Report Lodged On MD530G Deal

The MD530G fitted with the FN Herstal rocket machine gun pod and a Gatling. This is a likely weapon configuration for the LSH.

SHAH ALAM: Report lodged on MD530G deal. Bernama, the national news agency today reported that the Defence Ministry has lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti Corruption Agency (MAAC) regarding the MD530G deal for the Army.

The Bernama report

MD530G test aircraft. Destini is now the main contractor for the helicopters.

PUTRAJAYA, June 13 (Bernama) — The Defence Ministry today lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the purchase of six helicopters worth more than RM300 million in 2015, which has yet to be received by the Malaysian Armed Forces to date.

The report was filed by the ministry’s representative at the MACC Headquarters, here.

According to the ministry’s source, the McDonnell Douglas MD530G lightweight combat helicopters were supposed to be received in two phases, namely two in July 2017, and the rest in December 2018.

The source said the terms of the purchase agreement did not safeguard the interests of the government, which included clauses such as ‘the contract is valid for two years, or, until the local company appointed as the agent successfully delivers the helicopters.’

According to the source, the approval for the purchase of the military assets in November 2015 was also not done according to set procedures.

“The contract was done via direct negotiation with the agency, while many terms of the contract were not favourable to the government, for example, the contract was approved without any military specifications, a mandatory requirement in the purchase of military assets,” the source said.

He said McDonnell Douglas had also cancelled the local company’s contract as its agent in Malaysia by the time the helicopter purchase agreement was signed.

The source added the Malaysian government had already paid RM112.65 million, which was 35 per cent of the total cost of the acquisition, to the company.


I am not sure whether the report lodged with MACC stated that the deal was with McDonnell Douglas or the reporter – as with other MSM reporters – had confused MD Helicopters with the former aerospace company.

The MD530G that was displayed at LIMA 2015. Note the weapons fit.

Anyhow I am putting this on the record only as a freelancer I am not able to get any official confirmation over the report with the MACC or any updates. We will have to wait and see whether the report will led to charges being filed in court.
MD530 destined for the Malaysian Army on display at the HAI Heli-Expo in Las Vegas

You can check the Malaysian Defence archives for more information on the MD530G deal. Before anyone asks, I have been told that the first batch of MD530Gs for the Army are expected to be delivered by the third quarter of this year.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2184 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. From the way the report is worded (the contract was approved without any military specifications, a mandatory requirement in the purchase of military assets), it seems like it is not what the army wanted in the 1st place.

    The current owner of this contract (destini) might also be a victim in this case, as it took over the contract after it was awarded originally to another company, halaman optima.

    So is it just a way for the army not to get something it never wanted in the 1st place?

  2. …… – “ approved without any military specifications”

    The thing that comes to my mind is – in this context – what defines “military specifications”? Rotor blades that can withstand small arms fire? Crash proof seats? Military grade radios rather than commercial ones? What?

    Take the RMAF’s Beechcrafts as an example. Apart from the fact that they have radar, ESM, etc, how do they differ from civilian operated ones? Were they delivered with “military specifications” per see?

  3. the contract was approved without any military specifications, a mandatory requirement in the purchase of military asset\” the version of said helicopter purches for civilian use(specification) but painted with military camo???

  4. The writer might meant the army requirements, like what specific performance, capability, weapons, avionics etc. the military wants.

  5. Keep it up…ie these practices of awarding local companies contracts for supplies from OEMs. An obvious way of commissions or corruption. Tell me under PH has there been any change? Dissappointing

  6. …… – “ike what specific performance”

    If indeed the helicopter doesn’t meet “military requirements” because technical performance then it shouldn’t have been ordered in the first place and I have to ask again : who was responsible for deciding how it was fitted out and who selected it?

    ,…, – “weapons, avionics”

    As for weapons and avionics it has a decent fit; based on what can be installed on a platform of that weight and size. The only possible missing element as far weapons go is Hellfiire but did the army specify it and could the allocated budget cater for it?

    Same goes with the avionics fit which is pretty decent. Its got a glass cockpit, decent comms capability, NGV compatible cockpit, FLIR, store management system and other stuff.

    Thus it can’t be the weapons or avionics fit which doesn’t meet “military specifications”.

    Ultimately even if it was the local company that was dealing with the OEM and not the army; the army should have ensured that the company had the army’s interests at heart in ensuring the contract has a risk clause penalty, the needed warranty period, etc. Or was it again a case of the local industry specifying and selecting things and not the end user; like with Adnan and the PT-91s? If that is indeed the case the previous government shares a lot of the blame.

  7. Faizul,


    Read up on what Marhalim has written on the subject. It’s not a case of a civilian spec platform painted in camo to fool someone.

    Also, until we have more info, nobody here can say with any certainty what “military spec” really means in this context. What we can do is is try to narrow things down and look at plausible scenarios, based on what we know, as I tried to do in my previous posts.

