Singapore Cleared To Buy 12 F-35Bs

A USMC F-35B landing. US Navy

SHAH ALAM: Singapore cleared to buy 12 F-35Bs. The US State Department on Jan.9 announced the possible sale of 12 Lockheed Martin F-35Bs to Singapore, of about $2.75 billion (RM11.2 billion).

The State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the possible in a notification to the US Congress, which will need to approve the sale. The deal include up to 12 F-35 Bs – four initially, with an option for another eight and 13 F135 engines, along with electronic warfare systems, the Autonomic Logistics Information System, training systems, software development, personnel training, among others. The four aircraft will be based in the US, at an airbase, the location of which yet to be announced

One of the two USMC F-35Bs at the Singapore Airshow 2018.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States,” DSCA said in a statement. “Singapore is a strategic friend and Major Security Cooperation Partner and an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Two US Marines F-35Bs were on static together with two F-22 (not seen) at Singapore Airshow 2018.

It must be noted that the sale has yet to take place but as most of you are aware, Singapore has been looking to buy the F-35s for a decade now and this is the latest step towards signing the deal. As the F-35s are more expensive than the F-16s, the talk is that Singapore will not be replacing their Vipers on one to one basis. That said we will have to see what the future will bring.
A USMC F-35B flying over Kota Belud during live firing exercise in 2018.

Once the sale is completed, Singapore will be the first country in Southeast Asia to put a stealth fighter into service. It will be joining Australia, Japan and South Korea as the Asia Pacific operators of the Lightning II. It will be the first F-35B STOVL operator in Asia though as the others are operating the A variant of the F-35.
F-35B Lighting II from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), gives a hand signal for take off, aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD2) during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2018, August 17, 2018.

Japan is reported to be interested in the B variant of the F-35 as well though it has not contracted any aircraft for the moment. The F-35Bs of the USMC were involved in an exercise in Sabah, in August, 2018.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2227 Articles
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  1. This is basically a confirmation of what has been speculated all along. Singapore was interested in the STOVL capability of the F-35B.

    With a DSCA notification this early, it looks like Singapore will be likely to get its F-35B before 2025.

    Things to look for after this is whether singapore will acquire its own large LPD ship to host the F-35B. This will also make the HMS Queen Elizabeth deployment in South China Sea next year a bit more interesting to follow.

    Now singapore has started the ball rolling for stealth fighters in south east asia. Next would be Indonesia with its K-FX/I-FX. As of malaysia, we will be busy with LCA up till 2030. In 2030 we will be surrounded by nations fielding stealth fighters while we barely completes replacing our hawks and MB339s.

    Now on to the cost. As you can see, 12 F-35Bs (which is the most expensive version of the F-35) costs about USD2.75 billion. That is about 1.5 times of the total development budget of TUDM for 5 year rancangan malaysia plans! If we struggle to get budgets for LCA and MPA, and complain that the operating cost of submarines is RM100 million per year, then we can forget about stealth fighters, and start practicing on how to wave the white flag.

  2. “Things to look for after this is whether singapore will acquire its own large LPD ship to host the F-35B.”

    There will be two JMMS vessels as outlined in the SAF 2030 announcement a few years back.

  3. Don’t panic please,but we must improve our own hardware and software with our own little budget, whether like it or not.
    Owning an F35 squadron required billions of RM and RMAF might looking other options.

  4. Don’t want too much for now but I hope RMAF can get at least 10 F-18 Hornet from Kuwait or Aussie in 2020 – 2022.

  5. The Singapore Minister of Defence had in fact just announced that Singapore could be getting new LPDs . Ostensibly its for heli . At least 6 heli. For the purpose of command n control n for humanitarian gunctions. But media also mentioned that the F35Bs can use such LPDs too just like the marine. So with the new LPDs Singapore will be the only nation with a naval strike capability

  6. @…
    Money is the big issue here. No money no fighter jets. Maybe MOF can start saving to buy what RMAF wants. When the special tabung achieves at least RM10 billions in 1 to 3 years and fighters jets more matured we can have better options then now. Just my dua kupang view. It is good to see RMAF gets new toys in future. But money from the special tabung must use to buy fighter jets and not another thing.

  7. 12 F-35Bs as a “naval strike capability” is not much. (Then again, this is possibly just an initial batch.) At the very least they can be used as electronic attack aircraft and mini-AWACS in conjunction with the F-15SGs, which I suggest is a far more important role for them.

  8. @A..Yeah lets get em if its still up for grab..we must be quick or someone else will take it or maybe already did..

    TBH i dont wanna belittle our airforce’s, defmin’s effort to beef up our airforce as a whole but all the process seems to take so many years to even decide what airframe we/the airforce really need/want..always with kajian thing when our neighbours moving forward..anything will do for please

  9. congrats to RSAF. with this,hope people in mindef and politician see the price of the military equipment and the need to plan the procurement long before the actual buying. dont fret when seeing the price tag of the hardware or the operational cost since what you buy was for insurance in case something bad happen.

    Our politicians are aware of the cost of defence equipment. Bukit Mertajam MP during the Defence White Paper debate said fighters and submarines are expensive so there was no need to buy them. The Deputy Defence Minister also told the same thing in Dewan Negara last month, maintaining submarines were costly so the Ministry didn’t plan to buy any more submarines. Singapore understand this also, that is why their defence budget is much higher than us. As a small nation they understand that if they could be swallowed up if its neighbours threatened them. We on the other hand think that war will never come to us and spending money on arms will only enrich the merchants and thats one of the reason we established our own defence industry so some of that money could be spend locally though it was never enough for the long run or be cheap enough for ROI.

  10. @ Loke JMMS is a LHD.Will it operate F35B? Last i hear..yes. But landing and take off only and temporary storage.F35b will be at Tengah or Changi.
    @ Chua More than 12. Right now Sg Mindef doing the review as mention by defend minister. The situation region has worsen. Worst we can no longer trust some friends..

  11. Given its long standing policy of maintaining an edge over its neighbours and worries over China: would have been surprising if Singapore didn’t get the F-35!

    The main difference between Singapore and others who plan to get LO platforms is that Singapore has the needed infrastructure in place. The F-35s will be connected to other fighters, AEW platforms, land and sea based sensors and UASs. Important to keep in mind that it’s not the actual fighter itself (“stealth”/LO is not a panacea) that makes the difference but it’s “systems”; I.e. the overall networked environment its operating in.

  12. @Lee Yoke Meng
    We have to see in details what LPD are they getting. LPDs in general are not suited for STOVL aircraft unlike LPH. Even then, some chopper carriers are not built from start to handle F-35s (Canberra class) and will require extensive modifications to do so (Izumo-class).

  13. marhalim: if that is the stance of the new govt,then i guess no need for me to keep feeling optimistic then. i thought some would have sane mind to find way to help our army getting what they want or at least compromise a little bit. but this is plain sad.

