Old Fulcrums for new Fulcrums


SHAH ALAM: Old Fulcrums for new Fulcrums?. Russia wants to buy RMAF 16 stored MiG-29s for two squadrons of the latest generation Mig-35, says the New Straits Times. In a report dateline Moscow, the newspaper said this was the offer made to Malaysia by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A four ship of MiG-29 aircraft from the Royal Malaysian Air Force(RMAF) aerobatic display team the “Smokey Bandits” perform during the 2012 Singapore Airshow on Feb. 15, 2012. The RMAF feature the worlds only female MiG-29 pilot, Maj. Patricia Yap Syau Yin.

NST quoted Victor Kladov, Rostec State Corporation’s international cooperation and regional policy director, as saying that:

Kladov said Putin was in favour of a complete buy-back of the 18 grounded Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) MiG-29N for two squadrons of new-generation stealth MiG-35 fighters.

He said he told Dr Mahathir that the MiG-35 fighters did away with smoky engines and were equipped with advanced and powerful fly-by-wire avionics, artificial intelligence, computers and weapons systems that minimised the pilot’s workload.

“Similarly, we are also looking at replacing the RMAF’s fleet of Sikorsky S-61 Nuri helicopters, which are half a century old. The newer generation Mi-171 helicopters… have been proven workhorses for the United Nations during the Afghanistan conflict.

“Also on the cards is Russia’s offer of Yak 130 light combat jets, on flexible terms, offset and transfer-of-technology deals that will offer a win-win situation for both nations.”

Rostec’s subsidiary, Russian Helicopters, is expected to sell eight units of Ansat, Mil Mi-8/17 and Kamov Ka-32A11DC to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and Fire and Rescue Department.

To read the full report go here.

Nine Sukhoi Su-30MKM flies in a diamond formation at the Merdeka 2019 rehersal day.

Malaysia bought 18 Mig-29 Fulcrums and 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flankers during Tun Mahathir Mohammad first stint as Prime Minister.

The Mig-35 according to Russia Today is an updated version of the iconic MiG-29, specifically its naval version designed for aircraft carriers. While similar in look, the new plane is said to have capabilities similar to 5th-generation fighter jets – while boasting a significantly lower cost.

–Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam


  1. “Kladov said Putin was in favour of a complete buy-back of the 18 grounded Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) MiG-29N for two squadrons of new-generation stealth MiG-35 fighters”

    Stealth?….. Kladov must be joking right?

  2. “Rostec’s subsidiary, Russian Helicopters, is expected to sell eight units of Ansat, Mil Mi-8/17 and Kamov Ka-32A11DC to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and Fire and Rescue Department.”

    Is this for real? Or something lost in their translation?

    Kladov speaks good English and even a few words in BM. He was based in KL in the 90s. Until the contract is announced by our side ie MMEA or Home Ministry we must treat this as just another statement bu a Russian procurement agency

  3. @duetofriction

    He’s probably pitching to MMP readers, their heads and other parts explode if you just mention “stealth” with anything. The article and comments would go like paling canggih, ganas, terhebat di seluru dunia, indon jeles, zionis takut, semua salah dap.

  4. If the new government not favor western, it will be better for TUDM get it from Russia rather India/Paksitan/China.

    If we go for MIG-35, then we go all the way for our MRCA until MKM retire, else get more MKM as MRCA plan.

    Mi-171 more suitable for Army while Bomba should get another 2 to 4 while upgrade existing 4 with a better night vision and digital cockpit.

  5. Can’t be true. If it’s too good to be true, it not. As if Putin is going to give us 2 squadrons of Mig 35 FOC. Nothing is free.

    It’s not for free but as Tun M was the one instrumental in us getting the Fulcrums and Flankers previously, Putin see a very good chance that they will be three time lucky. Anyhow 36 Fulcrums will be much cheaper than the Typhoons or Rafales.

  6. No mention of palm oil by putin?

    I am for more MKM (to the latest Su-30SMD specs please), no to the MiG-35.

    NST did use the word trade off which means barter trade

  7. Enough with Russian Mig and Sukhoi……. to big to fly, high cost to maintain and really hard to hide…

  8. Local newspapers always get things mixed up, not only on defence related news but anything remotely technical

    Still, more Mi-171 for bomba is a good thing actually. Other helos in bomba inventory (even the AW189) just didnt have enough power to do what Mi-171 could do.

  9. Now there’s the problem of CAATSA act, something that is even bothering philippines regarding their latest procurement of RPG-7V (both the launcher and munitions). That’s just for something like an RPG. There’s no way we could dodge the issue when we bought something much more significant

    >really hard to hide…
    What the hell is that even supposed to mean?

