mki’s. Malaysia wont go wrong wth a minimum of 60 airframe of the above combination. But sometime the “experts” differ from country to country.. if u know what i mean.


    If u asked the good dr kua, we are better of using wooden clubs as weapons since the confrontation and insurgency era is long gone. Why “waste” money on def la bro.

  10. Shed,

    Hate to say it, everything in Malaysia was always wrong. From the top to the bottom even if we lectured him. Hell, even Malaysia Military Power Admin had declared Kua and Rafizi as idiots and lectured tons of times tho.

    Anyway, how many Kuwaitis Hornet currently? I forget the number of its air frame tho…

    They bought 27 single seaters and 7 two seaters, how many are still active is beyond me. If we can get even 18 single seaters and four two seaters it will be good enough.

  11. Well the legacy hornets will help as the stopgap of our lack of aircraft. Even if we can get it cheap or free. Is there any possibilities that we gonna buy the sukhoi pak fa in the future?

  12. Derma here, derma there….Malaysia is a nation of great altruists.
    I wonder how much longer we can fob off the GCC calling in the markers and asking Malaysia to send a volunteer force to assist in Yemen. Money taken oredi…..

  13. Please cek the price tag first before dreaming RMAF will get typhoon, especially the tranche 3.
    IMO, Kuwaiti choose typhoon and dump F18 SH. So the line production is going to be shut down. I dont know if still open in 2018 when RMAF has the money to buy.

    If money only available in 2018 there is no need to get old F18 hornet. I believe Gripen NG is operational. Cheap operation cost and price tag, this fighter will be a good deal.

  14. By the time Kuwait decomm its Hornet and Malaysia decided to put an offer on the planes which had aged another 6 years on the sandy ground, other ASEAN nations have newer (mayber better) fighter planes. LoL

    Very crazy if they go now to kuwait and nego, don’t tell me they have so thick a skin by starting the offer at USD2.38 Mil/plane?

    Read that Aus have fully received its Chinook H and will retire the 6 Ds, better they go to Aus and put an offer on the decomm helis. Ask Aus and US to expedite transfer, monsoon season is less than 100 days to go. Talking about monsoon, I bet those Brunei Blackhawk will see its first action in TUDM colors over flooded areas.

  15. Looking at the current condition of the economy, the government should try to get the legacy hornet from kuwait to stopgap the lack of fighter jet numbers in our inventory. Then to have a thorough future plan for the next replacement (legacy hornet and su 30mkm). This is the best option i think so far. Again it’s all about the government and army commitment.

  16. @ marhalim

    The number of kuwaiti hornets?

    Altogether they bought 40

    30 C model single seater

    10 D model twin seaters

    There is 2 confirmed write-off (C model)

    All of the maintenance of the fleet is subcontracted to American companies with American technicians.

  17. @ nimitz

    If you wanna go to Australia to ask for additional helis, it is better to ask for their blackhawks first (retired and replaced with nh90), to add to the bruneian blackhawks. While you’re there might as well look at their retired asw seahawks too…

  18. If only by 2018 money will be available, would the still operate the mig29s till then?

    Or would it be retired and we only have the su30 and hornet. Assuming there will be an order by 2018,it will be atleast 2023 before ioc

    It’s unlikely the Fulcrums will continue until 2018

  19. Not sure whether we are in good terms with the Kuwaitis. Haven’t been keeping abreast with Middle East politics but I know there are some concerns in certain countries on Malaysia’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

    In any case, I really hope we choose Hornets. Not because its the best, the most capable, the fastest, stealthiest, etc. But simply because its proven, reliable, good track record, familiarity, not Russian and less susceptible to GOMEN when it comes to cost of ownership.

    But of course in Malaysia nothing is free. I’m sure even if ends up being a donation to our “Muslim Brothers”, there will be GOMEN in between that pumps up the shipping costs, maintenance costs, spare parts costs, fuels costs, construction costs, etc. whatever they can get their hands on. Still better than buying Russian or French.

    In any case, its good news indeed and hope we do ask the Kuwaitis for some. At least 4 more to get a full squadron and of course all the extra ammunition, parts, etc.

    Even if we are not that close to the Kuwaitis, we could go through the Saudis or UAE which we are much closer for help.

