Another Dogfight

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?

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2201 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Nak cerita apa lagi, same ol predicament everywhere in the government acquisition plan, not just defense. An overhaul of the procurement standard is required

  2. I think we best overhaul the government than we overhaul the government acquisition plan. Why all-this-thing keep happening. It’s really frustrating. Don’t they have any conscience. I think they never take the Pendidikan Tatarakyat class.

  3. Komisyen sudah dibayar. Who GAS about sustainability? Ini, the Malaysian way!
    It happens because of a culture of patronage politics where anak buah look to their patron for rezeki.

    But everyone knows its the support – thru long term contracts – that makes one rich, that’s the reason DCNS wanted the Setis for the CMS for the LCS/frigates.

  4. Actually no. Malaysia is notorious for NOT spending money on support, no matter how necessary. That is why systems always break down after a while. ILS is almost never tied to the main contract. This is to buka peluang to others but what it really means is that the money is already spent.
    That is why the Bug was so bagus…. the ILS was dialed in with FMS.
    Brudder, kalo harapkan support contract, mati kebuluran.

    Don’t tell Airod about that!

  5. kalau tak ada fund… jual ajer. Cut the losses..

    Dan bagi peluang orang lain makan komisen…seriously I am guessing that they spend at least Rm300 million to buy the two planes and would have spent at least RM100 million for operations during the last two years.
    As they are – grounded and not air-worthy – could be worth no more than RM50 million each!

  6. Can put them in a museum!
    Look at the problems Airod have had to conduct full MRO on the C-130 and S-61 fleets. They are rather luckier as the ministers often harapkan a flight here or there. How else do you ship back an plane load of teak furniture from Jakarta?

  7. This is the boleh land and so anything is possible and even impossible can become possible.So just accept the fact that we had two brand new but unusable planes rusting somewhere. As the two planes are equipped as fire fighters too, better to pass these two planes to the Jabatan Bomba, convert to water bombers and use it to douse any forthcoming peat and the annual open burning which will recurr for sure in the coming dry season.Can even help Indonesia to put out their open burning so that the region can become smog free for once!

    Even the Bomba can’t afford to pay for the up-keep of the two planes!

  8. Better find some good use for them or else it would be like buying two Mercedes cars but allowing it to rust in the open air due to no money to pay for the servicing.

  9. Marhalim also reports that the first plane suffered extensive corrosion due to more than 1000 water landings in 2 year period??
    “In its annual report, MMEA admitted that extensive corrosion had affected its first 415MP aircraft which has performed more than 1,000 landings at sea.”
    Two questions pop up.. why were ther so many water landings. Under what conditions is it necessary to make water landings other than to pick up seamen whose life in peril or routine re-qualification for pilots.. but then 1000 landings in 2 year period?? Also why would an “amphibious plane” suffer extensive corrosion by landing in water? Aren’t they designed to withstand such environment? Reminds me of my branded watch which was certified for water resistance to 100M in depth but had moisture after being exposed to rain for a couple of minutes…. dubious quality issues or maintenance issues?? Seems like these guys just want toys to play with with no idea on how to operationalise such high value assets and deploy them effectively.

    They need to make so many landings since the flight crews had no experience to land on water. Even for firefighting roles the planes need to skim over the surface to get the water into the tanks which means sea water will be sprayed all over the fuselage. Sea water are corrosive

    As to why the extensive corrosion issues, I cannot say for sure its due to the build quality or maintenance issues, but it could be both.

    As whether or not they knew what they were getting into, I am pretty sure that they were not aware just pretty happy to get a brand new toy..

  10. Interestingly,in todays Star news paper, the minister of Defence said that the RM9 bil warships is the price for the ships and the conter trade package only.It does not include any subsystems and the weapons. He said that the ships are expensive because they are made locally.Had it been made in France it would be much much cheaper.
    Food for thought?

    If RM9 billion is excluding the subsystems the ships will cost much more.

  11. Although having the ships made locally might benefit the local shipbuilding industry(minimally?) in terms of ToT, I think it make much more economical sense to have the ships built in France at a much lower cost. Put national pride aside for the moment when we barely have funds to renew the fleet. If national pride is so critical, then the government ought to increase the defence budget.

  12. A C130 can pack a full load of teak furnitures. I wonder what.would an A400M can do…..

  13. Then the project should be cancelled i mean the sgpv. They already answered that it is not feasible to do it here than why still do it. There is a possibility it will cost at least another RM500 million each for the weapon and other system. That would make the per ship cost almost RM2 billion, for that price we should be getting the horizon air warfare frigates not gowind. But that just an investment analyst talking.

    I believed the Star story is wrong. The RM9 billion is inclusive of everything although as I said it will be very difficult for them to keep the cost below RM9 billion ceiling

  14. The government’s policy of wanting to develop the local defence and shipbuilding industry is the culprit for the high prices . Everyone knows that if we bought the Pars direct from FNSS [and got them rather than Deftech to customise it for our operational needs] and built the LCSs at Lorient, the price tag would be much cheaper. Whether the local defence industry actually gains anything, apart from money, remains to be seen.

  15. When you have a limited budget, yet try to do everything, you will inevitably fail at everything. If you want to develop local industry a good place to start is with only one sector (aviation, shipbuilding, etc.) and even specializing in that (MRO, avionics, electronics, engines, sensors, software, etc.). Even states with vast defence expenditures and industry, such as China and India, can not do it all!


    An A400m can bring back a load full of these:

  16. 2 years 1000 is normal, in fact its little short consider its a newly introduce platform and one of the only two in the whole service.

  17. Hope everyone has had a good rest this Holidays.

    Happy New Year Guys.

    Fareed, Our esteemed defence minister saw yr post and has scrambled to Perodua .

    Expect and announcement soon!


    Tq Halim, for all the news and insights,lets have a better 2012, maybe more from the canaries or aviaries?

  18. SGPV will happen. Come hell or high water. This was the price of LTAT stepping in to save the NGPV project when En. Amin Shah screwed the pooch. Without Boustead Defense, NGPV would have collapsed and Mindef would have to start explaining why it had paid for work that was not done. Then, you would unravel the threads that go all the way back to GE11.
    LTAT did national service and now you want to screw them over? Bodoh ke? You think this is just some laksamana’s fighting for a slice of the kuih lapis? Bukan…..ini hutang at the highest political levels.
    Of course semua ni berlaku lepas PM dah takde di Kementah and he can honestly use it to ketuk semua mamat dalam parti yang buat susah utk nya.

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