  14. Current Endurance lst = actually lpd
    JMMS (Joint Multi Mission Ship)=some fancy name to cover fact as lhd to replace current endurance class
    MRCV(Multi Role Combat Vessel) =some fancy name to cover a very large stealth frigate tat ard 5000 to 6000 tons or above. Some navy classify this class as destroyer. To replacing Victory korvet.

  15. “fighters and submarines are expensive so there was no need to buy them”
    I better go sharpen my keris & tombak making skills. I’ll bet my handmade military equipment will be far far more affordable than a billion RM stealth plane so I am very certain it will pass muster thru our esteemed Menhan & Dep Menhan very strict and scrutinous selection process.

  16. zack- “: if that is the stance of the new govt,then i guess no need for me to keep feeling optimistic”

    Did you really expect otherwise?

    The current government is just following through with long-standing policy : defence is something we should only spend on when or if extra funds are there. When funds are not there we should spend the bare minimum. Not surprising given Mahathir is the PM and when DAP (includes several individuals with an anti pathetic view on defence) is part of the government. Not helping matters is that the bulk of the voter base, for which the politicians depends on to remain in power, couldn’t care less.

  17. @joe
    Juan Carlos/Canberra-class actually would be a good baseline to start for SG to consider as it is natively a STOVL carrier. That’s why it has a ramp.

  18. @joe

    But anyway, the govt IS planning to procure assets. It’s a far cry from your friends at MMP who literally thought that if PH took over we will basically abolish defence spending. Plus you seem unaware that these things cost a lot of money, it’s not like you asking mummy for toys from pasar malam, it’s not the same as that. Atleast more responsible kids will have options laid out, but you probably direct negotiate and the uncle give you some stupid lousy toy at double the price.

  19. @ chua

    It is actually called a ski jump.

    @ azlan

    Yesterday mat sabu told the press that kementah has no budget in RMK12 to buy helicopters for nuri replacement.

    If menhan really knows what resources that he has, there are plenty of ways to get additional helicopters without ever needing to rent or even to use development budgets.

    What can be done:

    1. Free transfer (as a reparation for the LCS delays) or asset swaps with boustead for their EC225LP (for TUDM) and AS332 (for TLDM Maritime Utility Helicopter requirements) helicopters (from Boustead subsidiary MHS Helicopters)

    2. Request for transfer of the to be retired Australian Army Sikorsky S-70A-9 Blackhawks to Malaysian Army PUTD.

    3. Request for US Excess Defence Articles (US EDA) of the US army blackhawks.

  20. ….

    We can safely rule options 1 & 2 out. On paper the option is there but in reality there will be concerns over long term operating/maintenance costs associated with airframes of that age. The last thing the bureaucrats or the RMAF would want is to gain short term costs savings only to find that in the long run there are various issues to consider.

    I suspect that funds for a Nuri replacement will be found but at the expense of something else. The politicians are wholly to blame as they were the ones who kept cutting back all those years to the extent that the list of things that need immediate replacement or will need to be retired on the coming years due to age and costs issues has grown longer

  21. Sadly when neighbours are keep pace with updated platform or at least moving forward, RMAF even must to rent helos to replace the nuri.

  22. Off topic

    Iran has admitted it mistakenly shot down the ukrainian Boeing 737.

    A big reason why having SAMs are very dangerous if you dont have operators who knows various aircaft silhouettes by heart, units having proper aircraft identification systems (IFF and ADS-B) and robust situational awareness with civilian air controls.

    On the other hand. When can we have the same admission regarding MH17? If Iran can man up and admit to its mistake, will Russia do the same?

  23. We can’t seem to prioritise. Thus my term “a bit of everything but not enough of anything” to describe how we go about procurement.

    At least the RMAF has its Cougars. The army put in so much work and effort in training crews to operate and support the Nuri only to have the fleet grounded after a few years.

    The whole point of the Nuri upgrade (first proposed in the 1990’s and again in the 2000’s) was to extend its service life by making it more economical and less maintenance intensive to fly and support. If the Nuri upgrade has proceeded as planned in the mid 2000’s would we have retired/grounded them in 2019? Also whose decision was it to retire it : the RMAF or the pen pushing bureaucrats who decided that the outflow of funds for support wasn’t worth it? All these years the RMAF has been sticking to the same script; saying the Nuri could be flown for quite a few years left and only needed an upgrade

    I believe this time around it was the RMAF which decided to retire the Nuri. RMAF had actually wanted to buy 24 Cougars when it bought them in 2010. However it was decided then only 12 will be bought.

  24. Why would Russia do the same?

    It’s a permanent member of the Security Council (has much more diplomatic leverage) and its economy is not as stretched it under pressure as Iran’s. Russia admitting it gave Buks to separatists could lead to a whole chain reaction that would be detrimental to its national interests placing in a weakened position at a time when it’s in a geopolitical competition with the West. . The Iranians had no room to move; they were under immense diplomatic pressure and knew that other countries had some proof and would eventually release it : nothing to gain by continuing with its denials.

    On the shoot down we don’t know yet the circumstances behind it. Was it caused by nervous and trigger happy personnel who were on heightened alert? Was it caused by a flaw in the actual AD network or the actual decision making command set up? Did they even determine it was a airliner which had just taken off?

    Even in the best of times with assets that should have prevented such incidents; ensuring such incidents don’t happen is not easy. A low flying Tornado on its way back got hit by a Patriot because its IFF wasn’t switched on and a billion dollar cruiser designed to simultaneously deal with dozens of Soviet strike assets shot down a Iranian airliner whilst in Iranian waters.

  25. @Chua
    Yeah, the Juan Carlos were designed for STOVL planes but the Canberras weren’t outfitted for it. The Aussies had considered modifying for STOVL deployment like Izumo but decided the cost of upgrading was too high. So even if SG decided on a thru deck ship, it cannot be assumed it would be used with the F-35Bs. Anyways, the JMMS image as provided by SG Mindef points towards a MRSS config (ala Makassar) rather than a thru deck ship.

    Planning is one thing, really executing is another. And really executing to a sufficient level is yet another. Its like that uncle that you really like because he was friendly to all, but during CNY he gives you a 50sen angpau. If you ask him why, he will say 50sen was plenty back in his days and kids spend too much money nowadays so to curb their habits, parents and guardians should give them barely enough money to survive.

  26. @…
    “will Russia do the same?”
    Admitting to mistakenly firing their own missile in their own country airspace comes with far less fallout than admitting getting actively involved in another country’s affairs and arming the rebels with high end weaponry.

  27. Marhalim,

    If I recall the narrative correctly the plan was for the RMAF to first get a batch of SAR/CSAR configured platforms (the NH90 was looked at) with the Nuris all eventually going to the army. The RMAF would focus on special forces insertion and SAR/CSAR whilst the army world meet its own air light needs with the Nuri – that was the plan.

    Then the Cougar entered the scene (an agreement in principle was reached for an initial 12 followed by a follow on 12 the following Malaysia Plan) and the army was not ready for the Nuri due to manpower and infrastructure issues. The army of course didn’t want the Nuri but had no say in the matter.

