SHAH ALAM: Rafale, no. No deal for Rafale, that was the main thrust of the joint press conference between Prime Minister DS Najib Razak and visiting French president, Francois Hollande.
The press conference was held after Najib and Hollande hold talks in Putrajaya as part of the state visit.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysia was looking into the possibility of a deal with France but not ready yet to make a decision.
“We take note of your (Rafale) success in several countries and the possibilities of that particular aircraft being a subject of cooperation and collaboration with those countries as well,” he said in a joint press conference here today with visiting French President Francois Hollande.
Hollande arrived in Malaysia yesterday for a two-day state visit to Malaysia.
Hollande said France would provide the necessary support to Malaysia in relation to the Rafale, manufactured by Dassault Aviation SA.
“I know you will be making a decision and against that background, we want to provide necessary support.
“Our ministers are already working to that effect, all I would like to say is that Rafale is the best jet in the category. We propose to discuss the prices and the specifications,” he said via a translator
Signing the Rafale was supposed to be the centrepiece of the visit but I guess it was not to be. Even the planned flypast of the Rafales and the RMAF Airbus A400M did not take place.
Instead, one of the two Rafales which came for LIMA 17 took to the rainy skies of Subang to perform a display for the French president at the Subang airbase.
Anyhow, apart from the Saudi/Kuwait aircraft, Malaysia has also been offered surplus P-3C Orions MPAs from Japan. The Defence Ministry is hoping Japan will pay for the refurbishment costs just like what happened with the two ex-Japanese Coast Guard ships donated to the Malaysian Coast Guard.
Japan paid for the RM26 million refurbishment cost of KM Pekan, the media was told at LIMA 17.
No one can tell me the cost of refurbishing the four aircraft offered but RMN chief Admiral Kamarulzaman Badaruddin said that if accepted that the Orions will be stripped of the submarine hunting equipment and no weapons will be donated as well. The other surveillance gear will be maintained.
Japan has some 81 Orions in service with its navy. These aircraft were licensed built by Kawasaki of Japan, which is manufacturing their replacements, the P-1 MPA.
The Orions are suppose to be a gap filler until we get new MPAs, that’s the reason they are trying to get them for free. If we are paying for the refurbishment, we might as well used that money to buy new MPAs.
*updated to say why we want the Orions only if it is FOC.
— Malaysian Defence
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