Pictures of the week

F35 and EC135

F35 with external weapons.

PETALING JAYA: Yes, I know, we are not getting the most expensive US programme on record. But since I am always partial to these kind of things, I guess its not wrong to feature them here. Anyways, we are more likely to get the bird below soon. Word on the tarmac is that the EC135s would be used for flight training by the air force under a PFI agreement with Aerotree Defense and Services Sdn Bhd. They bought three EC135s at last year’s Paris Air Show as confirmed in this release. The contract could be signed at the DSA 2012 show scheduled in April.


Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2200 Articles
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  1. Its ok to get the EC 135 for training as the current trainers are getting long in the tooth. These choppers can also be upgraded to an armed status too.

    Unlikely to be armed for the role they are supposed to be run

  2. They can’t be armed as they don’t belong to the RMAF and even if they were to belong to the RMAF, should not be armed as these are training platforms and are not built to take even small arms fire.

    Sdr Lee is taking a positive view of the helos…

  3. My apology for being ignorant. How many are they getting and will they be in AF or Army color? OR does this mean that the army is considering the military version EC635 which can be armed to the teeth, for their upcoming attack helicopter fleet.

    It will be in RMAF colours though it will be contractor owned and managed. I am told the numbers could be as many as 10.
    EC635 for the Army attack helicopter programme? Perish the thought man. It must be either the Apache or Tiger!

  4. Of course the powers that be will disagree, but I’m convinced that buying ex-army Cobras and reworking them, as Pakistan, Thailand, Jordan, etc, have done, will be a better alternative [much cheaper!] than the Tiger. These birds will have airframes that are as good as new and will have very capable sensors for night ops. Then again, until we have sufficient Cougars and have upgraded the Nuris, we should totally forgot about gunships….

    Can anyone here confirm that prior to moving to Subang, 4 Squadron and the 3 C-130 MPAs was based at Kuantan?

    Ex-US Army Cobras? Perish the thought! Its the Army that wants the AH, so whether or not we have enough medium utility helos is not a concern.
    As for your question, yes

  5. What I was meant was rather than allocate cash to the army to get gunships, perhaps the cash would be better spent in getting more Cougars for the RMAF.

    The Army chief says today that the Army got Rm7.5 billion for procurement for the 10th Malaysian Plan. If there is money for the AH programme, my guess is that they wont sent it to the RMAF to buy more Cougars. Two pilots from PUTD are already certified to fly the Tiger….

  6. IMO, we should also take a look at the T129 in development for the Turkish Army.

  7. I just wonder, why RMN n Mindef are not intrested on 3 Ex-RBN Nakhoda Ragam class corvette for add on our navy inventories cos the pricing is already more than less, beside the system n weapons in this boats are similar with our jebat class, some rumors that the indonesian are trying to geting this boats.

  8. First of all, this posting works on the assumption that there would be sufficient money to even purchase the attack helicopters that we need. The first question would be who would be in control of these heli? The RMAF or the newly formed Army Air Corp?. Then the second question would be the type of heli. The army may want the very best-the Apache.Yes its the very best and out neighbour down south also has it.Would it cause confusion and recognition issues?. If our soldiers are attacked by a Sing Apache and they have learned to fire on an Apache , can there be fraticide?(i.e blue on blue) when they fire by accident on our own apache?.One Apache looks just like another Apache.Apache’s must be bought new unless we go straight to the Netherlands to buy up their Apaches.Germany and France are using the Tiger and the Germans are experiencing problems bringing them into active service due to various technical issues. The French may have a little bit more luck but then there are too many versions of the Tiger unlike the Aapache where one type fits all the roles. The Tiger has an anti tank version, an attack version and an escort version. Otherwise the only alternative worth mentioning would be the latest version of the Cobra-the venom version . But they are less capable, can carry less. Just for discussions

    I have been trying to land the story for months now. Will post it once I got it. It will be PUTD

  9. @ymlee
    lawl, are you sure the Viper carry less weapon than the Apache? Mind boggling more about it. The Viper is armed with a sidewinder by default for any air-to-air threats while the Apache is not although it can be configured to be armed with a stinger. Both of them carry the same longbow radar but the Apache wins slightly in the sensor and radar coverage due to its radar positioning. But weapon wise, don’t mess with the Viper, Apache are macho and cool but the Viper are bad ass marines. Ditch the Tiger and T-129 and opt for the Viper. Didn’t we practice with them Marines a lot lately?

  10. The vipers are equipped with the milimetric wave radars?. The vipers configured in the usual manner carries unguided rockets as compared to the Apaches that carried the hellfires. Of course the vipers can carry hellfires too but the price per hellfire would be too heavy for us to purchase plenty-like what the UK and the US are doing in Afghanistan, they shoot off hellfires like we makan kachang-even 4 Talibans with a machine gun is fair game for them to use hellfire.