  20. I’m not sure if the economy can improve sufficiently for RMAF to get money for 18 planned MRCA. But Austerity can be a mother of clear thinking.

    The cost of each MRCA candidate is eye watering — approx RM 500 million per plane.

    Case for Sukhoi:

    I think we need to relook at the Sukhois. Anybody who is unbiased will think that they need to be considered — they cost less than half the MRCAs and are just as capable with a good combat radius and an impressive weapons suite. The Aussies were very attentive when Su-30 started to be introduced here — not because we have them, but because of China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia — precisely because of the range and weapons including BVR missiles; and they, the Sukhois, can come with that ‘technological wonder’ that many uninformed commentators here think can win battles by itself, the AESA radar.

    Cheaper aircraft means either more of them or money saved that can be used elsewhere in the defence budget.

    The RMAF have their reasons for not including Sukhoi in the MRCA list but there’s nothing to stop them them from having a relook at Su-30. It’s quite easy actually, it just needs a change in approach — just tell the RMAF to come up with a plan on how they will use the Sukhoi, instead of the MRCA candidates, to defend the country. No self-respecting air chief will say ‘I don’t know’ especially if he had commanded a squadron of them. He will list limitations of course, so the next step will be to think of how to minimise those. This is better than putting up laundry lists about each aircraft and doing a comparison.

    Big picture: Sukhoi acquisition will reduce Russia’s perception of being under siege (re complaints about Mig-29 retirement): We’ll be in a position to negotiate: a) state-of-the-art equipment instead of export versions; b) enhanced training packages — perhaps exercises with Russian AF over there — that will give us new ideas on doctrines and training methods; c) tie-up with universities; and perhaps d) technology transfer (though this is mainly dependent on local industry).

    How about the West? The companies will be disappointed of course (though not the coys selling eldctronics). But we are still buying Western ships, submarines, helis, radars, etc, so the disappointment will not be that great. The RAAF, USAF –and the RAF, if they want to come — will be delighted because they can exercise with our Sukhois.

  21. Additional MKM’s would be good. Not necessarily big in numbers. Even additional 2-6 MKM’s would do.

    Additional buy could be tied up to minor upgrades for the whole fleet. Radar software upgrades similar to bars-r radar of the SM, new thales TALIOS targeting pods, recce pods to take over rf-5e tasks over spratlys, datalinks with air, ground and naval units; and other items.

    The long range of the MKM makes it ideal in securing the airspace around South china sea even from gong kedak. But a small detachment of maybe 4 aircrafts could be maintained in labuan as an air cover of the naval bases in sabah.

    So a fleet of

    12 primary aircraft in gong kedak
    4 primary aircraft in labuan ( rotated quaterly with primary aircraft in gong kedak)
    6 spare/under maintenance aircraft (about 25-30% of the fleet)

    Would be ideal. An additional 4 would give quite a good cover against bandits coming from the north.

  22. Stanman,

    Until that MH17 tribunal part isn’t solve, we won’t get any Russian toys for now even if we were offered with the same type that shot down our airliner lol

  23. Yes, the combat radius of Sukhoi is about 700 nm, enough to cover the space from Gong Kedak to Ho Chi Minh and Labuan to Cam Rahn and up to north of Palawan (have a look at the charts).

    I suppose a det of 4 can cover from Labuan, but no harm if we acquire a sqn of 18 to cover East with a good mix of anti-shipping munitions (+ 18 West). If push comes to shove, without AEW and with so few a/c we’ll have to depend on ground QRA instead of CAP. Also 2 sqns ties in with National Defence Policy that envisages 2-zone conflict, East and West.


    MH17 is far from forgotten but we don’t know who did it. Among the members of the investigating board, “Malaysia is the most sincerely interested country in establishing the truth… and I don’t see any political motivation in what Malaysia is trying to do” — according to Segey Lavrov to Singapore’s Channel News Asia. I don’t think Ukraine, Netherlands, Australia and the US — all Nato/anti-Russian — are terribly interested in genuine justice for MH17; they’re only interested in fingering Russia. Only the naive will think otherwise.

    In the case of MH370, I’d really like to know if Boeing fitted it with its “Uninterruptible Autopilot” system. Wouldn’t you?