  8. So we won’t be getting any form of an attack chopper anytime soon? Orz.

    Attack heli have been on the TDM agenda for many, many years now. Yes, they won’t be getting what they wanted (Apache, Tiger) but hey at least a light attack/scout is better than door gun mounted Nuri.

  9. @ azlan

    ” Same goes with the avionics fit which is pretty decent ”

    Well the specific avionics being put into the helo is pretty impressive IMO, and a very eye opener for me. Those avionics IMO we can learn much about and install in any available platform to turn it into COIN platform, such as TUDM PC-7 and police PC-6.

  10. FYI the 1st goverment of Mahathir was previously looking at Rooivalk and they were very close to buying it despite TDM hesitation that it was an unproven platform with no suitable ATGM (at that time). The government pulled out at last minute and TDM didn’t get another sniff at attack chopper until 20 years later. Is history repeating itself? For TDM’s sake, I hope not.

  11. Maybe the ‘military specification’ is referring to contractual terms such as ‘a radio communication set confirming to MIL-STD xxx-yyy’ ?

    But I think this is Malaysia Boleh to another level… Now the whole world is laughing at us, apart from the usual paying 300% over whatever other is paying for the same thing. The civilian company now can dictate what the armed forces to get so that they can reap the most benefit!

    I think you’re late the game, it was the same for the LCS and NGPV too…

  12. Joe,

    The 1997 Asian Economic Crisis was the reason. Denel was also pushing the Oryx and offered for it to be assembled here by AIROD. Blessing in disguise with Rooivalk as we probably would have been the only foreign operator of the type which Denel doesn’t produce anymore and which was a very troublesome programme, largely due to funding issues for further R&D.

    Along with the Fulcrums we were also offered 8 MiL-35s by the Russians.

  13. to all,

    Do you think it would be good for us to finally accept the MD530G? Or we would be better off not to receive the helicopters?

    As for proper attack helicopters, I really don’t think it is a must have for us. But if we really want some, probably good to wait for about 6 more years, that is when Australia is going to retire its 22 Eurocopter Tiger ARH and to be replaced ironically by smaller special forces attack helicopter similar to the MD530G.

    The Tigers should be replaced by another type, Apache or Cobra Z, if it happens. The smaller light assault helicopters are for the SAS

  14. – Light attack helicopters are useful for ESSCOM. I see them performing useful roles there like coastal monitoring, light attack and fast insertion. The trick is to use them properly and coordinate their use with whatever other assets we have in place. Also important that they not be misused for roles they are not intended to perform.

    – The previous requirement for a dedicated attack helicopter was for a mere 8. Good for training and having some capability but with those numbers; hardly useful for anything else in that even assuming all 8 were operational; at the most they can only support a battalion or at a stretch; a brigade; for doing like stuff flank protection and close support. Given our other requirements, not a priority at the moment.

    – Like present generation MRCAs; dedicated arrack helicopters have more sensors, systems, etc, all requiring well trained manpower and the needed test/support equipment to keep them operational. Thus the downside is that they will be more resource intensive and expensive to operate and maintain compared to older types.

  15. With all these shameful stories about our arm purchase, I was wondering has there been anyone doing a proper accounting on what we’ve lost since, say 1988 1Billion GBP MOU signed with UK? To be honset, I think that was the last of the big ticket purchase done in a somewhat reasonable way.

    Just pluck from my head, the biggest lost would be the

    1. 6 x Kedah at 7+ billion – since these Meko-100 is FFBNW, we can get 6 Iver Huitfeldt at 1USD = 4RM

    2. Gempita – 7.55 billion for 257, or 30 million per pop! It’s more expensive than M1A2 From wikie, US$6.21 million (M1A2 / FY99)

    3. Cougar – I don’t know the total project price, but I remember it’s like RM 200M (USD 50m) per unit. Again from wiki it’s only US€20+ million (2004 est)

    4. LMS – This is the more recent one 4 times the price of Damen 1800? Or actually we can get a Frigate for the silly spec of this mere ‘auto-cannon’ boat. I don’t want to call it a gun boat, since the Perdana is more heavily armed. This one is a very obvious $$ siphoning project to get the money to partially pay off ‘you know what’ debt

    5. LCS – Uhhh USD 2.8 billion for 6 ships, or about RM 2 billion per ship!!! The German Navy’s 4 Baden-Württemberg-class frigate costs around 2.2 billion Euros. I’d rather have these 4 ships compare to the 6 LCS

    I’m really sick of thinking all these as I think for the amount of money we dumped in we could have at least 50% of the current Singapore armed forces hardware.

  16. Hornet Lover,

    The problem is that the government is the one which created the system which allows the needs of the local industry to come first before that of the end user. The result is the end user doesn’t get the desired capability and the taxpayer doesn’t get his/her ringgit’s worth.

    Which goes back to the Dr.M’s decision is the past to base arms purchases not on what actually suited the MAF but how it could benefit the country; whether in the form of offsets and transfers of technology, to improve the local defence industry, to improve bilateral ties with a foreign country, etc.