    If I recall correctly also initially one of the requirement was for a ramp equipped helicopter but it was later amended allowing the EC725 to take part instead of the NH90. The odds on favourite before it was amended was the EH101, now known as the AW101, I was told. As for the Nuri going to the Army yes it was part of the deal to allow Nuri to continue service.

  28. I say let’s just get a bunch of Aero L-39NG for advanced training and light combat roles for now. Until we have the budget for air superiority fighters. Since the budget is our issue for now. The hourly operation cost for an Aero L-39NG is just $2500 and a unit cost around $12mil if I’m not mistaken. Our pilots can train more without burning a hole in our pocket. We can maintain the existing F18, MKM and Hawks.

  29. @ azlan

    ” We can’t seem to prioritise ”

    The nuri can be flown for many more years. The problem is that there is no money for upgrades. Spares is a problem if you insist on buying them, rather than asking friendly countries to transfer their unneeded Seaking spares to us (Japan, UK and Canada comes to mind). As we have no money for upgrades, it is a given that we have no money for nuri replacements too. How low does our maruah is to not even have the money to replace the nuri in 2020 while our neighbours are buying F-35?

    BTW on the 1st place why is the nuri grounding still taking place? What did they actually found to have it all grounded?

    On the option of EC225LP and Blackhawks. Why do you say that they are old airframes? Aussie and US Army blackhawks are certainly much more younger than our own nuris. The oldest aussie blackhawk was built in 1987 (1 unit) and the youngest 1991. Aussie blackhawks has the seahawk rotor and transmissions, for easier use on board ships. Australia initially bought 39 S-70A-9 Blackhawks. Over the years 5 has crashed. From the remaining 34, now only 18 is still used, 16 is in storage. All aussie blackhawks are to be replaced by the NH90 in a few years time.

    IMO nuri retirement can be mitigated with minimum initial cost outlay and without having to resort to renting with:

    – 12x EC725 + 6x EC225LP (2 skuadrons)

    – 24-28x S-70A-9 Blackhawks (ex aussie)

    – 4x AS332 Super Puma (MUH requirements)

    @ hakim

    L-39NG is cheap, but it can barely serve as a fighter. It has no radar, and it can carry less armament than our hawks. What we need right now is a replacement of the hawks, mb-339 and MiG-29 tasks and function all in just 1 type of aircraft. The L-39NG cannot be that.

    RMAF has only said a technical fault was the reason for the hard landing of the Nuri last August. I am guessing its a fault that is common throughout the fleet

  30. @…
    The problem of getting used is we have to refurb them and normally this is done at the country of manufacturer or country of the last user, which in this case is either Aus or USA, both won’t come cheap enough for our government. Even the refurb for M109s can be an issue, what more for other equipments. If we didn’t have the money to upgrade our Nuris, how would we have money to refurb used Black Hawks?

    Right now the visibility I see is; no money for either buying new, upgrading Nuris or even refurb used Black Hawks (imho this is the best option). What I would suggest is for a leasing-purchase deal with US Government & Sikorsky, whereby they will foot the bill on the ex-US Black Hawk refurbs and we will lease these choppers until the lease term has been fully paid whereby then these choppers will be ours on the condition Sikorsky will be contracted to continue maintaining them.

  31. …. – “Why do you say that they are old airframes””

    Didn’t say anything about the EC225LP.

    I said that the S-70s are aged and that there’s reluctance on both the part of the government and RMAF to get them due to concerns over maintenance costs for the remainder of their service life. Ex U.S. and Aussie platforms are if courser younger than the Nuri but are still nonetheless 25-30 years old; that’s not “young”.

    The Australians in the past publicly mentioned that the
    S-70s are being replaced not only because a newer better performing platform is needed but because the S-70s are getting increasingly maintenance intensive to fly; expected given that as things get older they tend to break down more and require more checks for every hour flown.

    I also recall reading somewhere that the ADF’s S-70’s have corrosion issues in the past as well as well as issues related to fuel tank and structural issues that came with it. Whilst of course these may not be major issues it would be of concern to a new customer; especially one so under resourced as the RMAF.

    Buying used airframes would certainly be the cheaper option but if it’s going to lead to issues as these airframes enter service and get older; it will also lead to issues for us and in the long run might not be the cheaper option. We have to look at things in totality and not just on the fact that buying used is cheaper; in the short term.

    On the Nuri thread M also had something interesting to say : “No used blackhawk will be acquired. This has been clear. Building a capability on old tech adds no benefit at this point. Same goes to upgrade. It has been a dead horse only resurrected couple times by certain individuals””

    Compared to say 15 years ago the fact that the Nuri is retired is not a major blow as if would have been previously. For one the RMAF has its Cougars and army lift requirements are not as intensive as they were before 1989. The fact that the army, RMN, MMEA and Bomba has helis has also helped take some strain of the RMAF when it comes to mercy flights, SAR and HADR.

    Does the RMAF and army need more helis: of course the answer is yes and I’m convinced we’ll see a leading arrangement for a handful of helis in the short to medium term. In the long term funds to buy new can always come from cutting back on another programme (something we have had ample experience of) or even from a special allocation (has been done before).

  32. @ joe

    TUDM says that it does not have the money to upgrade its nuris…

    So you see why I suggested the blackhawks under PUTD?

    Anyway the current 18 still flyable aussie army blackhawks can be hot transferred to PUTD. Another 6 to be IRAN (Inspect and Repair As Necessary) before transferred to PUTD. Blackhawk upgrades can be had in RMK13 (2026-2030).

  33. Gentlemen,

    Once again may I remind you all, we are in a precarious economic situation (stemming from decades-long problems in our culture and society) and staring down the locked and cocked barrel of an impending global recession. Now is not the time to invest in equipment, but to be very, very wise with what resources we have.

    Christine de Pizan was an influential 15th century writer in Italy. At around the time Parameswara was fleeing Singapore, she wrote extensively on political, economic and military theory in the medieval world.

    One of the first principles she wrote is that military strength derives from economic strength. Thus a good military leader must also be a good national economist, and that it would be foolish to attempt to go to war without a solid economic foundation to fund it.

    Sounds very basic, and yet…

    The point I was making is that Canberra is a STOVL ship modified to be an amphib, if for example SG were to opt for a small ship with a ski-jump, the original Juan Carlos design would actually be a good place to start.

    Trieste is another option but it is about a third larger than the Spanish design.

    >”If Iran can man up and admit to its mistake, will Russia do the same?”

    Hardly likely, considering that Russia scolded Iran for being too sorry; according to them, Iran should have blamed USA…

  34. Chua -“Now is not the time to invest in equipment”

    Then when’s the right time? When the RM is strong and when the economy picks up? When?

    Nobody’s suggesting we go for high end stuff that might be superfluous on the current threat environment. What the armed services are seeking funding for is to get stuff we need to meet present threats/challenges/requirements. Stuff like MPAs, UASs, radars, helicopters, etc, are all vital. Funding an armed forces is a long term never ending process; we have to determine what is vital and what’s not and we have to have the political will and sense of urgency to address the most vital of requirements for stuff that is needed for our security.

