MRCA: Typhoon and Rafale

A CGI of a Typhoon carrying a load of Spear 3 bombs complete with air-to-air missiles and extra fuel tanks

SHAH ALAM: TYPHOON or the Rafale? With the visit of the French Defence Minister to Malaysia coming so soon (this Sunday Aug 30, 2015), on the heels of the visit of UK Prime Minister David Cameron and his Defence Procurement Minister Philip Dunne I thought it would be timely to take a look at the two acknowledged front runners in the MRCA programme.

The RMAF have, its understood from sources close to programme being having a more in depth look at both Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale – particularly with regards to the maturity of the technology that both parties are offering. Apart from the Typhoon and Rafale, the other official contenders of the MRCA is the Boeing Super Hornet and the Saab Gripen NG.

Whilst at first glance it appears that the Rafale is more mature, its been deployed on operations in North Africa (Libya, Mali and Chad), and has a current Maritime Strike Capability – stated by the RMAF as a day 1 requirement – when you scratch the surface of the proposal its not quite that clear cut.

A French Navy Rafale taking off with the single Exocet missile.
A French Navy Rafale taking off with the single Exocet missile.

The Rafale on offer to the RMAF is the F3R standard. This is the same standard as Qatar has ordered, however the technological maturity of this variant is understood to have been assessed by RMAF as Technology Readiness Level 5 (TRL5). The TRL levels run from 1 (a bright idea) to 9 (operational service).

TRL 5 would suggest that components are currently being lab tested. That is a very long way from prototype test flying, and then operational maturity and productionisation. On the surface there would appear to be considerable risk to the time-frames because of the required development.

On Eurofighter, the RMAF has been offered the the latest Tranche 3 model. RMAF pilots are believed to have been unable to fly the Tranche 3, however. This is because only Single Seat variants have been ordered by the UK’s Royal Air Force, although it has been ordered in the twin seater variant by Germany. (UK is responsible for the marketing to Malaysia).

The Tranche 3 have now begun production deliveries across Europe and is going into front line service with the Eurofighter nations of UK, Spain, Italy and Germany. The Typhoon is therefore at TRL 9, albeit there may be some additional systems that RMAF wants, such as Maritime Strike, that we will explore the maturity of later in this piece.

Electronically scanned (AESA) radar is another point of interest. Whilst Rafale is already fitted with an early generation ‘AESA’ which came from a 2007 AMSAR project (which incidently included France and the Eurofighter nations in a common programme), the development programme over at Eurofighter, led by Euroradar, a European consortium headed by Selex, continued.

It added a number of a number of additional strands, including critically that of a repositioner. Nose size would also seem important in the ASEA technology field. The nose size of Eurofighter Typhoon is significantly greater than that of Rafale. This allows not just for the repositioner but also allows significantly more antennas and receivers.

Typhoon with the AESA radar
Typhoon with the AESA radar

These are key to not just projecting power from the Radar, but picking up returns, making the Eurofighter Typhoon AESA potential significantly more potent than its French counterpart. So whilst the Brits appear to have taken their time it would appear that it was worth the wait. The TRL level for the Captor-E radar is assessed at full maturity, TRL9, with integration onto Eurofighter Typhoon at TRL 7 [Prototype flying].

The Captor-E radar, offering something like 3 times the coverage of the Rafale radar offered on F3R, is now in production and will be in service in 2018, meaning it would be available day 1 for the RMAF.

On Weapons the comparison is again striking. Both platforms offer the joint European developed Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air to Air weapon, so we will leave that at rest.

Maritime Strike is an interesting question. Again, it appears that on the face of it Rafale is superior. It has Exocet in its arsenal, and is being marketed with AASM (Hammer) for littoral and small ship capability. However a close look at the programme suggest that AASM is nothing more than a development programme, with only the 250kg variant in service.

A Rafale pictured in a F3R standard weapon load,  AASM Hammer for strike missions and MICA and Meteor missiles for air-to-air work and extra fuel tanks.
A Rafale pictured in a F3R standard weapon load, AASM Hammer for strike missions and MICA and Meteor missiles for air-to-air work and extra fuel tanks.

It is currently guided with GPS/INS technology (latest variant could also be laser guided) which is somewhat 1980’s compared to the Dual GPS/Milimetric wave technology in use in Brimstone. The Brimstone is currently on the European Tornados and has been signed up by the Typhoon nations contractually to be in service inside 18 months, making the weapon at TRL 9 and its integration at TRL7. Unsurprisingly the RAF seem to be at the forefront of this push, given the use of Brimstone in Libya and Iraq, along with a large user of Typhoon in the Middle East (Saudi).

A CGI image of a Typhoon armed with a number of Brimstone missiles
A CGI image of a Typhoon armed with a number of Brimstone missiles

Brimstone is the weapons of choice for use against the most likely threat Malaysia faces, that in its littoral waters, fast, small and manoeuvrable craft. Rafale would appear to have no answer to the Typhoon dominance in this area.

Typhoons biggest problem however has always been its lack of a big ship missile. Rafale is equipped with the Exocet, second only perhaps globally to the Harpoon (which is currently in service on the RMAF F-18Ds) in terms of a threat to large complex modern warships. This is a TRL 9 weapon in service today.

A French Navy Rafale with an Exocet
A French Navy Rafale with an Exocet

However industry sources indicated that Rafale can carry only 1 Exocet in one sortie. That doesn’t seem like anything near enough to be able to defeat a modern complex air defence warship with radar and weapon that are able to engage multiple targets.

Only by over complicating the radar picture are you likely to be successful today, which means multiple weapons at once. Even the RMAF reportedly during their evaluations to have assessed Rafale to be less capable than the current SU-30MKM and F-18Ds they have in-service already, and it has little or no capability development to come.

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

It is understood that whilst the Eurofighter has no large maritime weapon in service today, at least one customer has asked for the MBDA anti-ship missile the MARTE ER to be integrated. The Typhoon would be capable of carrying six of these weapons, along with a full Air to Air load and extra fuel tanks.

The offer to Malaysia also its understood included the costs for integration of Harpoon, should that be an RMAF requirement. The real game changer however could be the SPEAR 3 weapon, which is slated for entry into service in around 2022. This is based on the Brimstone concept, and is focused on moving and re-locatable targets. Its understood to have GPS, Milimetric Wave and Laser guidance. With wind tunnel testing underway its assessed by the RMAF to be at TRL level 4.

 A CGI of a Typhoon carrying a load of Spear 3 bombs complete with air-to-air missiles and extra fuel tanks
A CGI of a Typhoon carrying a load of Spear 3 bombs complete with air-to-air missiles and extra fuel tanks

On support, the numbers are quite striking. Over 600 Typhoons have been ordered globally. That is compared to the 264 Rafales now ordered following the recent deals in Egypt, India and Qatar. Straight numbers tell you that the more aircraft there are in service the better the through life costs are likely to be and the more certainty you have around security of supply.

