MRCA programme: Moving Forward

PETALING JAYA: Since I am threading on sensitive grounds, lets just say that our very own MRCA programme is moving forward, despite my reservations about funding issues. And since I am not able to divulge the details at the moment, let us look at this matter via the Switzerland example.

Apart from the Super Hornet, the other three contenders for the our MRCA programme, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale and the JAS-39 Gripen were competing for the Swiss AF F5 replacement.

The Rafale. the loser in Switzerland, but a winner in India and probably in Brazil and UAE too

In December, last year, Switzerland announced that that the Swedish Gripen has been selected for the replacement programme. Following the announcement, accusations that the Gripen did not meet specifications of the Swiss AF was made public and even the confidential evaluation report was made public.

For the full report read here
Defense Industry Daily summarises the report:
According to this report [PDF], France’s Rafale was the only plane to meet Swiss requirements in all 3 areas – an assessment that would have created significant problems for the competition. The JAS-39C/D Gripen failed to meet Swiss threshold requirements in all 3 areas of Counter-air, Reconnaissance, or Strike roles; though overall performance for Reconnaissance was assessed as “satisfactory, with comments.” The Swiss Luftwaffe also concluded that after a “credibility factor” was used to discount future promises, the JAS-39NG/ “MS21” would still fall short of a 6.0 score in all 3 areas. It would come very close in the Strike category, and was assessed as bringing the design “close to the expected capabilities” overall, but the report adds that “the risk involved in redesign of the aircraft is rated high”. This reflects prudent uncertainty until that final Gripen configuration is set, produced, and tested.

The underlying basis for these conclusions remains murky, because that aspect was not leaked, only the end scoring and some comments. Those comments are quite interesting, however, as the report’s 2nd-ranked Eurofighter Typhoon also failed to meet requirements for Reconnaissance and Strike, even with modifications in the proposed Tranche 3 P1E version offered to the Swiss. Highlights include:

Vertical integration adds cost, but helps in some contests. The Rafale benefited from the high performance of its ancillary French equipment, in gaining its high ratings. GPS-guided bombs and its SPECTRA EW suite helped improve its strike score, and equipment like its high-end Reco NG pod enhanced its reconnaissance score. In contrast, the “basics at low-cost” market positioning of RAFAEL’s ReeceLight pod was seen as insufficient in the Eurofighter and Gripen.

Got GPS strike? For strike missions, the Swiss valued engagement of multiple targets in one pass. GPS-guided weapons are the obvious method for that. Even in 2008, the French had worked to add Paveway GPS/laser guided bombs to its Rafales, which were followed shortly thereafter by France’s own GPS-guided AASM. Both competitors are integrating GPS-guided weapons, but they were well behind both the Rafale, and the Swiss evaluation period. This cost both competitors. Saab’s Gripen was specifically cited with “Multiple targets were not able to be engaged during strike missions.” Inquiries to Saab reveal that the EGBU-12 GPS & Laser guided bomb wasn’t qualified on Gripen until 2009, which explains the report’s verdict. Current Gripen fighters can indeed hit multiple targets in a single pass, using the 500 pound EGBU-12/GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway. The Eurofighter is still qualifying Paveway IV and EGBU-16 Enhanced Paveway dual-guidance GPS weapons.

Specifications matter. The core JAS-39C/D Gripen was rated behind current upgraded F/A-18C/Ds for air-air warfare. “Range/combat radius and its aircraft performance” was the cryptic reason, though the report says they “cannot be improved without a change in the structure of the aircraft.” This seems to indicate that the Swiss requirements were tilted toward the capabilities of larger fighters, but Switzerland is a small country with a defensive-only posture. It will be interesting to see if and how this question plays out in debates, and which details emerge.

The Swiss saw the JAS-39NG “MS21’s” notional performance as “insufficient to get the air superiority against future threats (2015+)”. The rationales behind that assessment, and behind the scores comprising it, are critical to the coming Swiss debate – but aren’t yet public.

