SHAH ALAM: Transporters to maritime patrollers. After some delays it appears that the plan to upgrade a number of RMAF CN-235s to maritime patrollers is finally coming to fruition, thanks to the US. From Jane‘s.
I had reported previously on this issue at DSA 2018.
However Indonesian Aerospace the manufacturer of RMAF CN-235s was awarded a three year MRO contract by the government.
What’s interesting is that the MRO contract provided for the conversion of three out of the six CN-235 transporters in service into MPAs. The seventh CN-235 is configured for VIP transport. The eight aircraft was written off after it ditched near Kuala Selangor in February. 2016.
Upgrading the CN-235s to MPAs will be the most visible Maritime Security Initiative projects between Malaysia and the US, after the gift of 12 ScanEagles, first announced two years ago. The other was the coastal radars for the eastern coast of Sabah. Most of the other things by the US under the MSI through out the years, are mostly command and control and communications equipment.
Though as important as the drones and radars, the nature of these equipment made them almost invisible, even I would not noticed them if given the chance to see it being used by the Malaysian military. The problem is compounded as these equipment are not identified expressly apart from the generic “command and control and communications equipment.
Anyhow the mission equipment to be installed on the CN-235 are likely to be sourced from the US as well though it must be said that these had been installed on Indonesian Air Force and Navy CN-235s as well.
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I dont like it one bit..this has to stop..Malaysia always forced to make do with bare minimum equipment.
Does this means that the requirement for 3nos new MPAs under RMK12 (2021-2025) will see the IAe’s CN-235s(or even CN-295s) as the frontrunners?
Choosing new types now might burden the logistics chain later one. Or cancel it all together since we used existing platform?
Its still early in the game to know what’s in store in the future
Great news. As these equipment may have come at a good price maybe we can add in Sigint n ISR equipment too
It will come with the SIGINT and ISR equipment as well
If I’m not mistaken there was one (1) C-130 Hercules in white color that used for limited MPA role long time ago..It is (White C-130 Hercules) still exist?
Two actually was bought for maritime surveillance, no specialised equipment apart from observer’s windows in the rear
This is excellent news. Do you know if the B200s are still going to been used, perhaps for smaller areas like along Selat Melaka, for example, while the CN235 for Laut China Selatan?
No idea of the operational areas yet
Even for MPA, RMAF is forced to use a 20 years old plane as the platform. Menawhile TNI is keep receiving a new CN-235 220 variant with wingtip.
It is a clue, money is scarce.
Next step is MRSS…let see how it will be done?
Thank you Uncle Sam!
Thank you uncle sam for the generous gift.
It is quite humiliating for something so basic as the MPA that we cannot stump up the budget from our own coffers. Shame on you Mat Sabu, and don’t pat yourself in the back and put this 2 MPA conversion as your success in this years Mindef report card.
Now we need to also convert 4 more of the CN-235 into MPAs. I am sure this would cost not more than USD50 million to convert to the same spec as the Integrated Surveillance and Defense, Inc. modification for the 2 free samples.
A good thing about this is we will finally get our much needed MPA with more range than the current beechcrafts.
The bad thing is i am sure that the MPA will not come with any ASW capability.
Well we can just use this as is, and replace it later post 2030 with a proper ASW MPA. But it will then compete for budgets with our needed MRCA in 2030-2040 time frame.
Any confirm number of AC to be converted? Was told this project is not the new procurement of MPA in the next RMK. Wonder which squadron will operate it?
So with this we’re not gonna buy new MPA is it?
Hopefully the MPAs will be delivered on time. Okay it comes without ASW. How about crews for the mission suite?
@ Ed Liew
If the CN-235 is converted to MPAs, then it should be passed on to the 16 Skn, which is our dedicated MPA squadron which now operates the Beechcraft. I hope a total of 6 CN-235 would be converted to MPAs, with the beechcrafts passed on to MMEA.
Then the 1 Skn would need to be stood down. Previously I wanted the A400M squadron to take on the 8 Skn “tak segan bekerja” nameplate, as a former caribou squadron. Now IMO it would be appropriate to rename the A400M squadron to the 1 Skn. Ironically if this happens, it would be “Pisang Berbuah Dua Kali”, as the CN-235 was stood up as the new 21 Skn before it was renamed the 1 Skn. Why in the 1st place they created a new squadron nameplate when there are plenty of historical ones that can be resurrected.