  10. I wonder why Sukhoi was not mentioned.I was thinking another 24 Su30mkm

    It’s likely Putin trying to get the Mig 35 be more popular, Flankers are already being exported every where. If I recall correctly Kladov at Lima did say they want to buy back the Fulcrums for new Flankers . I was told that RMAF had already seen the Mig 35 when it was still under development during the great MRCA hunt. They decided not to accept its entry into the competition

  11. Am initially not in favour of MiG35 as a buy, but on 2nd thought if we’re still gunning for a light to medium fighter, this may fit the bill for TUDM. It doesn’t tick all the boxes but it will be seen as a sufficient deterrent in a tight neighborhood that houses a belligerent China.

  12. “Putin see a very good chance that they will be three time lucky.”

    It’s not luck but willingness to accept part payment in palm oil (and in the MKM’s case, throwing in a ride into space.) Everyone knows we want to barter, a willing seller might as well make a pitch.

    It helps that Russian systems have a lower sticker price, even if maintenance costs more. For this reason they won’t be closing their production lines for T- series tanks and other older designs any time soon, even though they now have better designs.

  13. India has successfuly dodged CAATSA by doing some creative payment route to russia. Probably we can learn from the indians.

  14. Happy 62nd merdeka day to all malaysiandefence readers.

    However pessimistic the atmosphere right now, i am positive that we are a resilient nation, and there are still people that will strive to leave malaysia a better place than before to their childrens and great grandchildrens.

  15. “just another statement by a Russian procurement agency”
    I hope its just that and not a deal that went past under our noses. I don’t recall a tender for it.

    As for the trade offer, I would have liked to up it and get SU-57s in exchange for our Migs, palm oil and hard cash. But Russia needs to resolve our main outstanding issue firstly.

    India likely got away because its an important bulwark against China expansion. I’m sure the CIA & NSA were capable to track the money trail but the US administration just let it slide.

  16. Two squadron along with MRO or Mig manufacturing plant. That’ sound better. But for the case of helicopters, please choose EU or the US. They look better. Hahaha…

  17. There are 2 problems if the offer is accepted

    1. How the payment gonna be? Barter trade is not easy. Palm oil is not favorit product anymore and Russia is not india, they need palm oil but not much.
    Indonesia already asked Russia for barter trade in SU35 deal. Palm oil is indonesia first list to offer so there is no room for MY to offer palm oil to Russia.

    2. CAATSA
    Rumour said the US try to block the Indonesia-Russia deal on SU35 by offering F15 (rejected by TNI already use sukhoi) and CAATSA. And to avoid sanction, there is news TNI will buy F16 viper.That is why the issue of SU35 aquisition by TNI is unclear till now.
    Turkey has been removed from F-35 project due to S400 aquisition. But Turkey is confident they wont be sanctioned by US due to NATO member and US interest.

    Looks like there will be no deal and it is just a news

  18. @ romeo

    1. Indonesia proposed to mainly barter rubber, coffee and textiles for the Su-35. This is to be 35% of the value of the contract. Russia itself proposes to take in malaysian 16 MiG-29N in addition to palm oil.

    2. The issue with turkey is that they are in NATO, and we are not. There will be bigger issues if we buy more chinese stuff rather than russian.

  19. This is just an attempt to see how lucky they can get. The Russians have nothing to lose by reaching out to us. A major question is how much palm oil are they willing to accept?

    On paper the MiG-35 is a big improvement over our “Ns”. It has a AESA radar, FADEC, glass cockpit and other improvements. The engines, gear box and other components will also have better MTVF/MTBF.

    Ultimately, whether we go for this offer (doubt we will), get follow on MKMs (range and endurance is not everything and long term operating costs will be cheaper compared to MKMs) or whatever else; is academic. They all have their respective merits. What’s important is “connectivity”; whatever we get has to be networked; not only with other fighters but also with other assets we have. Until we do that and until we ensure that adequate funding for spares is released in a timely manner; it will not matter what we get.

  20. @Nimitz — “MH 17,are we letting this pass? IMHO this is just news.”

    What about it? Do you claim to know something that we don’t? I personally don’t buy the Joint Investigation Team findings. It’s so obvious they were trying to narrate Russia as the bad guy in the region so they could apply more sanctions against them. By creating this so-called “enemy”, means more money could/should be spend for military industrial complex to curb said enemy. Who would be so stupid to shoot down a commercial airliner? I would definitely question those who gave the pilot the green light to flew over the region in the first place. Lets not forget who shot down Iran Air Flight 655 and still no apology to this day!

    There were a few airliner flying over the area during the shoot down

  21. 36 on offer.. we could effective have two home base interceptor on east and west malaysia.

    The hawk is due replacement n if russian is wiling to throw in the yak as part of the deal. It really as sweetener on steroids.

