PM in London (July, 2011). MRCA Part????

SHAH ALAM: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will be in London this week for an official visit.

As part of his visit, he will be treated to a dinner by the Defence Secretary.

One wonders what will be the conversation when it comes to defence matters when the PM and entourage are in London, a city familiar to most of them.

The MRCA deal perhaps, or even the aborted Lekiu second batch project. Will try to get an update on the matters, hopefully, soon.

–Malaysian Defence

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  1. Can I just go out on a limb and fantasize that its about procuring the “Ark Royal” instead??? Just to fulfill a teenage fantasy of seeing the RMN actually run a blue water navy…. Reality does suck in some ways….


  2. Fat chance of the Lekiu Batch 2 project being revived now that a comittment has been made to order 6 LCSs. Even assuming that cash can be found, the RMN simply doesn’t have the manpower to operate 2 Batch 2s and 6 LCSs.

  3. It’s normal if the Gov will provided for RMN with 8 new built ship (6 LCS and 2 AAW Frigate), looking at prevouse(2 Submarine and 6 OPVs). So if AAW from BAE, the MMRCA will be Super Hornet, and Gripen NG or Rafale F3.. That my imagination…

  4. Its all about typhoon promotion even PM watching typhoon air show yesterday.It seen British goverment under cameron work very hard to win malaysia MRCA contract. Hopefully QE will not get involved to help pushing typhoon sales to RMAF..

  5. Its reported in todays papers that the PM would be visiting the Typhoon facilities today. So it looks like the Brits are pushing the Typhoons to the RMAF

    No lah they were there for tea and scones….

  6. I have a feeling this will be it. Well at least look at the bright side, we’re promised of at least 30 airframes aren’t we?Just hope that at least 20 are full mission capable.

    Despite the impressive show, the Typhoon is not sure bet yet, just as the SH. The deal maker will be the off-set. Of course by offering what the air force wants in terms of mass, will not be a handicap Hopefully I will get to know more soon….

  7. As the RAF will soon have Typhoons that are suplus to its needs and that it is known that
    BAE Systems is keen to sell them to us, that Najib is having a close look at the Typhoon and that the Typhoon will be included in talks during his visit, is unsurprising. Given that the Super Hornet is the leading contender, whether or not BAE Systems will take the trouble to bring a Typhoon to LIMA 2011 will provide an indicator as to how confident they are of getting a contract.


    Trained crews don’t grow on trees. A navy the size of the RMN only has so much personnel on hand. The fact the the RMN managed to find sufficient manpower to crew the Scorpenes and Kedah class does not automaticly mean it can do the same with 6 LCSs and 2 Lekiu Batch 2s.

  8. Mr Azlan,

    Hopefully Navantia will proposed the Aegis Corvette or DCNS with Gowind Multimission Corvette for our 6 LCS… but if same concept FFIBNW for our SGPV means RMN still need Lekiu Batch 2…


    MRCA will be 24 Thypoon F3 plus 12 F2 for free? If true Boeing, Saab and Dasault can say By3… But I think the 90an procurement will repeated… It’s mix Thypoon and Super Hornet for political reactions..

    No, 20+ Typhoons Tranche 1 with 10 Tranche 3…read my earlier posts …no mix buy this time around, no money!

  9. The typhoons are OK .Even tranch 1’s are ok provided thay can be upgraded to near Tranch 3 standards with most important the AESA radar being fitted.And also targetting pods compatible and supplied with the targetting pods

  10. rather MoD/PM go for big-time asset procument, IMHO why not procure equipment for MOOTW? etc field hospitals,border surveillance (just check google map yesterday sarawak-kalimantan barat border olready have palm oil plantations entering each other territory hence very3 porous), logistics, personnel body kits/armour..

    Nut and bolts, hubs and spokes are not sexy enough for those in power; hence that’s why our armed forces remained in the back waters..

  11. off the topic, i just browsed thru previous years postings…about full incident/accident reports, do MoD/ATM issued any to public ? Paratroop drowning langkawi accident, genting sempah heli crash, numerous air crashes…???

    All are clasiffied as OSA documents. Apart from short releases to appease the media, if we still remember them and continue to pester those in charge, most are consigned to the filing bins.