A right move with limited budget. Thanks to USA. I hope all the remaining CN-235 convert to MPA. If cannot , at less the VIP should make it as MPA. The VIP version I think we have a lot of commercial option, please let the military personal use it.
Beggars can’t be choosers and if we can smooch off Uncle Sam why not? Its not like some of their significant donations to other countries which entails with a US basing trade off. I hope we can maximise as much we can get from them. No need to feel shy about it as they are giving free to help build relationships. If the MPA requirement had been fulfilled FOC then we can relocate the budget for ASW choppers.
Long overdue and telling that it’s thanks to the U.S. taxpayers that it’s happening – just like how it’s thanks to the U.S. taxpayer that the RMN will be the first of the armed services to have an organic UAS capability. We are getting a MPA with much more range, endurance and lift capacity than the Beechcrafts. It’s not only Sabu who has to answer for our inability to funds things but also his boss who appointed him ….
The VIP configured CN will probably stay that was till it’s retired as it’s owned by the PM’s Department.
Mission crews will probably be RMAF; ideally it should be RMN. Ideally, operational control be should be under the RMN but inter service issues come into play. The RMAF will complain that operational funds are from its budget.
To be fair it’s also the fault of the 6th, 5th and 4th PMs
The lack of a ASW capability is the least of our concerns. Sure we need it but we need lots of things too. An ASW capability means added expenses to train crews and keep them current and also to store and maintain the torps and sonobuoys. Expenses the tight fisted politicians and bureaucrats won’t spend.
We need to sort out the basics first; the basics or lack of it being the fact that we don’t even have MPAs with the needed range and endurance to monitor our maritime domain.
Marhalim, correct me if I am wrong. I am of the understanding that the US has given us the equipment, but we pay from the conversion and installation in Indonesia. Therefore, the RMAF is paying for 2 to be converted now and 2 later when $$ is available.
The other two depends on whether the US is paying for the mission equipment. Yes you are right we will be paying for the conversion as the aircraft are already undergoing SLEP at PTDI
the good news, at long last we have another MPA beside beechcrafts with good range plus equipment…thank you US for MSI..
the bad news, the bean counter may see this as good enough and may not give another allocation for new MPA maybe…
i really really hope the RMK will give defense good news considering all those DWP words presented before…
This is stupid. If the gomen is really cash strapped they should’ve just accept the P-3C deal from Japan. Japan even throw in upgrades for free.
I guess gomen is too spineless because they didn’t want to upset china overlord
Glad to have PTDI install the US sourced equipment on 2 planes of ours. So another 2 planes are still in the ‘airy-fairy’ state as it the case under MinDef. Hopefully the other 2 gets the equipment too.
On a separate matter, we have an Indonesia Youtuber crowing that @ Malaysia is getting them to rework the planes. I told the channel it’s ½ right, as the planes at PTDI workshop on SLEP and the equipment is US, not Indonesian sourced. Indonesian nationalism, is as usual, working overtime. 🙂
With this ‘inisiative’..im pretty much expecting rmaf to select above average lcas now cuz the fund from rmk12 intended for MPA somewhat free up with this initiative..and must pick above average MALE UAVs too..
“If the CN-235 is converted to MPAs, then it should be passed on to the 16 Skn, which is our dedicated MPA squadron which now operates the Beechcraft”
Guess so but than 16Skn also have another project of the new MPA in the coming RMK12. I doubt the CN is in their plan. Than again it’ll boil down to how much money will the Govt allocate for this new MPA?
Off topic, with what’s happening to Singapore Airshow, do you see DSA2020 being scale down?
We will have to see in the next few weeks …
We actually have 3 C-130H-MP (not 2 like marhalim said) which was called Camar’s. the only difference is the 3 window observer doors at the rear. 2 of the C-130H-MP have now been converted to tanker. Only 1 remain in original condition. Observer doors can be easily dismantled and now are pooled within the fleet, so you can see other hercules using the transparent observer doors now. This observer door is actually different to the single square window KC-130H door or the single round window of normal C-130 doors.