One particular note that RMAF insiders are saying from recent visits to France and the UK is on a specific major cost driver, namely the engine support costs. The Rafale engines has a mean-time-between-failure (MTBF) of around 100 hours, compared with the 500 hours that the Eurofighter Typhoon consortium boast. This has to be of particular concern to the French in their efforts to promote their system, and the RMAF in terms of serviceability.

Costs is another factor at play. A big deal has been made about comparing costs, but my understanding from industry sources is that in a like for like comparison there isn’t much to chose between Rafale and Typhoon. Whilst some may play up initial procurement costs, and highlight differences, I am reliably informed from those close to the potential deal that in many statements around such numbers are not sensible comparisons.

A RSAF Typhoon displayed with the ordnance it can carry.
A RSAF Typhoon displayed with the ordnance it can carry.

Its only when you either strip the numbers right back, and compare like with like, or look at whole life cycle costs for both platforms, that you see the truth. There is no real difference, according to sources in India, Qatar and those close to the UAE potential deal confirm this.

Finally, back to next weeks visit. Its politics. Would we rather as Malaysia have a relationship in which four Nations feel indebted to us for such a large procurement, or a single Nation. Who would you trust you come to Malaysia’s side in our time of need? I’ll let you, the reader, decide.

Anyways my sources indicated no significant deal is expected to be signed next week. The hype have been about Rafale and the Russian Mistrals. These make good copies of course but you and I know the present situation in Malaysia doesn’t bode well for a multi-billion deal. Yes some deals could be signed.
Among them I’m told include companies participating in DSA2016.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 1187 Articles
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70 Comments

  1. Hmm. Is it possible for the usage of KDA JSM. Well the navy already ordered the NSM for the lcs. And can brimstone be integrated to rafale?

    In a sense, eurofighter is more like air supremacy type of aircraft compared to rafale which is more like a strike aircraft. But then again, our country situation doesnt bode well with mega projects And let the AF boys have a significant saying on what they need. Coz at the end of the day they are the one that gonna use it.

    Any news bout the possible formation of a malaysian marine corps?

  2. The only way we can afford either one of the two is to do a PFI with a deferred lump sum bullet payment at the end of tenure.

    Example say the acquisition cost USD3 billion, do a 10 year arrangement where we only pay interest cost (say 5% p.a) for the next 10 years and pay the USd3 billion at end year 10. By end year 10, we should have the option to trade the model in for a newer model then the whole cycle will start again

    Reply

    So we will be in debt forever?

  3. Yep we will be in debt so long as we opt for newer models at the end of the 10 year tenure. If we don’t opt for newer model at the end of 10 years, we have to pay the principal.

  4. The RMAF will make its recommendation but at the end of the day; (like everywhere else) the decision will be heavily based on political considerations. Not only it will depend on the level of offsets and transfers of technology (whether we actually benefit in the long run is off course a different matter altogether) offered by Dassault or BAE Systems but also our relationship with the country involved and how the deal will improve ties. It will after all be a supported by the French or UK government and political and trade ties with both will be considered.

    As for the actual aircraft; it all boils down to making compromises or trade offs; each competing design does certain things better than its competitors: there is no perfect choice, never has been and never will be, just what comes closest to during the RMAF’s requirements. The RAF is already preparing to operate Typhoon and F-35 in mixed formations as both complement each other being better in different areas.

    The RAF uses the Helmet Mounted Sighting System (HMSS – how I detest acronyms !) which provides 360 coverage and displays tracks provided by Link 16, ESM and radar. No idea how it compares to JHMCS though. The Brits would off course prefer we order Meteor and ASRAAM (MBDA being also British owned) but nothing is stopping us arming Typhoon with AMRAAM and Sidewinder, both of which we operate, unlike MICA and other ordnance used by Rafale. Apart from Litening (which is non kosher for us) what other targeting pod has been integrated with Typhoon?

    But we’re getting too far forward. First of all where is the cash to fund a deal and in the current political climate where is the political will?

    Reply
    Actually if there is political will, the cash will be made available. Even if there is cash but no political will, it will not happened…

  5. What about the second-hand tranche 1 from the RAF and then upgrade them at a later date when the $ is available?

    Reply
    RAF Tranche 1 cannot be modified further to Tranche 3 due to structural issues. As it is now it’s a good air to air fighter but not MRCA.

  6. Political will? Who are u talking kidding guys..

    Reply
    Who said there is political will? I said political will must come first before the cash.

  7. maybe france want to give us some gift for the previous gowind deal..george leygues class maybe..oh..that just my last night dream :p

  8. With Scorpene, Caracal and Gowind, doesnt that make ATM very much French already…
    Its time we revert back to the British.

  9. Marhalim

    I understand marhalim.. But when we talk about political will and then looking back at the current gov it just doesnt fit. The sultan of johor had the same idea i think.

    Reply
    Actually before the current crisis they had the funds for the MRCA but as the Scorpene deal keep getting played up negatively due to the alleged irregularities they lost the political will to fund it. AV8 & LCS survived because it’s supposedly high local content. That is why I said political will is needed first for defence programmes especially ones that cannot be built locally even though technically it will be cheaper if we just sourced it from overseas.

  10. dot – ”george leygues class maybe”

    25-30 year old, high mileage ships? I don’t think so.

    syarif – ”Its time we revert back to the British.”

    The French have more stuff on offer that’s applicable to our needs. The country we should really be buying more stuff from is Uncle Sam. Before anyone mentions it, most countries place certain restriction on the sale and use of military gear and also to some extent downgrades stuff; not just Uncle Sam. And, all countries also don’t readily hand out object and source codes; not just Uncle Sam, and certainly not to non treaty/allied countries who buy small numbers of jets.

  11. Hishammuddin: Military to go ahead with purchase of assets despite global economic downturn

    KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — The acquisition of Armed Forces (ATM) assets under the 11th Malaysia Plan is continued although the country is facing global economic challenges.

    Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said this included the upgrading of the ‘Nuri’ Sikorsky S61A-4 helicopter, Hercules C-130, Admiral Class Corvette and the acquisition of other assets for the three wings of ATM.

    “We are not denying the world, regional and national economic situations are very challenging. But…I am confident we can face this challenge with careful planning by the ministry and ATM.

    “It will not affect the core business of ATM, namely, to ensure national security and also give priority to the morale and welfare of our personnel and veterans,” he told a media conference after handing over education excellent awards to children of ATM personnel here, today.