    The Russians were smart. As a sweetener they agreed to train a local astronaut and sent him to space. This was part of the offsets for the MKM deal. Whether the astronaut going into space actually led to any tangible benefits for the country is the question. With the AUG, a major reason that led to it being selected was Steyr’s willingness to allow licensed production. Not because of its performance during trials. The army’s preference was M16As. We convinced ourselves that we could export the AUG (same story with the M4) and that producing it locally would eventually enable us to design our own rifle in the future.

    Same goes with the PT-91, Adnan, AV-8 and Jernas. None were selected because they were judged to be better for our needs compared to others that were offered or because they performed the best during local trials. In some cases not only were there no trials but no other systems were even looked at!

    We also had situations where the MAF was forced to get stuff it not only didn’t want but didn’t have a requirement for in the first place : the Laksamanas and A400Ms – both selected for different reasons which ultimately was intended to benefit the country. With the Laksamanas it was a total disaster for the RMN.

    Which reminds me of Anza, Bakhtar Shikan and the RPGs. These may not have been bad buys but the only reason we got them was because Pakistan had unresolved issues with us. It’s telling that we never placed repeat orders with POF and for the RPGs, a cheaper source was found : Romania.

    That’s why I have stated before that one has to wonder whether his successors would be better off if they had ditched the practice when they got into power. Of course that’s water under bridge. But what’s really perplexing is that the policy will be the same one to be used in the near future albeit with a little window dressing

  17. Way off topic but i’m very frustrated when it comes to news on Malaysian defence scene. Majority of the people have little knowledge on the needs equip ATM with latest and good quality equipments. They see it as a waste of money and politicians are the biggest goons. The way I see it, our fighting men seldom get what they want and those doing business with Mindef put profit way above national interest. We are not serious in getting the technology and developing our own small arms industry and we take such a bloody long time to evaluate defence item and by the time we decide to go for it, it would become obsolete and newer versions would be available (but would take many years again for evaluation) Take a look at UAV programmes, we are stuck with nyamuk while AFP is getting Hermes 450/900/skylark. They are getting bigger ships but we have decided not get the MICA VL at the moment. Politician sucks big time and businessmen are capitalist. Anyway, intruders are welcome to invade as there nothing of interest in Malaysia

  18. @ hornet lover

    1. We went for a german design, which is known for high specs. Compunded with the issues with naval dockyard at the time.

    2. Was a “national interest” project. Probably should just cost 1/2 of what spent but that includes cost for the plant upgrades at pekan, various weapon intergration and tests, and the cost of all the missiles and ammo. I would like to see a 2nd batch, but not at the 1st batch prices. From omani contract we know each pars cost about USD3 mil each and that should be the benchmark.

    3. Cougar, yes ours cost about USD50 million each while neighbours such as thailand got theirs for just euro25 million each. Should we say no to more EC725/225? I am for additional used EC225LPs. As future TUDM CAP55 calls for just 2 skn of helicopters probably another dozen EC225LP would be ideal for TUDM.

    4. LMS. It is not 4x, just about 20% more expensive than the Damen OPV 1800. Which is still a lot for what it is. Why i prefer a 2 tiered LMS procurement, with a simpler cheaper civil based design to complement the LMS68.

    5. I cant agree with you with this one. The gowinds are great ship on paper and adequately armed for its size. Why no1 you go for huidtfelts and no4 for Baden-Württemberg-class frigate ??

    And no mention at all about the A400M?

    @ azlan

    At least with the Su-30MKM, the offsets looks to be paid for by the russians, not tacked onto the final price of the Su-30MKM. However you look at the Su-30MKM buy, one thing we cannot say about it is that we overpaid for them. USD45 million for each of them, including all the extensive modifications, armaments is arguably a money well spent.

    On the laksamanas, a few weeks back had a chat with a navy guy. Pleasently surprised that he had mostly good things to say about the laksamanas, and attributed its poor condition in the past few years because of the unwillingness for the government to approve maintenance requests for the laksamanas. The new government have green lighted those requests, and the reason all 4 laksamanas are now in operational condition (but without missiles obviously).

  19. Abuyane – “we are stuck with nyamuk while AFP is getting Hermes 450/900/skylark”

    I can be a devil’s advocate and say that the APF is in greater need than us. It has been more neglected/under resourced. The bulk of its navy consists of 30-40 year old ships including several built in the 1940’s, it doesn’t have a single dedicated fighter, it only has 2-3 dedicated air surveillance radars, it only recently (some 40 years after its neighbours) got an anti ship missile in the form of short range Spikes. etc.

    I’m not putting down the AFP, just stating the facts. If we want to look at what others are buying in comparison to us we can’t just look at things in isolation. We have to look at their current state, their threat perceptions, how long they can maintain a certain level of spending, why they’re doing what they’re doing, etc.

  20. …….,

    I’m surprised to hear that someone actually has anything positive to say about them. I’ve spoken to 2-3 people including one who was the XO on one of them. None had anything good to say about them. Also, they may be operational now but more than just the missiles are not working or are available anymore. Even when we first got them, various things never worked as specified.