    I wonder if the new goverment is pushing for open tender.. how they want to do an apple to apple comparisons when selection which eastern or western aircraft to go. Russian offer 36nos or additional mkm. Which one will they choose? Like azlan say.. rusiaan nothing to lose but much to gain if it went through.

    I heard during the mkm time.. russian got so much plam oil that soap become super cheap.

  22. Iran Air Flight 655 case was settled in ICJ and USA paid compensations to all victim families.

    MH17 on the other hand…

  23. Putin trying to buy allies? Hm.

    Very funny, made my day!

    @joe, Nimitz
    Holding grudges incurs a cost to the nation. We have reason to hold grudges of one kind or another against every single other alternative jet aircraft as well.

    Not being unsympathetic, just pointing out.

    @t(-_- t)
    Every single superpower has shot down a civilian airliner at one time or another. The US has paid compensation whereas Russia denies MH17 to this day.

    Discounting insanely unprovable conspiracy theories, the circumstantial evidence AND Russia’s own actions* point at them as the culprit.

    *censoring and altering** related news, spreading conspiracy disinformation, killing a Russian investigative journalist

    **for example, there’s a recorded broadcast of a Russian newscaster announcing the shootdown of a “separatist aircraft” and then quickly changing the story later during the same news program after the real news was known

  24. – Even if Ukrainian separatists were not responsible; they were not given the Buk by Santa Claus (to quote someone). Someone has to take responsibility. Conspiracy theories are great and draw a big audience but all evidence points to the fact that it was Russian backed Ukrainian separatists who operated the Buk; irrespective of whether they intentionally targeted the air liner or not.

    – Despite the war in the area airlines (not only MAS) continued to fly over the area at altitudes beyond 10,000 feet. Nobody expected a medium range system would pose a threat to commercial air traffic. When the MAS plane was shot down, there were also other air liners in the vicinity. It wasn’t as if MAS was the only airline to fly over the area. Air liners routinely fly over or near dangerous areas depending on the threat level, e.g. during the 1990’s airlines routinely flew over areas of Afghanistan despite the civil war being fought there.

    – The Americans did issue an apology: albeit a toned down and a late one via a 3rd party for the downed Iranian air liner. The Russians never issued an apology for KAL 007; maintaining it was part of an intel op mounted by the CIA and South Korean intelligence.

    Back to the MiG-35 offer; a lot depends also on whether a customer decides to integrate non Western stuff on it. Modifications require integration and certification; paid for by the taxpayer. Countries like Indonesia and Vietnam have had an easier time keeping their
    Su-27s/Su-30s running due to minimal modifications done, their logistical footprint is also smaller compared to us and the MKMs.

  25. @romeo
    AFAIK the Viper buy is just the upgrade package to enhance their F-16 ‘A/B’ variant to Viper config. Tho CAATSA still applies, the Viper upgrade buy in could be using as leverage to get their SU-35s. Its all about leverage and ‘fairer movement of both ways’ with the Trump administration.

    Lest we forget but Malaysians mudah lupa.

    @t(-_- t)
    JIT report is just one PoV on the incident. Yes it would look one sided since their investigation and findings are based on 2ndary sources they insisted are genuine. Unfortunately, Russia and the Separatist refusal to cooperate or even agree to a UN joint investigation throws a lot of doubts and suspicion on their part in this matter. There was a Sing Air jet traveling that airspace a few hours earlier and many other commercial planes were passed/passing there, they don’t just shoot a SAM into the air and expect it to hit a random target. It is pre-planned whether by accident or by purpose to hit a commercial target. It just so happens to be ours.
    By the by, Holland and EU have less to gain being antagonistic to Russia as they are dependent on Russian mineral resources. Most of their anti-Russia stance had really been prodded by USA from behind the curtain.

  26. @ Joe

    The SIA jet is actually flying directly behind MH17, about 90km back. At the time of the shootdown there is probably half dozen airliners in the area.


    Ukrainian seperatists have been boldly shooting helicopters and transports in the week leading to the MH17 incident. They actually twitted to have successfully shot down a ukranian Ilyushin Il-76 transporter instantly after MH17 was downed, before their people on the ground realize that it is a malaysian airlines plane.

  27. @joe

    Those Vipers are a new buy. The F-16A/B is being upgraded to the C /D through the Falcon STAR eMLU Program.

    “Indonesia is quietly talking to the United States about the purchase of 32 new Lockheed Martin F-16 Viper jets and six C-130J cargo aircraft in what may partly be an effort to remove the country from any possible sanctions as the US-China trade war returns to a boil.”


  28. Alternatively, why don’t we embark on our own fighter jet rebuilding program namely the FA18? Post 2022 there will around 50 to 70 FA18 or more that will be retired, mainly Australia, Kuwait and Finland.

