Waiting For the Green Light

Korean Aerospace Industries FA-50PH. KAI

SHAH ALAM: The Defence Ministry is waiting for the green light from the Finance Ministry to commence the procurement of the FLIT/LCA for the RMAF, says its caretaker minister on October 27. Hishamuddin Hussein said the physical evaluation and price negotiations have been completed with the evaluation report forwarded to the Finance Ministry for the final decision.

“Of course, we need the aircraft, and I believed there will be no issue as I had promised that the selection will be according to the needs of the end user, the air force,” he told the media at a press conference at the RMAF Subang airbase here. He was officiating the first flight of Malbat 850-10 – the Malaysian contingent for the UNIFIL mission. The peacekeepers will replace the current unit Malbatt 850-9.

Republic of Korea Air Force KAI TA-50. KAI

On claims that there was no physical evaluation of the candidates for the FLIT/LCA tender, Hishammuddin dismissed it as general elections speculations. The announcement by Hishammuddin confirmed my previous report that no firm decision has been taken on FLIT/LCA tender unlike the MPA/MALE UAS which had been confirmed. Both are waiting for the 2023 budget to be approve for their contracts to be signed.
One of the two RTAF T-50 at Kuantan airbase in Jan,. 2018. via @KaptRahmat

As the budget is waiting for the new government for it to be approved, will it be possible that the FLIT/LCA be included when it is presented in parliament in late November or early December? It could of course, but it depends on the newly appointed Finance Minister to put in the budget. Of course, the funds for the FLIT/LCA could be allocated in the 2024 budget if the government wants it, which more likely what will happened. Especially with RMAF expecting the first deliveries in late 2025. As for the FLIT/LCA chosen, Hishammuddin did not mentioned it, but you can guess from the pictures here.
KAI FA-50. KAI

Anyhow, can you please help me by clicking the adverts or tip me with coffee.

— Malaysian Defence

If you like this post, buy me an espresso. Paypal Payment

Share
About Marhalim Abas 1720 Articles
Shah Alam

60 Comments

  1. @Akmal

    Agreed, the elite have never and will never ever take defence seriously, I wonder what must take place in order for them to finally realize…

  2. Akmal – “I’m sensing another LCS debacle is coming”

    How exactly? Different circumstances.
    If you have any inside knowledge that indicates that the LCA programme will go ratshit please share what you know.

  3. Just sounds toooooo good to be true, just waiting for the green light. My impression is this: what authority does the finance minister have to agree or disagree if the defence ministry greatly needs fighter jets for something as important as national defenceless? His job, IMHO, is to make it happen. Seems as though things are rather convoluted in Malaysia. The Australian treasurer or finance minister here do not decide what
    Defence can or cannot have.

  4. Hopefully Hishamudin really meant what he said which is the RMAF will get what it actually wanted. Though i am not surprised if the next government (whomever the next government will be) will not give what RMAF really wanted

  5. Jason – “I wonder what must take place in order for them to finally realize”

    For the country to come under direct existential threat and for a long underesourced MAF to be unable to meet this threat; whether it’s our access to international shipping lanes being disrupted and we can’t export or import stuff; the country coming under a devastating cyber or EW attack; a clash with a neighbour over an unresolved overlapping claim which sees the army being trounced, etc.

  6. It’s the same thing really in Oz, as the treasurer needs the go ahead from his boss, the PM. It happened when the military wanted the Black Hawks and indeed had chosen it but the PM and his Cabinet decided to choose the Airbus offerings

  7. Just out of curiousity, who don’t the Def Ministry straight buy up to 54 jets? Since the air force planned for 3 squadrons?

  8. AN-Apg79(v4) radar from Raytheon or HHI one? I hear the hornets radar also upgraded to this GaN based radar? Reports say it will be Block 20 witb Aesa but I’m not too sure. Pinoy’s fighting eagle grounded but KAI said they skip maintenance as no funds for it. I find it hard to believe. Worst i heard during the Marawi insurgency recently they have only 1 pilot flying as much as 40 sorties per day. That’s shocking. Are they running out of pilots.

  9. Tom Tom – ”Just sounds toooooo good to be true, just waiting for the green light.”

    How so? Eventually at some point it has to get funded. Back in the early 1990’s all of us were waiting to see what fighter we’d order. It did seem ”toooooo good to be true” when I bought the NST one morning and on the front page was the report we were buying Fulcrums and Hornets.