The Swiss rated the Gripen’s electronic warfare suite as a strong point, and so were its 3 large mission displays, but the report faults the lack of integration between the Gripen radar and Electronic Warfare/ defensive suites. It remains to be seen if the Gripen NG’s new ES-05 Raven AESA radar and EW upgrades will be more integrated.

Saab did get a top score among the competitors for operations and maintenance arrangements, with one option involving spare parts pooling for al Gripen fleets assessed at a “Swiss perfect” 9.0.

HMDs matter. The Rafale’s biggest weakness was seen as its lack of a helmet-mounted sight (HMD) system, which would allow it to take full advantage of modern missiles. Switzerland’s F/A-18 Hornets already have this combination via their JHMCS HMD and AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles, which nullifies many of the Rafale’s close-combat maneuvering advantages. All competitors were actually weak in this area in 2009, with the Gripen (Cobra HMD), Eurofighter (Striker HMD) just remedying this defect now.

The report cites Eurofighter supercruise at Mach 1.4 without afterburners. This is a useful public data point, but seems to have been done without weapons. Eurofighters used armed supercruise during Libyan operations, but this was only possible with low-drag “4 + 2” air-to-air missile configurations, at high altitude, and to about Mach 1.2.

Despite a lot of engineering and publicity effort expended on Eurofighter’s sensor fusion quality and DASS electronic warfare suite, the Swiss evaluation cited them as weak points.

“Before 2025 (at the latest), a stock (small number) of Meteors [DID: long-range air-air missiles, scheduled for employment by all 3 contenders] shall be part of the Swiss inventory.” End of DID report.

Coming so soon after the Indian decision to opt for the Rafale and followed soon after by reports that Brazil would also choose the French jet have upped the ante for our own selection. It must be noted though that evaluation done by the Swiss were during the 2008/2009 period and ours are just starting.

And despite reservations from the ATM that we are buying too things from French, the Rafale did earned some brownie points for its participation during Lima 2011.

Seeing the two aircraft taking off on a daily basis for displays during the show and joy-rides for officials and journalists, in our hot and humid weather without much preparations, earned the French some bragging rights.

The Super Hornet did the same thing but taking only VVIPs for joy-rides are not too bright either.

As for the Typhoon? The decision to base them in Butterworth Air Base was not too smart in terms of marketing. And having them under wraps (when not being readied for flight) and sheltered for the entire two months they were there does not bring much confidence to local pilots and fitters who had their share their difficulties with the Hawk 108s and 208s in the past.

Yes the Typhoons managed 95 % readiness rate during their time here and flew 4,000 miles to get here but to the eyes of those who were supposed to fly and maintain them in 3 years time, first impressions are everything! One wonders whether our High Commissioner in London is working as hard his counterparts in Washington and Paris to get the best TOT possible to clinch the deal.

At the end of the day, as shown by the Swiss example, its not what the fighter jockeys says that clinched the deal, its the fat cat politicians that ruled the day.

— Malaysian Defence

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40 Comments

  1. As I have said elsewhere I am pleased that Rafale has gone ahead in India and now has good prospects in Brazil and perhaps in UAE. Even Dassault’s Swiss bid is still open. This should positively influence our own selection process if we are “moving forward” with our own programme.
    The French look serious in courting us. They have a certain seductiveness in their approach while the British engage with a decidedly arrogant edge.

  2. Everything seems romantic about the French, French kiss, French Riviera, French Toast, Eiffel tower… Bienvenue en Malaisie, britannique revoir.

  3. Whatever the French have been doing, it’s been working. French companies have overtaken BAE Systems in having the most political ”pull”, they’ve sold the Scorpene, Cougars, Gowind, avionics for the MKMs, BMS for the PT-91Ms, and apart from small orders from Harris for certain units, the army has standardised on Thales radios, what next? The Frenchies are also hoping for a Tiger sale to us in a few years and are pushing to ensure that MICA not ESSM goes on the LCS.