I cannot find the picture of the 3 window door. Seen it before but cannot find it. One of the latest was taken by chinese coast guard when our C-130 buzzed them. Anyway this is a picture of TNI-AU single C-130H-MP (already crashed)
@ Ed Liew
If we walk down the path of CN-235 MPA conversion, all other MPA options should be forgotten about as we cannot afford to run 2 different types of MPA. That is the most logical decision to make.
Yes. The RMAF first registered a requirement for MPAs in the late 1990’s and approval but no funding was granted – usual story. Then in the early 2000’s the requirement gathered pace. It was supposed to happen around the 2005-7 period after the MKMs and around the sane time as the helis. The usual RFIs were issued and evaluations done but no cash was allocated.
Aiya, you guys are so impatient. One step at a time. The huge deal is that the RMAF is finally getting a decent MPA and by the sounds of it, equipped with decent gear. Okay, it’s in older aircraft but have undergone SLEP. Ok only 2 for the time being, but this is a giant leap compared to the very basic gear in the very small B200. Considering all the other things needed like MPSS, LCA and KJA, this is nothing but good news. It will take some financial pressure off for 2020 RMK.
Alex – “I guess gomen is too spineless””
You’re jumping to conclusions. Firstly, the Chinese wouldn’t give a toss whether or not we get the P-3s; no skin off their back. It’s not as if the Japanese are giving us a high tech over the horizon radar and insisting we deploy it in the Spratlys. Secondly there are long term factors such as maintenance/spares/support/costs which would make the RMAF wary of getting planes several decades old that are no longer in protection; irrespective of the fact support and spares are still available.
Tom Tom – “ guys are so impatient. One step at a time””
If you’ve been paying attention to our history of doing things; you would understand why some would feel impatient and cynical …. The “one step at a time” thing is a nice cliche but can mean nothing.
Converting the CNs may have negative implications in the long term : it might lead to further delays in the existing MPA requirement and we might end up buying a MPA completely different to the CNs: resulting in the RMAF having to operate 2 different MPAs (assuming the Beechcrafts are retired …
The C-130 MPAs. Do you have their serials? If we have 3 then the 3rd came some time after the initial 2.
The incident you mentioned. It was about 10 years ago and the pics were posted in a Chinese blog. One pic showed a guy snapping pics from the observers station.
Okay then cn235 mpa it is..but cant be only 2 to make it realistic at least we can expect another 2 provided the first 2 perform admirably..now that mpa is considered dust n done..please select Male UAV n LCA thoroughly now some excess fund is available..cant choose ‘so-so’ Male Uav N Lca now cant they?
While underwhelming, it is a step in the right direction. At least every money saved on MPA could be channeled back to other big ticketed items like additional H225M or even LCA. Besides the CN235s are pretty underutilized anyway so might as well as use them for MPA purpose.
Still Malaysia being a maritime country means that even with optimistically 4 CN235MPA (of which prolly 2 will be available at any given time) I think it still not enough to cover our entire EEZ so like it or not the beechcraft will still need to soldier on as our MSA, though with reduced workloads than before. They should also look at stationing at least one of the Beechcraft on ESSZone on rotational basis.
As for MMEA, I think they would have their own preference for their MPA/MSA programme tho I’d imagine they would be enough with something along the lines of Do-228 or N219
Dundun, let MMEA select the Do228. That’s a proven platform used by the Bangladeshis.
The plane itself isn’t important but what goes into the plane is. Anyways we don’t have Dornier planes in either our military nor civilian usage so this would add on the logistical & maintenance footprint. For the plane itself, we should go for ones from CASA/IPTN, ATR, Bombardier, or plain ol Hercs.
Dundun – “ that even with optimistically 4 CN235MPA”
We can safely assume that C-130s will
still be used to make up for the lack of MPAs in numbers; despite only having a Mk1 eyeball.
Dundun – “should also look at stationing at least one of the Beechcraft on ESSZone on rotational basis”
Ideally it would be MMEA or police assets that shoulder the responsibility there; with regards to coastal surveillance. It would help if the MMEA’s Bombardiers are there, if operational.
The priority of RMAF MPAs should be our EEZ and shipping lanes.
You’re contradicting yourself. You say plane itself isn’t important yet you argue adding new plane would lead to logistical footprint. Guess what, MMEA didn’t have any other planes other than the CL415 which isn’t exactly suited for MSA role.
