Publish Or Not To Publish

Sukhoi Su-30MKM M52-018. Malaysian Defence picture

SHAH ALAM: Publish or not to publish. Dear…. I hope you and your family are doing well in the blessed month of Ramadan. Anyhow, I am writing to you concerning the video.

As you are aware some parts of the video was the subject of a posting here late last year. However, due to operational concerns you mentioned to me, the post was initially re-edited before taken off-line.

RMAF M52-18 taking off for LIMA 17

Imagine my surprise when the operational concerns was made a prominent feature of the video which was subsequently deleted as well after it was made public. (without any intervention from me).

I did not say anything about the faux pas until yesterday when I was informed that an edited footage of the deleted video had been uploaded to an anonymous Youtube channel two days ago.

No, I am not having a retraction regret nor I am claiming the first one to write about it . Honestly, I am disappointed that a slip-up has gifted “street cred” to a superflous Youtube channel and a copy-and-paste artist.

M52-18 at LIMA 17

However, I am hoping that the slip-up will at least allow an open discussion on the matter especially in the next few months when the scheduled program is up for consideration.

Yours Sincerely

Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2205 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. The MKI/MKM has very impressive capabilities and comes at a great price [assuming on doesn’t have to fork out for integration – like us] but then other platforms [from the same era] also have just as impressive full air to air and air to ground capabilities and in various ways are more practical and cost effective platforms to have in the long term, e.g. F-15E on account of longer lasting engines and other vital components. Hopefully in the coming years we’ll see the MKMs getting an AESA, a replacement for Damocles and various other improvements.

    If viewed objectively the F-15E and even the Tornado IDR are better low level interdiction/strike platforms than the MKM/MKI due to a number of reasons. As it stands the Bars can’t perform terrain avoidance whilst also simultaneously scanning the sky for targets and controlling missiles but then this also applies to all non AESA mechanically scanned radars with one transmitter. Another issue with the MKI/MKM [I mentioned this before] is that, being originally designed as a high altitude fighter, its airframe can’t withstand the low level tolerances encountered when flying low – which is why the IAF was so desperate for a new multi role MRCA as the only suitable aircraft it had for the role are the Jaguars; the Floggers having been retired.

    The MKI/MKM no doubt can still perform low level sorties but on account of a lower wing structure and larger wing area [compared to types that were originally designed for the low level interdiction/strike role]; stuff like fatigue and turbulence becomes an issue. Where the MKMI/MKM is really in its element is at medium to higher altitudes : no surprises at they are based on the Su-27, a high altitude long range interceptor. It is telling that the bulk of RMAF sorties with the MKM [when performing interdiction/strike training] are performed at medium to higher altitudes, unlike with the Hornets. Despite the proliferation of PGMS that can be launched from high altitudes with accuracy; almost every air arm still has a requirement for low level, terrain hugging interdiction/strike sorties due to various factors.

    The current AFM issue has an article on the Su-35. It does away with the canards and dorsal brakes and has various other improvements [some of which can be incorporated to the MKM [as the IAF is doing with its MKIs]. According to figures in the article, the Su-35’s airframe and engine has a better TBO than the Su-30s. Interestingly the Russians are facing issues supporting the Shura due to issue with the Ukraine; as such the Su-35 will have a different helmet mounted sight. Hope we don’t face similar issues in sourcing spares :]

  2. OPSEC…

    Some doesn’t care about it while others go overboard like the blurred A400M flight deck (it is a common flight deck with airbus commercial airliners)…

    BTW lets talk about potential upgrades to the Su-30MKM

    1) datalinks
    2) satellite communications (satcom)
    3) new HMD (thales scorpion similar to tentera darat MD530G would be great)
    4) upgraded flight computers with more processing power.
    5) upgrade for the thales damocles pod to damocles XF version.
    6) reconaissance pod (thales areos?)
    7) Bars radar upgrade to bars-r or irbis-e
    8) IRST upgrade (OLS-35)
    9) uprated engine AL-41F1S
    10) L-150 pastel RWR upgrade or new RWR
    11) SAP-513 jammer upgrade
    12) SAP-14 jammer pod
    13) Club-A air launched standoff missiles
    14) RCS reductions (coatings etc)

    Apart from the datalinks to connect to the MAF own NCo system AFAIk there is no plans for upgrades.

  3. Unrelated news.

    USAF is going to do a SLEP to 841 of its F-16 to extend their lives to an incredible 13,856 flight hours for each aircraft! As a comparison TUDM Mig-29 after 20 years has accumulated just around 2,000 flight hours each.

    A great news to any current and future F-16 users.

  4. There you go, that kind of lifespan is not possible with Russian aircraft because of different design and operating philosophy.

  5. AM,

    The Su-35 shows some improvements with regards to TBO/MTBF and we’ll have to wait and see with the PAK. I remember an article in the late 1990’s [written by a Russian aircraft designer] saying that glass cockpits were not needed by the Russians on their aircraft as they were unnecessary and distracting to the pilot :]

    On another matter it’s interesting to see how the Russians in Syria are placing so much importance in unguided rockets just like in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Granted, the Russians may not have as many PGMs as NATO but they also feels that for many types of missions and targets encountered; unguided rockets are the most suitable/practical option.


    A feasibility study done years ago included the possibility of towed decoys for the MKMs. As it stands we are unlikely to see the MKMs undergo a full upgrade [even if funds were there] before the new MRCA arrives. With so few front line fast jets the RMAF will be reluctant to have the MKMs away undergoing upgrades. Some sources have listed the MKMs having holographic HUD but someone in the industry I spoke to is adamant that the HUDs are nor holographic; imagery off course only being able to be displayed on a HUD if it’s holographic. I have no idea if the HUDs are holographic or not.

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