  35. @ azlan

    You did say no go to option 1 and 2. My option 1 was the EC225. Or was that a typo?

    On the aussie blackhawks. It needed more corrosion maintenance compared to US Army blackhawks as it is regularly flown over water and from ships. The old fuel tank issue is about the insistance of aussie army for the blackhawk to fly with 4x (yes four) external fuel tank on the ESSS pylons. That creates extra fatigue not seen on us army blackhawks. But after they realise that, they rarely fly with 4x external tanks.

    On blackhawks as old tech? M is a military vendor, he will lose out $$$ if used helis is got for free or not through rental. I would rather fly on perceived old tech for 15-20 more years and replace it with any of those new vertical lift tilt rotor or multi rotor stuff when it is available.×682.jpg

    Mods that can be done on blackhawks:

    1. Brand new transmissions and engines. Blackhawks has no design issues like the EC225.

    2. Advanced all glass touchscreen cockpit from Garmin.

    3. Brand new high flow engine air filters.

    4. New robertson external conformal fuel tanks. No need to use ESSS pylons.

    5. External gun mount system. Mounts both gun and the ammo magazine outside the cabin. Giving more space inside the cabin.

    6. Internal cabin mounted firefighting tank. No major modification to the helicopter to use this. So the helicopters can do HADR for firefighting either nationally or internationally.

    @ chua

    The very reason why we really need to prioritise what we get with our little budget. With potential conflict at out doorstep (south china sea), we cannot afford not to upgrade out defences. Now is not the time to think about local industries or what not, the very integrity of our country is at risk.

  36. @…
    Well if TUDM situation is that dire, PUTD is even worse as their air arm is not even a priority for their brass. I see the reasoning for leasing is to get the money from the bigger OPEX pie rather than eating into smaller CAPEX but that is just money from left pocket instead of right pocket, either way its still money out.

    The option best suited for everyone (but won’t make everyone happy) is getting new civilian-specced S-70s, without all the expensive mil-spec customisation. Then the TUDM existing S-70s can be integrated in to this fleet. The cost efficient option (which probably will be rejected by ATM) is getting refurb Black Hawks from US stocks. If we can get a lease-to-buy package, that would ease the cost burden plus we get to keep the choppers at the end of the lease.

    Our Armed Forces shouldn’t be so adamant on getting used equipment (legacy F-18s, M109s, patrol boats) as other First World countries gladly accepts them. What separates their experience and ours is the maintenance culture, we need to have sufficient spares when buying used, we need to ensure the OPEX for maintenance is sufficient, we need to have people sourcing for the best value on parts globally and even getting FOC if possible. If we don’t do this right, even buying new will have problems like the grounding of MKMs.

  37. I tend to agree with Chua that now is not the right time to invest heavily in armaments simply because our economy is in the downward trend. According to Dr. M’s methodology, money should be spent to prop up economy, then we can start to talk about toys. The best time to buy shinning toys had past, that is when 1USD=RM3.2. Now we need to fork out 33% extra for every dollar spent.

  38. I tend to agree with Chua that now is not the right time to invest heavily in armaments simply because our economy is in the downward trend. According to Dr. M’s methodology, money should be spent to prop up economy, then we can start to talk about toys. The best time to buy shinning toys had past, that is when 1USD=RM3.2. Now we need to fork out 33% extra for every dollar spent.

  39. Hornet Lover – “I tend to agree with Chua that now is not the right time to invest heavily in armaments”

    You make it sound as if the armed services at this moment are insisting ion MBTs, long range SAMs, SSKs their own satellite and cruise missiles …

    What they’re asking for is stuff they should have received a long time ago in order to do what they’re supposed to do : MPAs, UASs, radar, trainers, etc – all stuff which is badly needed. Does this sound like “investing heavily in armaments”?

    It’s 2020 and the MAF doesn’t even have a single UAS to its name (what it has at present is leased). This will change shortly but it’ll be thanks to the American taxpayer, not our government. Even non state actors with their off the shelf short range UASs have an organic UAS capability and superior SA. The LCA requirement has been approved but not funded. Will it drag to the extent that in a few years we’ll be reading about how the Hawks are mostly grounded because they were never upgraded (the planned upgrade was limited in the first place) and can’t be replaced because funding for the LCAs never came?

  40. @Hornet Lover

    To be fair, we only hit 3.2 for a few weeks. But yes, that’s a major concern.

    >”Stuff like MPAs, UASs, radars, helicopters, etc, are all vital.”

    Yes and if I may say it, MRCA is not.

    I wrote that because it seems like some of the comments here are a bit of knee jerk reaction against SG and Indonesian military expansion, and some lamenting the small military budget we have. The point is that firstly, bitter as the truth is, we cannot afford at this time to chase after the neighbours so put that out of your mind; and secondly, investment in the economy is also a long-term indirect investment in defence, so don’t look down so harshly on it.

    I’m afraid that the question of the Spratlys is out of our independent hands.

    Unless of course we allow the USA to base significant naval combat assets in this country, the South China Sea will be Chinese.

  41. We can’t buy something merely because it’s cheap and available and assume that just because it has many hours of life left and is still supportable; that it will be a cost effective and practical solution in the long run.

    Things to be looked at include determining the number of maintenance hours required for every hour of flight and comparing it to the Nuri. We also have to factor in whether they will get more maintenance intensive as they age further over the years. All these issues have to be looked at in depth if we’re to avoid a “jumping out of the fire but straight into the firing pan” situation.

    As it is we have a history of buying things “cheaply” or based on poor planning only to find that in the long run we end up paying much more than expected to keep things operational. Not too long ago the RMAF announced that with the key exceptions of the MKMs, Cougars and A400M the bulk of its fleet are over 25 years old and maintenance is increasingly becoming as issue as these aircraft age.

    I would also like to reiterate that over the years the MAF has received various offers for pre owned equipment but declined largely because in the long run it wouldn’t have been cost effective to maintain and support them; given the resources or lack of it,

  42. @ azlan

    If you take cost effective into consideration, the current EC725 is a maintenance hog due to the low TBO of the main gearbox. From swedens experience, the blackhawks costs are 1/4th of the NH90. Blackhawks robustness and operational costs are why plenty are now snapped up by private operators.

    What we always did was we budget for the buy, but not for the operating costs. Happened to everything from skyhawks to nuris and MKMs. We mostly declined used equipments as it does not line the pockets of those in power. Of course there are those thst are really lemons like the newport LSTs. They are really troublesome ships even when operated by big budgeted navies like australia. The Skyhawks OTOH were really let down by not giving the fleet proper budgets for it to operate safely.

    @ chua

    So would you be a happy man if SCS would be chinese? I for one am more than willing to die so that my childrens have their own soil and waters to call home in the future.