    The Vipers so far have not been exported yet. Even with the Tiger we may need to buy the Hellfire as it had been cleared for it.

  11. If we have sufficient money for AH, after all things else that army really needed can be met, My vote goes to the Viper, my personal opinion is that it is more combat proven and based on my own research, i believed it is cheaper than the apache in terms of cost of purchase and maintenance but can complete the similar task.

  12. We are basing our discussion on the assumption that because we have had a longstanding requirement for gunships and because the army has been selected to operate future gunships, that it will be lobbying for gunships under the 10th MP [which is indeed the case]. To me, whether we get the Apache or Tiger is of secondary importance [as with the fighters too many people place too much emphasis on the actual platform], both offer similar capabilities whether one is certified for AAMS or has sensors with more band with or range , or can carry a lesser payload is secondary!! What is of relevance to us is how we plane to integrate their use with existing assets and the doctrine plan to adopt?

    Did the army form a working group to study the problems encountered in Kosovo and Iraq by the Apaches? Are we keeping tabs on the progress Australia and the Europeans are making with their Tigers and the use of the Tiger in Afghanistan? Has operating our A-109s given us any ideas as to how we would operate future gunships? Perhaps the questions we should Also be debating is whether the army should first get motorised 155mms, enough rifle sights for all our infantry battalions, etc,? And which would benefit the country, given our current operational requirements – more Cougars or gunships for the army?

    Yes your concerns are justified just as the other purchases.

  13. I am in total agreement with Azlan on this: “…the army should first get motorised 155mms, enough rifle sights for all our infantry battalions, etc,? And which would benefit the country, given our current operational requirements – more Cougars or gunships for the army?”

    Attack helicopters are very low on my priority list. Until such time that there are enough support and transport helicopters in service, how can anyone realistically be thinking of procuring Apaches, Tigers or Vipers?! The armed forces are at present incapable of conducting aerial infantry assault operations, resupplying and supporting troops in the field, medevacing critically injured soldiers from combat zones, etc. What we need are more Cougars and other utility helicopters. In addition, what use would attack helicopters be without the ability of the TUDM to secure the skies over any potential conflict zone? We have so many other pressing needs…

    Also, don’t forget the navy’s helicopters:|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

    I did not say it is a wise decision for the Army or the armed forces.

  14. Marhalim,

    Correct me if I’m wrong. The EC-135s will be owned by a private company but will be leased to the RMAF to perform the basic rotary training role, which is currently undertaken by Alouttee 11s at FTC2? Will they also perform the other roles that the Alouttee 111s have been doing since 1963, that of light transport, mercy flights, liaison, SAR, etc?

    Not many are aware that during the 2nd Emergency, apart from being used as a gunship [[to escort Nuris and lay down suppressive fire], the Alouttee 111s were also used as artillery spotters and to call in air strikes for the Tebuans and Tigers.

    Only for basic and advanced flight training as far as I know.

  15. The Allouettes and the Nuris were the work horses during the emegency times. They were used for transports,resup and for the Allouettes also as a gun ship carrying a 30mm cannon that fires out to the left hand side with the door wide open.Unlike a machine gun, this cannon is not movable and to fire the gun the heli must bank to the left side and fly with a nose down attitude to straff. Each Nuri mission in a hot area is invariably escorted by one gunship and if the gunship suffers a technical problem most probably the Nuri will also not fly.

    For a more detailed look of the era check out Its an account by a former Nuri pilot. I have not seen any write-up by the Allouette pilots themselves.

  16. Tomahawk,

    There is no reason why, if Indonesia decides to buy newly built Apaches from the U.S., it won’t get congressional approval. Apaches operated by Indonesia will also have no effect on the regional balance of power and will not effect Singapore or Australia at all.

  17. IMO, this is what the helicopter fleet should look like in 2020 (just a quick assessment):

    for the TUDM/TDM:

    24 – EC725s (12 currently on order; for CSAR, support/transport, special operations, etc.)

    24 – EC635/645 light utility helicopters (perhaps the UH-72 Lakota, which has an armed aerial scout version in development…)

    11 – AW109LOHs (currently in service)

    12 – light attack helicopters (perhaps the armed aerial scout version of the UH-72 or similar development; definitely nothing as ‘heavy’ as the Apache)

    for the TLDM:

    6 – AW159 Lynx Wildcats

    6 – Super Lynx Mk.100s (currently in service)

    6 – AS555SN Fennecs (currently in service)

    12 – multi-mission naval helicopters (on order to replace Super Lynxs and Fennecs beyond 2020…)

    of course, we should be operating at least double this number of helicopters by 2020, but where would the money come from?