    Tom Tom – ”or disagree if the defence ministry greatly needs fighter jets for something as important as national defenceless? ”

    You’ve missed the plot. The Finance Minister can and does say that perhaps the time is not ideal or that the price is too high but he does not say that there is no need for the said purchase.

    If we start from the beginning; first the armed services decide what they need; then the get MINDEF to approve the requirement for purchase [subject to funding]; then the Finance Minister and EPU from the PM’s Department srutinise the deal and at times the views of the Foreign Ministry are sought.

    Tom Tom – ”Seems as though things are rather convoluted in Malaysia.”

    I could give you various examples of how things can also get convoluted in Australia with regards to defence.

    Tom Tom – ”The Australian treasurer or finance minister here do not decide what”

    Finance Ministers everywhere – by virtue of their position – have a say in whether funds can be allocated or whether the country can afford the purchase. It’s up to the PM to overrule the Finance Minister if needed.

  10. @Akmal
    So if there are no buys then there is no debacle, right?

    @Tom Tom
    You really should brush up on the governance of your adopted country. Just sayin. A democratic nation does not allow any entity to go willy nilly on a freespending trip just because they have the money for it. Even Aussie have checks & balances what they could spend yet it still does not prevent them from huge mistakes they did with Tiger & NH90 choppers.

  11. Marhalim, yes, the PM and the cabinet decide. The finance minister alone should be the one who has the last say.

  12. I don’t think the RMAF has ever received 36 aircraft of one type since the days of the Skyhawk and Nuri. Obviously, it remains to be seen if 36 will be ordered at one go or if 36 will even be received in the fullness of time.

  13. Qamarul – ” Worst i heard during the Marawi insurgency recently they have only 1 pilot flying as much as 40 sorties per day”

    Well you heard sheer nonsense. Nobody flies 40 sorties a day; even if they have superhuman extra terrestrial qualiities. Also, their jets were flying in 2-3s over Marawi.

    Qamarul – “Are they running out of pilots”

    You can more or less answer this question yourself. First ask yourself how many fast jets they have then ask yourself how many fast jet pilots they recruit annually…..

    Tom Tom – “The finance minister alone should be the one who has the last say”

    What nonsense. He can recommend and influence things but he does and should not have the “last day”; not his job as a Minister; unless of course Australia’s a totalitarian or authoritarian country…..

    Sam – “Just out of curiousity, who don’t the Def Ministry straight buy up to 54 jets?”

    Why weren’t the Fulcrums replaced years ago when they were retired; why does the whole army only have 28 155mm guns and why does the RMN have to perform certain works to keep into service ships that are long past their retirement date?

    The answer to those questions is the same answer as to why we aren’t buying 54 jets in a go and also why we won’t get 10 radars in a go as Zaft suggested in a different thread.

  14. IINM the MinFin doesn’t have direct approval power per se.
    They approve the budgetary allocation to buy, then it is Mindef that does the approval on what to buy which then goes to MinFin to get the approval if they can expend the money that was budgeted. Mind you just because it is approved & budgeted does not mean they got automatic approval to spend it. Also MinFin’s role are to nego the deal and decide the appropriate method of purchase (G2G, tender, direct nego, via middlemen, etc). In some countries it is PM/cabinet that has final say, and others it is the Congress/President, regardless defence buys does not happen in solo and there are checks & balances, the same goes for our country so imho I don’t see the issue here.

    @Qamarul
    Global air traffic is back to near pre pandemic levels. I’m not surprised if many chosen to leave for better pastures moreso when air forces don’t pay as high yet got stuck at shitty remote locations. Plus it takes years to train a pilot.

  15. “Global air traffic is back to near pre pandemic levels. I’m not surprised if many chosen to leave”

    Yes but this is not the case with the PAF who havhave very few fast jet pilots and fast jets to begin with.

  16. AM – “I don’t think the RMAF has ever received 36 aircraft of one type since the days of the Skyhawk and Nuri”

    Yes and to be pedantic 88 were ordered but only 36 were actually delivered. The rest remained at ARMARG.