    I’m still hoping that common sense will prevail and that we go for the Super Hornet.
    As all major military deals are politically driven, the Super Hornet, apart from its operational and commonality benefits, suits the bill. Ties have improved with Uncle Sam, we see their military presence in the region as very assuring despite our official stand that China is a partner not a threat and we train more regularly with the U.S. military than anyone else.

  4. Good post but consider updating a bit with the follow-on news from Switzerland in why the Gripen came to be selected. The military scored Gripen higher as time went on and Gripen NG development risks came down.

    Several reports were written in the time period since that partial 2009 report and each of them ranked Gripen (and EF) higher compared to 20009. The politicians based their decision on the final report from November 2011.

    Since Gripen could offer 22 jets within the budget and meet operational requirements it was a logical choice for the Swiss seeing how they work with a system-in-system concept that no weapon system work alone and its total effect of army+air force that matters. (I.E reduce costs on Airforce to be able to support army capabilities)

    There has been alot of fog from Switzerland but the military is firmly behind the Gripen choice and it’s either Gripen or nothing over there.

  5. While clearly not in the same class as the Rafale, the Gripen should not be written off as an option for the RMAF. The facts are that the number of airframes and the overall procurement and operating costs are very important. IMO, 16 Gripens would be better than 8 Rafales. Of course 16 Rafales would be nice, but can such an order be funded? Lastly, don’t count out the F/A-18E/F. With the latest upgrades, it is a potent platform that would be a natural progression for the RMAF. Add in some E/A-18Gs and the RMAF would have a potent strike force.

  6. The dark horse will still be the Sukhoi either SU30 mkm or SU 35. Though may not be liked by the RMAF, it may spring a surprise and become the final choice. The french would not be total loser if Sukhoi is chosen…8 rafale at USD120-to USd170 mil a piece can fund up to 3 SU

    Reply
    No 35 in the picture its just a figment of the NST imagination. Extra MKM is on offer by the manufacturer not part of the programme actually…

  7. “SU-30s understood to
    have performed poorly in air to ground role
    in Exercise Bersama Lima.”

    Excerpt from http://www.asianmilitaryreview.com/upload/201202112223151.pdf

    Now I know why RMAF is not keen with more Suks, others might say that it’s a deception to confuse our enemy but frankly speaking, if the Suks are lemon, just admit it. Super Hornet is the future for RMAF, ditch the others please.

    Reply
    How could the Sukhois performed poorly in an exercise they were not supposed to be in?

  8. I heard romurs says our RMAF su-30mkm could not do well on ground attack role but for long range stand off bomber and interceptor bolehlah, su-30mkm is to big for the size n advntage is can bring more 8 tons arsenals but easy target for short to medium range SAMs or small n medium aggressor fighter are much faster in combat action in air compared to our su-30mkm….for me if i m the air commander, i will selected small o medium combat aircraft cos it fast reaction, easy maintained and hard to detectd. Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen is a new tech in combat aircraft n still need more improvemnt to be done, that why all these weapons are still in not matured compare to 70s to 90s US n Russian design combat aircraft. We need to see in our own perspective need, everything need to take on all account, budget is the main agenda, more concerning is availablity of manpower n knowleadge to , climate if suitable to new equipmnt, facilities n compatiblity with other assets. Thing all of its or ealse is our air force is upside down. Not just easy buy n got more problem after that.

    Reply
    Integrating PGMs is not an easy task to master….

  9. Fadiman,

    Granted the MKMs are equipped with free fall bombs and unguided 57mm rockets but using it as a CAS platform would be like using a racing horse to pull a horsecart – it would be a total waste. Such work should be performed by the Hawks, with the MKMs being used for what they were designed for – long range interception and stand off attacks.

  10. is our migs in dire conditions?im sure the russian can provide significant improvement relevant to the future threats.nonetheless, i propose rafales for our migs,gripen for our F5 and hawks. does not take into account funding matters.wont go well with the opposition either.