    Even the extra you mentioned will not be funded, and yet you expect the numbers to be doubled? 12 Cougars until 2020 plus 20 upgraded Nuris is more likely and the rest stays the same

  18. Although it has been reported on various sites, I would not take the supposed Apache order seriously. Until a contract is signed and it is widely reported by reputable defense news outlets, it is a non-story. Also, Apaches would be of little threat. I seriously doubt, considering their limited range, that the Indonesians would ever be able to deploy them effectively. I am also not an ardent proponent of attack helicopters. They are highly vulnerable and their usefulness is questionable at best. Lastly, note that Indonesia currently has some Mi-24/35 Hind attack helicopters in service.

    What is more worrying to me is this:

  19. Marhalim, note: “…this is what the helicopter fleet SHOULD look like…” That’s a big “should”. What I am proposing (12 additional EC725s, 24 light utility helicopters, 12 light attack helicopters, 6 Lynx Wildcats and 12 multi-mission naval helicopters for after 2020), would definitely cost a bomb, but represents what I feel the ATM needs. Of course, what my father always says certainly applies, “want in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first”.

  20. I am just rehashing what the indon general said about buying Apaches. Also, it is not so much about balance of power (as RSAF or RAAF alone can overpower the Indon air force) but high tech weaponry in the hands of a country which may use it or sell it against the seller and her allies. My pov sahaja.

    Indonesia knows the importance of protecting IPs

  21. (Sorry for so many posts)

    I did some number crunching. And based on recent contracts, news and US DoD sources:

    We could probably procure an additional 12 EC725 for close to the $500m we paid for the first 12.

    24 EC135/145 type light utility helicopters would probably cost us $250m (or just over $10m per bird; note that the US DoD estimates the cost of a single UH-72 at just under $6m).

    An additional 12 EC135/145 type for the light attack role would be an additional $125m, plus probably another $125m to kit them out. Total $250m.

    6 Lynx Wildcats would likely cost us $25m each, for a total of $150m.

    12 multi-mission naval helicopters fully outfitted (and for this I use the MH-60S as a baseline), would cost approximately $360m.

    Grand Total = just over $1.5b USD or 4.5b MYR.

    Aah, you forget to add training and support costs. Support would alone amount to RM500 million for five years while training is another RM100. Add another RM1 billion for operational costs for at least three years. That’s why we always end up under utilising our assets as long term cost is never factored in from the start and not included future budgets.
    Moreover, where do you expect to find over 70 pilots and around 300 fitters within five years time?

  22. FareedLHS,

    Though the Chief of RMN stated that the RMN has a requirement for ASW configured helis and additional Super Lynxs would be ideal as the RMN already operated Super Lynxs, I have a feeling that we are looking at something larger. The Super Lynx and Wildcat, if fitted with a dipping sonar, won’t be of much use for anything else as this will take up most of the cabin space and range and endurance will be a problem.I doubt if we will go for S-70s so that will leave NH-90s or navalised Cougars. Not sure if any Cougars have ever been configured for the basic naval role, let alone something as specialised as ASW. If I recall someone here mentioned that the hangar on the LCS will be enlarged to accommodate the Cougar.
    Like I said before, I’m waiting to see if the Nuri upgrade will ever take place.

    The Nuri upgrade is slated for funding. Whether the funds will be released is the one million dollar question.

  23. Marhalim,

    Have you been reading Leithen Francis’ latest articles? He just wrote an article on the pilot shortage. Quote: “Malaysia has too few military aircraft, but the shortage of military pilots poses an even greater threat to the country’s defense capability.”

    Last week or so he wrote an article on Indonesia’s combat aircraft plans. Quote: “As the Indonesian air force works on its plan to field around 150-160 combat aircraft in 12 squadrons, it is starting to consider how to replace its fleet of F-5s. Current plans represent merely a “minimum essential force,” with the actual air force needs being much greater to provide the full range of military capability for a country the size of Indonesia, ACM Imam Sufaat, the service’s chief of staff, tells Aviation Week during the Singapore air show. The current force counts seven squadrons equipped with combat aircraft.”

    I don’t know if you have access to these and other articles, but they are definitely good reading.

    Also, thought I’d share this:

    Thankfully I don’t have to read what others wrote to know what’s happening locally though I admit I don’t know everything which on occasions is helpful.
    And BTW, even if the TNI-AU got the funds to purchase 150 planes they will also find it difficult to get pilots and also technicians.
    The only way TNI will have that many young men and women available for them is through a National Service ala Singapore.
    And we are in the same boat.