  43. @…
    Yeah, and compared that with new UH-60M (USD $50mil with spares), or new civie EC225(USD $28mil) and militarised EC725(USD $42mil), it is a nobrainer, cost effective option, and more importantly – new and relatively problem-free, to get civie S-70s for our general purpose chopper. In your article, it was pointed out the civie S-70i is basically the same chopper as US Army UH-60M minus the mil-tech gear, so you can see how much is saved by going off-the-shelf and removing the high-spec stuff. If PUTD are primarily going to use them overland, we could even make do w/o the marinisation of the airframe, thereby saving even more cost. For a fleet of 12 choppers it will only cost USD $180mil-200mil(with spares) translates to <RM 1Bil. That is peanuts even for our peanut butter budget.

  44. Chua – ”Yes and if I may say it, MRCA is not.”

    Yes you may say it but why even bring up MRCAs when it’s even not a requirement at present?

    It also depends entirely on the circumstances doesn’t it? If we’re suddenly faced with a period of tensions [never mind an actual conflict] with a state actor; the RMAF would be hard pressed to sustain a certain level of tempo with the limited air frames it has – then MRCAs would be a priority; not UASs, MPAs, etc.

    Chua – ‘against SG and Indonesian military expansion”

    I actually welcome a strong SAF as it keeps Indonesia in check. Despite many Malaysians being fixated on Singapore it’s actually Indonesia that has been a traditional cause of concern for us.

    Chua – ”investment in the economy is also a long-term indirect investment in defence”

    We can’t adopt the attitude of only spending when conditions are favourable ….
    The longer the delay in adequately funding the MAF, the deeper the rot will set in and more funds will have to be allocated later [to the dismay of the tight fisted politicians and bureaucrats who have horizons the width of a toilet bowls and are willing to gamble with our security]; the penalty to pay for years of neglect. It’s not as if the MAF is asking for stuff that is superfluous to its current requirements.

    It’s the government’s care of duty to ensure the MAF is adequately funded and if the government fails in it’s duty it’s the role of the citizen to hold the government accountable. Unfortunately we have politicians and citizens who couldn’t care less]. If the government is unable or unwilling to provide funding then it should say so and if it’s willing to; it has to be flexible in allocation and also provide a realistic time frame so the armed services can plan and adjust accordingly and if funding is to be delayed notice has to be given – all this the government [neither the last or present one] has done.

  45. Yeah get 12 s70i from poland like the philiphines do..Should be lower than 1bill rm if we purcase them in one go compared by batch..

  46. @ joe

    ” For a fleet of 12 choppers it will only cost USD $180mil-200mil(with spares) ”

    The problem is that it is USD200 million that we will cut or take away from other programmes.

    Why IMO if you want blackhawks, we should ask australia nicely for their S-70A-9s. Then budget around USD4 million per helicopter to upgrade with the items i listed above.

  47. More on the philippines blackhawk buy (forgot about this, yeah even the philippines have the money to buy brand new helicopters!). It also cost USD15 million each, in the ‘combat utility’ configuration.

    ” Local (Polish) media report that the Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) has reached an agreement worth $241.4 million (915,4 million Polish Zloty) with Sikorsky and PZL Mielec for the procurement of 16 S-70i Black Hawk helicopters in the ‘combat utility’ configuration. The contract was said to be signed in March 2019, with the Notice to Proceed document sent to the Polish manufacturer the following month. ”

  48. @…
    >”So would you be a happy man if SCS would be chinese?”
    Obviously not, from what I’ve been writing one should know that

    >”I for one am willing to die”
    Take a lesson in what NOT to do from the Arabs; don’t die in a hopeless fashion butting your head against an immovable wall. Your death will accomplish nothing.

    >”We can’t adopt the attitude of only spending when conditions are favourable”
    Yes we can. When the conditions are not favourable to purchasing equipment, you invest instead in growing your wealth ie your future capability to purchase equipment. In military terms, when the enemy is prepared and knows you are there, you don’t attack headlong into the enemy’s defences; you gather more men and material, and wait for opportunities to make a worthwhile attempt.

    Same principle, in economic terms.

  49. @…
    Will spending RM 1Bil take away much from other priorities? If following your suggestion on allocation of RM 4.5Bil per year for defence CAPEX, that is just 1/5th of the yearly budget to be shared between 4 parties and could easily be paid off within a year. We are not even talking about the multi billion RMK-level expenditure here. Just 1/5th of a yearly budget for 12 brand new choppers. Even for this, I’m confident our geniuses in government can work out a multi-year payment deal.

    And why I am stressing brand new? Well I did mention if used I preferred from US stocks rather than Aussie ones due to the high (and abusive as pointed out by Azlan) usage from the Aussies. But rather I dismissed used Black Hawks simply because our Armed Forces are adamant to take in used equipment. No point in forcing down their throats if they refused to bite.

    “I for one am more than willing to die”
    Someone once said, the best soldier is not the one who died for his country but the one that made his opponent die for theirs.

  50. Chua – “Yes we can. When the conditions are not favourable to purchasing equipment, you invest instead in growing your””

    No we can’t ….

    That only leads to more problems in the long run. What we do is to prioritise and get only what’s absolutely needed (which incidentally is what the MAF is seeking) for the task at hand.

    Adopting the attitude that we shouldn’t spend at all
    on an MAF that is already underfunded – merely because times are bad – is a flawed approach that will come back to bite us at a later date and ignores the principle that equipping an armed forces and ensuring it’s able to do it’s job is an ongoing process that can’t be switched on and off at a whim.


    Some things we should by pre owned and some we shouldn’t. What we shouldn’t do is to jump into something merely because it’s cheap and available and assume we won’t face any issues. For replacing the Nuris; if indeed we get a pre owned solution; we first have to look at the total operating costs and factor in the possibility that as something ages further it will get more maintenance intensive – then we have to compare the costs to that of the Nuri in order to get an accurate indication as to whether the whole exercise is worth the effort.

    With regards to Australia’s S-70’s they have openly stated that they are being replaced not only because a better performing newer generation platform is needed but because of age and maintenance issues – to be expected given they are on average 30 years old….

  51. @ joe

    On its own, RM1 billion does not look big, but when you consider the overall big picture, it is still a lot. say for the army, that amount could get us like 500 J-LTV, or 400 Bushmaster HMPV, or 1 regiment of MR-SAM, or about 80 AV8 Gempitas.

    @ azlan

    Of course there are things that we should buy new, like the LCA. But in our current predicament, our limited resources, the imminent threat of conflict on our doorstep we have no choice but to take up used equipments. Helicopters for one, can be easier reset to as new condition (compared to fixed wing aircrafts), as the fatigue and wear and tear is mainly in its rotor transmission and rotor blades. For example UK still flies the Chinook that served in the Falklands War.

    Nuris can be reset to as new condition, but is disadvantaged due to the age of the design. Blackhawks, like the Chinook, is still being build brand new, all parts can be had brand new, and plenty of upgrades and modifications are available off the shelf for the platform.

  52. If the government can commit to providing timely maintenance/support funding for pre owned stuff we buy and if any pre owned stuff we buy is not excessively expensive to operate and support on account of age and mileage/hours then yes, we should. The problem is support/maintenance funds for even our newer stuff is often delayed and a lot of the stuff we’ve been offered are high mileage/usage items.