  12. If the TUDM requires 30 Typhoon + 24 SH, than get them the stuff so they can do their jobs well. It’s a matter of financing. A good financial modelling would enable the country not only the Typhoon and the SH but many other toys. Seriously, try to emulate Air Asia financial modelling worst off scenario to order almost 200+100 planes to cater for their needs. But the best part is, TUDM does not need to sell their product unlike AirAsia cos money is funded by the taxpayers. A little bit creativity would allow the fund to generate income hence enable to finance the purchase as well as some returns to the MAF.

    Well. the financial deal is being worked out at the moment, thats the reason they are talking about it….

  13. If Typhoon wins over Rafale for RMAF MRCA its clearly due to aggressive lobbying by the British Government and not due to lack of Rafale planes capability and performance. Hopefully Dassault will make a comeback for RMAF MRCA since Rafale last time lost to Viper for Morocco MRCA by the failure of marketing strategy and not the lack of Rafale performance.

  14. How the Rafale proposed to RMAF… It’s sames Typhoon proposal… or more than Typhoon (e.c 12 Rafales F3 pluss 12 F2 for free)? And why RMAF more prefered Super Hornet insted of Thypoon or Super Gripen and Rafale…? It’s true we faced alot of trouble to maintain our Hawks? I’ think if we gaved RMAF with 24 SU MKM pluss 24 more Rafales F2/F3 it’s more than enough for our Skybird…

    Check my earlier posts and replies to comment to find out more details…

  15. Taj,

    If indeed the LCS will be fully fitted out with a medium range SAM and ASW gear, why is there a need for the Lekiu Batch 2s? As part of the original plan, the Lekiu Batch 1s and Batch 2s were meant to be our Team A and the Kedah class Team B. But as the government has agreed to fully fit out the LCS with a SAM [for which the ESSM is the main contender as we can’t afford ASTER 15 and want something that offers better performamce than Seawolf] , the LCS will be part of Team A, alongside the Lekiu and Jebat.


    Dassault might win the contract, then again pigs might start flying someday or cows will sprout 2 tails – there is no chance in hell of Dassault selling the Rafale to the RMAF due to its price tag. The price tag is the same reason why the Mirage 200 was never a serious contender back in 91/92. BTW, as you’re a Rafale fan/apologist, I thought I’d mention that as the Rafale was not yet fully integrated with the Damocles yet, targeting was provided by Mirage F1s with the ATLIS in Libya. Not only will it be superior marketing it will be who can offer more in terms of offsets and transfers of technology [which we love so much], and off course hopw much the pen pushers at the MOF will be willing to allocate.

  16. nimitz,

    After the end of the 21 year Emergency, we decided to concentrate on external security, as a result we got MBTs, IFVs, 155mm howitzers, MLRSs, etc. The problem now is that the threats we are likely to face are peacetime threats from non-state actors, for which apart from a few specialised units, like GK, PASKAL, etc, the ATM is underfunded and not equipped to deal with. How many of the 35 line infantry battalions [25 RMR, 10 Ranger, 5 Border regiment] and the 15 TA batalions have night vision, rifle sights and body armour?

  17. @azlan

    Malaysian just talk about military budget constrain but how about Scorpene now parking at telok sepanggar naval base and why not kilo class or 209 class which more cheaper compared to scorpene and we just triple our submarine fleet at one time even back then USD1= RM3.8O.
    Mirage offer back then not so interesting compared to others contender beside high price tag and our political agenda which look more to red and blue.Different scenario with Rafale today truly omnirole aircraft 4.5 gen above Typhoon or SH.How about J-10 or J-13 for our RMAF if MINDEF just really fussy on budget and Shenyang will be very happy to TOT this aircraft with lowest cost ever.

    Hopefully this will answer the Rafale with Damocles in Libya.

    At the moment, MINDEF wont accept any Chinese products for combat use but buses are okay. Come back in 20 years maybe by then MINDEF will allow them to compete for combat equipment tenders.

  18. @Marhalim

    how about FN-6 or KS-1A if non PLA arsenal exist in our ATM inventory..J10 excellent planes and even a report that J10 10 times locking latest Vietnam SU3OMK without vietnam pilot able to detect J10 location that time.Its will against our doctrine if RMAF operate PLA fighter planes since we have territorial claim dispute in south china reference to PLA planes only for comparison if our military man just too worried on budget constrain for new RMAF MRCA procurement.