    On the MKMs look beyond their price tag. “Money well spent” is subjective and many, including in the RMAF, wouldn’t agree. All the off sets provided were eventually paid for by the Malaysian taxpayer.

    We became an operator of a small batch of fighters that contained modifications unique to us. On top of that the country that sold it to us couldn’t even help us with a combat syllabus (nobody could) because of the modifications unique to us. Sure we use the same radar and other stuff but to operate those in conjunction with non standard systems we selected necessitated in the need for a syllabus unique to us.

  21. …….

    No doubt the government didn’t approve all the requests made for the Laksamanas but we did spend hundreds of millions on the Laksamanas. On top of the refits they had and time in drydock; we replaced the CMSs on 2 of them, all 4 received a new ESM suite and jammers; we made changes to the comms suite, we signed spares contracts for the engine, Otomat and others.

    The project team did have a good time experiencing Italian hospitality (I won’t elaborate further) and the CO that brought one of them back was a future head of the RMN.

    Ironically we were first offered a pair of Lupos; like the Laksamanas, originally intended for Iraq. Amin Shah at one point looked at a pair of uncompleted MEKOs in Argentina.

  22. @ azlan

    The reluctance of the goverment to approve maintenance request for the laksamanas and the FACs in the past few years is surely one of the reasons they wanted the LMS in the 1st place. Hope to find out what is the next plan as now the Laksamanas and FACs have been green lighted for SLEP/refits.

    BTW is the uncompleted mekos still around, or has it been scrapped?

    Anyway on the MKM combat sylabus, yes russia cannot help us, because they dont use that variant at the time. That is why we asked for indian airforce help. But now russia has inducted its own version, the SM, which in the 1st few batches are exactly the same as the MKM except for the lack of Saab MAWS equipment.

  23. @Azlan
    Yes, we were somewhat lucky it didn’t go thru as until 2013, they were STILL developing and enhancing the Rooivalk, finally with Mokopa ATGM capability. And it is still unproven with no export customers up to date. The TDM was forced to consider this chopper due to politics. This was perhaps one of the silver linings in that dark period.

    “whether in the form of offsets and transfers of technology, to improve the local defence industry, to improve bilateral ties with a foreign country”
    With the palm oil barter thing, we are back to the same square one again. Nothing has changed except as what Marhalim well said; with some window dressing and rebranding it.

    “Do you think it would be good for us to finally accept the MD530G?”
    As I mentioned before, something is better than nothing. At the very least with the MD530s, they are the cheapest compared to dedicated attack choppers, the least problematic with proven MD500s in civil & military use, and seriously we have no need for dedicated tank busters like Apache or Tiger. The MD530 suits our requirement for recon & ground attack against insurgents (unless they have MANPADs). As for Aussie Tigers, I read once before the ADF weren’t satisfied with the uptime of these maintenance intensive choppers throughout their service period. I’m not sure if things have change since then.

    @Hornet Lover
    Safe to say, whatever malpractices done during Mahathir’s past reign is not mentioned while those of his successors are being actively dug up. Nothing has changed.

  24. @…

    I think the main point of contention is about the money spent, even for something that is not the top priority, first choice or most suitable for MAF needs, did we ever get any reasonable deal, not to say a good one.

    1. If we’re to get the Meko 100 design and complete the plan to build 27 OPV, I’d say that’s money well spent. But the follow on order should be much less than the average RM 1.2 Billion for the first 6. Just wonder when the plan first surfaced in 1992, what was the projected amount for the entire project? Anyone?

    2. You should say it’s “national ……. interest” project… haha…

    3. It’s never about the capability of a specific hardware, but we always got slaughtered! I think Cougars spec, on paper is great, and I also think that it’s a better buy compare to getting the el-cheapo Mi-17, but at that price?

    4. Yup, my memory failed me on the LMS. Must be the RM/USD thingy. But honestly I’d prefer Hong Leong Lursen, if they still exist to churn out more Perdanas… haha….

    5. It’s never about the Danish vs German ships. I quote those figures to show how ridiculously expensive the deals that we’re getting. I also read somewhere about the Taiwanese Navy acquired 2 sets of Mk 41 VLS, integrated to their locally produced FCS and Sky Bow 2/3 missiles at a cost of NT 6.7 B (approx RM 750m)

    6. A400M – I don’t have the project/unit cost in my head when I wrote the earlier post. Ok, now I know it’s USD 740m, or about RM 3B! Maybe we should get some gold plated A380 to ferry our troops?

    Again, I’m not talking about the merit of each of the hardware, as I believe even Laksamana, if work as advertised should be quite capable. It’s also the first ship in RMN’s fleet to have a capability to shoot down an air target beyond the meager 6km of seawolf. The problem is when MAF asked for mee goreng, politicians + businessmen fed MAF with roti kosong, but at RM 10 per piece.