    None of the armed services are totally adversed to the idea of getting pre owned; the reason they’ve turned down various offers is because although equipment was offered “cheap”; operating and maintaining them in the long run was cost prohibitive.

  53. P.S. Given that it’s the armed services who look bad when things can’t be supported (on account of costs or other reasons); it’s not for for any one to insist they do so merely because something looks good on paper. Buying something is only 1/3 of the narrative; being able to operate and maintain for the duration of its service life is the remaining 2/3 of the narrative. The biggest worry is being able to operate and maintain; especially for organisations like the MAF who are resource strapped to begin with and who have to deal with political masters who not only fail to provide adequate support funds but at times provides it late ….

  54. Back on the aussie blackhawks.

    An idea that we could do.

    As we know, the blackhawks function is being taken up by the NH90, but its replacement in the squadron will be under Under Land 2097 Phase 4, small helicopters for Special Forces mission.

    One of the contenders would be the Boeing little bird.

    Coincidently right now we have 6x unwanted MD-530Gs worth USD76 million.

    So why not we offer our unwanted MD-530Gs to australian government in exchange for 24-28 units of Blackhawks?

    Australia will get (partially as it requires up to 16 helicopters) its special force helicopters, and we will get our nuri replacements for PUTD.

  55. …. – “we have no choice but to take up used equipments”

    “Imminent threat of conflict”?

    Getting back to the pre owned topic; not if buying ore owned leads to issues relating to support and maintenance. As I keep stressing; the armed services have declined various offers for pre owned stuff; some it wanted but failed to get approval and sine it didn’t want on account of long term operating costs related to age and high usage.

    I have no idea as to what the operating costs of pre owned Aussie S-70s will be but I do know they are almost 3 decades old (and will be older when they reach us). that as things age they become maintenance intensive (we’re experiencing this with our Hornets) and that part of the reason the Aussies are retiring them is because of wear and tears reading related to age and heavy usage.

    … – “example UK still flies the Chinook that served in the Falklands War”

    The UK has lots of resources including a larger operating budget and a larger pool of trained manpower than us. There are even older airframes being still operated and obviously some countries be in a better position to operate them compared to others.

    …. – “Nuris can be reset to as new condition, but is disadvantaged due to the age of the design””

    Right. In other words given their age; subjecting them to a full overhaul and upgrade is not a good return of investment. The same reason as I mentioned with the Laksamanas and other things.

  56. @ azlan

    ” Right. In other words given their age; subjecting them to a full overhaul and upgrade is not a good return of investment ”

    The airframe age itself is not a big issue. You can reset the nuri at around 1/5th the cost of a new helicopter, but it will still be a nuri, with its design quirks like big sliding door on only 1 side, etc. What i meant that it cannot become a blackhawk, with more modern design, multiple weapons capability, designed from start to carry external stores.

    You can spend the same amout of money to reset either a nuri or a blackhawk, both will be dependable workhorses, but one can be used to perform more varied mission than the other.

    Then there is the headache on what to do with the unwanted MD530Gs… Getting aussie blackhawks can potentially solve quite a few of our problems at the same time.

  57. Used hornet, used blackhawks..This gotta stop somehow..Im well aware our govt dont get to spend lavishly on defence like other countries but to put it into perspective..Philiphines active on buying 16 s70is..already received 2 wildcats asw heli..already received a coast guard opv (Brp Gabriella Silang ) and their frigate acquisation moving swiftly and they’ve got already like what 2 or 3 lpds already while us here…thinking to lease helis, delays in Lcs programes, scorpions retired without clear replacement..

  58. @ Firdaus

    What do you mean by stop? We have not been buying used as much as our neighbours do.

    Indonesia in the past 10 years has bought used
    – Leo2 MBT
    – Marder IFV
    – M113 APC
    – M109 155mm SPH
    – F-16C/D
    – C-130H Hercules
    – Boeing 737
    – Nakoda Ragam Class Corvettes
    Just to name a few.

    We also have a lot of other big budget items to fund
    – LCS Gowinds
    – MRSS
    – LCA/LIFT
    – MPA
    – MALE UAV
    – Army Armor Recapitalisation
    – Army 105mm pack howitzer recapitalisation
    – Army 155mm SPH
    – Ground Air Defence Radars
    – MR-SAM

    Buying all new equipments for things like transport helicopters can cause cancellation of some of the items listed above. Getting used will also make items that are quite important but not listed be a possible buy such as
    – Batch 2 Gempita AV8 8×8
    – top attack ATGMs
    – Batch 2 LCS Gowinds
    – 3rd Scorpene Submarine
    – AWAC aircrafts
    – Additional 2 A400M

    We need to see the overall big picture, on what priority we need to give on plenty of things.

  59. @…
    Err what? I’m sure you fully realised any flying aircraft is certain much more expensive than land vehicles and equipment. But ask yourself, can 500 JLTV or 400 Busmasters traverse into the deep jungle by themselves? Or land at a remote island w/o support? Shouldn’t be comparing apples and durians. If you compare S-70 within the context of new build choppers, were few could match the price/performance ratio. And as I said, the cost is not a lot if looking at the overall budget and if we could get a multi-year progressive payment deal.

    And did you just suggest us to trade our new birds for their old & used birds? New lamps for old? Doesn’t make sense. Even if we don’t want them, it could be sold at a higher price than trading in for old 2nd hand choppers. And if we ourselves are hesitant to use them, the ADF would doubly be wary to take them.

    Different circumstances lead to different priorities. There they have a military with strong influence onto the government, they have an antagonistic president who supports the military, they have more impetus to modernise thanks to China threat & Marawi,their armed forces are more actively used (vs commie insurgents, islamist, druggies), a more compliant government and citizen. Here we have people still prioritising economic development above all else. Meanwhile the world at large has gone to hell in a basket.

  60. On buying new or used equipment:

    I believe anyone who has experience in running a small business/organisation should know that it’s about the TCO and not the purchase price. But for whatever reason, be it the ‘kang tao’ in new purchase or due to miscalculation (always forgot about the maintenance), we ended up getting mostly new equipment but in puny quantity.

    Compare this to Singapore, they are never ‘ashamed’ at getting used equipment. Be it AMX-10 or Leopard II. They put in add-on order some more…

    On when to invest in ‘heavily’ in armaments:

    For any country in the world, the budget is always insufficient. Even Saudi is short of money, needless to say us. So there’s never a right time to buy anything. But to the beancouters, they’ll try to drag for as long as possible, and in our case it’s to drag on so long that we can literally skip an entire fighter jet generation! Like what Dr. M said previously about how we’ve no secret and everyone knows that our military is a pushoever. I believe to him no matter how much we spend, with our kind of budget we can never ‘deter’ a country like China from claiming the Spratly island. I see his logic, but of course I’m not happy. But then again, really, what option do we have apart from diplomacy? Military might is out of the question.

  61. Off topic

    Indonesia has approved the 2020 budget increase for defence.