  24. There is zero possibility that the RMAF will want pre used Kuwaiti Hornets or that Kuwait will “donate” them to us. The RMAF desires a new generation aircraft to keep up with the times and is willing to wait a bit longer for funding rather than get airframes that entered service decades ago – that is the reality.

    On another note, our relationship with Kuwait are good but not great. Countries we enjoy close relations with in the Middle East are Qatar and the U.A.E. followed by Saudi (told to me recently by an Arab diplomat). I’m not aware of any Malaysian support for the Muslim Brotherhood; this would be contrary to our decades long policy of not doing anything to annoy the Gulf Arabs. Also, to the Muslim Brotherhood, governments like ours are considered worthy of being overthrown as they’re secular and not Islamic enough.

    From a military viewpoint Pakistan tends to benefit more from Sunni Arab largesse; mainly because Pakistan is seen as an ally in the Cold War being fought with Iran over the Sunni/Shia schism. There are still Pakistani military officers on loan in the U.A.E. and until recently at least, Pakistani pilots in the U.A.E. air force. In the 80’s Pakistan had a whole brigade in Saudi and there are thousands of Pakistani guest workers in the Gulf. It is also Arab money in the firm of soft loans and aid that is propping up the Pakistani economy.

  25. @ azlan

    The problem with wanting a new fighter now (ie 2015-2020) is that aircraft such as the typhoon, rafale and Gripen offers very little advantage over aircraft such as legacy hornets or MKM.

    Aesa radars? Can be retrofitted to legacy hornets

    Helmet mounted sights? Already available on the hornets.

    Datalinks? Similar issues for used or new fighters, it depends on other issues not the actual platform

    Getting new fighters or used legacy hornets, all of them will face similar obsolescence issues come 2030, so why buy new now? If wabt to buy new, start looking around 2025 the earliest.

  26. Azlan

    What the rmaf wants and what the rmaf can realistically get is 2 different matter altogather.. They can hope 4 the stars but when and if somebody offers u something that is practical it is foolish not to accept it..

    No one is offering Malaysia the Kuwaiti Hornets or anything else apart from the leasing arrangement for tranche 1 Typhoons and the Gripen as a stop gap measure. The thing is the Kuwaiti Hornets is a suggestion made first by… and has been taken up by the Malaysian Defence community. I am also partial to taking up the Hornets as stop gap measure. RMAF has on record stated that they will look into stop gap measures once the time comes. It’s in the RMAF HUT interview which had gone missing. I will repost it soon.
    Perhaps if you feel so strong about the Kuwaiti Hornet deal you could make a suggestion at the 2016 budget page.
    You can do that I have done it, perhaps you should do so.

  27. If you die, die must buy Sukhoi….ok lah. Much along the lines of Sirul, derma and everything else these days, even the implausible can be possible. But we really should buy the superior Su-25 interceptor variant as used by the Ukranians you know.

    I agree…we should boikot Boeing and embrace Airbus like Tony F! Put up for sale those F-18s, then we no longer have to worry about Russian-Not Russian datalinks.

  28. He he ,

    I have just been back to KL for the weekend, and I have seen first hand the Indonesian contribution to our air defence!!

    Now nobody can fly…….in this thick haze!!!

  29. Marhalim

    In my defense i did say “if”. Yes theres been no such suggestion buy the kuwaitis or any other natin thats why i said it is better 4 them to sell their hornets and help fund the typhoons.

    I would like (like any malaysian do) that the rmaf top brass keep an open mind on their options. They can dream all they want but at the end of the day they still have to wake up. In a perfect world the rmaf would be better off with a brand spanking new platform but when theres a cheaper alternative never turn it down. Money is tight nowadays. And yes im a proponent of the grippen or the superbug buy.. tiada rotan akar pun berguna. Beggars cant be choosers.

    What? Trying to tell the pm to buy new jets? Its like me to running 4 pm in the next ge. No one cares. Better luck in asking 4 more br1m money la

    If you dont try how do you know it will not be successful?

  30. Marhalim

    Ok2 bro. Why dont we put up an add “urging” other readers to do the same. Maybe the old man will listen to us this time. Im logging on to that website and crossing my fingers.. dear pm..