    “Global air traffic is back to near pre pandemic levels. I’m not surprised if many chosen to leave”

    Yes but this is not the case with the PAF who havhave very few fast jet pilots and fast jets to begin with.

  17. Nimitz – “Indirectly bought something military from USA.”

    The actual aircraft is a joint development between KAI and Lockheed Martin to begin with. Also,lots of stuff we buy may not be U.S. sourced but has U.S. components – PC-7s, Fulcrums, Kedah class, Sibmas, Adnan, AV-8, etc.

  18. If RMAF looking at LCA with capability as FA50 block 20/30 as many as 36 units. My assumption is RMAF will make this jet as the working horse unlike RTAF or TNI which use it ada lift/patrol. It will replace or add MB339,Hawks,fulcrums.
    Looking at defence budget also the only next possible big ticket in fighter program is for replacing the Sukhoi.which will happened in the very long term after all the 36 LCA are acquired.

    IMO, it will cost friendly but it will too much for lift and less for interceptor but at least three are still the sukhois for that role.

    With small defence budget luxury is not an option. Our defence budget can not follow the RMAF and other branches need and hardwares price tag

  19. Government can always afford defence procurement but the question is are they willing to spend lets say RM60-70b only for the military? We don’t have a good minister. Look at the Indonesian & Singaporean def ministers. Always busy finding a way to help their armed forces. Sinjiapore is spending around 3.3% of their GDP while Indo with around 0.7%. The most interesting is it knows it can’t afford a big ticket from government income and go for external foreign loans from Japan & UAE. Recently uae approved us25 billions for Indonesia. That explains the shopping spree. I understand this buying is not same as operating & maintaining that’s a whole another story but hey atleast their ministers are doing something good. We need mindef from among the armed forces generals. Period

  20. It is better for RMAF to buy India\’s Tejas. India can assist Malaysia politically and militarily in an crisis. No need for Malaysia to face Philipines\’ operational problems with supposed to be latest but untestested Korean jets. Also Tejas has open architecture which can accomodate Western, Russian (ex Soviet) and Indian arms.

  21. Most of the things on board are also imported. So if the countries that supply them wished to stop us from getting parts for them, there is nothing India can do. This is the same thing with South Korea

  22. Basiron – “India can assist Malaysia politically and militarily in an crisis”

    And South Korea can’t? South Korea is a Asia Pacific player [unlike India] and has more things in can offer; in addition to jets.

    Basiron – “No need for Malaysia to face Philipines\’ operational problems with supposed to be latest but untestested Korean jets”

    – Issues the PAF faced was not due to issues with the actual platform but with spares. Let’s make this clear.
    – You claim that the F/A-50 is “untestested” but it’s in used by a list of countries unlike Tejas which has yet to find a single export buyer..

    Basiron – “can accomodate Western, Russian (ex Soviet) and Indian arms”

    So? Given the present circumstances the RMAF is unlikely to want anything Russian..

    Ultimately one can blow all the trumpets one wants and make all the claims as to why their personal favourite should be bought but there are always pros and cons and it’s not the actual platform which proves desicive but other factors.

  23. Tejas is not a shite platform but
    viewed objectively and in totality the F/A-50 is much more ideal solution for the RMAF and the F/A-50 was always the RMAF’s preferred choice. Why should the RMAF be the first export customer for Tejas.

    Qamaral – “That explains the shopping spree”

    The “shopping spree” is because Indonesia is rattled by China and because prestige plays a part.

    Qamarul – “hey atleast their ministers are doing something good”

    By having a menagerie of F-16s, Su-27s, Su-30s, Rafales and possibly Mirage 2000s and F-15s? Indonesian observers themselves have pointed out that this a logistical/support nightmare. Also note that the TNI still exerts a lot of political influence in the country; making defence procurement easier. Not to mention the fact that the Defence Minister is ex TNI and that there is a huge element of internal politics at play.

  24. Azlan “Yes and to be pedantic 88 were ordered but only 36 were actually delivered. The rest remained at ARMARG.”

    The number of Skyhawks upgraded and delivered is usually reported as 40. 48 is reported as the number intended for spares and left at AMARG. The question is whether 40 was the intended number from the start of the program or whether it was trimmed from something higher.

    “By having a menagerie of F-16s, Su-27s, Su-30s, Rafales and possibly Mirage 2000s and F-15s? Indonesian observers themselves have pointed out that this a logistical/support nightmare.”