    Reply
    Even if we are capable of buying both the Rafale and Gripens, who will fly them?

  11. Here’s the summary of the final score for Gripen. Official PDF http://www.vbs.admin.ch/internet/vbs/de/home/themen/defence/tte/faktenblaetter.parsys.34617.downloadList.45224.DownloadFile.tmp/folienmktte120214d.pdf

    – Meet military requirements
    – Has lowest acquisition and operating costs
    – Has best performance-price ratio
    – Financial balance of the army ensured
    – New strategy is no longer the highest performance, if appropriate Systems are much more cost-effective

    If the Gripen E / F is the right choice?
    6
    What kind of grades awarded Gripen E / F – before
    Considering the cost?

    Operational Effectiveness: 5.81 (just under
    satisfactory)

    Operational Suitability: 6.87 (satisfactory)

    Co: 7.37 (satisfactory)

    Overall Rating: 6.36 (satisfactory)

  12. Sorry. I think RMAF should avoid the Rafale which isnt cleared to carry US weapons and systems. There would be logistical issues when bought in small numbers. That and commonality issues with allied powers.

    Reply
    At least its not a Russian bird!

  13. Mustaffa,

    The Russkies in 1997 offered to upgrade the Fulcrums to SMT standard. Recently, they offered to upgraded them to UG standard [to give a full ground attack capability, EASA radar, glass cockpit, etc], similar to what the IAF is doing. We are the ones who are not interested, it is not the Russian who are unable to offer us a Fulcrum upgrade. If we wanted to go down this route, there are literally dozens of Fulcrums with low hours on them that can be bought and upgraded, to supplement the 16 we have.

    Tomahawk,

    What difference does it make? The ordnance for the MKMs are not compatible for the Hornets and vice versa. And if we bought the Typhoon, pressure would be brought on us to buy Meteor, which can’t go on our Hornets. It would have been interesting we had accepted MBDAs offer to integrate MICA on the MKMs back in 2003.

    Reply
    They did not want any upgrade as this would mean we have to re-learn everything about the Fulcrum.
    Its like – not an apt analogy but its the best one I can think off – upgrading a Proton Saga with Cadillac parts but without any manual and support is a dirty word!

  14. Buying is one matter,to maintain and sustain is another.how sure are we in case of a conflict arises,the french wont put us under arms embargo? if it do occur,our subs,LCS and other system is no use.I knw d russian wont deny us any weapons if we can provide d money.

    Reply
    I have said it before and I will say it again, if we are stupid enough to be embargoed, then we truly deserve it. Even the Russians would not dare to go against an international embargo. That’s why they vetoed the resolutions in UN on Syria.

  15. If this MRCA program is true, then we’re certainly going the same way as Greece; buying unaffordable weapons and bankrupting the nation. People will be starving, crying and rioting, but hey, we got us some cool, kick-ass military-grade show ponies!

    Reply
    Planning at ATM level must continue despite current circumstances, it is up to the Govt of the day to decide whether to sign the check. Too be honest I am not too sure they will fund the programme in the next four years. As it is I am more worried about PFIs like the Sg Besi re-development than anything else…

  16. Well, for one thing, you can use most of the weapons you already have with the hornets on the typhoon or SHs. That would save costs as opposed to adding to it.

    Reply
    Logic is another dirty word here together smart

  17. Those who critisize the Flanker, does not know what its capable off. The flankers were bought with immense capability in the 1st place, but even that plane has an upgrade package that would make it deadlier. Otherwise India wouldnt be too keen on adding more flankers into their inventory in the Super 30 MLU version. RCS reduction,5th gen avionis, New gen 117S engines, AESA radar,Smart skin, ECM upgrade,Ramjet Adder, and russian Glonass guided PGM in the works. These are all there for an upgrade even before we could exhaust its current capability. So please think again before u diss the Flankers. Also with the current economic climate i dont belive it would be wise to commit to the MRCA purchase, and we should just retire the Mig\’s to free up cost. Fix the economy 1st, before we can think of buying more expensive hardware. We are not in any imminent War with our neighbours, so the sukhoi\’s should be a detterent enough, for now. Once the economy picks, up, we could then go for a second batch with MLU and bringing the 1st batch to MLU standard as well.