    Only the FN-6 is in service and not KS-1A

  19. Brother, Mr PM was affected by yellow fever and frozen brain. Pity him for being inconsistent and his poor decision making back home despite not being truthful.
    Before embarking any new procurement it is best that he sets the defense policy clearly rather than full of ambiguity with a flip flop direction. He should whack his military experts, the generals to buck up and be professional and not playing politics.
    No worries NIMItz, the truth will come out sooner or later at their own perils.
    No MRCA but more diamond and bangle will be procured or the new jet fighter Berkins.
    Are you not looking for news that was highlighted by the SUARAM on the Ops Scorpenes?
    That will shake the defense industry and the civil servants I thought!

  20. zamyra

    budget constraint is just a political talk,
    based on history, malaysia armed procurement mostly depend on who is the local agent.

    if there are any powerful agent(even with RM2 company) want to market china products for MAF then J-10 or J-13 will be in our inventory

    same thing goes to china buses.. u should see who own the company

  21. Zamyra,

    A major defence deals around the world are political in nature and are tied to other interests, apart from defence. Yes the Kilo would have been cheaper but what is the manning level of the Kilo and what about the support and operating costs? Has Russian sound reduction technology reach a stage where their SSKs are as quite as Western ones? Only the latest export versions of the Kilo and Amur have a CMS, earlier ones merely had an FCS!! The main competitor was HDW with the Type 214 not the 209. The decision was political and was reportedly tied to MAS getting extra landing rights to Paris. We will probably never know which was the RMNs preferred choice.

    As I mentioned before, the state of the Libyan AF and the GBAD was in such neglect that even Mirage 2000s and F1s could have done the job. The fact that a 4th generation MRCA such as the Rafale, with its big price tag, was and is able to perform as advertised over Libya is nothing to shout about………… The French are desperate to find a customer for the Rafale, the fact that they haven’t tells us that they need a complete rethink with regards to their marketing strategy, especially after losing out on big orders in traditional markets like Algeria and Morocco, which they had previously taken for granted.

  22. @scorpio

    even Russia now facing military procurement scandal and this devils exist in every lucrative
    military contract worldwide not just only in Malaysia

    The fact that it happens elsewhere is no excuse for any hanky panky in Malaysia

  23. Mr Azlan,

    Yes I aggreed.. we hope that our LCS will armed with fully capable as AAW/AsUW/ASW Frigate or AEGIS Corvette likes his names ‘Multimission LCS’.. and I think 6 is not enaugh to kill our old Laksamana and Kasturi Class Corvette… we truly need 12 LCS, 4 at Lumut Bases, 4 at Teluk Sepanggar and 4 at Tanjung Gelang…
    About our warbird we need 1 Squadron at Labuan.. my imagination we will get Super Hornet to be operated at Labuan and Typhoon or Rafale at Kuantan..

  24. @azlan

    The Scorpene case will be a good example..expensive submarine and not even operated by French navy. Only Chile booked Scorpene back then from DCNS and not even battle proven submarine compared to kilo or 209 class.

    The reason only for MAS landing right in Paris and that sounds very funny.

    so what choice do we have beside Rafale. SH procurement look dark due to Bersih rally and even malaysia got stern voice from State Dept regarding malaysia freedom right.

    Typhoon still not fully MRCA fighter and will have to wait another 3-4 years together with AESA radar and lots of Israel made components inside Typhoon so do we need to repeat the same stories with our MKM.

    its 209 class back then not 214 class been offered to RMN..

    There is no battle proven diesel electric submarines lah, the only battle proven subs are nuclear… France do not want the Scorpenes because it want an all nuclear boat fleet, cheaper in the long run than maintaining two types of subs.

  25. zamyra,

    Read up first about SSKs before making such a bold and innaccurate statement. Also when was the Kilo and Type 209 used in combat? Please enlighten me. BTW, apart from firing Tomhawks, the only time an SSN has seen combat was in 82 when the Belgrano was sunk…..

    The only ‘Israeli’ item on the Typhoon is the Litening pod, nothing else, period. You really like taking potshots in the dark without checking your facts don’t you.

  26. @Marhalim

    diesel sub works very well in shallow and coastal water that make diesel sub the best deterrence to nuke sub which control deep water.Diesel sub with AIP can dive longer and more stealth compared to nuke sub and US NAVY nuke sub need almost 90 days to hunt swedish diesel sub which early planning only max 30 days training.Malaysia coastal water very suitable for diesel sub together with AIP if our scorpene have it.