    It has been speculated that the Mirage 2000s are a stand-in pending the delivery of the Rafales. A good question is why Indonesia would not instead ask for a handful of Rafales that have already been built for France. France would likely have agreed as the order is fairly large and they have done so for other countries. It is also been speculated that the Rafales or Mirages will replace the Su-27s after they have been delivered.

  25. Why do much talk about a souped up trainer. This aircraft is definitely not near peer in the region. Oh well, as long as it makes a loud sound for the parade

  26. The number of flyable A-4 Skyhawk that RMAF got is 40

    6 TA-4PTM two seaters
    34 A-4PTM single seaters

    There are hopes of more, but the 1986 financial crisis put end to any such plans.

    later around a dozen of the 48 non-converted airframes are bought back as spare parts source.

    All the remaining airframe left in USA has been sold to civilian concerns. A handful has been restored to flyable condition and even a few is for sale.

  27. @Azlan

    Exactly! How unfortunate that it will take the literal end of the world for our leaders eyes to be opened, and by then I doubt they would do anything, they’ll probably welcome the victorious enemy forces with open arms…cause they clearly care little about the nation’s pride and dignity.

  28. ““By having a menagerie of F-16s, Su-27s, Su-30s, Rafales and possibly Mirage 2000s and F-15s? Indonesian observers themselves have pointed out that this a logistical/support nightmare.”

    It is very interesting indeed. As for today ID already paid for 6 rafales. It means that in the near future TNI will operate multiple types of fighter. If Mirage 2000, F15EX and KFX are joined then TNI will look like a zoo. Certainly, it will put pressure on logistic management.
    But, this is already their policy to buy from many sources as the result of their embargoed experience.
    The next possibility is with vast teritory ID need cheap fighter to have and operate for patrol/law enforcement replacing the retired F5 and hawks (retiring already on schedule). Those used mirage2000s are seen as a good option to be their F16 partner.
    But, I notice again that even if TNI adding all fighters mentioned above but in reality TNI only add 1 source of procurement which is france.
    It seems that they have put a lot of think before decision is made.

    Maybe some used F18 legacy are not a bad idea for RMAF if money is provided.

    “We don’t have a good minister. Look at the Indonesian & Singaporean def ministers”

    It is not about the minister but policy and how we are doing business.

  29. AM – ” The question is whether 40 was the intended number”

    It was. During that period we had neither the pilots, budget or ground facilities to support anything larger than that. The intention was for the remaining air frames to be stripped for spares and maybe for a few to be pressed into service later on but we really were not in a position to operate much more than the targeted number.

    On Indonesia a lot of it is also due to national interests. Indonesian observers themselves are questioning why the government is getting a bit of everything and where the funding is coming from.

    Dave Choy – “Why do much talk about a souped up trainer. This aircraft is definitely not near peer in the region”

    Reality check. We are in 2022 and not 1980 anymore; not the platform which makes the key difference but the systems and the “not peer” part is rubbish because nobody here is comparing it to a Rafale or a F-15.

  30. Romeo – “Maybe some used F18 legacy are not a bad idea for RMAF if money is provided”

    Fully agreed – only if the government can commit to a certain level of funding. Some upgrades Will be required; flying hours have to be considered; ground support gear: ordnance and the fact that as they age further the air frames will get more maintenance extensive.

    Romeo – “It is not about the minister but policy and how we are doing business”

    It’s about policy actually; they way we go about doing things.

    Romeo – “But, this is already their policy to buy from many sources as the result of their embargoed experience”

    There’s that but also national interests and prestige issues at play.

    Qamarul – “Look at the Indonesian & Singaporean def ministers”

    Silly Apple’s to oranges comparison. Singapore places more focus on defence; voters there will not question the need for defence spending; the Ministers are all ex NS and have the understanding if what’s needs; etc, etc.

  31. “By having a menagerie of F-16s, Su-27s, Su-30s, Rafales and possibly Mirage 2000s and F-15s? Indonesian observers themselves have pointed out that this a logistical/support nightmare.”

    do not interrupt your neighbour when they are doing mista…

  32. Azlan “During that period we had neither the pilots, budget or ground facilities to support anything larger than that.”

