Preparing For The New Radar

Martello S 743 air surveillance radar similar to ones still in service with RMAF. Internet

SHAH ALAM: Preparing for the new radar. It appears that RMAF is preparing the ground work for the site of the new air surveillance radar which had been funded. RMAF Air Operations Commander Lt. Gen Abdul Mutalib Abd Wahab visited the proposed site of the new radar in Sarawak on Oct. 23.

RMAF did not revealed the proposed radar site location though. However as it has been reported that the ThalesRaytheon GM403 radar is based near Kuching, Sarawak, it is likely that new radar will be sited somewhere between the state and Sabah.

Thales Raytheon GM 403 radar. TUDM

It is likely that RMAF has learnt from difficulties it had with the GM403 radar site. The difficulties were detailed in the Auditor General’s Report 2018 though it left out the location of the radar, citing national security reasons.
Mutalib (right) at the proposed radar site. RMAF picture

The report concluded that better planning and coordination by RMAF could have been prevented the delays in the completion of the project which it said had detrimental effects to national security. The report noted that the main reason for the delay in completing the radar site was a result of it being funded in stages due to the lack of money.
A model of the Leonardo RAT 31 D/L air surveillance radar.

The purchase of the new air defence radar was confirmed by RMAF chief ahead of the service’s anniversary in June. Story. Malaysian Defence also reported on the competition for the radars – three were sought – but only one was funded.
Saab Giraffe 4A multi function radar.

Anyhow, I was told that RMAF had selected the radar for the new site though as I am not sure whether the contract has been signed or not. Or whether they will still have to tender it out. While I am glad that the government now prefers open competition, one has to wonder whether it is smart to ask for bidders for things which can only be sourced from the OEM only, like technical documentation for a certain helicopter.
AN/TP-77 long range surveillance radar. Lockheed Martin.

Please note that the radars pictured here including that of the GM 403, is for used for illustrative purposes only.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2227 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. So the new radar is still not chosen?

    Hopefully just add on for the gm400.

    And are the rmaf using the gm403 (mobile) version or gm406 (fixed) version?

  2. “Unofficially” it has not been selected as there will be an open tender (as our politicians keep reminding us – we’re now in a “new” Malaysia where there’s zero tolerance for corruption). “Unofficially” the RMAF has long identified the radar it needs/wants.

    The problem with an open tender is that there will be other radars with a cheaper per unit cost but this radar may not suit the RMAF’s requirements and there will be other factors that will drive up the overall cost; e.g. integration to the current infrastructure and whether a SOC is needed.

    The radar may not be “mobile” per see (i.e. GAPU’s TRS-3Ds mounted on a lorry) and it will be operated from a “fixed” location but the actual radar is not “fixed” per see. It can be moved to alternate or secondary locations although this will take time and lots of preparation.

  3. Whenever I see open tender, I remind myself of Murphy’s law about equipment: Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.

  4. Fair competition for a system but if every purchase like this 1 radar only, it will not benefits on maintenance. Although all radar are from the west but it also a challenge. If we wish to keep our maintenance in good shapes. Maximum 2 supplier per toy is good enough. If we manage balance East+West product will be best, we will reduce the embargo. While local development should focus on rifle, manpads, Anti air guns, ATGM, mortar, APC, 80m below Vessel, UAV, radar… Those big & expensive toy like mrca, helicopter, submarine, big vessel, so n so, i think is not worth for our investment if just for internal use only.

  5. A medium range SAM is an army requirement and it’s interesting to speculate whether GAPU has a requirement for anymore primary or gap filler radars to supplement its TRS-3Ds.

    I personally feel that additional radars for the RMAF should be a priority. There is a pressing need for additional radars; especially in
    East Malaysia where coverage has been traditionally weak and where coverage was mostly provided by DCA ATC radars.

  6. We did bought Spexer 2000 radar for Sabah quite couple years ago.

    Those are coastal surveillance radars

  7. Open tender doesn’t mean absolutely MUST buy the cheapest

    Gawd, have Malaysians become so used to closed non-competitive (crony) procurement that we don’t even know what an open tender means anymore?!?!

    definition of OPEN TENDER (Black’s Law Dictionary) OPEN TENDER. A bidding system that is not private. It is opened for all qualified bidders. Bids are then chosen openly, based on price AND QUALITY.