    Reply
    The problem is even the end user is shaking their heads…

  18. Given that our economy is going to the dogs , getting new MRCA is suicidal. If we still need the capability then we should gradually upgrade our existing MIG’s So that they are more capable and easier to maintain.First upgarde would be the new engines wtith enhanced time period between overhaul.This is a money saver and also reduce the amount of smoke produced by the incomplete combustion-read as fuel guzzling monsters used by the current MIGS. Next when money is available, a new AESA radar as its a force multiplier. Next a conformal fuel tank to increase the range of the well known short legs of the MIGS. Lastly would be glass cockpit and weapons.
    My two cents. We dont need to do the upgrades in one shot. But paced out over a number of years
    With this the “smoky bandits” would become smokless bandits indeed

  19. I read somewhere two or three years ago, an upgrade to SMT will cost around USd15 million per plane. Even if we do for all 14 (inclusive 4 that has been retired) it will cost about USd210 million or max USd250 inclusive of “Inflation” hehehhe. Way cheaper than Estimated USD1.5 billion for new MRCA. But that is just a civilian talking….I believed the MIG (hopefully upgraded) will still be more than a match to the many block 15 F16 and hawks 200 currently available in this region. Keep the hornet and hawk 200 for A to G, while Flanker exclusively for Laut China selatan issue. The most important aspect is to ensure that all these assets must be properly funded for operation and maintenance.

  20. Malaysia is the most strategic region in south east, the peninsula malaysia and east malaysia or malaysian borneo rich and famous resource sabah and sarawak but why these two state dont has any air base with fighter sqns, at least got 1 fighter sqns to protect they air space from neighbour intruder, why allway the penisular malaysia got the facilities and better air protections, i m the sarawakian sorry for questioning the west malaysian cos i m worried, i dont thing the air support form west malaysian can cover the sabah and sarawak, waht is MOD solution, if they plan to purchased the new MMRCA pls make sure is based on east malaysia (sabah or sarawak) if ur consider we a malaysian to.

    Reply
    That is one of reason to buy the MRCA

  21. Hi marhalim,

    “Reply
    The problem is even the end user is shaking their heads…”

    Can you elaborate on this?

    Reply
    I will not

  22. Please elaborate on our economy going to the dogs.

    The figures here and abroad suggest we are on the right track.

    We did not cause theis world economic spiral.

    US and Europe are responsible for thier rubbish financial oversight and management.

    So please ,if any of u are so convinced, do tell.

    We are financial better then most,and have economic growth. So before u start spewing some pakatan rubbish, open yr brains and look carefully.
    .

    This humble country of ours have been good over decades , resolving mistakes, not good in handling corruption scandals and favoritism but we are changing. This is an area of criticism of the government,rightly so.

    But look at the real data ,not political data.

    Our country WILL NOT BUY THE PLATFORMS everyone is talking about unless theres a way to do so.

    The historical record speaks for itself. Not perfect but in economic difficulties, defence always comes in last.

  23. @Nevidinka: The meaning is simple. The plane is considered brilliant but spare parts ,maintenance and the smoky engines do not hold it in good stead.

    The most embarrassing thing to happen to it,the mig-29s delivered to a north african nation,was found to be not of the standard expected. That country got so angry they cancelled the deal,refused to pay and sent the planes back to russia. In spite of it the russians ,groveling to save the deal, did not work out. Those planes I think are on their way to burma now.