    Its a myth that a diesel sub can outlast the endurance of nuclear boat. Diesel subs do not run on the diesel engines but batteries, hence the name diesel electric. The diesel engine is run to recharge the batteries which depending on the conditions of the batteries will effect endurance. Once underway submerged a SSK relied completely on its batteries which will effect its endurance. That’s why they designed AIP engines so they can charge the batteries while submerged. In contrast a nuclear sub rely on its reactor to supply electrical power to run its engines which allowed it to remain submerged up to one year if they want to, in practise its much shorter.

    Yes it will be difficult to detect SSKs in shallow or even deeper waters. The same could be said of SSNs and SSBNs.

    Anyways we don’t have the technology or the funds to run SSNs and SSBNs. Even our SSKs…….

  27. Hmmm very interesting debate here but why is it only MRCA’s that garnishes all the attention? The RMK 10 principle buys are the AEWC and also MPA.

    So lets talk about which are the possible AEWC and MPA that are suitable for us.This is because these assets are force multipliers for our present asstes.
    Also the government and the Navy should push for all the NGPV’s first batch to be fully armed instead of just fitted for but not with.Its more cost effective to equip all the NGPV’s with the missing weapons .Its more cost effective

    Believe me, the others will come…

  28. ‘Also when was the Kilo and Type 209 used in combat? ”

    If I’m not mistaken, Argentinian Navy used on of the 209 class subs in the Malvinas war and it reported tried to attack RN ships but failed to due operator’s mistake.

    Indeed it had but I guessed HDW and Argentinian Navy would loathe to use that failure to say their subs are combat proven….

  29. @azlan

    yup its true that SSK cannot dive longer then SSN
    but in terms of shallow water SSK still got edge over SSN to protect the coastal area and much stealth compare to SSN.

    hopefully this will refresh u back how danger SSK can be towards SSN or CSG..

    Kitty Hawk that time escort by those USN ships and SSN.

    The Kitty Hawk Strike Group for the exercise included the USS Kitty Hawk, the guided-missile cruisers USS Cowpens (CG 63) and USS Shiloh (CG 67); guided-missile destroyers USS Curtis W. Wilbur (DDG 54), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS Stethem (DDG 63), USS Lassen (DDG 82), USS Mustin (DDG 89), USS Halsey (DDG 97); the high-speed vessel Swift (HSV 2) and submarines USS Seawolf (SSN 21) and USS Asheville (SSN 758).

    yup litening pod as u claim but why israel companies developed weapon for israel firms have Typhoon technology..

    June 27/11: Diehl BGT and Israel’s RAFAEL unveil a new weapon for Eurofighter at the 2011 Paris Air Show. The PILUM long-range glide bomb concept has a range variously reported as 100-160 km/ 62 – 99.5 miles, but it’s a developmental weapon, so exact figures remain to be proven. PILUM uses RAFAEL Spice’s combination of GPS/INS and imaging infrared guidance, within Diehl’s HOSBO modular glide bomb system. HOSBO is a steamlined glide bomb that can carry a modular payload, including warheads of various sizes and types, even warheads designed to disrupt electronics. This JSOW Block III competitor will be able to attack defended targets, vehicles, ships, or even smaller targets. It will be integrated on Germany’s Tornado and Eurofighter aircraft. Will the Saudis, who fly both types, want any? Diehl BGT release | Jerusalem Post.

  30. Ali,

    The San Luis had an FCS breakdown so had to break of contact. Other near real life contacts involving Type 209s was in 1999, when an RNZN Leander detected a TNI-AL Type 209 shadowing the INTERFET convoy that was nearing East Timor. The first ship to be sunk by an SSK post-1945 was a Pakistani Daphne that sunk the INS Khukri.


    AIP is not the game changer that some writers have made it out to be. There is a very good reason why many SSK navies have not jumped or took their time, to join the AIP bandwagon. AIP increases the underwater endurance of an SSK and does away with the need to snorkel, but it does not make an SSK invincible and superior to an SSN. Has it occurred to you why an experienced SSK operator like Chile did not fit MESMA to its Scorpenes or why the JMSDF took its time to get AIP – it wasn’t solely due to budgetary constraints. About the Litening pod, I don’t claim but actually know, as would you if you were to do some research beyond fast googling or actually ask around….. The Litening pod was NOT developed specifically for the Typhoon. It was integrated on the Typhoon because of the superior performance offered over existing pods. It can be used from a much higher altitude and transfer data faster than the Damocles. Integrating the Litening to the Typhoon would have entailed Eurofighter’s cooperating with RAFAEL to provide the needed software codes, but dos NOT mean that Israeli companies have Typhoon technology as you indicated. If a customer so desired and was willing to pay the integration costs, othe Israeli stuff could be integrated as well.