    On another topic do u know how many actual m4’s is in service with the maf. If i was not mistaken when we hosted the eks keris aman capstone the participating armies were given the old m16a1’s to train with la bro. What? Dont have enough m4s eh? But this time without the 550 cord as slings. Naseb baik..

    Its a training exercise, no need to equip them with the latest and greatest…

  31. ….. – ”The problem with wanting a new fighter now (ie 2015-2020) is that aircraft such as the typhoon, rafale and Gripen offers very little advantage over aircraft such as legacy hornets or MKM.”

    I not opposed to former Kuwati Hornets, thus you don’t have to sell me the idea. You were the first the come up with the idea, it has merit but it won’t happen.

    Shed – ”What the rmaf wants and what the rmaf can realistically get is 2 different matter altogather..”

    Ahh…… my favourite quote.

    The RMAF will get new generation MRCAs; its a matter of when, not if. Again, for a number of reasons the government will not go for pre used platforms and the RMAF does not want any. It is not ”foolish” not to accept pre used platforms. What is ”foolish” is to accept pre used platforms solely on the basis that they are cheap and available, without taking into consideration various factors that have to be looked at.

  32. “If you dont try how do you know it will not be successful?” sounds like an understatement. Kuwait is in a conflict region and any truce between opponents is volatile. When this happened they are going to need all the jets they have even if they have to hire foreign pilots to fly them. The ideas of begging for their jets really shows how desperate we are. Is RMAF need for the Mig replacement really that urgent that we are willing to loose our respect with the Arabs and our neighbors. Things are bad enough now. Sabarla sikit..

  33. fird – ”RMAF need for the Mig replacement really that urgent that we are willing to loose our respect with the Arabs and our neighbors.”

    It has nothing to do with ”respect” but the threat environment or urgency.

    We have an urgent need for additional fighters as the limited number of fighters we have makes it hard to have enough operational at any given time to maintain a 24/7 QRA and have enough for training, exercises and unexpected contingencies.

    If the RMAF saw a need for pre used fighters and pre used fighters suited our specific long term requirements [military and political – whether we like it or not both are intertwined and not just here but everywhere]; there would be nothing wrong going down this [pre used] route. ”Respect” does not enter the equation at all; not as if we’re buying 50 year old MiG-17s from Albania or 70 year old T-34/85s from Bulgaria.

    There are certain things we should buy pre used and certain things we shouldn’t. There are also certain pre used things the 3 armed services want and some they don’t. We may disagree or not but the armed services have their own reasons and some of these reasons may not be visibly apparent to us.

  34. Stan

    Ive shot the m16a1 a couple of times. Compared to m4s i find it a bit hard to zero in on the target. Maybe i dont have steady hands or something.. btw im a right handed shooter with a left dominant eye. the recoil to me is negligible. But shooting the m4s wthout ear protection is a bit hard.. i dndnt do any endurance test on the guns though.
    But the instructor did make a point of not letting the magazine touching the ground. What? Does it induce double feeding on the m4 i dont know. With the a1s there were no such restrictions. Mybe u can enlighten us on the matter.
    (Sorry marhalim i know the topic is on the typhoons..)


    If current 4.5 gen fighters offers no better performance then current platform then why go 4 them at all? It is highly unlikely that malaysia will ever buy gen 5 fighters like the jsf..

    The problem is about numbers. We have less (and lesser when the migs are gone) fighters 4 qra duties. Im not saying lets go and buy the kuwaitis hornet but dont close the option if it ever come knocking on our door. The rmaf do have their reason 4 not wanting secondhand airframe. But when other nations are doing just fine with used ones why cant us? The skyhawk saga was the best example..

    Perhaps it’s time for Stanman new guest post : Shooting Rifles 101 for Noobs.
    You need to pay for the intermediate class

  35. If they do plan it really thoroughly, if they really want a new variant of MRCA’S, I really want to know their plans for the 8 f/a-18d. To me, it would be a waste of resources to maintain a small different type of airframe in addition to the MKM, new MRCA and the hawks. If their plan is just keep whatever they have, than that is not a plan.

