Typhoon vs Super Hornets and possibly Flankers and Strike Eagles too..

PETALING JAYA: The prospect is mouth watering, two of the most modern western fighters against two of the arguably, the best in South East Asia.

That prospect might just become a reality (or not) this October or November when the latest Five Power Defence Arrangement (PFDA) multi-national exercise is held. It remained a tantalising prospect at the moment as while the Typhoon from RAF and the Super Hornets from RAAF are almost confirmed, whether or not the Flankers (RMAF) and Super Eagles of RSAF will take part remained to be seen.

If both do not take part, at least our Flanker boys will get the chance to spar with the Typhoons or fly on them (if they bring in the two seaters) as the RAF contingent was supposed to stay in country or at least regionally until December, for the Lima show.

The latest FPDA will be hosted by the Singaporeans and it remained to be seen whether or not our Flankers will take part. The last exercise was hosted by the RMAF, which saw a contingent of Super Hornets operating from Butterworth. During that event, our Flankers reportedly did not turn up but the prospect of having two contenders for the MRCA programme in country for an extended period will probably get someone at Jalan Padang Tembak to order a duel among the three fighters even if it is held outside FPDA.

I know the French and the Swedes will be livid! And even the Indians will want to see the results if the fur-ball really took place. Edited: I forgot to add that our fighter boys will get a chance to go head to head against the Rafale or fly in a two seater when the French contingent arrives here in December for Lima.

Yes, the Defence Minister had already announced that the MRCA programme had been put on hold for the time being. Read Here .

His statement caused a flurry phone calls to Europe and Washington, I am told. Of course there are more to story than just that. I had written before that the original timeline for the MRCA programme was supposed to be in 2014 and that apparently had not changed.

The only change is that Boeing reportedly had upped the ante and had asked that decision to be made ASAP as the US Navy’s Super Hornet Multi-year Programme will be shuttered by 2015 if no new orders is made within the next two years. We know now that is not the case as the F-35 programme is experiencing further delays.

To make it point further Boeing is also proposing to Malaysia the same deal as it has with the US Navy, that is to purchase the Super Hornets for around US60 million to USD70 million per plane. This is of of course without the engines, support and training and ordnance. With the engines, support and training and ordnance, we may end up paying some US120 million or more for each plane. And this will be a strictly a FMS deal so definitely no offset deal at all.

I am told the Finance Ministry had a hard look at the numbers and they are biting. So before the deal is signed, one need to get it off the table for now……

–Malaysian Defence

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20 Comments

  1. I don’t know that jester in the MOD is coming or going! How I long for someone with the will and courage to push the defence case forward in Cabinet and Parliament…

    Reply
    Will and courage are alright but nation before self is more important…

  2. Can’t take anything the Defence minister sys seriously. Remember the cock up with the Fulcrum statement because he wasn’t ”briefed”? One minute he’s all excited and foaming in the mouth saying that the Typhoon was the favourite and that other deals would have to be effected, the next minute he’s saying otherwise…..
    If indeed the MRCA programme is canceleed this would mean that there is ample cash to pay for an Inderpaura replacement. Also, the Defence Minister saying, 3 months before LIMA, that all major deals are on hold is a bit of a bummer, especialy when the organisers are tryig to ensure the participation of certain companies and aircraft.

  3. Well, with what has been happening in the South China Seas, it is prudent to have three types of asets and they are:
    1.Planes which can attack ships and properly equipped with the right and effective anti ship missiles
    2.Sufficient ships to stay on station to deter any encroachment or attempts to test our will and resolution
    3. Either long range attilery or land based missiles capable of hitting ships to be stationed in the Layangs.

    So lets see the MINDEF people prioratise the requirements

  4. Well i think nothing change, even if the competition done now, results will only be known in 2 years time, further dingdong and first aircraft will be in 2016 or 2017, RM11th time. Remember india MRCA program, berapa tahun itu…

    In the meantime The Migs may have to be overhauled in order to stay that long. No longer a front line fighter but can still give hell to legacy vipers and hawks if u know what i mean

    Reply
    Before this it was expected that after Lima, two planes will be down-selected before the best and final offer is made. The problem was that Boeing was pushing for a decision ASAP which of course was detrimental to the other bidders.