Besides ATR-72 MPA is prolly too big for MMEA. Hence this is where smaller planes Do-228 or N219 or even Cessna 208 if money is especially tight
As requested. Info on the C-130H-MP Camar
C/N 4847 – FM2451 – M30-07 – delivered Apr 1980 – now KC-130H
C/N 4849 – FM2452 – M30-08 – delivered Apr 1980 – now KC-130H
C/N 4866 – FM2453 – M30-06- delivered Dec 1980 – now still C-130H-MP
Most probably the CN-235 MPA will have roughly similar equipment fit out to the beechcrafts, just installed in a bigger airframe giving more comfort to the crews and longer range.
For the fit out. Other than the american mission system, i would prefer the radar to be the latest AESA seaspray 7000 from leonardo. EO turret can be from FLIR. I do wish for an ESM system and also optical tracking such as the sentinel VIDAR. To also be fitted with SATCOM and LOS downlinks. Exras good to have would be inflight refuelling probes, engine exhaust supressor, RWR+MAWS+DIRCM.
The 3rd MPA FM2453 is M30-09.
It is the one in this unique picture on Lockheed’s Marietta flight line (look at the MARITIM wording below the roundel)
M30-06 is our original 6 hercules.
Of the original 6, 1 crashed (03), 2 converted to tankers (01,02) and 3 converted to long fuselage C-130H-30 version (04,05,06).
Not sure this make sense, at LIMA 2015 Thales announced it had delivered 2 sets of AMASCOS to Malaysia for upgrading the B200 KING Air, with one of the B200 King Air crashed and consider total loss, maybe it is logical to use the system on another platform, since C-130 is too big for this system, CN-235 would be the most suitable platform for it. If this is the case, not sure why it took 4~5 years later to install it
im happy that the RMAF finally gets the MPA which they needed badly, but on the other hand….again by donation from uncle sam.
Of utmost importance, RMAF will have the long required, awaited MPAs. Regardless it’s not a new purchase, rather a donation and upgrading on existing platform.
Rightly or wrongly, with the oft quoted reason of financial crunch, to get these ‘new’ MPAs in comparison to our Beechcraft is indeed an upgrade in capabilities. Look at this foremost. Definitely we’d want brand new but again.. hope this releases some budget for other purchases. Wishful thinking or optimism, depends..
Uncle Sam pun Uncle Sam lah..
Dear Encik Marhalim. I understand Uncle Sam is willing to donate equipment for two more MPAs?
If the funds are available , of course
Numbers count. We’ll continue using the Beechcrafts alongside the CNs. Also the stuff going on the CNs are being paid by Uncle Sam; I don’t see us saying “no thank you Uncle SAM, there are 2 sets of AMASCOS we can use” …
Also, 4-5 years ago the RMAF had not decided yet to do away with the CNs for the transport role. Now it’s different; it only want to have A400Ms and Charlies; the problem here is that not every sortie will require a A400M and Charlie, at times it will be more practical to use a smaller transport.
Basically the 2 amascos was used to upgrade the remaining 2 unupgraded beechcrafts. So all 4 was upgraded with amascos, with 1 now lost…
Yes, i agree that the numbers count. We need to have eyes in the air basically at 4 loacations
1) melacca straits and andaman sea approaches
2) off east coast of peninsular
3) off sarawak and kota kinabalu
4) esscom areas
To cover the areas, IMO we need a minimum of
6x CN-235MPA (TUDM) to cover 2 long range areas (1+2)
6x beechcraft B200 MPA (MMEA) to cover 3 near shore areas (1+2+4). 3 passed on from TUDM, 3 more converted with MMEA funds.
12x Scaneagle UAV (TLDM) to cover near shore areas (3+4), plus operations from TLDM Frigates (why IMO Type 31s would be ideal with its large hangar so it can hold the UAV plus a helicopter like the lynx)
Fulmar UAV (MMEA) extending the coverage of mmea patrol vessels
8-12x MALE UAV (TUDM) to cover long range areas (3+4)
CL415 is an amphib plane that can do somethings no other plane could do, while a Do228 is just like any other rotary passenger plane convert. Since we have other rotaries in use, their adaptation reduces the logistical footprint of that plane itself. The CL415 can justifies its extra footprint for its special function. The Do228 can’t do that.