    Im my opinion, come 2020 the airforce should have just 3 major fighter types:

    1) su-30mkm
    2) either f/a-18s (+additional hornets) or new MRCA’s. Not both.
    3) hawks+additional hawks, or new light fighter to replace the hawks and Mb-339cm lifts

    And if we look at the holistic point of view of the airforce defending the country, by not spending so much on getting mrca’s will enable them to get other brand new equipment such as MPA’s, AEW, ISR aircraft/MALE UAV’s which would be a better addition for defending the country (the naval anology to this situation is say suddenly tldm is hell bent on getting an aircraft carrier, when more asw corvettes and patrol boats would be much better fit for the current defence needs)

    The “urgent need” scenario by azlan really does not fit the “need to buy new mrca’s” point of view. With still no indication that malaysia could stump up the cash for 18 new mrca’s, currently there is no chance of tudm getting its brand new mrca before 2020. If they have their reasons of why they are hell bent on getting new mrca’s types NOW (not additional current types and plan for new types post 2025, when stealthy 5gen types would become available) I really want to know why.

  36. Shed,

    The need for new gen MRCAs is to ensure the RMAF is not too left behind by its neighbours and that it can keep pace with current technology. The RMAF is under no illusions that it can ever get the desired numbers needed and is content with 18. There are also political or national interest factors at play.

    Having said that I still maintain that we will only be able to get the best of whatever we eventually buy when we acquire tertiary capabilities by making the leap from a platform to a systems centric air arm. If we’re not going to get an AEW or a common data link; it will be immaterial whether we buy Rafale, Gripen or Typhoon. An older gen platform networked to other assets will enjoy much superior SA to a current gen, more “stealthy” and more “sophisticated” platform operating autonomously.


    The RMAF doesn’t have the luxury of waiting post 2025. With the limited number of platforms it has, it can just barely maintain its current peacetime commitments. The problem is if we are faced with an unexpected contingency which requires a higher tempo of operations.

  37. It would be really interesting to see how these backward Middle East “kingdoms” fund their shopping spree with the low commodity prices and no “recovery” daylight in the foreseeable future. Malaysia government just announced USD4.6 billion for its own version of “quantitative easing”, so good luck getting any of RMAF “wish list” without pushing the nation further into deficit (or maybe more “GSTs” is on the horizon)… Under these circumstances, I’m sure a significant portion of Malaysia population will hold a very different view to RMAF’s stated “requirement”,,,

    The ME countries have huge foreign reserves due to their oil largesse in the past.

  38. The RMAF’s position on its Hornets remains unchanged. They will be operated until their airframes have no more hours or until spares are no longer produced; irrespective of when or what MRCAs we eventually buy. The RMAF is in no position and probably never will be in a position to retire 8 perfectly good fighters, even if it involves a small number. The various upgrades performed and the new simulator are clear indications that the Hornets will be around for a long time. The RMAF’s positive experience with the type stems not only from its higher servicibility rate compared to others but also from the customer support and feedback via FMS. It is no way perfect but the support we get from FMS beats those offered by OEMs of other stuff we operate; which includes the MKM and Hawk 200s, both of which are not even operated by their country of origin.

    It remains to be seen if the RMAF intends to have a high end and low mix. I suspect that at the moment it has no idea if it wants to eventually replace the Hawks with another lightweight platform for the same reason that there is so much uncertainty with regards to funding. Uncertainty as to when funding will be available affects how well long term plans can be implemented. Ideally the feasibility study done on upgrading the Hawks will become reality as the Hawks still have a role to play and can take the pressure off the Hornets and Flanker; especially in a low threat environment. Fitting an AESA on the 200 (none integrated at present) would increase its ability to act as a point interceptor.

    I was told that the Hawk SLEP will be a limited one just enough to ensure the aircraft can continue flying. No fancy stuff apart from integration of newer Sidewinders, as old ones are no longer manufactured. Maybe we will be lucky and the other user will decide on their Hawk retirement by year end and we could decide to fund their purchase.

  39. “I really want to know why” not just you … I guess everyone else does.

    M16A1.. technically it is a good gun however it lacks one crucial element that is ergonomics. Male operators will have fewer complaints about the gun but I heard countless grouses from female operators especially concerning the length, position of the buttstock, size of the grip, etc. but of course the gun was design only for Rambo in the early 60’s. Perhaps they should consider upgrading rifle for Wataniah also say.. to M4 or Styer, the M16A1 for Rela.