    The Indians are also not to happy with the MIG-29s. But they have little choice in changing platforms till the MMRCA planes are inducted into service. They have agreed the upgrades like they have done with the jaguars and mirages to maintain their current fleet numbers the best they can. The MIG-29K, for the navy is the choice available for them , su-33 for the chinese if that deal gets signed. And these Ks are highly advanced planes. They need them now, cannot wait for rafales or typhoons naval version.

    The Indians have gone on record ,rank and file, with their disdain for russian spare parts and maintenance culture.

    One retired senior officer was quoted saying the ruskies planes do well in air shows but different story in battle. This is from a pilot who flew in combat. If the plane is with the desired equipment ,then ok, otherwise , u can use every foul mouth words to describe.

  24. Upgrading the MiGs would be a waste of money. It would be like taking an old Proton and suggesting that by adding a new engine, and a few more bells and whistles that It would be good enough for an F1 race! And an F1 race is what we are in; everyone in the region is upgrading to more sophisticated aircraft. If we don’t get the ball rolling now, we will be seriously deficient in advanced arms by 2020, when it is expected that our neighbors will start fielding large numbers of modern and/or upgraded aircraft.

    IMO, Russian aircraft are junk. Nice flying aircraft, but it is the avionics, radar, sensors, etc. that make the aircraft these days.

    I agree with the above comments; we need to permanently station at least 1 full squadron of MRCA in the East of the country.

    Lastly, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: retire the MiGs and F-5s now to save money from operations. Transfer the MiG pilots over to the Sukhois, the F-5 pilots over to the Hornets. If we can sell, trade or transfer the MiGs for 6 more Sukhois – great. Put the Hawks into a reserve/training squadron for limited use, contingent on funding. Keep the Hornets going (they were the best acquisition the RMAF ever made). Upgrade the Sukhois along the lines of the IAF’s plans, contingent on funding. Finally procure, at minimum, 36 MRCA; at this point I don’t really care what they are (as long as they are Western aircraft): Typhoons, Rafales, Super Hornets or Gripens.

  25. Fadiman,

    To permanently base any fighters in East Malaysia would require millions to be spent on creating a more extensive ground infrastructure in Labuan. Has anyone wondered why Hawks are no longer permanently deployed there??

    Dave Malaysia,

    The IAF may not be happy with product support but they are very happy with their Fulcrums. Being long time operators of Russian aircraft, they understand very well the different approach and philosophy needed in operating Russian.

    Nevidemka,

    I absolutely agree with you. As long as one takes into consideration the limitations of operating Russian [lower MTBF of engines and other components, higher long term operating costs,etc.] there is nothing wrong with Russian aircraft. The problem is when a Western oriented air arm operates its Russian aircraft like it would with Western aircraft. Even without an ASESA and data links, the MKMs are capable MRCA. It is no so much the product or the sensors, radars, weapons, etc, that make the difference in air to air engagements these days, but situational awareness…..

    YM Lee,

    The smoke on the RD-33s are because of unspent fuel in the nozzles that is not hot enough to ignite when the engines are not supersonic. What makes you think a Fulcrum SMT or UG will be any less smokey??

  26. I propose Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 1 to enter service starting in 2015 to replace the migs, hawks and F5 and Typhoon Tranche 3 to enter service starting in 2025 to replace the Hornets.

    *I hope our Mindef nego with BAE to get 12units Tranche 3 and FOC 18units Tranche 2 then I would say :thumbs:

  27. fadiman76,

    Malaysia Borneo have Labuan and KCH as TUDM\’s airbase, i got to hear whispers that TUDM is beefing up defenses at KCH sector with a few new ground assets and installation. Perhaps our wish of one permanent MRCA Sqn to cover Borneo (the new MRCA?) can be a reality. FYI, TNI also moved up asset into Kalimantan to protect their recently found natural wealth (thermal grade coal, palm oil, gold!!!) I don’t care much what those fat politkos in the end will buy for TUDM MRCA just make sure it is good (tak apa, asalkan ada, bolehlah, dari takda apa-apa…)for TUDM, bang for the buck….