    The first thing we need to do is to reinforce the structural integrity for it to last at least another 4000 hrs. That easily would cost around usd5 mil to usd10 mil a piece.

    Then would need to change the avionics and radar, say another usd 5 mil a piece

    Upgrade the engine to F4o4 latest version or if compatible F414, that easily another USD5mil a piece

    Overall you would be looking to spend around USD20 mil a piece. Say we need to purchase 24 to 26 airframe to replace the Migs and Hawk 200 you are looking at least USD500 mil that could benefit Airod, CTRM and TUDM among others.

    But off course it will leave us behind in terms of technological standing and at best can only last another 10 years before we need to spend money again to look for its replacement. Also this proposal would also not meet TUDM growth plan

  29. t(-_- t) “I would definitely question those who gave the pilot the green light to flew over the region in the first place.”

    Yes, Ukraine did not close the airspace but who chose to fly through it? Nobody forced us. The fact that we and other airlines quickly chose alternative routes shows there was a choice.

    “There was a Sing Air jet traveling that airspace a few hours earlier”

    Actually there were several commercial aircraft close by and the closest was a Singapore Airlines flight. The Sings claimed it was 25km away but at cruising speed, you know much the distance can change within one minute. There’s a good chance they manipulated the number upwards if it had been embarrassingly close. It would have been very easy to do. Regardless, everyone rolled the dice that day and we rolled the lousiest number.

    Airline people are not the most adept at assessing geopolitical risks. They typically don’t know which conflict zones have MANPADS and which have Buks. They might also think that if the airspace is closed below 32k feet then they are perfectly safe at 33k, because the SAMs are so advanced and the crews superbly disciplined.

    t(-_- t), “Do you claim to know something that we don’t?”

    When MH370 went missing, there was an army of trolls and fake accounts saying it was not DCA’s and RMAF’s fault. When MH17 went down, the same trolls were saying it was not Russia’s fault by the next day. Wonder how they knew so quickly. In your words, “Do you claim to know something that we don’t?”

    In the four years after the incident, did the previous government utter a squeak of protest against Ukraine?

    This campaign was a deliberate effort. It does not take a genius (evidently it takes far less) to know that we have a more significant relationship with Russia than Ukraine, that Russia would deny responsibility and that we have far less leverage against Russia than we have against Ukraine.

  30. @Azlan
    “What’s important is “connectivity”; whatever we get has to be networked” & “Modifications require integration and certification paid for by the taxpayer.”
    Between a rock & a hard place. To network Russian planes it would need extensive Western system integration like MKMs but then it would cost higher and maintenance will be pricier. Indon & Vietnam have a Russo-centric airforce and so does not require much integration with Western systems.

    Ahh, I see. So those were new buys. Tho in theory their A/B variant could jump up to Viper spec as demonstrated from Taiwan’s upgrade buy; “The first of four ROCAF F-16A/B fighter jets currently being upgraded by Taiwan’s state-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) to the F-16V”
    Buying the Viper variant could be their way to add leverage for Trump to approve Indon on upgrading their A/B ones.

    “reinforce the structural integrity”
    That can only be done at Boeing approved centers, AIROD don’t have that expertise and still need to get Boeing staff involvement. If we get the Kuwaiti Hornets (I’m hoping on that), we need to send them back to Boeing for the refurb.

  31. Kamal,

    We should count ourselves lucky if in 5 years time we have in service 8-12 LCAs. This is the RMAF’s priority with regards to jets and this is what has been agreed to in principle by the government. All that remains is for funding to actually be allocated.

    The RMAF has long reconciled itself to the fact MRCAs are a very long way off and that it will receive LCAs first. As far back as 2 LIMA’s ago the former Defence Minister publicly stated that the threats the country faces do not call for MRCAs – true but the problem is that threats can evolve a lot faster than the time it takes to procure something and have it delivered and operational.

    The RMAF also has no desire for pre owned aged air frames. As long as we don’t unexpectedly find ourselves in a conflict with a state actor who has a numerical superiority in MRCAs; LCAs are sufficient for our needs until the time comes when MRCAs can be procured.

    AM – “They typically don’t know which conflict zones have MANPADS and which have Buks”

    They rely on international red alerts. In the case of the Ukraine nobody for a minute factored in the possibility that an airliner flying at such altitude could be at risk. Unfortunately this was not the case ….

  32. @joe

    Buying F-16V got nothing to do with upgrading the F-16A/B.

    Buying the Viper variant could be a way to add leverage for Trump to approve Indonesia on buying Russian Su-35 to avoid CAATSA.