    The ceremony saw 230 children of ATM personnel in the Klang Valley, who were outstanding in the Form Three Assessment and Malaysia Evaluation Certificates, being awarded.

    In another development, Hishammuddin he said he would be receiving French Defence Minister Jean Yves Le Drian on Tuesday and, among others, was expected to discuss the acquisition of the French Dassault Aviation Rafale company multi role combat aircraft.

    He said the decision on the acquisition of the asset which was earlier shortlisted to replace the MiG-29 jet, depended on the financial package offered, other than the final approval from the Finance Ministry.

    “In this matter, the ministry will look at the need and will try to get the best financial package,” he said.

    On March 2013, Malaysia shortlisted five fighter jets, namely, Eurofighter Typhoon built by the European consortium comprising BAE Systems, EADS and Finmeccanica; Dassault Aviation Rafale; Boeing s F/A 18E/F Super Hornet; Russian made Sukhoi Su-30 and Swedish made SAAB JAS-39 Gripen.

    Earlier, he also launched the documentary ‘Helicopter Heroes’ which was about the determination of the crew and pilot of the Nuri helicopters.

    The one-hour documentary would be aired on Astro channel 555 or 575 History Channel Asia on Sunday, 10 pm and Monday at 6 am, 11 am and 3 pm. — Bernama

    i had no idea what will happen Malaysia economy and also what will happen in this coming Sat and Sun…

    Reply
    I was not there so I cannot vouch for the story here but a paragraph from the story tell us a lot:

    “He said the decision on the acquisition of the asset which was earlier shortlisted to replace the MiG-29 jet, depended on the financial package offered, other than the final approval from the Finance Ministry.”

    They are negotiating for the best deal although they have yet to get the allocation!

  12. I’m reading the thing and… what?

    “Maritime Strike is an interesting question. Again, it appears that on the face of it Rafale is superior. It has Exocet in its arsenal, and is being marketed with AASM (Hammer) for littoral and small ship capability. However a close look at the programme suggest that AASM is nothing more than a development programme, with only the 250kg variant in service.”

    What?!

    The AASM has been used for almost a decade in real combat conditions, for Pete’s sake! And it exists in 125 kg, 250 kg, 500 kg and 1,000 kg! http://www.sagem.com/fr/file/download/d1530e_aasm.pdf
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8c/Aasm5.jpg/275px-Aasm5.jpg

    “It is currently guided with GPS/INS technology (latest variant could also be laser guided) which is somewhat 1980’s compared to the Dual GPS/Milimetric wave technology in use in Brimstone.”

    Dude, the AASM has a metric-precision that is enough to take out tanks without even using explosives, as shown over Libya.

    “However industry sources indicated that Rafale can carry only 1 Exocet in one sortie. That doesn’t seem like anything near enough to be able to defeat a modern complex air defence warship with radar and weapon that are able to engage multiple targets.”

    While showing a pic of a Rafale M, which carries a single central missile for obvious question of symmetrical weights on the return on a carrier. The plane has been shown to carry heavier loads than an Exocet on its wing points.

    Plus, it’s funny how the author of that “paper” always compares the present weapons of the Rafale with the potential, possible, future, weapons of the Typhoon. `:rolleyes:

    Reply
    Only the 250kg is in service, the other variants are available but have yet to be procured.

  13. Sometimes, I just hope that the cyrrent administration can just ignore those issues being played out negatively and focus on the procurement. With or without the procurement, the armed forces issues will be played. And people will be repeating that our submarines cannot submerge and jets have no engines. So why don’t we just carry out with the procurements, and let the people shut up by showing them what the armed foces can do? Maybe a few photos and videos of loaded jets or few documentaries of our armed forces on national TV?

    That looks a little bit off topic, I love the Typhoon more than the Rafale, although the later looks a slightly more sexy. Typhoon looks like they still have space for future developments, and with so many nations operating the Typhoon, no doubt they’ll ask the manufacturer for more capabilities in the future. That’s an opportunity we can exploit

  14. When you strip the numbers back. You will realise that those 120million Usd flashy fighters does not offer any exponentially better capability than the 50million Usd sukhoi su-30mkm.

    So why bother and waste the money now when it could be spent on other better equipments to deal with the current national security issues, like more ISR platforms, more patrol ships and the like?

    Better mrca options will mature in a few years time. Just wait and don’t waste money on rafales or typhoons.

  15. Political will mechanism for defence projects is bewildering.

    Gripen, Eurofighter and Rafale technological maturity is an ongoing process but SH is fully matured in almost all criteria, such as Maritime Strike.

  16. So it would seem the Eurofigther is the favored candidate at the moment? Btw, anyone heard of the French in talk with Malaysia to off load one of the cancelled ex-Russian’s Mistral? How legit is the report?

  17. Im wondering, what so special about those 4 candidates other than aesa compare to su30 & hornets…

    If french can bow down to u.s regarding rusky mistrale, do we really can rely on french if we in needs..

    The only choice is that we built our own , start from scratch , together with indonesia,middle east with the help of capable western engineer..

  18. Had to agree with the point, we have to wait. There are some equipment that our boys and girls haven’t fielded with. We should consider buying important assets that we lacked. MRCA can wait, Typhoons and Rafale is a good sexy aircraft but it’s not gonna worth that much to TUDM…

    BTW, Helicopter Heroes on ch 575 is a must watch.

  19. Clubm, lets first assume that all your partners have the same requirements for their air forces and are working without argument.

    The most they would set out to achieve is a light combat aircraft that does not aim to compete with ant established fighter- because it neve could.

    And this assumes they are willing to rely on others for they components. If you think they can make every part of every radar or engine and a design that outperformed others, go home. Your self-designed fighters would be grounded without these foreign parts.

    And even in a parallel universe where they did everything successfully, it would be the most expensive fighter in that universe.

    Middle Easterners are poor warriors, but their procurement has largely been highly rational. There are tens of reasons they have not done as you say.

  20. RMAF should list Joint Strike Missile (JSM) as required integrated to Rafale or Typhoon,
    since we got NSM in LCS project, getting JSM more logic,Exocet Am39 Block 2 is too short range and aging missile, should select JSM missile. remember we facing tension SCS.
    as Kongsberg is from Norway and NATO member, France and UK should no problem integrated to Rafale/Typhoon. but than Typhoon make take longer time due to Typhoon no have air to surface (Anti-Ship) capability yet.

    Reply
    Both can do it as long we pay for it though nowdays it should not be as expensive as in the past

  21. lightning97 ….

