SHAH ALAM: Tebuan II. It appears that Leonardo has named its M-345 jet trainer – as the Tutor II specifically for Canada. The naming is an homage for the Canadair CT-114/CL-41 Tutor which served with as the primary jet trainer of the the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) from the 1960s to 2000.
Around two dozen Tutors remained in service with the RCAF air demonstration team, the Snowbirds, though only around 11 airframes are used for flight operations. A member of the team was killed in a crash involving one of the Tutors in May, this year.
Apart from its primary role as a trainer, Leonardo says the M-345 is also suited for operational roles, with the capability to employ weapons like IR air-to-air missiles, gun pod, rockets and 500 lb class bombs. This is basically the same type of weapons employed by the BAE Systems Hawks in service with RMAF.
As most of you are aware, RMAF operated around 20 ground attack variant of the Tutors – locally known as the Tebuan – from 1967 to 1986. The aircraft was used operationally during the communist insurgency and as a basic jet trainer until they were withdrawn from service.
The Tebuan was RMAF first fast jet until they were supplemented by the Avon Sabres in early 1970s, which were gifted from the Australia. Both aircraft had performed admirably well.
It must be noted that Leonardo has offered the M-346 FA for RMAF’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) requirement. The M-346 Master was originally conceived as a jet trainer but the FA version is the light attack variant of the type.
Apart from the LCA, RMAF is also looking to recapitalise its primary jet trainer to replace the MB-339CM, which was manufactured by Aermacchi which folded into Leonardo during the last stage of Italian defence industry consolidation in mid-2000.
I have no idea whether Leonardo is looking to get the M-345 for the primary jet trainer for RMAF as well. But I think the M-346 is too highly specced – for the RMAF at least – as a primary jet trainer while the FA version is under-developed to meet the LCA requirement.
Having the same type to fill both requirements will helped in training and maintenance though I still prefer a single engine aircraft for both.
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If Goverment Choose JAS-39 for New LCA would Sweden Offer Globaleye AWACS to RMAF ?. If we Choose F/A-50 and M-346. The don’t offer some of their MPA too.
pc-7 mkII is fine enough for that. we dont need a basic jet trainer before LIFT.
basic trainer to intermediate turboprop trainer to LIFT.
We now have PC-7 MkII for basic and intermediate flight training, with LIFT needing an urgent replacement.
Remember Singapore replaced its S.211 (predecessor to M-345) with pilatus PC-21.
The M346 is European version of Yak-130 right?
Is it possible to use Russian weapons with it?
For time being RMAF stick with the PC-7 mk2 and Hawk100, in future may consider PC-21 for Advanced Training and T/A-50 for LIFT/LCA..
If we can afford Gripen for LCA, we are more richer than USAF.
Agreed. M345 is a step back. Our Pilatus PC7s are good enough till intermediate training. We do need better LIFT planes. I like the M346 FA. A lot. But it may not be the better solution seeing KAI TA50s/FA50s are available. It may not completely answer the need for LIFT but it certainly covers our LCA requirements.
Just asking, is it feasible to base an air force exclusively around light fighter types like M-346 and BAe Hawk 208?
Yes and no
” But why? ”
More flexibility, I suppose. Like us who use both Russian and NATO weapons; could just switch to whatever available without modifying anything.
Yes but logistics need to be coordinated. Although the software could be easily modified, hardware are almost impossible. One cannot use the same pylons for both aircraft as the lugs and connecting pins are different as does the test rigs. This means one cannot fly in one mission with Western ordnance and changed to Russian ones in the next one. One could do it in alternate days of course. Again doable but with our limited number of personnel and equipment its better to stick one type. As for Western standard dumb bombs and rockets we could always get them from Yugoimport.
” As for Western standard dumb bombs and rockets we could always get them from Yugoimport ”
or from POF.
Marhalim – “Western standard dumb bombs and rockets we could always get them from Yugoimport””
No idea if the aircraft we get will be integrated for the FFZ ones but it makes sense to standardise and stick to the same rocket.
MilitaryMadness – “is it feasible to base an air force exclusively around light fighter types like M-346 and BAe Hawk 208”
One can base an air arm on
PC-7s if one desires; depends on requirements …..
ASM – “More flexibility, I suppose”
On paper but in reality maybe not. On our own we can make the necessary adjustments to fit something not standard but by right everything not already certified for use on an aircraft – whether a screw or a rocket – should first be certified . Failure to do that means the aircraft’s OEM won’t assist us in case of any issues. Then there’s the other issues which Marhalim touched on.
Taib- “t may not completely answer the need for LIFT but it certainly covers our LCA requirements”
That’s the conundrum we face : what may make a good LIFT might not make such a good light attack asset. Ideally whatever LIFT we get should be able to meet our needs for at least 2 decades.
It must have an advanced cockpit which can closely as possibly replicate our fighters (in a perfect world it would have a similar cockpit to our mainline fighter – we unfortunately have 2 different types in small numbers) and the performance which will make the training as possible and also transition to a fighter as smooth as possible.
Safran – “If Goverment Choose JAS-39 for New LCA would Sweden Offer Globaleye AWACS to RMAF”
They offered a Gripen/Eriye package before and no doubt will make a similar offer again; on the basis that no fighter is complete without a AEW.
Whether we accept is a completely different matter; not to mention that Gripen is an overkill for a LCA and can’t serve as a LIFT.
May i know why Gripen can’t serve as a LIFT? Is it too expensive? The software is not suitable? Overkill for LCA, yes but if priced correctly with AWACS package, a gripen C might be a bargain.
Why u said TA-50 not suitable as LIFT? It is a T-50 that have weapons.