  40. @ azlan

    Yes I perfectly understand that we cannot afford not to have additional fighter planes and wait until 2025. My question is why a totally new type now and why can’t it be additional current types (like mkm)? You also said without AEW and datalinks there would not be much differences so why new types (typhoon or rafale) now?

  41. The reality is

    Buying used/additional current types now – will be obsolete by 2030

    Buying new types (typhoon or rafale) now – will be obsolete by 2030.

  42. Azlan and Marhalim,

    I like the idea on the Hawk 208, but better still if bought new, maybe 20 units. The latest modern miniaturized electronics, radars and sensors would do wonders in the airframe.

    There is no plan to buy new build Hawks.

  43. Anything we buy will eventually obsolete in the future. Whatever we buy in 2040 will be obsolete or need replacing in 2065. It’s an on going process dependent on adequate funding being available but off course this is not the case. When the government can’t even provide the RMAF with a time estimate as to when funds are likely to be available, it becomes very hard for the RMAF to conduct any long term planning.

    The 5 year contract for Hawk spares expired I think last year or the year before. A new one will have to be signed to enable the Hawks to stay in service. There is also the need in the future for an overhaul contract for the Adours if we continue flying the Hawks. One problem we faced in the past was that our Hawks flew more hours than we anticipated they would. We signed an overhaul contract with Rolls Royce a few years ago and even that was long overdue.

    Trials were conducted a few years ago with a Selex RWR to replace Sky Guardian; not sure if a contract was ever signed. Apart from the replacement of the engine monitoring panels and arming the 100s with Paveway, I’m not sure what other changes have been made.

  44. Fird,

    Any small bodied person would complain about the rifle especially when you’re shooting while lying down on the ground and your arms weren’t long enough to support the rifle’s grip which you ended up wasting several bullets.

    Zainal Abidin,

    Nice idea but it’ll likely that the Hawk had limited air-to-air capability and it’s like taking a step behind while increasing the number of air frame. It’s the best we get multi role plane to act as the stop gap to this cliche MRCA dilemma

  45. “…The RMAF’s positive experience with the type stems not only from its higher servicibility rate compared to others but also from the customer support and feedback via FMS…”

    I know you like Hornet, nothing wrong with that, I like it a lot too — I only don’t like SH as MRCA candidate — but this sounds like a sales pitch, Azlan.

    FMS is hunky dory until US policy clashes with ours. Pakistan, Indonesia and Egypt can probably tell us more about their positive experience with FMS.

    “Fitting an AESA on the 200 (none integrated at present) would increase its ability to act as a point interceptor.”

    Point defence against which fast jet? Come on, the Hawk’s a good plane but it’s subsonic with limited combat radius and stores. It won’t stand a chance against Sukhois, Gripens, Eagles or Hornets, Aesa radar or no. It’s a LIFT and ground attack a/c and let’s hope it’s employed for those jobs.


    Don’t worry about the female operators — assuming they’re MAF — of M16; they’re unlikely to use it in a real encounter, or even the M4 for that matter. These ladies mainly work in the base or lines of communications areas as clerks, cooks, nurses, rear link signallers, female PW cage guards, in a real operation. MAF have yet to allow women in combat units except perhaps as jet pilots, and even then the question of if they’ll fly combat missions is still not clarified.

  46. Some people think that you would be spared from running against US policy, if you buy from a US ally.

    And in case you suggest buying Russian. Think about this. If it comes without political conditions, it should by right be more costly. But it is cheaper – because of the quality and the Russians own problems with giving support.

  47. Ferret

    Hardly a sales pitch” but facts based on what I’ve gathered from industry circles and RMAF people (both former and currently serving). Irrespective of whether one likes the Hornet or not; the plain fact is that the RMAF has had more positive experiences operating this type compared to others.