Bigger planes have greater range, loiter time, and more comfy cabin, big pluses for usage as MPAs.
we hope that the military cooperation between Indonesia and Malaysia will get better and of course we are brothers. it must be admitted that sometimes the Indonesian media overestimate the news, for example the aircraft under discussion and the Russian Sukhoi 35 which is full of losses and an iron fly is irrelevant to buy
“If the funds are available , of course”
May I know whose funds must be made available? Ours or the MSI project?
Even nowadays MMEA struggles to keep its CL415 in the air and now you’re talking about adding more of them? For a price of 1 CL415, MMEA couldve got 3 or even 4 of Do228 or N219 and mind you, when we bought them they’re also kitted out with surveillance equipments so we’re paying more for the plane and its equipments. The fact that MMEA also looking for a new MSA when the CL415s are already fitted for maritime patrol says a lot about how expensive they are to fly and maintain
Besides how often do they need to use its amphibious capability within the context of maritime patrol? Also it looks bigger because of the internal tank its carried for firefighting purposes. Why do you think Indonesia always wanted to borrow the bird from us whenever they have peat fire problem?
boat – “ If this is the case, not sure why it took 4~5 years later to install it””
Ask the politicians.
The RMAF has examined the possibility of converting the CNs as far back as 10 years ago and MPAs – has the plan been carried out – should been procured in the period after the MKMs and Cougars had been signed for. We were even offered to convert some C-130s for the role but operating costs are too high.
Which is why the 5-15 and CAP 55 will die natural deaths. We lack the long term focus and commitment and there are political and geo political factors that will make us change direction.
The priority of the MPAs should be our shipping lands and EEZ. ESSCOM areas can be covered by a combination of other assets and should be the responsibility of the police and MMEA.
Azlan,- As usual they (politician, Generals) are all talk and wayang. All must SHOW something, can or can not, that is another issue..
Lets not be over zealous about things…good thing is uncle sam donated the equipment to us so we can start baby steps in utilising those equipment competently…after that then maybe start thinking newer and improved equipments.can we ask ourselves how well ar those men in green understood the manuals and tutorials which are taught in english medium?if all ar well verse in english language than i might say lets get new and more sophicated equipmentsmy take is why not invest in improving the men and women proficency in english then when they go overseas for training they will not feel left out..they will be more confident mingling with foreigners with their goid command of english.
Does anyone know what operational tempo is possible with 2 aircraft. Use 1 aircraft for 1 week, then service the following week? Any idea about service intervals, etc? Assume 6 hour patrol 7 days a week, that will be 42 hours every week before the plane is rested and serviced the following week. Is this feasible?
RedSot – “so we can start baby steps in utilising those equipment competently”
We are talking about MPAs and a basic sensor suite; not 5th gen MRCAs or long range bombers. We’ve had decades of MPA experience and have operated AMASCOS and stuff that’s even more complex. We have a very good idea as to how to operate MPAs in line with our operational requirements and already have an operating syllabus It’s not as if the Yanks are giving something totally new from a technical or operating perspective.
RedSot – “…after that then maybe start thinking newer and improved equipments””
Wait another 10 years or when the CNs have run out of hours? MPAs should have been bought in the mid to late 2000’s; as part of the original plan.
RedSot – “those men in green understood the manuals and tutorials which are taught in english medium”
Standard day to day operating/maintenance manuals are translated into BM. For other types of manuals; relating to aircraft documentation or detailed maintenance; these are in English. The level of English tends to be better in the rear support services; especially those tasked with maintaining stuff of a very technical nature.
This is a problem when we buy Russian. Manuals pertaining to deep maintenance and documentation have to be translated. This is one area where help from the IAF was useful; they had already translated the maintenance manuals for the Su-30d.
Every time Beech deployments are made to Labuan; we have a very good idea as to the number of sorties the aircraft can reasonably be expected to generate. The problem is if the aircraft are suddenly required to maintain a higher tempo indefinitely. Naturally there will be instances when serviceability rates have significantly dropped.
The problem is that as aircraft get older they tend to require more post flight maintenance hours and it doesn’t help if overhauls and depot level maintenance are delayed.