    Just for a laugh, previously when all these were mentioned in some other ‘you know who’ die-hard fan forums they will always throw in silly points like:
    – transfer of technology (just funny what kind of technology have we mastered, and put to good and economical use, ever?)
    – top secret deal with super feature enabled (baja hitam jump out?)
    – send astronaut to taste roti canai
    – Our Scorpene with AIP, that’s why it’s expensive (in future, next century maybe and forget about Mr. Baginda’s cut)

  25. @ joe

    ” As for Aussie Tigers, I read once before the ADF weren’t satisfied with the uptime of these maintenance intensive choppers throughout their service period ”

    Basically there is no low maintenance attack choppers, period. If you think tigers are maintenance intensive, that is really nothing compared to the apaches.

  26. ……,

    The intention is to spend the bare minimum on them. Only what is needed to keep them operational for a few more years. Their hulls and other parts are worn out; thus the RMN has no intention of spending more than the bare minimum. Until the class received new directors only the GPMGs could be fired. Laksamana crews jokingly called their ships FAC (GPMG). At least with a stand alone main gun working the class can perform routine patrol duties and doesn’t have to rely on just GPMGs.

    The MKMs. I have pointed this out before. The IAF helped with a maintenance syllabus, not a combat one. One reason we asked for IAF help was because they had already various manuals translated into English and already had written their own syllabus. The help they provided not only complemented but was more useful than that provided by the Russians.

    In addition to the MAWS the SM will still have components/systems that are different the MKM.


    I wouldn’t call them “tank busters”. Dedicated gunships are intended to perform roles like armed recce, flank protection and close support (in addition to their anti tank capabilities) in a higher threat environment than would be possible with a light attack/scout helicopter.

    Light attack helicopters rely on speed, surprise and concealment to survive. It’s not only MANPADs but also small arms fire that can cause damage. At the altitudes light attack helicopters fly, hitting them with a missile can be problematic.

    Also, with our landscape where there are lots of trees, the use of a missile would require a firing point which is not obscured or restricted by trees or vegetation. In other words, open spaces.

  27. joe,

    Isn’t just the ”upkeep” which has been a problem. They were not getting the capability they wanted due to various factors. There were/are technical, integration (even integrating Western to Western stuff can be an issue at times) support and other issues.

    In our context operating a fleet of dedicated attack helicopters will be expensive and resource intensive. We need the trained manpower, the ground support infrastructure and adequate funds to operate and maintain them. Then we’ll have to ensure they operate seamlessly alongside our other assets and are fully integrated. Unless these essentials are not met, we’ll not be able to take full advantage of the capabilities offered.

    Bear in mind that the army’s air corps is a small unit with limited resources. Even to operate ex RMAF Nuris stretched its resources and took time. At it stands, the fact remains (most will agree) that dedicated attack helicopters should not be a priority and that the army would be better off focusing on other areas. Even we did buy any it would probably be a token 8 or less (another “neither here nor there” and a “bit of everything but not enough of anything” situation); enough for training and to have some level of capability but nothing more, should a serious threat arise.

    In addition to Rooivalk we looked at Apache. The Defence Minister went for a ride in one and if I’m not mistaken; we were the first regional country to be offered and cleared for an Apache sale, in the mid-1990’s.

  28. @ hornet lover

    1. The best cost of the meko 100, fully armed with exocet and RAM as planned would not be less than usd300 million each.

    3. It was bought during which we preferred anything french/european. At the time i would have preferred the Mi-17 due to the better utility of the tail ramp.

    4. The shipyard is still around, although no longer owned by hong leong or luerssen. Last FAC it sold was a jerong derivative with more modern superstructure sold to nigeria via a singapore intermediary.

    5. If you see the price of the meko 100 for brazil, you will see that we got the gowinds at a reasonable price.

    6. Is that the cost of our A400M? I have read something like 2.5x of that.

    @ azlan

    ” In addition to the MAWS the SM will still have components/systems that are different the MKM ”

    Latest SM versions,yes. But the 1st few (like the 1st 30) has all the thales hardware as the MKM, even the damocles pod, only to be substituted with russian ones after france cut off all sales due to the annexation of crimea.

  29. …….

    Yes the ramp is very useful for loading stuff on and off. I thought so too. With a rear ramp free fall training can also be done. With the Nuris it is done (Gerak Khas , PASKAU and PASKAL) but the rotor wash makes it tricky when jumping from the side door. Free fall training is also occasionally done from BOMBAs ex Kazakh Hips. These have a rear ramp.

    Had we been serious about the MiLs we would have had to do a comparison as to how much it would cost to operate and maintain them throughout their expected 20-25 year service life; in comparison to the Cougar.

    Cheaper to buy yes but cheaper to operate in the long run, probably not. We clearly saw that with the Fulcrums and to some extent with the MKMs. If no integration and certification for non Western parts required then this would have greatly simplified things but we know this wouldn’t have been the case.

    In addition to integration and certification of the Western components; the lower MTBF and TBO of the engine, gear and other components would have had to be taken into account to get a accurate and realistic figure.