    About FMS, countries that have been embargoed will tell you its pitfalls but countries which haven’t been embargoed will tell you about its positive aspects. If we ever got into a position where we were faced with U.S. sanctions, we would be worried about the economic and diplomatic blowback, not difficulties in obtaining spares for military gear! I could also use your arguement with regards to EU gear: if faced with an EU embargo stuff sourced from the EU would also be affected……….. People are fond of using the U.S. embargo bogeyman as an example of why we should be wary if buying Made in Uncle Sam fear BUT are we likely to ever find ourselves in such a situation and again, if we did, out main worry would be the economic aspects of a downgrade in ties or an embargo.

    The Hawk has limited range which is why it’s exactly why it’s a “point interceptor” (amongst the roles it performs) …… As for its inferior performance compared to front line types, nobody’s expecting it to tangle with a superior adversary but fitted with an AESA and a BVR missile it can engage targets without getting into a WVR engagements or a merge ; precisely why there have been studies done, including by operators
    (including the RMAF) and industry players (including SELEX) on fitting it with an AESA.

  48. P.S. If I recall correctly, an article on last year’s Cope Taufan by Dzirhan Mahadzir mentioned a Hawk getting a “kill”. I also remember 1 of the 2 USMC pilots who were with 18 Squadron for a year (later replaced by Boeing pilots) telling me how Hawks managed to get some “kills” during early WVR exercises conducted with the Hornets. Off course at the end of the day, the Hawk should never tangle with a superior opponent and it was never intended to. Fitted with an AESA and a BVR missile it can however engage targets at distances in which its inferior performance, measured against dedicated fighters, would not be a factor.

    As part of the RAF’s “Mix Fighter Force” in the 1980’s Hawks would have operated with F3s intercepting Backfires and Badgers over the North Sea. The Hawks would have dealt with targets not destroyed by the F3s. Plans were also in place for Hawks to deploy to Norway to be used against Soviet attack aircraft.

    Yes I believe it was a two Hawk vs single Raptor in a WVR scenario.

  49. SmellyBoy,
    In case some of us ‘might forget’, even the clear weather MIG-17’s were used with telling effect against US F-4’s during the Vietnam War. What more a radar equiped Hawk 208 with the ability to launch Sidewinders?

  50. No doubt the Hawk and fighters like it can spring surprises but the fact remains that the Hawk should never tangle directly with dedicated fighters in a WVR engagement.

    Also, given the rapid advances in technology most engagements today will be conducted at BVR. We saw this during the Gulf War and Kosovo where the bulk of engagements were at BVR and not WVR. One of the last conflicts that saw a bit of WVR engagements could be the Ethopia/Eritrea war which saw Fulcrums engaged with Flankers.

  51. The circumstances were different. USAF and USN fighters operating over North Vietnam were mostly on their own (no AEW) and the F-4 and F-105 was not originally designed as a “dogfighter”. In the “dogfight” role the MiG-17/21 had certain advantages.

    North Vietnamese fighters would use terrain for concealment and others means to attain surprise and their tactics called for missiles to be fired followed by a rapid exit to avoid dogfights. For early warning the U.S. did have radar pickets in the South China Sea and were able to intercept North Vietnamese comms but there was no AEW.

    In any future war, it would be hard to achieve surprise or ambush U.S. fighters as these fighters would be operating with AEW and other ISR assets and would have excellent SA.

  52. Shed,

    Yes but coverage over much of North Vietnam was still limited. The EC121 was also not networked to fighters operating over North Vietnam and it was used more for surveillance rather than controlling U.S. fighters operating over North Vietnam.

  53. Azlan,

    Yes, it would be odd to see Hawk being tasked as the primary counterair force, wouldn’t it, seeing that it’s not primarily an interceptor and we have proper air superiority aircraft.

    The Brits deployed Hawk as the secondary air defence force, as one would expect. They were not meant to fly together with Tornados, the primary force, but to provide layered air defence with Tornados in front. No mystery here — Hawk can’t match Tornado for speed, and because of its limited range has to stay relatively close to the runway.

    Dzirhan’s report regarding Hawk vs Raptor was interesting but I don’t think any of us would suggest that Hawk should be our next acquisition instead of MRCA or, ahem, Sukhoi. Hats off to the pilot of the plane that got the kill.

  54. Azlan

    What do u mean by networked? Its the 1960s. I doubt that any fighters was digitaly networked back then. No link 16 and ect. Any information had to be conveyed manualy. With all the limitations the ec121 was effectively use to control fighters and detecting enemy formation during operation rolling thunder 1 & 2. It was the predecessor of the E3 if i was not mistaken..

