PETALING JAYA: It appears that I spoke to soon about the Typhoon deal for the RMAF MRCA programme. The proposal for 20-plus Tranche 1 FOC for 10 new Tranche 3 Typhoon was just an idea being floated by the British as they geared up for the programme. And it had subsequently been shot down by the other nations that made up the Eurofighter consortium.
I was told the other nations were adamant that the British keep all of their Typhoons they want to retire because of their budget cuts. Selling those planes to other air forces, especially those outside Europe, according to the other countries would simply kill off any prospects of further Typhoon sale.
So there, its my mistake but for the British, it appears, is still interested to sell us the Typhoon albeit brand new Tranche 2s (no AESA). Tranche 2 only as they fear that they will not be able to deliver the Tranche 3 by 2015, the proposed date of the retirement of the Fulcrum fleet.
And I was reliably informed that the British did not offer anything to Najib in terms of defence equipment during his official visit. Yes, Najib did visit RAF Coningsby to have a closer look at the Typhoons stationed there but according to observers the PM was more interested in the planes of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which include a Spitfire, a Hurricane and a Lancaster bomber.
The official visit, I was informed was more to re-establish frayed ties after years of neglect by the Blair led government. Hence there was no arms package on offer similar to what had happened back in 1988, which led to the procurement of the Hawks and Lekiu frigates. Come to think of it, the 1988 arms package was made by the British after the Old Man abandoned the Buy British Last policy, some three years earlier.
As for Lima this December, the Red Arrows have not been booked yet nor the Typhoon had been confirmed. Its cheaper to send a couple of Typhoons to Langkawi rather than the Red Arrows but anything is possible.
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