I believe saab stopped producing c/d gripen as they focusing on gripen ng/e..so not really good for use to get used gripen c/d as lca
Its available for any customer who is not willing to wait for the E/D. Used and new airframes
Luqman – “May i know why Gripen can’t serve as a LIF””
Gripen from Day One was designed as a multi role fighter. It’s not a LIFT. We need a full fledged LIFT; something from the onset designed and intended to serve as a training platform; for new pilots to make the transition to a fighter.
Luqman – “priced correctly with AWACS package, a gripen C might be a bargain”
Things might change but as it stands the requirement is for a “LCA” which can double as a LIFT. There is no intention to get a multi role platform and a AEW in the near future. At one point Gripen had strong political backing but not anymore.
Gripen e/f are too overkill as lca but c/d too still a tad overkill for a lca..new gripen c/d will cost us no less than usd40-45mil per aircraft too..
“Gripen from Day One was designed as a multi role fighter. It’s not a LIFT.”
So what qualities does a multirole fighter would not be able to do lift? Not easy to fly even with the delta eing+canard and fly-by-wire comouters? The software can be fully optimized for training as far as im concern and given that the gripen always have regular software updates since day 1. The sweeds will replace their saab 105 as lift with gripen before deciding to fully adopt t7 which they are even still considering.
Luqman – “So what qualities does a multirole fighter would not be able to do lift”
If multi role fighters were able to be used as LIFTs there would be no market for LIFTs in the first place would there? Sure if one desired one could use a multi role platform as a LIFT but is this an ideal arrangement for a student pilot who has just completed basic training in a single engine turboprop?
Ideally a true LIFT will have a dual cockpit with dual controls and be able to replicate as best as possible; the characteristics of a full fledged fighter; enabling
the trainee pilot to make the transition over a period of time; simultaneously building up the needed his/her level of skill and experience. The idea is also not overwhelm the trainee pilot by placing him in a platform which might require the skills or experience lacking in a trainee pilot.
Firdaus – “Gripen e/f are too overkill as lca but c/d too still a tad overkill for a lca”
If the requirement was for a “LCA” – a low cost platform with some level of combat capability but originally based on a platform designed as a “LIFT” then obviously Gripen (irrespective of the variant) wouldn’t qualify.
The whole idea behind the LCA programme is because we are unwilling/unable to make the investments needed for a MRCA; thus the requirement for a cheaper platform to act as a LIFT but also having some level of combat capability.
“Sure if one desired one could use a multi role platform as a LIFT”
This contradict with what u said previously which gripen cant be a LIFT. Yes gripen can be a LIFT but it is not ideal as gripen cost way more than other LIFT option out there to buy and operate.
Azlan..i know right but somehow they are shortlisted as rmaf’s lca candidate..short lived indeed
Luqman – “This contradict with what u said previously which gripen cant be a LIFT”
Yes I clearly stated that Gripen is a multi role aircraft and is not a LIFT …
In response to you asking why a multi role platform couldn’t be utilised as a LIFT; I responded : “Sure if one desired one could use a multi role platform as a LIFT” …..
Wouldn’t be the first or last time an end user diverted from the norm. Similarly if one decided to use a light attack/trainer as a multi role platform – it can be done but obviously a light attack/trainer isn’t a full fledged MRCA irrespective of the fact that it has some level of air to air and air to ground capability ….
Look at the context of what was mentioned …. There is no “contradiction” ….
Luqman – “. Yes gripen can be a LIFT but it is not ideal as gripen cost way more than other LIFT option”
It’s not ideal as Gripen is a “multi role platform” – not even its OEM – to date – markets it as a LIFT ….
It was designed as a “multi role” platform unlike dedicated LIFTs which from Day One were designed to bridge the gap between a basic trainer and a fighter. If however you’re convinced that Gripen can be a LIFT; I’ll leave you to it.
Firdaus – “an..i know right but somehow they are shortlisted as rmaf’s lca candidate”
If I read you correctly; Gripen is not one of the candidates for the LCA programme nor is it shortlisted. The requirement is for common platform able to be utilised as a LIFT and as a light attack platform – Gripen fulfils neither of these requirements.
Sure nothing is stopping Saab from offering it. Just like how when we were looking for a helicopter of a certain weight category; Chinook was offered despite it being of a different weight and size category as stated in the RFI ….
A briefing from an officer from rmaf..gripen included back then but now heard already out of the competition
Sweden is just using whatever it has in its hands to do its LIFT mission.
As they are buying the new E gripens (which is partly due to the want to keep its fighter manufacturing capability alive), they will have excess gripen C/Ds. That is why they are going to use the gripen D for LIFT, not exactly like the Gripen D is the cost effective way for a country like us to get them purposely to do LIFT, as the aircraft is expensive compared to purposely designed LIFT platforms.
We also make do on what we have in our hands. Recently we used our Hawk 108 for SAR mission. That does not mean other people should buy Hawks purposely for SAR missions!
Firdaus – “gripen included back then but now heard already out of the competition”
As I mentioned; way before Rafale and Typhoon entered the scene and way before Thailand ordered it; Gripen was a strong contender and had political backing. Saab was also able to offer a leasing arrangement which was later rejected.
Gripen’s main selling point was that it was cheaper to buy than Rafale and Typhoon and also cheaper to operate/maintain (the single engine plays a part).
Another selling point is that it required a less intensive support/maintenance infrastructure (largely to do with Sweden’s requirement for it to be deployed to forward locating bases and maintained by conscripts).
It can also operate from shorter and narrower runways (again based on Swedish requirements) compared to Rafale and Typhoon – a moot point for us however given we don’t have plans in place to operate fighters from highways or landing strips: nor is our ground support infrastructure (even more essential when operating away from bases) catered for this.