  8. So it is clear this additional radar is to be used to improve the radar coverage, not to replace an existing radar.

    Anyway why is the hush2 about Gunung Nxxxx site for the Ground Master 403? It is clearly mentioned in TUDM website without any censorship.

    Regarding the radars allocated with the army GAPU. Are they regularly deployed and operated in peacetime? Is the giraffe still operational? What are the current air search radars operational with GAPU?

    2x? Giraffe

    2x EADS TRML-3D

    2x? Thales Ground Master 200 (bought with starstreaks)

    I have no idea why they (Auditor General Report) decide to not name the location of the radar. As for the GAPU AFAIK, the Giraffe and TRML 3D radar operational. I think there is only one GM 200.

  9. @Chua
    Please define how does your statement can help the RMAF. If China can make a radar below price AND WITHIN QUALITY, but incompatible with everything else, isn’t it still within the definition & spirit of OPEN TENDER? So should RMAF go for China radar system then?

    By right it should be a selected tender process whereby RMAF states the requirements and their system preference then let the bidders that qualify according to their preferences come in and bid, even different vendors can come in and bid with the same system, no?

  10. Joe, i used to do open tender procurement at work. What you describe is actually the open tender process. A user will technically evaluate each bids without knowing the submitted price. Usually, a few will pass this process and the lowest price among them will be selected.

    The problem is; who exactly the user doing the evaluation(military or ministry)? Final Approval is also from a tender comittee that can choose not to follow user advice.

    In other news;

  11. Other than upgrading our radars, we also need to improve the SOP and also working level communication between the civilian CAAM and also TUDM air defence system.

    Our QRA system needs also to be ready and functional to intercept any unidentified aircrafts tracked by our radars.

    All the lessons learnt during MH370 must be taken seriously and not to be forgotten. These buys to improve our airspace situational awareness are not “toys” like a reader here commented. It can be the difference between life and death of your loved ones, as what we experienced with MH370.

    Below are infographics of how our neighbour singapore defends its airspace. We can see that they take their air defence seriously from how emergencies like the scoot airlines bomb scare was dealt with swiftly with their F-15 fighters quickly scrambled to intercept and escort the airliner back to singapore.

  12. @Hazwan
    It doesn’t jive with the dictionary terminology of open tender though.

    True open tenders should be non-discriminatory (ie suppliers can be anyone as long it meets the technical requirement & pricing), but lets say my organisation prefers Conti haulage trucks then, of course China trucks are automatically disqualified even if they qualify based on technicality.

    So tender process cannot be truly “open” or else it wouldn’t meet the true requirements of the users. Most procurement PIC or the purse string holders failed to see this problem very commonly. Its usually the lowest bidder that wins.

    As some politicians have implied, if we buy we should use, so these new radars should be turned on 24/7/365. Then we won’t have another MH370.

  13. @Joe
    You’re implying the lowest bidder is chosen and this will compromise quality.

    That’s not accurate. A minimum performance threshold will be set for various factors. Qualifying bids should at least achieve all minimum thresholds. After that, what additional benefits each bid delivers, and the price of these benefits, will be considered.

    The bid which is accepted would not necessarily be the cheapest nor the least quality.

  14. @Chua
    I never said the lowest bidder was not qualified. Even China can produce a radar system as good as any other Western ones, but is RMAF supposed to accept it just because they meet the requirements? Certainly no one can beat China in terms of pricing. So automatically a vendor proposing a Chinese system would have a huge advantage but does it serve RMAF’s needs and purpose of usage? I’m not saying open tender is bad, but don’t call it open tender if the tender is not really “open”.

  15. @ marhalim

    Just to reconfirm, this new radar is funded within the RMK11 budget, not the future RMK12 right?


  16. Latest news

    Indonesia orders an Alenia RAT 31 DL/M radar to be installed in Ngliyep, Malang, Jawa Timur. The order was signed in Defence & Security 2019, Bangkok.

    Malaysia BTW has 3x Alenia RAT 31 radars, 1x DL and 2x SL/E versions

  17. Thailand also has ordered a Leonardo (no more alenia sorry) RAT 31 DL radar at the Defence & Security 2019, Bangkok. This radar is to be located at Samui island, to provide radar coverage of south thailand

  18. Is FOC radar from US is part of TUDM originally plan to get a new radar? Or both are separate plan? By the way, how many we going have? By the way, how is our TRML 3d perform? We can get another 8 units but it never happen…

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