Even where there were 4 Beechs it took almost superhuman efforts to maintain operational commitments. Which is why the RMAF has been seeking and pushing for MPAs since the early to mid 2000’s. Post MH370 it became a priority – again – but – again – was put in hold.
If you are in the aviation industry, the Beechcraft King Air family, which the B200T is a part of, they are like the Myvi of the aviation world.
Thousands built. Still in production. Hundreds used ones available for sale. Tons of upgrades and accessories available. Plenty of spare parts sources.
I dont see why we need to look at Do228 or N219.
On the servicing intervals. The aircraft has inspection intervals, and component TBO (time between overhauls).
For king air B200, there is a special maintenance program for aircrafts that fly more than 200hours annually. No idea if TUDM beechcrafts fall under this program.
Other than the normal pre and postflight inspections, this entails a routine 200 flight hours normal inspection followed later with a 200 flight hours detailed inspection. So after accumulating 200 flight hours, the aircraft needs to be inspected before able to be flown again.
Then there are stuff like the 1500 hour hot section inspection and 3000 hour overhaul interval for the PT-6 turboprop engine, landing gear overhauls, etc. etc.
To have 1 always available 24/7, you usually need at least 3. 1 operational, 1 standby incase the operational one breaks down, and 1 in maintenance. If you have less than 3, you need to accept that there will be days that no MPA can be operational.
Sorry typo above.
It should read:
For king air B200, there is a special maintenance program for aircrafts that fly more than 400hours annually.
Say the each day of the year, 1 aircraft will always be launched for 1 mission. The endurance of each mission would be 4 hours.
That means 365daysx4hours=1460, we make that 1500 hours annually.
The beechcraft operating cost per hour hovers around usd2.5k per hour.
So the operating expense for beechcrafts would be around usd3.75 million (RM15.5 million) per year. Which is peanuts compared to billions of dollar revenue from fishing, oil and gas, and our goods exported by ships that we can safeguard by using the MPA.
Thanks for putting light on beechcraft operating cost per hours. Any idea how much CN235 cost then?
Based on US Coast Guard HC-144A maritime patrol aircraft, the cost per flight hour is USD3,275.
Just thinking out loud.
We can get 6 CN-235 MPA for as little budget as possible by offering PTDI to trade-in the 3 B200T Amascos equipped MPAs as part payment. Those B200T could be passed on by PTDI to indonesian BAKAMLA, which currently also operates B200.
4 of the CN-235 major equipments paid for by MSI, 2 more by the trade-in. IMO all 6 would use the same MSI furnished equipment, but we should top up some money to get the Leonardo Seaspray 7000 AESA radar and the ViDAR system.
As for the MMEA, the beechcraft king air B200 is still an ideal platform, but to go for common maritime surveillance equipment with MMEAs current CL415.
BTW UK HM coast guard now also operates king air B200 of its own.
Found one of the elusive C-130H-MP door picture. This was during the MH370 search.
My video featured the same aircraft
Can you share more pics (inside and outside) of the said door?
@… “trade-in the 3 B200T Amascos equipped MPAs as part payment”
You have the number wrong. We don’t have that many.
I think i have all the figures right. Now we do have 3 B200T MPA all equipped with AMASCOS system.
This is the timeline of TUDM B200T from my database.
– inducted into TUDM 18/5/1994
– first 2 B200T upgrade to AMASCOS 2006. RM30.4 million overall cost or about USD4 million per aircraft.
– 2 more B200T upgraded to AMASCOS 2015.
– B200T M41-03 Crash Butterworth AB 21/12/2016.
I was under the impression that only a pair were fitted with AMASCOS. Interesting.
By the 2012 period when a single example was displayed at the Subang Open Day; they had already been fitted with wing tip fuel tanks in place of the drop tanks and had minor changes in the cockpit, i.e. new radios, GPS, SATCOM, etc. It was during the Open Day that I had chance to peep inside and saw how things were. To think that crew’s had to spend hours, including flights across the South China Sea, cramped in such a narrow airframe.
The wingtip tanks are there from the 1st day. They are never equipped with drop tanks. The unique T in the B200T designation is because it was equipped with wingtip tanks. Normal versions are designated B200.
If not mistaken the 1st batch conversion in 2006 involves M41-01 and M41-03
During the 2012 Subang open day, it was the M41-03 displayed.