    Originally tabled the budget was 127.4 trillion rupiah (USD9.2 billion). Latest is increased to 131.2 trillion rupiah (USD9.6 billion)

    For comparison, malaysian defence budget for 2020 is USD3.7 billion

    @ joe

    You didnt get it

    By not buying brand new Blackhawks, and asking for Blackhawk transfer from Australia, we can get BOTH blackhawks and more other stuff like the MRAPs.

    On the little birds. Those little birds are good. Just we actually does not have a need for it, or should i say, transport helicopters like the blackhawks are a more important need for malaysian army right now rather than small helicopters. If we push this in open market, we cannot get the amount to buy 24 blackhawk helicopters in return. There is also the goodwill that would be created between malaysia and australia if this swap can get through.

  62. @…
    >“we have no choice but to take up used equipments”

    No. You can always take a capability gap.

  63. Chua – ”No. You can always take a capability gap.”

    Yes buying pre owned can lead to long term issues; no point achieving short term cost savings by buying pre owned if in the long run it blows a hole in our wallet. Some pre owned things can be operated cost effectively; some [on account of spares, age, high usage and other factors] can’t.

    As I never tire of saying; all 3 armed services have refused various offers in the past for cheaply offered pre owned stuff because the long term operating/support costs [for us] was considered prohibitive. What looks great on paper doesn’t always equate to the same in reality.

    As for ”capability gaps”. The problem with letting them lapse – apart from the operational consequences – is that regaining these capabilities at a later date [when funding is available] will take time and money; lots of it. Take the Nuris for example; where do the air crews go? We can’t move them to the Cougars as they’re not rated for it and we don’t have enough Cougars. After spending so much to train these aircrews and with the experience they’ve gained; it would be a major loss to lose them. There are some things we can further delay with; there are some we can’t.

  64. @ chua

    ” You can always take a capability gap ”

    So tell me which capability that is not important and alright not to be available?

  65. @…
    And I guess you didnt get it.
    The Armed Forces said no to used choppers. End of story. While I agree with you that logically its cheaper to get used (but from ex-US stocks), you have to see it from the user PoV. If they don’t want old & used equipment, no point pushing to them. My idea takes in this requirement of theirs as paramount (must be new), but we can stretch that dollar by going for battle-proven, reliable and cost efficient chopper and only fitting it to meet their essential needs.

    These are wins for; the Armed Forces (they want new), the maintenance team (proven, familiar, cost-efficient, problem-free), the bean counters (cheapest new chopper platform that meets the requirement), the politicians (scoring brownie points with USA), the armchair critics (basically everyone here), & the cronies (wink, wink).

  66. A relevant picture for this thread–JTsple_Hww/Xh75EXhvcRI/AAAAAAABKNA/SY5pCj11lCwXcxD7HKTX2wGv7kWW9GW8QCLcBGAsYHQ/s1600/ifx%2Bversion.jpg

    IFX graphics

    It is planned to be inducted into indonesian air force towards the end of the next decade.

    @ hornet lover

    Our military is not a pushover. Fighting for our rights is not a vain attempt. Sacrifices such as Leftenen Adnan at bukit chandu or 19 RAMD in Somalia is a proof that we can and will fight.

    @ joe

    Tell me when did they say no to used choppers? You just take it from M who has the most to lose if used choppers is inducted?

    They also said want only 6×6 IFV, and in the past want only MRCA, not cheapo LCA or used hornets, so no need lah to discuss the alternatives?

    Getting blackhawks from australia and passing them the MD530G for free will give us brownie points with them. USA? That is for the J-LTV, and other stuffs like UAV (I am for US EDA of MQ-1 Predators for our MALE UAV requirements)

  67. Is isn’t only the armed services that have turned down certain offers for pre owned equipment; at times its the government which has done so – for various reasons; including protecting the local industry. Same goes with leasing options. Years ago the RMAF publicly spoke of being forced to go for a MRCA leasing option; this was followed by the Defence Minister saying the same thing. Yet months later however the government announced that a leasing option was not a possibility.

    As a disclaimer; I’m totally not against the idea of buying pre owned. I do however feel that we have to be very selective in doing so; especially when buying aged and high mileage/houred platforms and ships; on account of long term operating/support costs. Given that funds and resources are tight; we can’t simply jump into something that will give us short term benefits but will come back at haunt us at a later date – a situation we’ve been in before to the detriment og the armed services.

  68. Of course we have to be very selective in buying our equipments. It is a given as is looking at all buys in a bigger global picture. That is where a strong leadership of the Mindef should come in, to slot every individual programs of each service into the overall mindef development program.

    Some items we really need to get new (like LCS, LCA, Gempitas)

    Some items we need to get used, not because we cannot afford to get brand new, but to free the budget to buy other more important items.

    Some items can be built locally.

    Some items cheaper be bought from overseas.

    Then we need to balance our buy, from china, from australia, from UK, from South Korea, from USA, from turkey, from south africa, from Pakistan to name a few.

  69. ….. – “Of course we have to be very selective in buying our equipments””

    Right. Which is exactly why time and time again I’ve stressed that although certain things may be available and may look great on paper; we have to look at things from all angles and at a long term perspective with regards to sustainability; if we’re to avoid closing one hole, only to open another.

    …. – “ That is where a strong leadership of the Mindef should come in”

    That’s being simplistic. It’s not only a ‘strong leadership” at MINDEF but a change in policy, priorities and mind set. No point having a “strong leadership” in MINDEF if the whole system is flawed and if the very top leadership isn’t even interested.

    It’s the government’s care of duty to adequately fund the armed services and if it doesn’t; the citizen has to question authority and hold the government accountable; this is not happening …

  70. …. – “Some items we need to get used, not because we cannot afford to get brand new, but to free the budget to buy other more important items.””

    Actually it should be for both these reasons ….

    But what we shouldn’t do is buy because something’s cheap and we have a requirement. It must meet our actual requirements and must be sustainable in the long run. No point achieving costs savings in the near term only to spend an arm and leg in the long run : a situation we’re well acquainted with ….

    … – “Then we need to balance our buy””

    We have to “balance” our buys based on operational requirements and commonality. One reason the MAF is in such a rut is because; due to national interests we have bought from such a multitude of supplier; creating enormous strain on our support/training infrastructure. Each time we buy something new that doesn’t share commonality to what we have: people have to be trained to support and maintain the equipment, parts have to be stocked, integration and certification (when needed) has to be performed; each piece of equipment requiring separate channels to be maintained with the OEM.

    As I’ve pointed out before this idea of using palm oil to partly pay for stuff great on paper bit in reality but if it results in us getting stuff that we normally wouldn’t buy on account of operational suitability and commonality; it wouldn’t so great because we’ll merely be repeating the same mistakes again …

  71. @…
    ATM had been indicating their aversions for used many times. They spurned the M109s, and they prefer to let their Nuris rot and PUTD twiddling their thumbs just so they aren’t pushed with more 2nd hand Nuris from TUDM. TUDM themselves indicated in CAP55 on insisting brand new choppers. We have a fleet of Nuris which nobody wants even when they are severely lacking in choppers for general usage. Go figure

    CAP 55 is a 30 year long plan. If they buy used helicopters,at the end of the plan, they have to buy replacements for them

  72. Marhalim.

    From what you know, what was the issue with the
    M-109s? Was it case of the previous government r making the decision and the new government deciding – for whatever reason- not to go along with it?