    Typhoon more nation mainly is from 4 founder euro nation, but than more nation in project also more problem due to cost share by 4 nation, it take more time and cost to get fund fr 4 nation for RnD new capability, just like it take 6-7 year to get funding in 2014 for1 billion euro to develop Captor-e aesa radar.
    also buyer need to negotiation 4 country which have different political situation and relationship. also spartparts issue due made from 4 nation.

  22. Rafale can carry 2 Exocet Am39 without external fuel tank install, but still can carry center fuel tank.
    New production Rafale alreadyuse new M88-4E engine.

  23. AM,

    Granted the Arabs have fared badly in all the wars fought against Israel and even against themselves but when properly led, can and have given a good account of themselves. Not all Arab procurement is rational, being heavily driven by political factors.

    clubM,

    Higher chance of us acquiring ICBMs to threaten Jamaica and Haiti than building our own fighter. We don’t have the cash, the industrial base, the human resources or economics of scale to even consider it.

    As for whether we can “rely” on the French; if we ever find ourselves under a EU embargo or in a position where Uncle Sam is pressuring France not to sell to us, then we’re buggered already. Our main concern would be the economy. Mistral. Sure France will offer it but do we have the cash, does it suit the RMN’s requirements and can we afford to run it? Those are the questions we should be asking….. Year in, year out, we get offered lots of things. No big deal.

    SavvyKL,

    AM39 has been progressively upgraded, just like Harppon. As for range, what’s important is not the missiles’s maximum effective range but having the assets to provide OTHT and to first detect the target for the fighter. Whether it was in WW2 or the Falklands, fighters on anti-shipping taskings are not intended to go around looking for targets on their own.

    Postpone the MRCA buy and focus on AEWs. Operating new generation MRCAs without an AEW will give us no major advantages over what we currently have.

  24. “MILSPEC says:
    August 28, 2015 at 12:04 pm :

    We should consider buying important assets that we lacked. MRCA can wait, Typhoons and Rafale is a good sexy aircraft but it’s not gonna worth that much to TUDM… ”

    The problem is that there is always going to be some other asset that will be needed, and the MRCA asset will be shuffled to the bottom of the deck again. Basically it will be a case of “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

    The MRCA asset is needed, and has been needed by the RMAF for the past decade. However, because of its cost, it has been set aside time and time again for some other project or equipment. The plain simple fact is the RMAF has run out of time. Anything that is purchased now will not be be able to be borught into service for at least another

  25. Rokuth – ”The MRCA asset is needed, and has been needed by the RMAF for the past decade.”

    Very true.

    On paper we don’t have a pressing need for MRCA’s at the moment given that the chances of us going to war with a neighbour in the near future is nil and that we are presently not in a state of tensions with anybody. Some however give the impression that recent event in the Spratlys have reached a stage where war is all but inevitable and that we should be prepared for conflict : nonsense. We are not worried about being outgunned by China [because we have on intention of lobbing missiles at them] but about the economy [not just ours] going ratshit in the event of troubles in the Spratlys.

    Given the state of the economy and the political situation, what we should be doing is looking at ways to maximise the capabilities offered by our current assets and to improve on what we have and how we do things. Ideally we should be looking at AEW platforms to get the best out of the Hornets and MKMs. Having AEW platforms will also mean that when we do get new MRCAs that we’ll be able to use them as they’re intented to be used; not autonomously but networked with other assets.

    The problem however is that AEWs are themselves very expensive and the RMAF needs fighters not just to have a minimal deterrent capability and to keep pace with our neighbours BUT also to be able comfortably carry out its peacetime obligations. With just 18 MKMs and 8 Hornets; ensuring 2 aircraft are available 24/7 for QRA [in addition to the 2 on QRA there are always others that are on standby to act as replacements], for training purposes, bilateral exercises and unexpected contingencies will be very, very challenging, to put it mildly.

  26. AEW will come after MRCA not before the MRCA. The airforce need to know what the aircraft that will get, it will be bloody if they cannot integrated them together. Moreover we already opearate Western and Russia jet and too many type at that and in small number. Just look at india airforce(they operate 8 type or more from many different country) , they need to develop they own AEW for that reason, well with help of Israel of course, that impossible for us though.

  27. There option for further development is still available for the british typhoon. As for the fafale, the french have almost max out its development potential. The french was quicker as they went alone in the project.
    As it is the french equipments are not as good as made out to be. Can anyone still remember the panhards?. It was purchased off tge shelf n as quickly fitched n now used as targets in armoured shooting range. As for the subs. Well they have not been as hardy as spoken of. At one time both were docked for urgent repairs n we were at one time without subs. Should have look at german or swedish subs.
    So, we have to be wary of french products too

  28. Great article with good analysis imo. We need more of this sensible debate and discussion

    Rufus Sinra,

    Would you rather order something now for delivery in 4 years that is out of date when it’s delivered, or something that’s cutting edge when it arrives? Look at it like the MAS A380 business class. We ordered the business class fit when we ordered the planes, so it was 5 years outdated when it arrived lah, makes MAS laughing stock and behind rivals who have updated. If we order Russian or French or more F18 will be the same. Personally i think Saab should be main priority just on costs. AEW comes second to MRCA

  29. Does Typhoon or Rafale have recon or ew variant??

    Reply
    No, only the Super Hornet has the EW variant. Not sure whether the US will sell it to us. We need to ask first before they could say no or yes

  30. Lee,

    The fact that the Scorpenes in the past were “docked for urgent repairs” does not indicate anything with the design. A Trafalgar had leaks with its reactor whilst at Gilbratar and there were quite a few incidents where USN subs had to break off their patrol because of technical issues: are you going to claim the Trafalgar and LA class are not “handy”? In the real world everything breaks down or has issues from time to time. You claim we should have “looked at German subs”. Are you suggesting that German subs never breakdown? Are you aware that the Greeks had major issues with their newly delivered Type 214s and that at various times both the Chakra and Nangala have been non operational the same time (leaving the TNI-AU without a sub able to put to sea): based on your arguement, we should never buy German! The one issue that should have raised eyebrows is that unlike the French navy, the German and Swedish ones have much more recent experience in shallow water, littoral sub ops, thus would have had more to offer us in this area compared to the French.

    The suggestion that we shouldn’t buy French because of Panhard is silly. You must as well say that we shouldn’t buy British because Sea Eagle was not an export success or at we shouldn’t buy Yank because Redeye was not a very successful missile. Also, there is a world of difference between Panhard (and APC designed decades ago) and Rafale. BTW, although we didn’t find Panhard useful for our needs; doesn’t indicate that French gear is “not as good as it is made out to be” as other customers operated much longer that we did. Don’t blame the design; the problem was we bought something that didn’t suit our needs.