    Another problem would have been the inability of the Russians to supply a flight simulator (the kind we would have wanted – similar to the Western type ones we already had) so we would have had to look elsewhere (just a question of cash) and Russian help would have been needed as flight data and other stuff would have had to be shared with the simulator’s OEM.

    On the MKMs, stuff (apart from the MAWS) that only we operate would include things like the Rohde & Scwartz radios, a different Indian flight computer and other minor stuff. Stuff that doesn’t have to be taken into account when writing a combat syllabus but stuff only we operate, nonetheless.

  30. @… & Azlan

    Which bring me to the point that going for dedicated tank busters, even used ones, is just insane. If even Aussies with their superior budget can’t keep the Tigers in a satisfactory uptime, whatmore can our measly OPEX budget do? After a few years, they would be nonfunctional and left to rot in some hangar like the Fulcrums.

    AFAIK the TDM doctrine back in the 90s did call for attack choppers which brought the government’s attention to the Rooivalk. I’m not sure if the TDM had change that requirement for the current but as the MD530s were greelighted, perhaps it was still there in their plan. Realistically we can’t afford to buy, use, maintain & sustain dedicated attack chopper platforms like Apache & Tiger so a lightweight compromise is the next best option compared to… well, nothing. Even then, such is the case that we buy just enough for all to be used operationally, unfortunately we don’t have the money to buy more for reserves.

    As for the tank buster role, IINM Apache was specified as an infantry battlefield support and has tank busting role from the onset. From the beginning it was designed to fire TOW missiles before the Hellfire was created specifically for it (I recalled seeing a photo of the prototype unit mounted with TOW launchers). The Tiger was just an European mimic of the Apache in form and function.

  31. hi,what is the story here actually???we paid the heli but late delivery??or we paid more than we should have??

    They want something done what I have no idea. My guess is that they want an investigation into the case and charges be laid. That depends on the public prosecutor finding thatsomeone had done something wrong. If no charges is laid they want to show to the public that they are working

  32. @joe
    Rooivalk is an utter failure.

    Eurocopter Tiger? No bloody way. They and everybody else have had too much trouble with those things for me to feel comfortable with them.

    Apaches at least are very combat proven.

    @Hornet Lover
    Why would you want the Baden-Wurttembergs? They are much too big and built for a totally different mission. We don’t need a 127mm gun and they only carry RAM missiles, MICA is more capable.

    Maybe the Incheon-class deserves some consideration. Similar specced ships.

    But the towed array sonar could have jacked up the price on our Gowinds considerably, those things don’t come cheap. (Along with the European premium of course.)

    Rooivalk is not an utter failure. It’s a reminder however that in this world that money, lots of it is everything

  33. @ azlan

    In the hindsight there was tussle at the time between kazan and ulan ude agents. There are also reports of low quality of mi-17/171 built after 2010. As for the simulators, now you can get good mi-17 simulators from countries such as czech.

    More on the MKM, it does not have indian flight computers, all russian. Indian MKI have russian main and indian backup computer. Another different item is the thales IFF. But that does not change the way you use the aircraft.

    @ chua

    I concur with marhalim. Rooivalk has the potential to be a great attack helicopter. It combines the known powertrain of the super puma with bespoke airframe and combat systems. The combat system was further developed into what has become the airbus Hforce helicopter weapons system and the very scary algerian super hind attack helicopter. IMO it could be better than the tiger if there are more customers.

    SAF Rooivalk even seemed to have better serviceable rates than the Aussie Tigers, when they have the funds to maintain them properly of course. And it has been deployed in combat for UN missions, some thing not even the Oz Tigers had done.

  34. @Chua
    Utter failure? Well somewhat. When it was proposed to us, it was still in development and remained in development for a very long time. Just only a couple of years ago did it obtained ATGM capability. If we had bought it then, we would get a half past 6 platform with problems to iron out way over the warranty period. I guess only the SAF can stomach such conditions because they had no other options then, and since so much money had been sunk in, so better to complete the job even if its for just 12 examples.

    From a technical PoV they were quite successful being designed to be a very mechanically simple & reliable aircraft with low level maintenance as compared to Apaches & Tigers. But commercially they were hampered by their principal (Eurocopter) which has their own attack chopper. Eurocopter threatened to not provide support nor warranty for the Puma derived rotor systems in the Rooivalk.

    Back to the MD530s. This looks like will be a long drawn out wayang. I hope there isn’t more wayangs for the M109s and the ScanEagles, or the further units for LCS. Ahh, speaking of wayang on the LCS, has the MICA VL issue been resolved?

  35. joe – “Eurocopter threatened to not provide support nor warranty for the Puma derived rotor systems in the Rooivalk”

    Maybe but by that time Denel was already fully self sufficient in producing Oryx and all the needed parts/components without any reliance on Aerospatiale.
    Technically Rooivalk was based on Oryx, which in turn was based on Puma.

    Denel was also offering for export Oryx and as a sweetener was willing to let AIROD assemble it if we bought Rooivalk. Even if it objected on the grounds that Oryx was a reverse engineered Puma; there was nothing Aerospatiale could do as Denel was not reliant on it.