  24. For your perusal… Take note of the comments on no fighters being based in the East…

    Malaysian Armed Forces Eye Pooling Training Resources
    Aviation Week & Space Technology Feb 27 , 2012 , p. 29
    Leithen Francis

    Malaysia’s air force evaluates new fighter aircraft, while grappling with manpower shortage

    Malaysia has too few military aircraft, but the shortage of military pilots poses an even greater threat to the country’s defense capability.

    The shortfall has been exacerbated by the fact that some air force pilots, particularly those who operate helicopters, have been assigned to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and the country’s fire services. Overall, there is a general shortage of helicopter pilots throughout Malaysia, largely as a result of the nation’s booming oil and gas industry, which uses helicopters to serve offshore rigs.

    To tackle the pilot shortage issue, Malaysia’s air force chief, Gen. Rodzali bin Daud, is proposing that the air force, navy and army as well as some government agencies—namely the MMEA—work together to train pilots during the early stages of flight school, such as multi-engine and light-helicopter training. It makes no sense for the armed services to have their own separate courses for this, he adds.

    The concept makes sense in theory, but as one defense analyst in Malaysia points out, it will be difficult to achieve because the tendency of each armed service is to protect their own fiefdom.

    Rodzali also wants to bring in the private sector to help. “We’re looking at various ways to achieve” an expansion of follow-on training for rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft, such as leasing aircraft from the private sector, securing flight hours and sending people overseas for training, he says.

    The mainstay of the air force’s trainer fleet is its single-engine Pilatus PC-7 and PC-7 Mk IIs. Rodzali says: “The air force needs to replace its older PC-7s. We’re happy with the Pilatus aircraft and it makes no sense for us to add another platform. We’re looking for 14 more. This is a priority for us. There should be no gap in producing pilots,” he adds.

    The air force also wants more jet trainers. Presently it has eight Aermacchi MB-339CMs. These have refurbished engines taken from the air force’s MB-339AM aircraft as a cost-saving measure. “Eight is never enough, but we understand it will be hard to get more of this platform. In Italy they have stopped production of the MB-339CM,” says Rodzali.

    This means the air force is ever more reliant on its BAE Hawks—jet trainers that double up for light attack. Malaysia needs the Hawks to stay flying, says Rodzali, adding that he wants to see BAE offering future upgrades for avionics, radio communications and the aircraft’s electronic-warfare suite.

    While the air force clearly has requirements for trainer aircraft, larger procurements in the pipeline have gained more attention, namely the airborne early warning (AEW) and fighter requirements.

    The government has stated publicly it plans to order enough fighters to form a squadron. Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also told Aviation Week & Space Technology last December that the country plans to order three AEW aircraft. The front-runners in the AEW competition are the Northrop Grumman E-2D and the Saab Erieye. The Malaysians want radar on a new aircraft, so the Swedes have proposed the Embraer EMB-145, rather than a second-hand Saab turboprop.

    “There has been some progress” made, with regard to getting government support for AEW procurement, says Rodzali. But he concedes the government is unlikely to allocate funds for this until after the national elections, which are scheduled to be held before year-end. To generate support, Rodzali has been highlighting to key decision-makers in government that the AEW aircraft will be a national asset, of use to the navy and MMEA. The air force will operate the AEW aircraft, but others can make use of the imagery and data from the radar and sensors.

    As for the fighter requirement, no decision will be made until after the elections. New fighters are needed to replace the air force’s RSK MiG-29s based at Kuantan AFB, overlooking the South China Sea, a geo-political hot spot. Malaysia originally had 18 MiG-29s but lost two in training exercises. It has also cannibalized some MiG-29s for spare parts, leaving it with around 10.

    Contenders in the fighter competition are: the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab Gripen and Rosoboronexport’s Sukhoi Su-30s and Su-35s.

    Rodzali says the new fighter’s air-to-air capability will be a key consideration, along with an anti-ship capability. “All the aircraft in the competition are highly capable, although the Eurofighter Typhoon has some work to do [in terms of anti-ship missile weapon systems], but we are confident they will [do it].” Malaysia currently uses Harpoon anti-ship missiles fixed to its Boeing F/A-18 Hornets, but it only has eight Hornets.

    Generally speaking, Malaysia has too few fighters, evident by the fact that none are based in East Malaysia. That territory has been protected by sending regular fighter detachments over, from West Malaysia, for 2-4 weeks at time. Rodzali says the Labuan AFB, on an island off the coast of East Malaysia’s state of Sabah, is still equipped to support fighters.

  25. about ALOUTTE 3 there was at one time a report about a purchase of ex.SADC ALLOUTTE 3 as attrition replacement and the purchase of 3 off ALOUTTE by KDRM for air patrol by RMAF.I wonder if there any truth to it.

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