    It’s the Army that decided that it was too old

  73. @ marhalim

    Exactly, CAP55 is a 30 year long plan.

    I actually WANT a brand new high tech vertical lift platform at the begining of 2040s. I dont want TUDM to be using ancient helicopter technology in 2040.×683.jpg

    This is the exact reason why I steadfastly dont want a brand new MRCA in the 2020s. Getting used hornets and using them for 10-12 years before getting matured 5th gen fighter platforms in the early 2030s.

  74. Off topic:

    How many Nuri do we have, RMAF+TDM? I remember we ordered 40, but with quite a bit of operational losses, do we have 20 left? Once I drove past RMAF Kuching and I can clearly see 3 Nuri’s (or Nuri’s hulk) without rotor blades, “sardined” together under a shade. I believe those had been there for years.

    Around 28 airframes, around 17, 12 airforce, 5 Army (numbers not confirmed) before the grounding, the rest are in storage at Airod

  75. “It’s the Army that decided that it was too old”
    The Indonesians didn’t share the same feeling while taking delivery of dozens M109s. At least they will have lotsa arty while all we can lobbed are hot-air politicians & generals. I don’t buy this ATM reasoning as the deal is to refurb and upgrade into A5 standards which is pretty much the best you can buy today (the A7 Palladin are limited to US Forces AFAIK). Pretty much everything is replaced new except the hull & turret so its like nearly getting brand new for cheaps.

    Tiltrotors still needs some maturity as currently they are a maintenance hog to keep them flying reliably (vs Black Hawks).

    Its apples to oranges comparison by trying to compare Malaysia Army and Indonesian Army. If it’s the A7 I think they will take it

  76. @ joe

    Tiltrotors maturing? That is why i say 2040, 20 years of time to get it right.

    Its like playing chess. You dont just think about your next move, you need to think 5 moves in the future.

  77. Marhalim – “Its apples to oranges comparison by trying to compare Malaysia Army””

    Yes, especially given the lack of info and variable involved.

    – We don’t know when the ones were we allocated were originally constructed. Perhaps they were older than the TNI ones or had seen heavier usage.

    – We also don’t know the scope of the refurbishment. Given that we were paying for it there may have been some areas where we cut back on due to costs.

    – Also the possibility that the different armies have different concerns and worries about the drawbacks of operating the M-109s in the long run.

    – Another reason why the army might have been against it is because it feels a lorry mounted gun is more suitable.

    – Perhaps the TNI wants its M-109s to be organic to its Leo formations; both having a comparable level of mobility.

    Our M109s were supposed to be with the Pendekars

  78. “Its apples to oranges comparison”
    In most ways yes, but in terms of usability, reliability, uptime, cost of procurement, cost of maintenance, upgradability, lifespan. These are common worries in every armed forces don’t you agree? If the M109s could fulfil enough of these criteria to convince Indon army in taking them aboard despite their age, there must be something else other than age or technical ability that caused ATM to refuse them.

    AFAIK the Indons M109s are procured unchanged from A4 stocks, and while our allocated ones might have been older, it would be upgraded (A5) to surpass the capabilities of Indon A4 ones. I’m basing this on the assumption we were getting the full A5 upgrade package.

  79. @…
    Still doesn’t bring it up to A5 specs that would come with an upgraded gun and mounting system with increased range, and a higher performing engine, plus the US specced firing solution systems. Anyway the point is, despite the M109 is a veteran platform, constant upgrades and more upgrade kits made available has kept this SPH relevant vs modern offerings. Many are still getting snapped up by Indon, Brazil, even 3rd hand ones are getting customers.

  80. Whatever the scenario we here agree that we need to replace scorpions..if 109 deemed too old for us than so be it..but we need to turn to another solution to improve our firepower..i doubt we will get any tracked, wheeled or trucked sph anytime soon though since we cant afford them now

  81. @ joe

    Nobody said the indonesian A4 BE is up to A5 specs. But it aint no stock A4 either.

    @ firdaus

    Nobody here agreed to anything about the scorpions. Before you talk further about scorpions, i want you to explain. What do you really know about our use of the scorpions in the para armor squadron? What is the supppsed function? What kind of vehicle do you think is the most suitable as a replacement for the scorpion of the para armor squadron?

  82. Firdaus,

    No. The Scorpions were bought at a time when they and the Sibmas were our main assets for fire support.
    Today things have changed; there are PT-91s; as well
    as Adnans and AV-8s that can provide both direct and indirect fire support. Not to mention troops equipped with a variety of shoulder fired weapons. Thus I don’t see a need for a light tank or for a 105mm gun to be mounted on a IFV.

    Less number of different vehicles in service equates to a smaller logistical and support tail.

  83. Firdaus – “we need to turn to another solution to improve our firepower”

    One solution is to raise another 155mm arty regiment and to provide it with a ISR capability; to acquire, track and to hit targets. We also need to do the same with existing arty and MLRS assets. It’s not only a question of having the firepower but to maximise its potential. Given that we don’t have mass; makes it imperative to have precision fire; which can only be obtained with effective FCS and a ISR capability.

    Back to the Scorpions; as a fire support alternative; we now have other, mote effective options. Whilst they could have been upgraded and had the 90mm bubbles; in the long run I gave to agree with the decision to replace them. Do we need a replacement to perform the fire support role? No.

  84. So in a way you guys are saying our firepower doesnt descrease even after scorpions are retired? adnan and gempita ifv giving same firepower support as scorpions?…Well maybe we doesnt need to replace them like now..Im no expert in military, defence and what not but like the thais they got well over thousand of tanks, our neighbour from the south hundreds of em including primus sph and more modern and cutting edge ifv..heck the singaporean even already started to develop and deploy unmanned/robotic ifv now..

  85. “I actually WANT a brand new high tech vertical lift platform at the begining of 2040s. I dont want TUDM to be using ancient helicopter technology in 2040.”

    Safe to say that when FVL is available, we will continue to operate conventional rotorcraft in roles where they are adequate. It only makes financial sense to do so.

    Even so, the benefits of FVL may not be very significant to us even for high intensity roles. FVL makes a lot of sense if one needs a platform to operate over great distances at speed and with VTOL capability. As long as one doesn’t need to go far or fast or do VTOL in the same platform, it is less essential to have. There might also be instances when a conventional helicopter is better suited than FVL, whether it is simpler, smaller, harder to hit and so on.

  86. @ firdaus

    “So in a way you guys are saying our firepower doesnt descrease even after scorpions are retired?”
    Yes of course

    “adnan and gempita ifv giving same firepower support as scorpions?”
    Actually expotentially more, as we have nearly 500 combined adnan and gempitas. We had just 28 scorpions.

    “Im no expert in military, defence and what not”
    Whats important is your interest. Stay here and learn.

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