    We can safely say that there won’t be any “wayang” with the M109s and Scaneagles as the former was acquired under EDA on a government to government level and the latter were acquired by the U.S. government for us.

  36. @ azlan

    The Oryx is basically a remanufactured puma helicopter with super puma engine and gearboxes, giving it good hot and high performance. I don’t think Denel has ever built one totally from scratch. Letting AIROD assemble Oryx? Hmm probably from a mix of used and new parts for the fuselage from South Africa, and listing all the parts we need to buy direct from Eurocopter for the rest! BTW there is a source for new puma fuselage, from IAR Romania. Also the Korean Surion KUH is basically a license-built puma with US engines.

  37. …….

    Yes I’m aware Oryx is a Puma or rather a reversed engineered clone. This is what I said I’m my previous post – “ Rooivalk was based on Oryx, which in turn was based on Puma”.

    Denel in some way or the other, was able to produce further Oryxs if needed and to maintain the ones the SAAF had, plus the needed spares without any reliance on Puma’s OEM, then Aeropastiale. During that period I remember a briefing given – on the sidelines of DSA – by ARMSCOR officials which indicated as such.

    A problem is that any Oryx customers would probably have come under French pressure. On paper if we had bought Oryx and later experienced spares issues, we could have turned to IPTN.

  38. ….,, – “that does not change the way you use the aircraft”

    No and I clearly. did say as such.

    I merely pointed out that there are components apart from the MAWS that are different, because you initially only mentioned the MAWS.

    It was Ulan Ude which would have got the MiL contract. Kazan was never in the running; neither during that period or years later when we eventually selected Cougar. A local company did try to form a partnership with Kazan but AIROD (with government and Rosvooruzhenie backing) reached a deal with Ulan Ude on future collaboration.

    Even when Dr.M. visited Russia in 1999 he was shown an Ulan Ude MiL. It was during that visit that Bernama reported we might be buying “Su-27s” and “MiL-8s.

    Back to Oryx and Puma; yes we can say that Oryx is Puma, just like how Adnan is a M113. In reality although Oryx was based on Puma’s airframe it was also a very different platform containing various major differences; just like how although Adnan shares the M113’s lineage, both are ultimately very different.

  39. @Azlan
    It might sound like they manufactured their indigenous weapons industry from scratch but in reality they had a lot of clandestine support. They certainly didn’t have the capacity to reverse engineer the Super Puma and manufacture it from scratch into the Oryx (which the Rooivalk rotor systems are based on). Much of the essential components were supplied by Aerospatiale and they had threatened to pull this vital supply chain.

    For EDA, we had have wayang stories before; remember the Skyhawk fiasco? ScanEagles, well its ours, as long as we continue to play nice with Uncle Sam until we receive all of them.

  40. @ azlan

    ” Yes I’m aware Oryx is a Puma or rather a reversed engineered clone ”

    It is not a clone, as each and every Oryx started life as a puma. It is just a rebuilt puma, period. It basically combines the short fuselage of the puma, with longer tail boom, engine and transmission of the super puma. No Oryx has ever been built from scratch, ie not rebuilt from a puma.

    ” During that period I remember a briefing given – on the sidelines of DSA – by ARMSCOR officials which indicated as such ”

    Then there must be some “catch” somewhere as even up till now they did not manage to build a new Oryx from scratch. Probably the proposed malaysian Oryx would be the 1st newbuilt?

  41. Chua,

    “Combat proven” against opponents who were outclassed, outgunned and which has lost control of the skies.

    Iraq highlighted the vulnerabilities of even the most capable gunships. At Karbala, against a well prepared enemy, an Apache was shot down and almost all the rest suffered damage. The Iraqis had NVGs, used cell phones to communicate and switched off and on town’s power grid to alert the ambush team. The Apaches of course never suffered such a setback again but lessons were learnt.

    Rooivalk from the onset was designed to be operated in austere conditions and maintained by conscripts. Intended to be simple to maintain and to have minimal systems as possible – less systems means less things to maintain and less things that can beak down. Initially there were no plans for a Mast Mounted Sight because it was felt that gaining access to it in the field would be problematic; requiring a ladder and special tools.

    It was a blessing in disguise we didn’t buy it because it was still being developed and the only reason we wanted it was because of Dr.M’s close personal ties with Mandela and because of the technology Denel could have provided. That was a period when post Apartheid South Africa saw us as a lucrative market and we of them as a technology provider.

    This however is in hindsight. Maybe if we had bought it others would have followed and Denel would have had the funds for further R&D. I still remember the adrenaline rush I had seeing it fly at LIMA.

  42. @ joe

    ” For EDA, we had have wayang stories before; remember the Skyhawk fiasco? ”

    That fiasco was all of our own doing. There is nothing wrong with the aircraft, if it was maintained as what it should be. We did not plan for the operational and sustainment costs for them. While the skyhawk and upgrades by grumman was comparatively cheap, operating 40 jet fighters was a shock to our budget. The facilities in Kuantan was barely enough for all of them, and a lot is parked in the hot sun and pouring rain. A lot of the time those skyhawks is flown with many parts Inop (inoperable), which endangers the pilots who flew them. That was a very steep learning curve for us, and hopefully a lesson no one would forget. Buying hardwares is one thing, having enough budget to operate and maintain them is another.

    wait for it….

