PETALING JAYA: Another dogfight. Apart from the MRCA, the most pursued aviation item in Malaysia are maritime patrollers Back in 2008 I wrote a post on the purchase of the CL415s for the MMEA.. I followed up that post with another stating that it would be cheaper for them to operate CN-235s. Here
Fast forward three years later, my fears were spot on. The two planes are now grounded as I reported in theSun on Dec 27, 2011. Now Not Everyone Can Fly (my preferred heading).
What is disturbing about all of this, that despite not having the funds to maintain the CL415s, MMEA is now evaluating two contenders for surveillance duties under a Private Finance Initiative scheme. I dont have any proof and I am not accusing anyone but I strongly suspect that the funding for the CL415s is being deliberately blocked to justify the PFI programme.
As for the PFI programme, appended below is what had been reported earlier:
From Aviation Week, quoting MMEA DG.
“The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) plans to issue a tender seeking wet-leases on fixed-wing aircraft.
The government has granted approval for this initiative and the tender will be issued this year or next year at the latest, MMEA director general Amdan Kurish tells Aviation Week on the sidelines of the Imdex naval defense show in Singapore.
Malaysia needs fixed-wing aircraft for maritime surveillance in four key areas: the Malacca Straits, territory off the Malaysian peninsula that extends into the South China Sea, territory off the coast of East Malaysia’s Sarawak and Sabah state, and the Sulu Sea off the eastern coast of Sabah, Amdan says.
The aircraft need to be able to cover Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nm out to sea, he says, adding that the aircraft need to be capable of going a further 200 nm out to sea beyond the zone, in case there is a search-and-rescue mission.
Amdan says the MMEA plans to pay for a set number of flight hours each week, so it is up to the service provider to propose how many aircraft are needed. But he says he anticipates it will be a minimum of four. The provider will, for example, need to have one aircraft on stand-by in case another aircraft has to be temporarily grounded, he adds. The aircraft operating also need to be able to loiter for six hours in an area of interest, not including the transit time to and from that area, Amdan says.
In the 11th Malaysia national plan the MMEA has a request in with the government for permission to buy two fixed-wing aircraft, Amdan says. The 11th Malaysia Plan is 2016-2020. But Amdan also says he anticipates the MMEA will be wet-leasing for the next 5-10 years.
Wet-leases are appealing because the MMEA wants to avoid the cost and trouble of establishing the support infrastructure for aircraft, he adds. The service provider will maintain and operate the aircraft. There will only be two MMEA personnel onboard each aircraft and the pilots and support staff will be provided by the service provider, Amdan says.”
Ironically I am told the MMEA was never supposed to purchase air assets – they were supposed to be operated under a PFI ala the Australian Coastwatch program but along the way the plans changed and they ended up buying the CL415s and the helicopters. Yes its great to have a billion ringgit procurement budget but its getting enough funds to maintain and operate them is the hard part, which is happening to MMEA now. And out of the blue the PFI is revived!
At the recent Lima 2011, a Dornier 228NG performed daily aerial flights as part of its promotion for the contract. Apart from the Dornier, I am told the Beechcraft Super King Air.
But the word on the street is that the Dornier is the hot favourite to win the contract. Dont you think its weird that the programme would be funded even though the agency’s own assets are left grounded?
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