KUANTAN: RMAF chief Tan Sri Roslan Saad today announced that its fleet of Russian made Mig-29 Fulcrums will slowly be phased out of service instead of being retired.
He said the retirement of the Fulcrums will only be finalised after a full report is submitted to the Defence Ministry. As of now there is no firm retirement date for the 17 Skdn aircraft.
“We have been easing the MIG from service for the last three or four years. As far as I am concerned the Mig-29 is at the end of its service life. We will slowly phased out the aircraft,” he said a press conference after a parade to mark the 58th anniversary of the RMAF at the airbase here.
Three Fulcrums flew in the flypast for the parade while two more were on static display. Three more Fulcrums were on static display, two in the hangar while the third was part of the open day display.
Apart from the Fulcrums, the fly past for the parade include the Hornets, Flankers, PC-7 Mk IIs, EC725 and Nuri helicopters.
RMAF personnel at the parade including the top brass wore the new RMAF digital camouflage uniform which became official starting on June 1. The uniform will replaced the blue uniforms used mostly by the RMAF Provost Marshall and PASKAU. Other units will also used the digital camo during field training.
The Flanker also performed two aerobatic displays during the Kuantan airbase open day as part of the anniversary celebrations.
At least six of the Fulcrums had been service for the last 10 years from 18 procured in 1993. Two were lost in accidents.
Retirement is not the usual RMAF style as I had reported before so it will not be surprising that the Fulcrums will also fade away instead of leaving the stage in a blaze of glory. It had happened to the F-5, the RMAF first supersonic jet.
On the MRCA, Roslan said they were in the final evaluation phase although the government has yet to allocate the funding for the programme. The MRCA is main priority of the RMAF in the RMK11 apart from the MPA, AEW and new ground radars.
RMAF according to Roslan were still considering four candidates namely the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, Boeing Super Hornets and the Saab Gripen. He said the number of MRCA to be procured will be 18.
Meanwhile, the third Airbus Defence and Space A400M airlifter for RMAF is expected to be flown home by third week of June. Roslan also said two new Pilatus PC-7 Mk II turbo trainers arrived in Alor Setar today. Three more are expected by July.
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