  43. @…
    What I heard the actual buy was double that figures, but it didn’t include spares and after sales support by MD. Supposedly SG A-4s were bought in the same program but look at how dignified their planes are, serving until just recently retired. Their purchase were made with more foresight for sustainability (and with further support from Israel). I agree though, I hope that we have learnt a good lesson from it

    It’s not what you heard they actually bought some 80 odd airframes but only 40 odd were put into service

  44. @ joe

    Singapore initially bought an even older version (A-4B) starting mid-70s. They appointed Lockheed to upgrade theirs initially. After having engine issues, it was further upgraded locally with non-afterburning hornet engine. In total Singapore bought about 150 skyhawks, although only about 2/3 is upgraded, rest used as spares.

    Ours are mostly an upgraded A-4L version, based on the A-4C. We contracted Grumman to upgrade ours to A-4PTM standard. All in we were allocated 88 airframes, initial plans are to refurbish/upgrade 60+, but in the end we settle for 40, with the rest to be used as spares. We did bring back around 12 for spares in addition to the 40. the rest was sold to private companies or for scrap.

    Skyhawks are very economical and easy to operate and maintain, that is why plenty is still flying with private contractors such as Draken.

  45. The “Skyhawk” fiasco involved no “wayang” during their selection and purchase; like what is happening now with the MD53”s. The problems we encountered happened after we received them and were due to to technical issues. The Scaneagles are being negotiated and bought by Uncle Sam with zero involvement from us. All we’ll do it is to accept delivery and operate them. The potential trouble – same goes with the M109s – will come later if the purchase of spares are delayed because of funding.

    Yes support issues are very vital and budgets have to be catered with this in mind. Whether it’s a LIFT, MRCA or MBT all new gen ones contain much more systems than earlier ones. That in turn results in the need for highly trained manpower and various test/support equipment. In other words all these new stuff are much more resource intensive.

    We did include a spares package with the A4s when we bought them. After the crashes a Board of Inquiry (with RNZAF participation) was formed. This recommended a new engine. The government decided against it. The reason the RSAF’s A4s served longer is because a decision was made. On our part the government has no desire to keep the A4s in service for a longer period or to upgrade them.

    Interestingly the RMAF at first was interested in A7s but had to settle for A4s. Whether the A7 (a larger plane) would have been more of a success in RMAF service compared to the A4 is something we can only speculate about. The RTN had a large A7 fleet but this became in-operational due to the issues of spares.

  46. @Marhalim
    Haha, well I don’t have first hand account on that issue so I can just claim that I heard about it. I also heard we never got the refund for those 40+ we didn’t get.
    Kinda boggles the mind if we have had that extra funds to get spareparts instead of more derelict airframes or even bring these back for cannibalisation purpose.

    So is the MD530 another case of “paying but not getting” all over again?

    Didn’t you read what I wrote in the post

  47. @ joe

    What refund you are talking about??

    You have 10 broken handphones. You just have money to repair 6 of them. After receiving the 6 repaired handphones, now you ask for refund for 4 more unrepaired handphones. Isnt that illogical?

    There is no many fictional stories about malaysian skyhawks. Among them is we “lost” the 48 skyhawks that is not refurbished by Grumman.

    We were allocated 88 skyhawks by USA. We only have the budget to upgrade only 40 of them. About 12-15 others is also bought back for spares. The rest we or somebody from the malaysian government sold them off as scrap or some bought by private parties and flown. Also it is not entirely the issue of spare parts. The engine is 50s tech and not reliable. Starting A-4E version it got a more modern and reliable engine (israeli, indonesian, aussie, kiwi and kuwait have this engine version), but malaysian are the based on the A-4C. The same reason why singapore reengined their skyhawks.

    Picture below one of a few malaysian ex desert boneyard skyhawks (not the 40 refurbished by grumman) repaired and still flown today.

  48. And the reason why a Board Of Inquiry recommended new engines for ours.

    We had several interested buyers for the ones we didn’t bring home but getting Uncle Sam approval took years. As late as 1995 or maybe later (I have the NST cutting) the Defence Minister mentioned this to the press.

  49. “Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) menahan dua individu yang dikaitkan dengan pembelian enam helikopter bernilai lebih RM300 juta pada 2016 yang masih belum diterima Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM) sehingga kini.”

    got new update on this news??some people already been probe….so what happen actually??

    As I mentioned in the story I will not follow up on the story as I cannot get updates from SPRM directly.

  50. @…
    It is a well-told myth – in fact, probably the most popular version of the story – that the great evil USA cheated us of half our Skyhawks, instigated by the Singaporeans who objected to us receiving so many.

    Not saying it is true. But this is the tale that is told.

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