    I have nothing for or against French gear. Like everyone else, they have made their share of gear that turned out to be not very successful but so has everyone else in the business. Like everyone else, the have also made gear that was successful and led the way in many areas.

  31. Ky,

    There are 2 sides of the argument and both are valid. Yes the RMAF has a pressing need for more fighters but without an AEW it will still be a platform centric air arm and will not be able to get the best out of the capabilities the new MRCAs offer.

  32. Well if we look at numerical number in rmaf service currently, i would say if we buy a russian aew system,then immediately we can integrate 18 su30mkm (or even the 10 migs). Beriev A50 came to mind but…i doubt it is a good idea in the first place

    Reply
    Better buy a Western AEW as it’s easier to integrate with other users ie RMN and TD which mostly use Western stuff. I believe it’s easier to integrate Western stuff with Russian equipment then the other way around.

  33. is swiss also replacing their hornet with gripen or only kuwaiti is replacing hornet

    Reply

    Swiss was supposed to replace their F5s with the Gripen not Hornets. The proposed deal however was rejected by the voters so they will fly the Hornets until 2030.
    Kuwait is still deciding on Super Hornet or Typhoon. I guess the Kuwaitis are also feeling the pain of low oil prices.

  34. Is ex-French mirage 2000 a good choice since maybe there is no second hand hornet available and can share the ordnance with rafale

    Reply
    We did not select the 2000 back in 1995.

  35. Kingston,

    Never mind whether pre-used Mirage 2000s are a good choice or not. The question is for how long will Dassault continue supporting the Mirage 2000 and how many hours do the airframes of ore-used Mirage 2000s have left.

    In the 1992/1993 period Dassault tried to sell it to us and even flew in a Mirage 2000 to Subang. We couldn’t afford it.

  36. I mean that we buy and refurbish the 2000 to modern spec since it is a real multirole fighter and complement the rafale ,we can have 6 fighter squadron by 1 sukhoi sqn,1 rafale sqn, 4 2000 sqn

    Just my two cents

  37. Kamal,

    All Western AEW platforms are integrated with Link 11/16. As there is apparently a clause in the MKM contract for it to be fitted with Link 16 in the future, there shouldn’t too much issues. Getting a Russian AEW platform might actually be more problematic given the number of non Russian systems on the MKMs.

    The last Western AEW to be integrated with Link 16 was Eriye. For many years it only came with the Swedish data link with is not compatible with Link 16. A few years ago Thales came up with a data link that was compatible with Link 16 and was targeted at countries that were not cleared for Link 16.

  38. I understand but there is like user like india and egypt which is constantly upgrading the mirage 2000

    Reply
    They are long term user of the planes

  39. Kingston,

    The Mirage 2000 has no more growth potential. Do we really want to buy an aircraft with no growth potential left? The Mirage 2000, even when new, had a reputation for not being cheap to run. Imagine what 25 year old ones, with limited airframe hours left, will cost to run.

    Also, in the coming years Dassault will start slowing down on the manufacture of parts and support. As it is, Dassault has discouraged certain customers from upgrading their 2000s beyond what is needed to keep them operational for a few more years; saying it makes more sense to buy Rafale.

    Lets be realistic, the RMAF for various reasons, including the need to keep up with the times to ensure its not left too far behind, will not go for pre-used, high mileage airframes that were manufactured 2 decades or more ago, regardless of whether they are or can be upgraded or whether they are available or offered cheap.

  40. Just my rambling…not sure whether its factually supported…key reasons why i believe that even when we cant afford the mrca,we do not have the luxury to retire the MIGs or even the F5s for that matter.

    Yes, in a glance,we are not facing any dire external threat and with the FPDA our external security are being look after (at least in theory).The Chinese threat of forcing their rule all over the South China Sea is not a malaysian problem, nor its an ASEAN problem but its a collective problem involving china against most of its major trading partner..thus it will be dealt via diplomatic negotiations plus an occassionally manly parade of my guns is just as big as yours type military show off

    I believe for Malaysia,the reason why would need still to maintain some show of minimal deterrent airforce mainly lies with our 50+years of unsettled territorial dispute with Indonesia and the Philipine,which we even had a brief but dangerous military scuffle with the former.

    I say the dispute is still unsettled as back then through combination of domestic issues and support from the commonwealth,the confrontational stance was put on hold by both countries,with the philipine still has a special legislation on Sabah till this very day. Indonesia mat not put forward an internal legislation similar to the philipine,i am sure the desire to settle the score is still there especially since they lost part if Natuna to Malaysia in the 2000s though via international court decision.

    so i dont believe we have a choice.. though no body’s want war and the economies of the 3 countries going down hill…we cant allow our existing strength position of around 60 combat aircrafts (excluding hawk 100) be diluted as it would affect our diplomatic strength when dealing with the border dispute against those two countries during a discussion monitored by ASEAN.

    Having said that,similar position should be four our Navy

  41. Events that took place in Lahad Dato led to many Filipinos discovering or being reminded that their country has a claim on Sabah but the fact remains that the majority have more pressing matters to concern themselves with. The ”Royal Sulu Sultanate”, Nur Mirsuari and certain Filipino journalists and NGOs can cry all they want but it’s mainly the Tausugs who have sentimental attachments to Sabah; the rest couldn’t care less. The problem is, no Filipino President can afford to drop the claim as his opponents would use this to crucify him :during the Lahad Dato incident, Aquino described the claim as ”dormant” and received a lot of flak for this. He has also come under lots of pressure for allowing us to be a facilitator in the peace talks. The Mamasapano incident
    also reminded Filipinos about the Sabah claim and led to questions about our involvement with the MILF and our role in the peace talks. Naturally the MNLF is worried as the MILF, being non Tausugs, is not interested in Sabah.

    With Indonesia its a bit more complicated. There is the Ambalat issue, unresolved boundaries in the Straits of Melaka and South China Sea and the possibility of other incidents that can lead to tensions. Another problem is that many Indonesians believe that they should be the ”big boy” of ASEAN by virtue of the country being the largest and most populous. I suppose its comforting for defence planners in Malaysia and elsewhere that TNI is still overstretched – despite all its new gear – and is not focusing on having the ability to project power beyond Indonesian territory and its periphery.

    In this day and age, the possibility of a full blown, high intensity conventional conflict in which one a country occupies another is all but gone. A conflict will be limited in duration and scope but will have negative long lasting consequences for the economy and
    geo-political environment.

  42. “In this day and age, the possibility of a full blown, high intensity conventional conflict in which one a country occupies another is all but gone.”

    I agree to a certain extent although I wouldn’t categorically put it that way. I say this because it’s true that the majority of conflicts in the last half of the 20th century were of the unconventional variety.