The 2nd batch conversion involves M41-02 and M41-04
They were equipped with drop tanks. It was mentioned in a 1997 article in AFM (the editor spend a week here visiting the main bases) and at the Subang Open Day; I asked and was told what the wingtip gadgets were. The pilot or co-pilot himself told me about how they stopped using drop tanks because of weight issues when taking off. I clearly remember this.
The history of king air 2000
The Model 200T was the next model in the series, developed in 1976. This was specially designed for aerial surveying or reconnaissance. Modification changes included changes to the belly aft for photography with a vertical camera, a surveillance radar in a pod under the fuselage, dome shaped windows on the sides of the rear fuselage allowing observation, and a 50-US-gallon (190 L) fuel tank on each wingtip to increase the aircraft’s range.
By the way there is no king air variant that can carry drop tanks. If there is one, please show me the picture. The 1st prototype of B200T is still flying with uruguay navy.
I believe whoever you talked to discribes the wingtip tanks as “drop tanks” even though it cannot actually be dropped! I think what he meant is that those tanks although still installed, is not filled up to reduce the takeoff weight, making it safer to takeoff in our hot and humid climate. It is probably a similar situation to why many army personnel describes any 105mm howitzers as “pack howitzers” even though something like the LG-1 cannot be broken down into pack sized loads.
Through the years I have my fair share of weird answers from military personnels, as some thinks even mentioning the exact manufacturer of military hardwares to civilians is OPSEC!
…. – “Through the years I have my fair share of weird answers from military personnels”
My experience is that one has to know how to ask, when to ask and where to ask. Sometimes to get answers one has to ask in an indirect way and it has to be asked from the right person.
From the time when I used to visit shows on a regular basis (I can’t be bothered now) – here and abroad – I found that certain nationalities and companies are more receptive to answering questions and sharing things; compared to others. The most interesting people to talk to are military attaches; when you meet them over drinks and food. Attaches from the smaller embassies are normally more than helpful because unlike their counterparts in embassies such as the U.S, U.K, France, Australia; etc, they get less requests for help/assistance.
An important lesson I also learnt was never to take what’s mentioned in promotional brochures (intended to impress, sell a product’s plus points and not mention any shortcomings) at face value and to always read between the lines for what’s not mentioned; as opposed to what is.
“I found that certain nationalities and companies are more receptive to answering questions and sharing things; compared to others.”
When I converse with people from a certain country, I’m always amused by how they react when they finally ask what country I’m from. We don’t recognise their country.
The reason being : do we recognise the country based on its pre 1967 borders or its post 1976 borders which includes land illegally occupied in clear and total violation of international law; including UN Resolutions?
From my (somewhat limited) experience; from school and at shows; people from that country by and large tend to be reserved when first approached and take time to open up. Then again; the Russians up to the early 2000’s were well known to be uninterested in answering questions (language is an issue but it goes beyond that) and only to happy to let you have whatever brochures you need just so you’d go away and leave them alone.
Singaporean sales reps/company representatives tend to be reserved and overly business like (in contest to at booths manned by other nationalities) and tend to be overly careful (in my experience at least) when they spot the word “Malaysia” on one’s tag. Singaporeans on blogs/forums tend to be careful; frequently citing “OPSEC” but in a relaxed social environment – especially if you know them personally or via a 3rd party – can be quite accommodating in discussing/revealing certain things; especially when beverages of a certain kind are available.
“Singaporeans on blogs/forums tend to be careful; frequently citing “OPSEC”
Thankfully this annoying trend is shifting. There is a new generation of Singaporean enthusiasts who are knowledgeable and candid in discussing the SAF’s perceived strengths and weaknesses.
Some caution by Singaporeans is justifiable. Singapore is a small country and it would not be hard for the government to find out who leaked info deemed sensitive. Potentially indefinite punishment would await. This is why the secret units, platforms and capabilities in the SAF almost never make it into public mention, even if foreign governments and services know about them.
Drop tanks: While drop tanks are meant to be dropped in certain exigencies and certain mission profiles, I don’t think our fighters have many to drop before we run out of them.
I don’t think the King Air has drop tanks designed for it, there is practically no scenario in which they could prove useful on such a platform and justify the cost.