    Indonesia is reported planning to replace the Hawks with new aircrafts. Hawks of the 1st Squadron to be move to 12th Squadron in Riau. The 1st Squadron is to be equipped with these new aircraft. A new Squadron in Kupang is also to be equipped with new aircrafts. Those new aircraft to be implemented in the 3rd Minimum Essential Force (MEF) 2020 – 2024.


    “Sementara Skadron Udara 1, akan diisi oleh pesawat tempur baru berdasarkan spesifikasi teknis yang diajukan oleh TNI AU.

    “Jadi rencananya begitu, pesawat Hawk 100/200 Skadron Udara 1 akan digabung ke Skadron Udara 12 di Pekanbaru. Nah, Skadron Udara 1 akan diisi oleh pesawat tempur baru,” ujar Yuyu Sutisna kepada Angkasa Review di Jakarta, Selasa (9/4/2019) malam.”

    “Skadron tempur baru di Kupang

    Sementara itu, pada Renstra ke IV TNI AU juga telah merencanakan pembangunan satu skadron tempur baru di Lanud El Tari, Kupang, Nusa Tenggara Timur. Pesawat yang akan ditempatkan di skadron tempur baru ini nantinya sama dengan pesawat baru yang akan digunakan oleh Skadron Udara 1.

    “Ya, kita sudah merencanakan pembangunan skadron tempur baru di Kupang. Ini masuk dalam Renstra ke IV periode 2020-2024,” jelas KSAU.”


    The F-16V will face competition from the European Eurocanards. The F-16V is the frontrunner.

  33. I really hope that this does not sidetrack the government from the LCA/LIFT programme. I am not in favour of the YAK-130 for that.

    Anything big would also attract CAATSA.

    I would be on favour of russia taking all of our MiGs, asking India to transfer some of its MKIs to malaysia and reimburse india with similar number of new MKIs. So no money transferred from anyone. Probably we will also pass some palm oil to russia as a barter for that.

    I am thinking that we should have a fleet of at least 24 MKM for

    12 operational airframes in Gong Kedak

    4 operational airframes in Labuan, to be rotated back to gong kedak every 3 months. Permanent shelters for them in Labuan

    8 standby and in maintenance airframes

  34. For our mig-29s, palm oil and cash, rather than trade for 2 squadrons of Mig-35 (which is an improvement on mig-29), i would propose the following items to improve our mkm

    1) New N036 Byelka AESA radars (used on the u-57) for our su-30mkm (includes the frontal and cheeks radars) or any russian AESA radars

    2) More newer BVR and WVR air to air missile like RVV-SD and RVV-MD

    3) Stealth coating on the engine intake and other places like on su-35

    4) Spare parts for our mkm

    would anyone agree with me? please give some feedbacks. tq
    also why is it so hard to post a comment here??

  35. @ Luqman

    Russia is already building an improved version called the Su-30SMD. This will have

    – Su-35 engine, the Saturn AL-41F1S
    – upgraded bars radar with irbis-e systems
    – upgraded IRST
    – Upgraded ECM complex.

    All which can be retrofitted to the MKM

    The recent russian attention to the Su-30SM also means that the aircraft will be used for quite sometime into the future. Unlike what most thought in the begining of the MKM as a unique variant not even used by its manufacturing country and with dead end upgrade path. This past few years its fate suddenly changed, finally adopted by the russian air force and navy, and to be further upgraded. All in a great future for the MKM!

  36. @…
    Yes, I agree.
    IMO, just trade in all mig29 and MKM with 2 sq of 18 each SU-30SM Russian standard. The Russian already put SU-35 engine to SU-30SM, it is more capable and more power. Less maintenance problems.

    Forget about customization, it will give a headache sooner or later. The problem is “connectivity”. This is a price one must pay.

    Putting SU-57 radar on MKM depend on the size radar dome to house the radar and other system involved in it. Changing the size the radar dome to fit SU-57 radar means chaning the whole structure of jet. That’s very costly and the Russian will not pay for the it.

  37. With Indonesia planning to move their capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan, there is no doubt they will increase their military strength there as well. They might not have any relevant geographical claims on us (unlike philippines) but knowig them, they might implode on moment notice due to how unstable they are on the most irrelevant of issues.

    We might have forces buildup in Sabah post Tanduo but most of the assets are more geared towards counterinsurgency and not conventional warfare. If possible I’d like to see a permanent LCA squadron to protect Sabah and Sarawak (plus either Sukhoi or F/A-18 in rotation), as well as a stationing at least a regiment of our heavy hitting arty.

  38. Hi Triple Dot (…),

    How about we resell all the Migs and Sukhois back to Russland and instead just loan Gripens and Super Hornets?


  39. @D.W
    You may be right, or Indonesia might use both deals as leverage since the F-16 buy wouldn’t eclipse the price of their Su30/35 buys. But CAATSA might result in them getting either one instead of both so there is a fine balance how much leverage will Trump allows.