    Nonetheless it was only slightly more than a decade ago when two countries were invaded — by a coalition of countries, to be sure — and occupied.

    The character of war may change as in Ukraine and Crimea — some commentators are calling it a ‘hybrid’ war, a combination of various aspects of unconventional/irregular and conventional/regular war, although others disagree on the typology — but taking the long view, conventional war is pretty much a distinct possibility and thus its days are not gone.

  43. – PASKAU has the new version of the Milkor AGL.

    – To the best of my knowledge this was the first time PC-7s (9 in a diamond formation) made a Merdeka Day appearance.

    – 4 Hornets and 11 Flankers took part. More than half our fighter front line fighter strength if we don’t take into account the Hawks 🙂

    – The A400M made its first Merdeka Day appearance.

    – The only AV-8 variant there was the 25mm one.

    – No Sibmas this year.

    – The digital pattern has been applied on the Model 56 and the G-5 (on the barrel only).

    – The Model 56s there had manufacturers markings which indicated 1979 as the year of manufacture. These were probably the last batch we got which was delivered in 1982.

    Reply
    Sent the pictures, I will use it.

  44. Few short conflicts had happened between two countries past twenty years such as Peru vs Ecuador 1995, Georgia vs Russia and near Asean Thai vs Cambodia…

    I am not advocating war nor i support hugely unaffordable defense purchases. All i am saying given our situation and to maintain our diplomatic advantage in an event of border dispute,we need to maintain our deterrent assets which mainly consists of 18 su30mkm, 8 hornet,10 mig 29s,14 hawk 200 and 10 F5Es. We may not be able to to afford the hugely expensive MRCA but retiring any of these assets without any concrete replacement may deteriorate our diplomatic strength in the negotiation table

  45. Well. Buying n commissionung a new assets especially for planes is never an overnight affair unlike last time when things were simpler. For ioc alone it ma take a year n foc may take two years. Take into consideration the time required to manufacture the plane, it may take 5 years befote either ioc or foc. Its too long a time as anything can happen within 5 years. Thats why we need to buy the plane now. ( provided we have the money n the eill)

  46. hi Marhalim, do you have any 58 merdeka photo to show here?
    i saw 10 Su-30mkm formation on tv. First time, we show off so many RMAF 1st class fighter jets!

    hope when go to 60 we have enough fighter jet to make a 6 0 formation… I hope it will be SU-30mkm as well…

    Reply
    Sorry I did not go. Maybe Azlan will share the pictures he took. It was an 11 Sukhoi formation, the biggest seen so far, unfortunately they were not in the most pretty formation.

  47. I’m not saying that the days of full blown, state on state, high intensity protracted are over. What I’m saying is that it’s getting increasingly unlikely for a variety of reasons including the fact that armies are smaller these days, countries are less able to go on a total war footing in order to sustain a protracted conflict and one doesn’t necessarily have to occupy large tracts of real estate to achieve one’s political objectives. Unless one off course one is like Bush Junior and Blair who were convinced that god gave them the responsibility to engage in regime change to make the world – supposedly – a better and safer place.

    The invasion of Iraq was a one off thing and is unlikely to be replicated any time soon. Also, with the rapid advances of technology, war, especially when fought between peer opponents, won’t be long drawn out affairs. We tend to see long drawn out conflicts when opponents are more or less evenly matched or can”t get the needed advantage to ensure victory, i.e. Syria and numerous other conflicts in the 3rd World. Places where there exists the possibility of a full blown conventional war are the Pakistan/India and Polish/Ukraine/Russian border; even then, all parties will ensure that things don’t get over blown due to the possibility of the nuclear element entering the scene.

    Unconventional or not, conflicts within ASEAN will be largely confined to shared maritime and land boundaries. Even assuming they have the ability; there is no need for Thai troops to enter Phnom Penh or Indonesian troops to enter Tawau in the event a conflict or clash erupts over Angkor Wat or Ambalat; they can achieve their political and military objectives by other means. Before any conflict or clash gets worse, diplomatic initiatives by 3rd parties will also enter the picture – a full scale war between ASEAN countries could not only lead to economic disaster but also the end of ASEAN.
    There is also the fact that most ASEAN militaries are not structured or equipped to engage in protracted high intensity ops. If anything, the border clash between Thailand and Laos [an ex-RMAF F-5B was shot down by a Grail], Thai/Myanmar border clash [Paveways and heavy arty were used] and the Thai/Cambodia border clash are indicative of the kinds of conflicts we’ll see should they ever erupt in the region between ASEAN members.

    Kamal,

    If we include conflicts within the past 2 1/2 decades that didn’t result in years long engagements or were shorter, we can include Abkhazia [about a year], Eritrean–Ethiopian [a few months], Transnistria [a few months], North and South Yemen [a few months], Thai/Myanmar clash in 2001 [about a month], the Kenyan incursion into Somalia [about 6 months], and the Israeli/Hezbollah clash in 2006 [about a month]. There were campaigns that lasted longer like the Eritrean/Ethiopian war, the Tajikistan civil war, as well as the Nagorno Karabakh and Congo wars which lasted years and involved many countries but in these conflicts things weren’t always in high gear.

  48. Excellent article, thank you very much. Personally leaning towards Typhoon as I think it is the best nonstealth fighter out there.

    Would like to hear about the supposed Mistral deal. Yes it is nice but I think its just a pipe dream.

    Also, will the Borneo Blackhawks be armed for Esscom purposes?

  49. Lets face it, the Typhoon or the Rafale is top tier combat aircraft, just below the unattainable F-22 or unreleased F-35. And by insisting setting the bar so high and discounting other less costly aircraft like Gripen (officially still in the race but not according to RMAF wants) or F-16s they are just setting themselves up for even more delays and disappointment.

    It’s like RMN wanting a new surface combatant and insisting on only either Darings or Horizons since the others don’t meet requirement. But no RMN knows what is attainable and would settle for less capable but still reasonable platforms nonetheless in the Gowinds,

  50. For a cost of less than RM1B, we could have 10 operational MRCAs of MiG29Ns if we choose to upgrade the MiGs instead of decommed them.

  51. By the way, what is the outcome of the French ministers visit? Any deal signed?

    Reply
    Later this afternoon..

  52. Gonggok,

    You have a point but disagree or not, the RMAF has its own reasons why it doesn’t want Gripen and didn’t even short list F-16. The decision to drop Gripen may also have been driven by political factors which were decided on by the politicians.

    Even if cash was not an issue the RMN would not want Darings as it’s considered too large for its operational requirements. Even the Type 26s, in which Malaysia was offered to participate in, are considered a bit too large.