  28. 2 still not enough i suggest bintulu and sandakan for new RMAF airbase.

    Reply
    Building airbases are not cheap, one without HAS could cost as high as RM250 million, one with HAS can go as high as RM1 billion…they got a TDY operating in Tawau mostly to support Ops Pasir

  29. Procurement of brand new MRCAs need to address the current and future threats.i agree that upgrading the migs is a rather short term solution and we need brand new MRCAs nonetheless.F35 will be inducted into service probably in another 5 years. this is just my prediction.Surely in the coming of F35,our neighbour in the south will acquire them.By then,what will our response be? obsolete migs?air defense is not just how many war birds to u have,but also many other aspects.Medium range SAMs,more short range SAMs,AWECS,radars surveilence equiptment,and defence against SEAD operation. Sure,brand new planes are nice to see durin merdeka parade and LIMA,but the real question is,how well is our airspace is protected?

  30. In this case sabah n sarawak are defendless, i suggest the mindef should consider to upgrades of any 1 existing airbase in sarawak o sabah with fighter support capable airbase at least, in penisular malaysia if im not mistaken got 3 fighter airbase to protect whole penisular malaysian airspace, East malaysia just leave empty wich mean sabah sarawak were not importance? things, these 2 state produce big money to federal gov n thats its it…. i want to know comment form any of west malaysian, what are the benefit for sabah n sarawak to joined malaysia for independence?

    Reply
    Only now we are seeing more emphasis on the defence of Sabah and Sarawak mostly due to the Spratlys. Teluk Sepanggar is now a major base for RMN and RMAF will be assertive once the MRCA programme is fulfilled.

  31. F35 in my prediction will only come in large numbers post 2020. That is why Australia is considering additional SH and i think South Korea also looking at additional f15.

    Agreed with mustafa that we need to assess how well is our airspace is protected but the main concern will be money. Too little money to spread over the 3 branches, unless we are willing to do away with Rm25 billion various subsidies a year.

    My own personal opinion is that lets not have a war by deterring potential agressor. That does not mean we have to be mean and start tripling our spending on defense, may be having assets in sufficient numbers within acceptable budget that would make potential agressors think very hard before doing anything funny.

    This is just an example and my personal opinion, say we go with additional 32 SU 30 MKM, it will cost us roughly USD2.5 billion and roughly an additional USD160 million operational cost a year. We will have 50 su 30 mkm in our inventory.

    Yes SU 30 MKM is not top notch and has been said to have many short comings, but i would think having that in numbers would create quite a jitter to potential aggressors, imagine ability to fire the adder with theoretical range of excess 100km or the infra red alamo c with theoretical range of excess 70km plus arrays of PGM. At least we create an illusion of invicibility although in reality SU may be more fitting for aerial show hahahahah

  32. fadiman: I am disappointed if you are implying the only real benefit of the Malaysian union to be gained by Sabah and Sarawak is providing for their defence. You have ignored the billions poured into the two states in successive federal budgets for “benefits” other than defence. And do not discount the brave efforts by Malaysians (“West” and “East” Malaysians)during Konfrontasi and the Emergency.

  33. Fadiman – ”i want to know comment form any of west malaysian, what are the benefit for sabah n sarawak to joined malaysia for independence?”

    All I can say is look at a map of countries surrounding East Malaysia and examine the political situation effecting these 2 countries [Indonesia and the Philippines] during the 1960’s and why both countries opposed the formation of Malaysia. And the reason West Malaysia has 3 air bases is simply because all were former RAF bases – the same can be said for Kuching and Labuan [its irrelevant to this discussion but during British rule, because of economics and geo-politics they placed more importance in Malaya rather than North Borneo and Sarawak].

