Selamat Jalan Fulcrum, Finally?

SHAH ALAM: Selamat Jalan Fulcrum, Finally? Even though RMAF has not officially said that its MIG-29 Fulcrum have been retired, we have not seen them flying since late 2016. And despite an attempt to put them back into service, it appears that the end is finally here. During the last two years, Malaysian Defence has posted at least four articles on the Fulcrum, here, here, here and here.

An MB-339CM and a MIG-29N Fulcrum demonstrates the interception at the NCO demonstration ceremony at Kuantan airbase in May, 2016.

It is interesting to note that even with RMAF reluctance in prolonging the service lives of the Fulcrums, there was an attempt in the background to get the funds for just that purpose. It was so advanced, I was told that it was included in the Defence Ministry plans prior to the general elections. The plan involved the cooperation of an Eastern European which has the expertise in upgrading Fulcrums.

No 17 Skuadron Fulcrums – M40-10- and M40-16 – taking part in the rehearsal on Feb 25, 2016.

Indeed I was told that it could have been funded if the previous government remained in power. It must be noted that even though Tun Mahathir Mohamad has on record supported the idea of not retiring the Fulcrums prior to the May 9 general elections he did not get involved when the matter was discussed by the current leadership at Jalan Padang Tembak.

A four ship of MiG-29 aircraft from the Royal Malaysian Air Force(RMAF) aerobatic display team the “Smokey Bandits” perform during the 2012 Singapore Airshow on Feb. 15, 2012. The RMAF feature the worlds only female MiG-29 pilot, Maj. Patricia Yap Syau Yin. USAF picture

I was told the current leadership had deferred to the RMAF when the discussions on the issue came about. So it appears that the plan to revive the Fulcrums is now dead.

Two Fulcrums taking off for the flypast during RMAF anniversary parade in June 1, 2016. One of the last time Malaysian Defence saw the Fulcrums flying.

On whether the plan to sell the Fulcrums to India remains on the table however is beyond me. My guess is that it will not happened as I was told that we need the approval of the Russians (similar with our arrangement with other arms sellers of course). As for the Flanker upgrades I am told that it is still classified as KIV as we still got another six to rely on for the next few years.

–Malaysian Defence

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