    Chua,

    Typhoon is only as good as the other assets it has to work alongside with. In this day and age, no fighter is expected to work autonomously. Mistral is considered superfluous for our needs. The RMN has indicated in the past that it needs a smaller vessel. As it is, not all of our bases have piers large or deep enough to accommodate a vessel the size of Mistral. If indeed, it’s chosen, it will be the decision of the politicians and not the RMN.

  53. Azlan,

    Thanks. Well I just happen to like the Typhoon. By other assets you mean AEW craft? Any word on that, tentative or otherwise?

  54. Chua,

    I like the Super Hornet but without a AEW the plain fact is that Super Hornet, as well as Typhoon, Rafale and Gripen brings no major leap in capabilities compared to what we currently have. Like I’ve mentioned before, I’d rather be in an older gen platform that’s wired to an AEW than a 5th gen platform dependent on its on board sensors.

    The AEW requirement, like other stuff, remains a dream. Too expensive to even consider getting at the moment.

  55. “What I’m saying is that it’s getting increasingly unlikely for a variety of reasons … ”

    Yes, I’ll go with that especially your contention that use of the military (read, war) serves a political aim. But we should not dismiss the possibility of conventional war happening lightly.

    Speaking generally, although unlikely to happen in the form of a full war as it’s generally understood –inter-state, full use of national power, regular AF, moblisation of state resources, etc — I can think of at least three reasons why conventional war, whether limited in its geographical dimension or not (although threatening Phnom Penh or Tawau, if it serves a strategic purpose, is a good move I would think) is a possibility.

    1. We can’t predict the future. It is dangerous to only look at the ‘flavour of the month’ in our calculus. The ‘war to end all wars’ (WW 1) was followed by WW 2 only twenty years later despite the various restrictions, bound by treaties, placed on potential belligerents then.

    2. We still do not understand why people go to war. We can understand the context of *particular* wars, their causes, pre-disposing factors, etc, but not war itself. I happen to think that war is non-linear in the sense that escalation proceeds in an exponential fashion rather than a linear geometric increase. Any armed conflict has the potential to escalate into all out war; thus the international anxiety over Ukraine, the Koreas and the Indo-Pak problem, and in Asean, the Thai-Cambodian stand-off.

    3. Smaller armies, higher technology, economic factors, better international commitment to prevent armed conflicts, do not preclude a war. All the real-world mechanisms — dialogues, confidence-building, military exercises, etc — are measures to prevent conventional war. We can infer there’s a reduction in likelihood of war, but cannot say that it’s not possible. The examples given by kamal are good examples and all had the potential to escalate into a ‘big’ war.

    This just an observation, but the main bulk of the entries and discussions here — including your not inconsiderable contribution — is premised on the possibility of a conventional war breaking out. We are talking about planes, ships and tanks, all the means of fighting a conventional war are we not?

    Iraq: It’s only been slightly more than a decade since Iraq was invaded. The time span is too short to make a judgement. There’s no guarantee that a similar event won’t repeat itself. To dismiss it as ‘one-off’ is wrong. Unless things change, there’s a distinct possibility that Yemen will be invaded.

  56. No sensible country would like to go to war. However, we need a credible RMAF to act as deterrent for any future aggressor.

    Why China was able to act aggressively during Scarborough standoff??

    Would China had acted that way if it was facing SAF instead of PAF??

    Deterrent = Insurance

    You cannot buy insurance when you are already sick. It is too late.

  57. Like insurance, premiums must be paid and it may not come cheap. The higher the premiums the better the cover. The PAF do not have e financial muscle to standoff with China vis-a-vis in during the Scarborough incident. What if the standoff is with MAF instead?

    However, to look things into perspective, how much is deterrent enough? and at what cost? Any scenarios are possible if it were SAF that the Chinese are facing against. SAF’s doctrine has always been deterrence, thus that’s why it armed itself to the teeth. But they have also cleverly adopt strategic partnership with USA and China. Being in a major shipping route gave it enormous advantage in the world stage.

    Truth be told, i doubt any countries are deterred by the MAF. Not to look down on them but we just dun have e muscle. I dun think even the SAF are deterred by us. Though conventional warfare maybe unlikely, it may have a minute possibility. God knows how the SAF will react if we cut their water supply. If the North K entered South K and etc.

  58. Our jiran Air Force finally got what they had wished for ….

    Indonesian MoD decided to choose the Su-35 as the F-5 replacement. Deal to be sign this September 2015. Following this purchase … It will be followed up by tender for 3 new medium squadrons….Gripen, F-16 block 60 or Typhoon.

    http://www.antaranews.com/en/news/10…sukhoi-35-jets

    Reply
    Nothing from the report about the medium squadrons…

  59. Ferret,

    Yemen to all intents and purposes is already being invaded; albeit to a limited extent but off course Yemenis on the receiving end of GCC ordnance will say it’s a full invasion and I don’t blame them. There are GCC troops on Yemeni territory, GCC aircraft are hitting targets in Yemen on a daily basis, the GCC has proxies and theYemeni coast is under a blockade [we can perhaps apply the ”creeping invasion” cliche here].

    The circumstances that led to the invasion of Iraq were unique and is unlikely to be replicated; especially after the mess that was Iraq and Afghanistan, which also played a big part why the West was so reluctant to put ”boots on the ground” [to use Yankee cliche] in Libya. Having said that, you’re absolutely right, anything can happen in the future – in 2012 who would have thought that we’d be faced with non-state actors in Sabah and in the 1990’s who would have thought that Chinese ships would be entering our EEZ on a regular basis.

    I could be wrong but given the present geo-political environment and other factors; a full scale high, intensity, protracted conventional war is unlikely. The only places this might happen is India/Pakistan and NATO/Russia [over the Ukraine] but in both scenarios the parties involved will ensure that things don’t get out of hand due to the nuclear sword hanging over them. In an Indian blog it was mentioned that Indian planning estimates that at most, the Indian military will have 5-6 days to weaken the Pakistan military before the threat of nuclear war becomes a possibility]. Another place where things could get very ‘hot” is in Korea but given that North Korea has nuclear devices, Uncle Sam and South Korea will only resort to a full scale war or contemplate ”regime change” if met with outright North Korean aggression. After seeing what happened to Saddam and Gaddafi; the North Koreans are even more convinced that it is only their nuclear devices that save them from regime change.

    It’s so ironic. For 30 over years our man focus was counter insurgency or internal security. After the end of the 2nd Emergency we shifted focus and terms like ”conventional” and ”all arms” entered the equation; yet years later we are again caught in a situation where we have to focus more on counter insurgency or internal security.