  31. YM Lee,

    Realistically, after paying off the AV8 and the MRCAs, there will be nothing left to fund AEWs or MPAs. Though the Gripen was seriously looked at and SAAB in partnership could have offered the RMAF a Gripen/Erieye combo, the RTAF’s selection of the Gripen has killed whatever chances it had of being allocated RMAF serials. I believe, though I can’t back it up with facts, that the RMAFs leadership is also reluctant to get a single engined fighter.
    As for MPA’s, for commonality reasons and the fact we already have a simulator, additional CN-235s from Bandung [which have an endurance of around 7-8 hours, more than sufficient for our needs] with AMSACOS, would be the logical move, rather than 35 year old surplus USN P-3s from AMARC, which we have been offered.

  32. Re: YM Lee “So lets talk about which are the possible AEWC and MPA that are suitable for us.”

    There are innumerable aircraft that when properly modified can serve as an AEW&C or MPA platform. The most important elements of such an aircraft for the RMAF (and/or RMN?) should be its logistical footprint (no sense buying aircraft that can not be manned, maintained, cost too much to operate and so on…) first and its capabilities (loiter time, sensor suite and range and so on) second. As the RMAF’s needs for support aircraft are many, I would suggest a common platform be purchased across all such needs: AEW&C, MPA, ELINT, SIGINT, etc. Boeing offers a 737-based variant for all of these needs. I’d like to see a procurement of at least 6 aircraft: 2 out fitted for AEW&C (Wedgetail), 2 for maritime patrol (Poseidon), and 2 outfitted with flexible/modular sensor suites. An added advantage of such a purchase would be interoperability with the Australia, South Korea, Turkey and likely more states in the future.

  33. Forgot this last part…

    However, as the procurement would be VERY expensive, it is more likely that some half measure is likely. More CN-235s or CN-295s?

    Actually I had written extensively that we should go the 737 way but four aircraft is enough lah… I know its expensive but we can always get the four planes from the current order by Malaysia Airlines, since the government is already paying them….

  34. @azlan

    AIP system will be special advantage for SSK SCMS.if not why our neighbor cut their 2nd hand SSK hull immediately after hand over from swedish navy for sterling AIP installation. maybe RMN want to follow collins class design that proved only one left for operation today even fail to joint FPDA exercise in south china sea.

    our MKM last time need to modified from israel firms costume but dont worried we still have French that willing to help us to replaced all israel parts which will bring headache to RMAF.How RAFAEL firms able to integrate their spice weapon system to Typhoon without installing their electronic system.If this PILUM become Typhoon main SEAD weapon in the future how about RMAF Typhoon fate..

  35. Its a Catch 22 situation. Going for a larger jet powered airframe like a 737 provides certain advantages – longer endurance, longer range, greater payload, greater internal volume for a future sensors fit and for a 2nd crew, the ability to fly higher. The disavantages are higher purchasing cost and higher operating/support cost. We already operate the CN-235. We have the ground infrastructure in place, already have a stockpile of essential spares and a simulator. We already have trained air crews and ground personnel. For our current operational needs and any we are likely to face in the future, the CN-235s endurance of 6-7 hours is more than enough, after all it’s not that we need to conduct long range ASW patrols over the North Atlantic or deploy to bases halfway around the world.

  36. Whether its going to be a CN 235 or 295 or a Boeing 737 does not matter as we have all the infra here in Malaysia to support them.Even an airbus would not be a problem as Boeing is supported by MAS and airbus by Air-Asia.The maintenance can be outsourced.But the Boeing will give us better mileage in the sense that it can fly higher-higher means more range for the radar-see why our southern neighbour bought 4 jets for this purpose?.The AWACS can also double as an intelligence gathering platform and a electronic warfare aircraft in attempts to jam our radar or telecoms.The Cn series of aircraft is unable to match in this area.We do need 6 planes as 4 will be AWACS and two will be MPA configured and armed with torpedoes too. This will give our planes the speed, reach and power to fight anti sub warfare

    If its six, I will prefer it to be 2 AEWs and 4 MPAs…

  37. Ym Lee,

    It does matter because whether you operate a turbo prop or a jet makes a world of difference in terms of hourly operating and support costs. We should forget about grandiose ideas of ELINT/SIGINT and AWACS and concentrate on the core basics – patrolling our waters against the threats we currently face. Getting into the ELINT/SIGINT and AWACS game requires a huge cash investment for procurement, training and operations. For a start, I would be more than happy for a medium size MPA fitted with a search radar, FLIR, etc. We don’t have the luxury for the other sexy.


