SHAH ALAM: Pylons for the Flankers. It appears that the RMAF has finally acknowledged that it will be arming -at least on occasions – its 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flankers with western made bombs – either live or training ones. As you might well be aware, the No.12 Squadron Flankers have been integrated with US-made Mark 82 bombs which can be turned into precision munition when fitted with guidance kit either laser/GPS/INS (or combination of them).
This was done some time back – around 2017 and 2018 – and it was confirmed by the then RMAF chief. The Malaysian Defence post on the subject was made private following a call from one of RMAF big-wigs then. I was made to understand that RMAF was wary that the US would stop selling us their ordnance for integrating its weapons on a Russian plane. The integration was later confirmed via a video published by RMAF itself which later deleted it.
Anyhow, it appears now that RMAF wants to get a local company to built a pylon – which it is designating Pylon X1 – which will be carrying the BDU-59 Laser Guided Training Round (LGTR) on the Flanker. This was revealed in a quotation notice published by the Eperolehan website today (May 31). The notice QT220000000017456 title:
PEROLEHAN PERKHIDMATAN PEMBUATAN PYLON-X1 DAN PEMASANGAN PERALATAN BDU-59 LGTR PADA PESAWAT SU-30MKM
The full specifications as usual is not listed publicly but the one listed in the specifications called for the winning vendor for the design of the prototype pylon and its associated equipment as well as the simulation to conduct the release of the LGTR from the pylon. It is likely the company will work with the RMAF to produce more of the same pylons once the prototype is certified for use on the Flankers.
What about the LGTR then? Well back in 2017 I wrote a post on the MTO tender to ship 100 BDU-59 rounds from the US. The LGTR, according to its manufacturer is:
an inert cylindrical bomb body of 10 cm (4 in) diameter with a Paveway II guidance kit, and emulates the GBU-10( )/B, GBU-12( )/B and GBU-16( )/B live munitions. It is used by the U.S. Navy for operational Paveway II training to preserve the stockpile of live bombs and their guidance kits. The LGTR comes in several versions, including the BDU-57/B, BDU-59/B, BDU-59A/B, BDU-59B/B, BDU-60/B and BDU-60A/B (the BDU-60( )/B series is usually referred to as LGTR II). Since 1992, Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 50000 LGTRs to the U.S. Navy, and production is continuing
Anyhow, a number of friendly countries also manufactured the Mk-82 general purpose bombs including Turkey, UAE, Pakistan and Indonesia. Turkey and UAE also manufactured the guidance kits to turn the bombs into smart munition. It is likely that in the near future, RMAF has to rely on western-made ordnance for the Flankers as the sanctions on Russia is tightened further.
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