    The fact that there are no fighters based in East Malaysia is due to the number of fighters we have, pure economics and the existing infrastructure in place, which would make it hard to permanently base fighters there, NOT because East Malaysia is deemed to be of secondary importance. And even if things were to heat up with say Indonesia over Ambalat, there would be a period of tension giving us time to react, and fighters in Kuantan could easily be in Labuan in hours.

    And the last time I checked, our 2 SSKs were based in East Malaysia, not Lumut or Tanjung Gelang, so how could anyone declare that East Malaysia is of secondary importance?? The army just 10 days, also ago publicly said that there was a need to raise additional units to be based in East Malaysia. Anyway, I would argue that the main cause of concern for us, despite all the rhetoric and doomsday talk, is not the Spratleys but the possibility of another incident in Ambalat spiraling out of control before K.L. and Jakarta can embark on damage control.

  34. Interesting. I wonder if Swiss Government deliberately released those document or was it leaked into public somehow. I wonder if our government could release such document every now and then when military procurements were made, perhaps people will ask less every time.

    People are curious about military procurement, like whether the money is well spent and whether we make the right choice but they were always met with unsatisfactory answers from the government. Perhaps it is time to be transparent as much as militarily possible.

    Fighting!

  35. “2 still not enough i suggest bintulu and sandakan for new RMAF airbase”…it seems that TUDM due to economic and small numbers (as described by azlan) no fighters based permanently in Borneo, yet they put Nuri sqns to support 1st Inf Div. Bintulu n Sandakan as airbase? better put a HAS airbase in kuching and KK (to cover strategic ATM installation). Don’t forget aerial tankers so as the new MRCA easily have more time over target to cover sipadan, sebatik,layang-layang,peninjau plus deep penetration until balikpapan,pontianak,zamboanga hehehe

    Reply
    The Nuris are based in Sabah and Sarawak as part of their commitment towards SAR civil role which the air force gets an annual allocation. However as the Nuris are not IFR rated yet, their utility remained limited. The proposed upgrade if funded would add IFR rated cockpits to at least 15 Nuris.

  36. For our AOR in East Malaysia, we don’t need tankers, as the MKMs have more than enough endurance. We are unlikely to be placed in a position where extended CAP or patrols will be needed over the South China Sea. What we need are more fighters and the cash and infrastructure to operate them from East Malaysia. Air surveillance for East Malaysia has already improved with the Thales Raytheon Master radar which is based in Sarawak but can be deployed if needed to Sabah.

    As for those who propose additional airfields, my question is why? There are already a number of airfields that can support fast jets – Labuan, K.K., Bintulu, Kuching – what is needed is more cash built up the infrastructure there, provided cash and spare land is available. The TNI-AU has Hawks at Supridio in East Kalimantan and there is an airport at Balikpapan that can take fast jets. A new base at Tarakan, near Tawau and Ambalat, will be home to the Tucanos and UAVs. And off course, their Flankers based in Makassar can be over the Tawau/Ambalat area in minutes.

    Reply
    Even with the Flanker prodigious range, RMAF need for a jet powered tanker is obvious as well as more money so it can beef up operations in Sabah and Sarawak

  37. Marhalim,

    Will be interesting to see if we do AARs with our Cougars in the future. Each Cougar comes with a refueling probe as standard fit doesn’t it?

    Reply
    Its supposed to be fitted with the probes, it will make better use of the Hercules tankers….BTW I believe there is enough land to built a small airbase next to the Tawau airport (to reduce the cost of building runways) although I believe no funds is available for that purpose.

  38. If I’m not mistaken, the Super Lynxs and Fennecs sometimes operate from there. Tawau is also where the Aloutte 111 detachment operated from during the Confrontation. The waters off Tawau is where the first deck landing of an RMAF helicopter was made on an RMN ship [KD Hang Tuah].

    Reply
    I believe only a Nuri is operating permanently in Tawau in support of Ops Pasir and civil SAR role now. There is talk of MMEA operating there also as a backup to the Nuri but since only the Dauphins are flying now I guessed that’s no longer the case

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