  5. Its amazing that the order of the day for MOD is still to keep buying new assets. The fighter boys would love this no doubt….for a while @ least.
    There is a bigger ‘Governance’ issue in asset management within the RMAF & Govt’s financial landscape. So many PTU’s & Defence ministers have tried & failed, or have avoided to resolve the main issue of governance within the system.
    To explain, it can be simply asked: How many Hornets, MiG29, Sukhoi do the rmaf have serviceable & combat ready today, yesterday, tomorrow ..or for that matter for the coming year.? What is the average operational readiness state of the fighter force in the last ten years?
    Without witch-hunting to any specific leadership team and/or leadership period,there clearly seem to be a SYSTEMIC PROBLEM in the case in point. Since these serviceability figures are classified info, therefore an independent inquiry is out of the question; leaving rmaf to audit itself, over the years with no apparent systemic change for the better.
    Hence it is foreseeable, (amongst those who are familiar with the numbers); that after the exhaustion of the 1st two yrs of spares, when the new fleet would then be supported by the SYSTEMIC rmaf logistic system, the serviceability state of the new acft would start to fall.
    It is obvious from the previous years of protocol, that the apparent ‘advancement’ of the rmaf is pivoted only on what new acft we buy every RMK period & NOT how advanced we are in maintaining a highly serviceable fleet & hence maintaining a professional airforce.
    I used the term ‘Governance’ to be all encompassing. The ‘SYSTEMIC PROBLEM’ within the ambit of governance can be identified within the various macro and/or micro management systems within RMAF, MOD & The Govt.
    In essence, it doesn’t really matter whether we buy the typhoon, Flanker, super-hornets or any mrca in the market….the said procurement will be accompanied by yet another ‘big-bang’ in the media, scoring the necessary ‘browny points’ for whichever management team sitting in the chair @ the time;..then after the pump&galore fades away..the systemic problem surfaces. Like so many assets bought before this.Unfortunately so.

  6. yes how true what “the patriot” d said.Compare this to the time of the first and second emergency when the servisability of our assets are top notch.

  7. Ym Lee,

    Placing any long range arty or ASMs on Layang Layang would not make any sense due to the small size of the island.

  8. Forgive my ignorance, if it is facts that the maintenance and service of our assets are that bad than that must be the main priority. There is no point of acquiring new assets when we have to wait for a third emergency to beef up.

  9. Fird,

    Can anyone here provide any firm info as to how bad the situation is? Or is it all speculation and shooting in the dark? I was in Butterworth and Penang recently for work, and during the period I was there, the Hornets were flying everyday. My colleague who was in Kuantan for marketing in June, for 2 weeks, claims the Fulcrums and Hawks were flying almost every day. Now I admit I do not know what readiness levels are. Nor do I know what servicibility rates are like for our fighters, as all air arms, not just the RMAF keep such info under wraps – ”rahsia”. Having said that, I am all for the government providing adequate funding to maintain readiness, training cycles and maintainance for our current assets.

    Patriot has raised several good and valid points, but at the end of the day, certain purchaces are still needed as these assets are long overdue, are part of ongoing modernisation efforts and the MAF is ill equipped and underfunded to meet its vast peacetime operational responsibilities……..

  10. Re: ‘The Patriot’

    I agree completely with your analysis.

    While not wanting to get into a huge debate on colonialism, I am reminded of a lesson that I learned in an advanced anthropology course while in university. How was it possible for so few Brits, from such a small island, to conquer half of the world? Was their technology that much better than the colonized? No, the answer is organization! The British were rarely militarily superior to the indigenous forces that they faced. They were often hugely outnumbered in inhospitable and hostile territory far from support. How they defeated their opposition was through building an organized cohesive force.

    The same is true today. It is a common misconception that the Israelis defeated Arab armies through the use of superior technology in 1967 and 1973. This is quite simply false. The Arab armies not only possessed a massive numerical advantage in all categories of arms (due to Soviet largesse), most of these arms were ‘state of the art’ in their day. The Israelis made better use of the weapons at their disposal, and the Arabs made a mockery of Soviet weapons technology. When you can’t effectively operate, maintain and service the system, it is of little use to you.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, one motivated and well-trained soldier with a peashooter will beat ten uninspired and poorly-trained soldiers no matter what they are armed with!

    In sum, I agree with ‘The Patriot’, it doesn’t really matter whether we buy the Typhoon, Flanker, Super Hornet or any other MRCA, as long as systemic problems continue to plague the defence establishment. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  11. FarredLHS,

    I see your point but it also helped that the Brits in many cases had muzzle loaders, gatling guns and a navy, unlike the natives.
    Not many people know that one of the first times Ghurkas were used in British service was in Perak against a Malay uprising. They had breech loaders, unlkie the natives who were mostly armed with kris’s and spears.