  55. As part of the “Mix Fighter Force” the Hawks would have operated some distance behind the Tornados; tasked with destroying any Backfires and Badgers that escaped the salvo of Sky Flashes. Against low flying Floggers and Fencers; interesting to speculate how the Hawk would have performed in Norway.

    The Raptor “kill” by the Hawk illustrates the fact that even a lightweight fighter with inferior performance – with luck and skills – can score the occasional “kill” against a dedicated fighter. One is reminded of the U.S. use of Skyhawks and F-5s as a training tool against dedicated fighters.

    In our context, the availability of the Hawks enables them to be used in situations that don’t call for a Hornet or a Flanker. They can be even used for QRA; a role the type performs from Labuan.
    If we continue using the Hawk for another decade or so, not only will the Adours require another overhaul but spares will probably no longer be produced for the APG-66 (Hawk 200), Sky Guardian
    (Hawk 100 and 200) and FLIR (Hawk 100). There is also the question of whether the Redifussion simulator can still be supported.

    Given that the 100s are armed with Paveway, there would have been no need for Hornets at Lahad Dato if the Hawk 100 had a targeting pod. In the past, there were plans (by then British Aerospace) to integrate ALARM to the 200 but nothing came out of it.

    In addition to overhauling the engines and replacing the radar (with an AESA to enable AMRAAM on the 200) and RWR (200 and 100); as well as getting a targeting pod (100); integrating JCHMS to enable Sidewinder X (absolutely no idea as to the technicalities involved) would make sense : extremely unlikely however given the costs involved. As Marhalim said, the upgrades will be minimal.

  56. @ azlan

    A hawk 200 does not need aesa radar and jhmcs to fire amraam or aim-9x. Upgrades to the processing unit of the current apg-66h would be adequate to fire sparrows or amraams (remember our hornets could shoot amraams too without aesa radar and we don’t have enough amraams even for the hornets anyway). Cheaper hms such as the thales scorpion could be an answer for the hawk (and also Mkm) upgrades.

    Hawks would be adequate for point defence missons, as a second layer after the MKM/hornets and before any GBAD’s. QRA with the subsonic hawk? Chasing propeller and helicopters maybe, but not jet airliners as the speed difference is too small (anology: traffic police couldn’t use a cubchai to chase mat rempits)

  57. Shed,

    In the bulk of the engagements that took place, the first indication U.S.
    fighters had on the presence of North Vietnamese fighters was when their on board radars picked them up.
    The main function of the EC121 was surveillance rather than provide early warning or to vector fighters over North Vietnam. The EC121 may have been used for the purpose but U.S. fighters were often operating too deep in North Vietnam. The main means of detecting North Vietnamese fighters was SIGINT and radar pickets off the North Vietnamese coast.

    The Swedes were the pioneers of data links being one of the first to widely use them. As far back as the 1960’s (maybe even earlier) data inks were already in use by the U.S. but in a different manner, due to various limitations.

  58. …….. – ”A hawk 200 does not need aesa radar and jhmcs to fire amraam or aim-9x. Upgrades to the processing unit of the current apg-66h would be adequate to fire sparrows or amraams (remember our hornets could shoot amraams too without aesa radar and we don’t have enough amraams even for the hornets anyway). ”

    I’m assuming that the only HMS that has been integrated with Sidewinder X is JCHMS. Given that we already have 2 different HMS in service, introducing a 3rd would not make any sense.

    I never said or implied that only an AESA could fire a BVR but in the case of the 200s, as part of an upgrade, it would make sense to fit it with an AESA as this would bring several advantages. Also, there is the question of how long the APG-66 will continue to be supported.

    ……. – ”QRA with the subsonic hawk?”

    What do you think the Hawks in Labuan and those there previously when there was a permanent detachment are doing? They may not be on permanent 24/7 QRA per say [not enough air frames for this] but one of their roles is to intercept any intrusions in East Malaysian airspace. It may not be the best of situations but one works with what one has.

  59. Why not malaysia try to replace fulcrum with F15SE?

    Super Hornets not Eagles…

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