    Shooting the wrong calibre yet again are we?
    I never said that an AIP offers no advantages, merely that it is NOT the game changer that some would believe – it does not transform an SSK into a super invincible, ultra quiet boat and does not offer it a huge advantage over SSNs. What makes the difference willl be the level of training and competance of the crew.
    The RSN has been operating SSKs for a number of years unlike us, so already has the needed operational experience. like I mentioned before, there IS a SOUND reason why many navies have not immediately jumped on the AIP bandwagon. With regards to the Collins and the RMN wanting to follow this example, are you an expert about the Colllins? Do you have detailed info to share with us as to why the design of the Scorpene is flawed or are you just hitting the keyboard without thinking????

    Why are you insisting on going on and on with the Israeli connection with the Typhoon? I have already explained that the Litening was NOT developed specifically for the Typhoon and that should a customer identify a need to integrate Israeli gear to the Typhoon, integration involving software codes would be needed. Our MKMs were based on the MKIs which had a number of Israeli avionics, that is a point well known. So what exactly is the point you are trying to make????

  38. The CN-235 is not a bad solution, but it is not the best solution. Of course, cost is always the most important factor.

    The advantages of a 737-based aircraft (AEW&C and MPA) were well explained above by Azlan. I only add that the South China Sea is a big sea with a lot of players. Every minute of on station time and every bit of payload is important. If the CN-235 is procured, it will need to be bought in sufficient numbers to provide maximum service.

    I too would like to see 6 aircraft bought. 2 AEW&C and 4 MPA would be a good choice. I would like to see at least 2 of the MPA out fitted with flexible/modular interior and sensor suite, so that they could be rapidly modified to fulfil a variety of missions, including cargo/transport.

    Not much chance on the MRTT solution if its the Boeing…the Airbus 319/320 is a much better candidate for such mission; alas they have no AEW solutions, at the moment; even the 295 AEW will have an Israeli AESA…

  39. @azlan

    Hopefully this will give some ideas why RMN SSK need AIP system..

    with AIP system we can reduce dependence on battery to power our SSK boat and fully used our SSK battery power for fast underwater attack when needed..

    My point on Typhoon just simple..RAFALE developed laser designation pods for RAF Typhoon F1..RAFALE and germany firms developed smart missile PILUM for Typhoon..what this means all about..pods laser for gps guide bomb and future smart missile PILUM for Typhoon developed by same israel firms and until today Typhoon still lack on SEAD capability and what choice do RMAF have if Typhhon enter our we need to ask for French help then..

  40. We all very confident that RMAF will get their new Birds… but who will make the decision..? The politicians…

  41. Re: “Alas they have no AEW solutions…”

    Unfortunately “beggars can’t be choosers”. Without the ability to fund huge development programs, we’ll have to be content with what’s available. We all can have our dreams though…

  42. Zamyra,

    No need to give me a lecture on AIP, I’m no expert but had a rough idea what AIP was 25 years ago!

    And what’s all this rubbish about asking the ”French” for help?? It’s pure business, it’s not done out of the goodness of Thales’
    heart …. Half a dozen companies could have provided avionics for the MKMs, it so happens Thales was selected. Again, the Litening WAS NOT developed specifically for the Typhoon…….

  43. Gents… my first post, so please be gentle!

    I have been an advocate of the Rafale since it was first developed. Then it was mainly because it was such a sexy looking machine. Now it is because I believe its “omni-role” label accurately descibes its capabilities. This is quite unlike the Typhoon whose “swing-role” claim seems like an afterthought. The RAF is struggling – because of Libya, scrambling – with its air to ground mission with the Typhoon. It seems to me, therefore, if the RMAF is looking for a true multi-role aircraft, Rafale should be its best bet.

    This is not to say other factors will not intercede: BAE/Eurofighter may offer something we cannot refuse and it is nevertheless a very capable fighter with or without ground engagement tools hanging off it.

    As for the other contenders, they may be less expensive but we all know there can always be a “money is no object” decision if the government sees fit.

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