    Getting MKIs is bad idea as the Indian/Israeli systems are incompatible with our MKMs, even if we disregard the Israeli equation. Plus the IAF and HAL are still facing multitudes of problems & reliability issues with their MKIs. Why put ourselves into their hell?

    Might as well get Su57s for our MRCA.

    Way before that, TDM chief wanted to mirror Peninsular assets to
    East MY. This plan should gain traction with Indonesia capital relocation. For fighters, ideally East MY should have 1 full squadron each of heavy (MKM, MRCA), medium (Hornet), light (LCA). With full squadrons on both sides they can rotate amongst themselves (within their classes) back to Peninsular on yearly basis.

  40. @ alex

    Lets maintain the status quo on borneo island for now. If indonesia increases their military units on borneo, then we will follow suit.

    Anyhow our current move to enable the army to engage in 2 fronts simultaneously will see a few more armour and artillery units to be based in sabah and sarawak. Not to mention 2 new border brigades being stood up to patrol the border with indonesia.

    Their capital move isnt going to begin at least not before 2024. So lets revisit this probably in 2025.

  41. @ alex

    Lets maintain the status quo on borneo island for now. If indonesia increases their military units on borneo, then we will follow suit.

    Anyhow our current move to enable the army to engage in 2 fronts simultaneously will see a few more armour and artillery units to be based in sabah and sarawak. Not to mention 2 new border brigades being stood up to patrol the border with indonesia.

    Their capital move isnt going to begin at least not before 2024. So lets revisit this probably in 2025.

  42. @ melayu ketinggalan

    Why would russia want our old migs if we dont take anything else from them?

    @ joe

    Take recent build MKIs and convert them to MKM standards lah. Israeli stuffs can be easily replaced. MKI problems are not mostly the fault of the aircraft. Stupid sensational indian journalism plus relaxed care of their aircraft (did you know that most MKI does not even have a sun shelter and kept all their lives under the sun and rain, while our MKMs live in air conditioned hardened shelters?)

  43. “How about we resell all the Migs and Sukhois back to Russland and instead just loan Gripens and Super Hornets?”

    The question is why they would enter a deal where we have everything to gain and and they have everything to lose. They would be paying cash for airframes they have no use for and which can’t be easily resold. To anyone but us, the aircraft are worth their content in second hand parts that other versions have in common. They would be losing a customer to Western suppliers, which both looks bad and represents a loss of income from support services.

    If we were trading in for new Fulcrums or Flankers, there would be something in it for them. But not in this case.

    Likewise, if we want to pay for something with palm oil, there has to be enough payoff for them. The suggestion that we merely buy spare parts with palm oil isn’t realistic. .

  44. Alex – “We might have forces buildup in Sabah post Tanduo but most of the assets are more geared towards counterinsurgency and not conventional warfare:

    Incorrect. The units in Sabah are more suited for lower intensity types threats as opposed to “counter insurgency” per se.

    The Indonesians for several years now have been taking steps to improve their capabilities in East Kalimantan. This is nothing new although most people are only now paying attention to this merely because of the news on the new capital.

    The TNI a few years a revived an old area command, it has a new base close to the border for its Tucanos (it publicly stated that it was to deter cross border threats) and its Su-27s/Su-30s based in Sulawesi (also home to the new sub base) are only a few minutes flying time away.

    It’s also no secret that they have pre existing plans to deploy their Leopards there if they have to. Some will have preconceived notions that MBTs can operate in such areas but if logging lorries can operate there, so can MBTs and MBTs have been successfully operated in jungle environments before. At present however, like us in Sabah; the TNI – AD’s units in Kalimantan are mostly suited for lower type threats but this can change.

    Yes we should build up our fighter presence in Sabah but it’s not as simple as it seems. It will take time and money. There will be numerous administrative issues to be addressed first and the base will required additional aircraft shelters and other structures to house the aircraft and personnel. Adequate personnel and support equipment (limited to start with) will also have to be allocated. As for heavy arty, it will also be desirable if we had a range in Sabah that could take heavy arty.

  45. AM -“The question is why they would enter a deal where we have everything to gain and and they have everything to lose”

    Exactly ……

    It has to be a “win, win” situation for both sides. There will be a limit to how much the Russians (or anyone) want and the reality is that we’ll still have to come up with some hard cash.

  46. ” It has to be a “win, win” situation for both sides. There will be a limit to how much the Russians (or anyone) want and the reality is that we’ll still have to come up with some hard cash ”

    Yes, it has to be a win-win situation for both parties. Russia has offered to take in our MiG-29N as part payment which is certainly a big statement to us. The problem of paying cash is that it will be attracting CAATSA. Still IMO anything other than additional MKM, upgrades for MKM and its spare parts would not be in the best interest of TUDM.

