The One That Got Away

SHAH ALAM: The One That Got Away (TOGO). As we wait for the funding of the MPA in the next several years, Malaysian Defence can now reveal that the contract for these aircraft would probably have been signed at LIMA 19. That said it was more likely to happen if the former government had prevailed in the general election as it was approved during its time.

As the selected aircraft is being considered for the rebooted programme I will not name it here lest I will be accused of shelling for the company (I am not though I am pretty sure some will say so).

Chilean Navy C295 MPA. Airbus

For the record the aircraft being considered for the rebooted MPA programme are the Airbus C295, Boeing P-8, PTDI CN235, Kawasaki P1 and the Leonardo ATR-72MPA. The Bombardier Q400 MPA should also be in the running though I am not sure which version is being offered for RMAF.

RAAF P-8A flying over RMAF Butterworth. Australian Defense Department

Despite having to consider the previous selected aircraft in the rebooted programme, RMAF, I was told was looking at all possibilities. As for TOGO I was told it was approved by the BN government ahead of LIMA 17.

TNI-AL CN235W at LIMA 2015

However, there was a delay in selecting the platform which meant that the specifications were not finalised until after the 2018 budget had been approved by Parliament. This meant funding for TOGO could only be made available until the 2019 budget although the programme had been approved. Please note that the practise of approving a programme without funding are normal (even for other countries though they normally announced the deadlines for them) so do not go off tangent on this.

Kawasaki P-1. JMSDF

Then came the May 9 general election with the Pakatan Harapan coalition taking over the government. Despite, this I was told that negotiations for TOGO continued with the plan to have it funded in the 2019 budget.

Leonardo ATR 72 MPA. Leonardo

The negotiations stopped after the new government announced a review of all contracts – signed and forthcoming – with the Defence Ministry. Shortly thereafter TOGO was cancelled as it was decided that it will not stand up through the scrutiny of a review as it was done through direct negotiation (it was SOP for the previous government) instead of an open competition favoured by the current government.

Saab Swordfish MPA based on the Bombardier Q400. Several companies are offering MPA based on the Q400.

As the MPA requirement was still valid, it returned into military’s wishlist waiting for another day for its revival. It was several months later ahead of LIMA 19, the RFI for the MPA and others were issued by RMAF after the Defence Ministry decided it could go ahead to seek the best aircraft in open competition to meet its requirements under the long term modernisation plan, CAP 55.

A RMAF graphics posted shortly after 2018 budget was announced. It stated that the purchase of four MPA had been approved.

–Malaysian Defence

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