  12. Re : The Patriot
    The article represents the thinking that most of us have when we think of our Armed Forces. Maintenance skills are not well appreciated in the service. We need to have the culture of appreciating the artisan then we can appreciate those guys who can bring back dead machine to life. I worked in Maintenance and it took years to understand and care for a system. Most of the technical guys are very young, which equals inexperienced. By the way the RMAF has more aircraft type than the US Marines which only rely on 7 types of aircraft – UH1, AH1, CH53, AV8, MV 22, FA 18,KC 130j

  13. Procurement through FMS does not preclude offsets.

    Reply
    Yes but its the offsets that Boeing wants to avoid…

  14. unless the RMAF intends to do a big bulk purchase of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, I would rather they buy another aircraft type that has still some way to go in the production. If we only buy, say 1 sqn of Super Hornets now, and the production end in a few years time, we will be in the same situation like the F/A-18D purchase….cannot add more numbers as the production has ended and hardly any opportunity to buy 2nd hands as there aren’t any on the market.

    RMAF has the tendency to buy in small quantities instead a one huge bulk purchase. Buying a plane type when its almost at the tail end of the production is a no go. We will always end up as multiple aircraft types in the inventory.

    Reply
    Its not RMAF, their requirement is for two squadrons of 18 planes each. Lack of money is the main reason.

  15. Lets take a look at the Indian MMRCA purchase. The Super Hornet has been eliminated in the preliminary round by the Indians.So has the F-16’s.Similarly the Gripen has also been eliminated.The clash is now between the Rafale and the Typhoon which are too expensive for us.The reason for the super hornet not chosen is due to their technical performance-they can only pull 7.5g as compared to the others and the range of the Super Hornet is insufficient for the Indian needs.

    Reply
    Despite their insistence that the down selection of the MMRCA were due to technical, I still believe that its closely related to the fact that IAF wanted to ensure that the deal will go through even if there is a change in their government.

  16. We dont even have the money to buy additional 12 EC725, what makes people think we can buy 18 F18 SH that cost 4 times as much (not an apple to apple comparison i know)

  17. Ym Lee

    From what I’ve read, it wasn’t a single factor such as being able to pull 7.5g vs euro canard’s 9g that caused the SH to be dropped. The F-16, which is also a 9g fighter, was also dropped. What I read were more things like sustained turn rates, acceleration, etc. Apart from flight characteristics, other factors mentioned were engine growth potential and design, among others. I can’t say I’ve been privy to the definite, complete list (which means I’m not discounting it was an official factor) which states that the SH airframe being officially stressed for 7.5G was a factor. The SH, as well as legacy hornets, are all well known to have the 7.5G (official -seems like a standard for the USN, unofficially, who knows) limit, years before the Indian MRCA was started. I find it hard to believe both parties(India, Boeing) would have taken so much time to analyse the aircraft and just to fail it on that factor.

    However, the engine factor in particular gave rise to some interesting discussions. One was that GE has already got the F414 EPE engines in development which would have significantly improved the SH flight envelope in combat areas such as maximum sustained turn rate, climb performance, acceleration. But IAF/India took away marks because of it’s ‘still in development’ status.

    Fair enough? Seems like it. But one of the official requirements was AESA radar, and the Typhoon’s one, is similarly, in development status. So, as a neutral, it made for some good reading …

  18. Hmmm, to be expected of course.

    Well, does Rosobonorexport has the upper hand now? If I’m not mistaken, the Russians have offered a barter deal in which RMAF returned back all MiG-219Ns to them ans RMAF will be offered 6 Su-30MKMs.

    Well, despite RMAF misgivings, this is the only deal viable enough should funds not readily available.

    Reply
    The word is politically Mindef is leaning to the Brits……

  19. What about SU-35 Super flanker? isn’t the fighter jet are the best fighters? and yet no other country has using this aircraft, despite maybie the Cost for maintannce surely expansive,

    I think the RMAF will choose the Super bug instead the Typhoon , Rafale and grippen , in my opp(not based on facts) they has learn and drill an excercise with the super bug(RAAF) , so they maybe interested with the bug’s and RAAF willing to support RMAF instead we have a good relationship with them ‘kangaroo’ in term of international affairs.

  20. F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornet 1970 In production
    F/A-18E/F Super Hornet 1999 In production
    F/A-XX 2025 In production

    Reply
    Actually the Bugs come on line in the early 80s. BTW what’s your point

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