  47. …. – If indonesia increases their military units on borneo, then we will follow suit“

    I’ve long been of the opinion that a lot of stuff we’re doing under ESSCOM (ostensibly as part of measures against non state actors) is in reality also intended to bolster our capabilities against other threats.

    Of course there are moves we’ve undertaken that are not directly related to ESSCOM and non state threats, i.e. the raising of an additional division and mention on basing part of the future M-109 regiment there. Can’t be confirmed but I’ve heard of elements of the ASTROS brigade already having been moved to Sabah.

    As it stands apart from a Korps Marinir element; we know that the TNI currently has various battalions throughout Kalimantan – including several raider type jump qualified ones – mostly under KOSTRAD control.

    The M109 will not be going to Sabah

  48. The 5th division will be officiated tomorrow i think. Hopefully more info on its orbat will be available.

    @ marhalim

    Good news for the M109 not to be based in sabah. I would prefer another regiment of G5s to be formed and based in sabah, with regular battery detachment to sarawak. Probably could get some used G5s from retired qatar stocks.


    Back to indonesia

    As for the new kalimantan capital for indonesia. IMO we should not be worried about that. We are not going to capture its new capital right? Other than our petrochemical complex in bintulu and our submarine base, there is not much high value targets we need to defend in sabah and sarawak. With its new capital in kalimantan, indonesia has everything to lose if that is attacked and captured.

  49. …. – “Russia has offered to take in our MiG-29N as part payment which is certainly a big statement”

    Russia offering to buy back the Fulcrums or to accept them as part payment is actually nothing new. There have been various proposals and counter offers made over the years (the offer for SMTs was made in 1997) the only difference now is that they have offered to accept the Fulcrums as part payment for MiG-35s.

    ….. – “Still IMO anything other than additional MKM, upgrades for MKM and its spare parts would not be in the best interest of TUDM”

    Unless Mahathir wills it: the RMAF has no desire for MiG-35s. It’s immediate plan for now is to first focus on LCAs followed by MRCAs (preferably Western) at a much later date.

    Similarly it isn’t too happy with its MKMs due to various factors; namely because they’re maintenance/resource intensive and dealing with the Russians can be “challenging” but to make up for the lack of numbers; it won’t say no to 6 additional MKMs. Way before all the MKMs were delivered; the RMAF has already conducted a feasibility study on offering the Fulcrums as payment for 6 follow on MKMs which would have partly equipped a 2nd squadron.

  50. @…

    Well that actually flew under my radar thanks! the package seems to be standardizing the su30 with su-30 which is a good thing. but it would be nice if we can put an aesa radar on our mkm instead of Irbis-E.


    Yes thats true but if the radar can fit into the su-30 without resizing it then why not? we need to ask the russian about this


    if we can afford it lol. it will definitely cost more than mig-35 or su30

  51. @Luqman
    MKM cost $50+mil without inflation. Trying to shoehorn Su57 systems into MKM could bring it up to 70-80mil which compared to a Su57 estimated to be 100mil, I would just pay extra for the newer plane and reduce the buy in numbers. Keep to the same Russki specs so that future buys would be compatible with the earlier batches.

    Personally, all that is moot as CAATSA still applies and we haven’t resolved MH17 matter.

  52. @joe
    i agree with you. But if we can upgrade the MKMs capabilities for much2 less cost then it would be a good deal. Though hoping they would improve further the su-57 when the MRCA program starts again at 2030

    imo, getting the LCA will be the first priority before upgrading our MKMs and Hornets

  53. @Luqman
    Is our MKM dated that we have to resort to such drastic enhancements? AFAIK, MKM is still one of the top line planes in this region. Spending money on such unnecessary (& unlikely) modifications would mean less budget for MRCA. That could meant we either don’t get it, get less than what we wanted, or get an inferior plane. The MKM would last us another 10-15 years while the MRCA would stay for 20-30 years, so which should we prioritise our money? The near future or the long term?

  54. @ joe

    MKM could stay on for at least 20 more years.

    MRCA would only be bought at least 10 more years from now.

    Dont confuse MKM upgrades with MRCA requirement. MRCA is to replace our hornets after 2030. MKM can IMO still used as is up to around 2025. Then upgrades and major overhauls to be done. For LCA to take up MiG taskings it needs to be supersonic capable to take up the QRA tasks.

    So 3 levels of fighters

    LCA/LIFT – main bulk of the fleet. Low operating cost. Can do QRA, CAS. Seamless training path for new pilots to 1st fighter sqn taskings.

    MRCA – to aim for 5th gen fighters to replace hornets post 2030.

