Swimming in A Fishbowl

SHAH ALAM: Swimming in a fishbowl. IT appears that my post on Kuwaiti Hornets was overly optimistic. RMAF chief Gen. Affendi Buang downplayed the possibility in response to written questions posed to him ahead of the service’s 61st anniversary today. He said that although it welcome any offer of used aircraft, the conversations with Kuwait was only casual and not a firm commitment. He said the same thing when the question came up during an interview held for the same reason on May 29.

Anyhow what is being purchase soon after the slew of RFIs early this year? One single air defense radar, actually, from the three sought by the RFI. It is unclear when the contract to be sign though.

ThalesRaytehon GM400
ThalesRaytheon GM400

As for the UAV and MPA, Affendi said both programmes have been approved though funds are not yet available. Asked when they expect funding be made available, Affendi said it was unclear. It may well be in RMK12, which starts in 2021.

Leonardo ATR 72 MP. Leonardo

The LCA, has yet to be approved though. So all talk about a deal to be concluded by year end is of course, wrong. RMAF is pushing for it to be funded in RMK12 though, so much so it had decide to defer the Hawk upgrades. Affendi said if they get the funding, 12 will be purchased in RMK12 with another 24 to be purchased in subsequent procurement cycles.

Two RMAF Hawks flying over Penang at the recent 25th Silver Jubilee. TUDM

When the first 12 LCA arrived, some of the Hawks and MB-339CM could be retired, said Affendi indicating a preference for a twin-seater for the new programme. A likely indication that the T-50, M346, Yak-130 and even the Hongdu L-15 would be the preferred choices ahead of the Tejas and JF-17.

Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten performing a display at LIMA 2019. Zaq Sayuti.

As for the Hercules and Nuri upgrades, Affendi said the contracts are expected to be finalised by year end. The 11 year service for the Sukhois is expected to be funded by next year.

RMAF Sukhoi Su-30MKM M52-18 during its display at LIMA 17

As for the facilities built to replace the Kuala Lumpur airbase, it is being completed and RMAF is expected to get the certificate of fitness before year end before the facilities are fully manned and operational. The new facilities are those in Sendayan, Kuantan and Subang.

The main buildings of the Sendayan airbase. Air Times

— Malaysian Defence

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