    Marhani – ”SAF’s doctrine has always been deterrence,”

    We have gone through this before. Singapore’s doctrine of forward defence and deterrence is due to the unique circumstances that the island finds itself it due to geography, geo-politics and history. In other words, the island has far more compelling reasons to make defence more of a priority when compared to its immediate neighbours.

    Marhani – ”But they have also cleverly adopt strategic partnership with USA and China.”

    So have we ………..

    Diplomacy and confidence building measures are part and parcel of our defence policy and our defence ties with various countries and participation in various regional dialogues/exchanges [Shangri-La Dialogue, ASEAN Armies Rifle Meet, ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting, etc, etc] form a key part of this. As expected of a ”small” country we play a balancing act : build on our established defence ties with Uncle Sam and also ensure we have good ties, including defence exchanges, with China. Also, it is telling that the only permanent base that Australia has abroad is Malaysia and that we train more regularly and more intensively with Uncle Sam and Australia than we do with anyone else.

    Marhani – ”how much is deterrent enough”

    It is never enough! Very true.

    The MAF has long term plans that call for the acquisition of gear that it sees as the minimum needed, based on our finances, threat environment and other factors, that is needed to deter potential adversaries [based on the possibility of potential adversaries becoming actual adversaries], to ensure the MAF is not too technologically left behind and to ensure that we have an existing pool of men trained to operate certain gear that can later be expanded on. Even if cash were available to fund 80 MRCAs or 150 MBTs we simply don’t have the manpower or infrastructure.

    Marhani – ” I dun think even the SAF are deterred by us.”

    In the first place, the main focus of the MAF is not to ”deter” the SAF. If the main focus or priority was to ”deter” Singapore, we would be spending less on development and education and spending much more on the MAF. Also, unlike Singapore which can focus to a very large extent on external security, we can’t. We are also a much, much bigger country and the MAF has far larger operational, peacetime duties than the SAF.

    Cheam – ”Would China had acted that way if it was facing SAF instead of PAF??”

    Think …………

    If China is willing to go head to head with the likes of South Korea and Japan [both Uncle Sam treaty allies] and Uncle Sam; would it hesitate if Singapore – in a hypothetical scenario – was a claimant in the Spratlys or deployed assets to the area to support others??

  60. @ Marhalim

    Maybe Melayu Langkasuka was referring to this article:

    “TNI AU Bakal Tambah Empat Skuadron Baru”

    Reply
    Probably but I will wait until Antara report it as such I will leave it at that. I am not putting down Indonesia but if they need a loan to finance the Sukhoi deal I doubt they will have the funds for more fighters.
    Not when oil is below $50 per barrel.

  61. A very happy day for TNI….they get what they want.

    I notice TNI modernization is well arranged. At first their acquisition focused on basic with small number and now the acquisition seems move to more high tech weapon. Even their local defense industry also involved big part in modernization. Now they are on process of mastering fighter (kfx), submarine (changbogo), medium tank, rocket, and surface ship (PKR sigma).

    They know what they need and how to get it…Su 35 is just one of many future project on their target.
    It seems just yesterday they were an underdog and underestimated.

    Here, everything delayed and flip flop.

  62. “…the only permanent base that Australia has abroad is Malaysia…”

    IIRC they have a garrison in Brunei.

  63. Marhani,

    At the end of the day deterrence is a mind game isn’t it?

    The most discussed aspect of deterrence is the punishment aspect which is related to capability. To paraphrase an Aus observer, “Bother me and I’ll rip your arm off.”

    This is important but there’s also the denial aspect of deterrence to take into account — denial of benefits accrued from a certain action. Things like international odium, sanctions, boycotts, even a scorched earth policy. This gives pause to a potential adversary to think about the benefits of doing nothing.

    It’s difficult to judge if the MAF has deterred (as in punishment) anybody but then again, not having a ‘credible’ force may encourage certain minds to try their luck.

    I believe there’s a danger of equating capability with deterrence, ie more capability equals more deterrence. I don’t think it works that way because as I said, there’s also the denial aspect. We don’t have to look far, just look at Lahad Datu. Despite the obvious disparity, the Kirams were undeterred.

    It must be said however, from the deterrence point of view, in that operation we showed an element of deterrence that hopefully will occupy certain minds in the future: GOM and MAF displayed willingness to rip an arm off, which is important because lack of will to use force reduces the ‘deterrent’ value of that force.

    Azlan,

    I was of course speaking of invasions and occupations in general when referring to Iraq. No particular war can be replicated so in a sense each war can be considered ‘one-off’ if that’s what you mean by Iraq being ‘one-off’. To extend the logic, WW1 was one-off, GW2 was one-off, heck Waterloo was one-off. But still, from those wars, we can speak of manouvre, firepower, technology, and indeed invasions and occupations.

  64. The Indon deal will certainly put pressure on SAF’s policy of having more fighters than anyone else in the region…

    Re: water issue they do consider it a sore point and they still consider Msia to be their primary bad guy, heaven knows why. But it should be a moot point come 2050 as they target water independence by then.

    Azlan, you still consider F18 SH to be Msia’s best option? Any word on that, given that we’re reportedly talking closely to US now regarding P8 basing in East Msia?

    Reply
    We always talk with the US and other countries regarding deployment to Malaysia. It will not really be a factor in the MRCA. The story to me is actually an attack on Najib.

  65. About TNI-AU new squadrons…the plan is to have 11 fighter squadrons until 2024. Currently there are 7 squadrons. It is actually quite plausible. For Renstra II (2015-2019), Su-35BM would be purchased and the remaining squadrons will be purchased in Renstra III (2020-2024). KFX program has been single-handedly postponed by Indonesia according to recent news, so this will free some budget to purchase the actual aircrafts, instead of spending billions in R&D.

  66. Ferret,

    I was referring to the unique circumstances that led to Bush Junior deciding to invade Iraq, i.e. the belief that god had placed the burden on Bush Junior to make the world a better place by invading; the fantasy that Saddam had a hand in 11 September and that he had nukes and chemicals, etc. The chances of a full scale invasion of a particular country is ways possible but is slim in this day and age for a variety of reasons.

    Chua,

    The Super Hornet shares some commonality with the Ds, commonality with ordnance, we have bought a new simulator and we train regularly with the USN and RAAF(both Super Hornet operators). In times of emergency there are Super Hornets parts available in Australia or Japan – this is not the case with Typhoon or Rafale. So yes, on paper the Super Hornet remains the most logical choice. Also, on a platform level, the Super Hornet is not inferior to the newer, sexier and more stealthy (people tend to get memorised with “stealth”) Typhoon or Rafale.

    The main obstacle to the Super Hornet being selected is that the RMAF probably wants a current gen platform to keep up with the times and also the fact that we haven’t completely gotten over our self imposed reservations with buying big ticket American gear.

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