    MKM – our long range maritime strike and air superiority fighter. Key enabler for our south china sea strike capability. To explore MKM-gowind interoprability.

  55. joe – “ AFAIK, MKM is still one of the top line planes in this region

    Is it really? It’s a decent aircraft offering great capabilities but as of 2019 (when compared to certain other aircraft) is it really (viewed objectively and dispassionately) “top of the line”?

    Also, even if it was “top of the one” it’s major disadvantage would be if it found itself operating against other fighters which were not operating autonomously but as part of a networked environment.

  56. @…
    If 5th gen tech takes off in the 15 years, MKM would be an easy target, in a airspace of crowded with radar evading planes. Plus my estimates is in line with the 20+ years of service we got from the Migs.

    “Dont confuse MKM upgrades with MRCA requirement.”
    Money comes from the same source. If the upgrade OPEX takes too much of the budget, it will come from sacrifice of CAPEX. A planned upgrade to keep it running and updated should be no problem, but to shoehorn Su57 tech into MKM will be costly.

    Among a crowd of SG F-15, Indo Su27/30, Vietnam Su27/30, yes I do believe so. The Western avionics gives MKM an edge over the purely Russian Indo & Viet brethren.

  57. What the hell?

    Now it seems that the MKM is also to be traded-in for the MiG-35.

    I say NO!

    We need the unique MKM capability for south china sea and east malaysia defences! As it is our MKM is way more capable than the MiG-35.

    I think the reporters were confused with the latest offer with the one offered at LIMA 19.

  58. We see our PM reply, our MINDEF reply and also our defense lover reply. How about the user, TUDM? No official news respond from them.

    RMAF will not say anything publicly to contradict the government. The best they can say is that they will abide with the government decision

  59. Everyone calling for more Sukhoi flankers, you lot realize that we’re in a state of no money (LOL at demanding better aircraft for THROW-AWAY airframes). Hence why MRCA talk has quietened down (contractors didn’t even bother sending in their planes during the last LIMA). Hence why our Fulcrum squadron was mothballed without replacement. Hence why Russia is pushing us for this seemingly too-good-to-be-true deal. A bunch of unusable frames for almost double of the new, advanced versions? It’s a no-brainer.

    That being said, I mentioned it seems too-good-to-be-true.

  60. Something to consider.
    US navy as major operator of hornet legacy has made a farewell flight with their hornet.

    Is it really a good idea for RMAF still want some used hornet?
    While many nations are following retiring the hornet too.

    No, the US Hornets those have been used to the bones

  61. @ romeo

    Active duty US navy squadrons have retired the legacy Hornet.

    Reserve US Navy squadrons, and US Marine Corps will still use the legacy Hornets. USMC plans to use them up till 2030 at least.

    Other countries

    Australia – in retirement process
    Kuwait – around 2022
    Finland – at least 2025
    Switzerland – no retirement plans yet
    Spain – no retirement plans yet
    Canada – at least 2025

    We can still acquire some Hornets as an intrim MRCA until we are ready to get proper MRCA post 2030. We can horde spares from Australia (now) and Kuwait (later) to enable us to safely fly the Hornets up till 2030 with acceptable costs.

    This however should not distract us from recapitalizing our trainer and light fighters, in the form of the LCA/LIFT. Additional Hornets should be in addition to the LCA/LIFT we should be getting soon.

  62. At this point, I will be grateful if we did buy anything, be it LCA,LIFT, or 2nd hand fighters. MRCA is just a pipe dream used to drum up support (and trick them) from companies for LIMA.

    I am starting to think that our govt (PH or BN) is just gonna drag their feet because there is just no political will on both sides of the divide to seriously meet our country defense need. The bean counters of the ministry is just those who look to their job as “kita cari makan, bang” rather than serving the country.

    It’s a boring life being a defense observer/enthusiast/ armchair general in Malaysia as we can only look on while those in power let it crumble.

  63. Romeo,

    There are various things we should consider but we also need to factor in certain things.

    With regards to pre owned U.S. Hornets; even if the RMAF was willing to get pre owned aged air frames (which it isn’t); is the government? Also, ex U.S. air frames might be worn out: not only being aged (first flying decades ago) and being older when they actually get here) but they might be high houred maintenance intensive air frames. On paper various things look sound and doable but the reality can be different.

    Unless there is a major shift in priorities on account of threat perceptions or a change in political leadership (if Anwar achieves his aim of being PM policy/requirements will change); as far as plans for fast jets go; it will be the LCA and nothing else for the near future. Even then it really remains to be seen if the LCA is ordered on time and if it will be in sufficient numbers to fulfil the RMAF’s combat and LIFT requirements: not to mention taking some workload off the Hornets and MKMs.

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