    Anything larger?- I would think we had trouble finding the pilots (ideally there should have been about 60 pilots), arms (there are records in databases- not perfect of course) and support for the first forty. Given all the issues the pilots would probably have had well under the desired flight hours.

    “The intention was for the remaining air frames to be stripped for spares and maybe for a few to be pressed into service later on”

    The question is why these aircraft were not brought back to Malaysia- to save the cost of doing so or some other reason? Did we ever once “harvest” them for parts as intended?

    Singapore bought about 150 Skyhawks in total. I was told that about 60 were ultimately upgraded into Super Skyhawks and the rest were intended to provide spares. Question is whether they were brought back to Singapore. I would think at least a few were, since there are a few examples of pre-upgrade A-4S’s on display today.

    kakadu “do not interrupt your neighbour when they are doing mista…”

    Do you really think the Indonesians are not aware of the issues? And do you think an Indonesia that has an “adequate” force to deter threats to its own territory (they still have a way to go) is necessarily a bad thing for us and the region? If you are so inclined we could talk about this all day. Then there’s the question of whether the TNI can become a professional enough organisation. No point having all the assets in the world if you cannot employ them jointly and effectively in the relevant domains.

  33. Indonesian Air Force is in big transformation phase currently, the Flanker would soon phase out and would be replaced by new fighter, intensive training and reorganization is taking place right now

  34. Azlan “During that period we had neither the pilots, budget or ground facilities to support anything larger than that.”

    It’s not just back then, but even today we still only operates around 40 jet.

    Romeo – “Maybe some used F18 legacy are not a bad idea for RMAF if money is provided”

    Writing letters asking for more money is easy. But the uncertainty whether it would be approved or not is no the way to plans a defense policy.

    If RMAF is really convinced that used hornets is a good idea then maybe they need to restructure their acquisition timeframe to release some fund for the hornets acquisition.

    Personally I would prefer the acceleration of MRCA program to be brought forward paid for by stretching the next batch of LCA acquisition to 2 RMK periods rather than getting the legacy hornets. If that the case then probably good to start the charms offensive like inviting RAAF F35 to train here for example.

    “do not interrupt your neighbour when they are doing mista…”

    ID is a democracy and thus some decisions making options which usually are hidden behind close doors in other countries are being presented to the public and thus the public has a say in what their defence structure would eventually become.

    Personally, at the end I think they would eventually do the ‘right’ thing. Just like when TNI willingly give up political power, control over internal security & economics interest so they may become a full pledged professional military.

  35. zaft – ”It’s not just back then, but even today we still only operates around 40 jet.”

    And the point you’re trying to make? ”Back then” we had Tebuans, F-5Es, F-5Fs, RF-5Es and about ”40” Skyhawks – the RMAF then actually had more jets and manpower..

    The point I was making to AM was that we did not have the manpower or the support infrastructure ”back then” to operate more than 2 squadron’s worth of Skyhawks in addition to what we had [I can’t explain this in a simpler manner]. BTW I’m keenly aware that the RMAF is a small undresourced air arm and that the number of current fast jet pilots we have can fit into 3 buses but thank you…. I’m also keenly aware that only a limited number of pilots ae inducted annually and that only a fraction of those get to FTC 3.

    zaft – ”If RMAF is really convinced that used hornets is a good idea”

    At least stick to the same script.

    The RMAF is ”convinced” only if it gets the needed funding [it does not want to be straddled with something it has no funds to sustain] and the decision now is purely political; beyond the RMAF’s control. At is stands it appears there is no urgency and like I previously said; for a long time neither the government or the RMAF for different reasons were initially keen on pre owned platforms.

    zaft – ”then maybe they need to restructure their acquisition timeframe to release some fund for the hornets acquisition.”

    Bollocks…. Priority – in case you missed it – is on the LCA and other things. The MAF is only interested in pre owned Hornets if it doesn’t lead to other programmes being impacted.

    zaft – ”thus the public has a say in what their defence structure would eventually become.”

    What on earth are you on about? The discussion was on the TNI embarking on buying various things instead of – like most other militaries in this day and age- streamlining purchaces to lower footprint and achieve greater efficiency. The discussion wasn’t about democracy and about an enlightened public having ”a say”…

    zaft – ”Just like when TNI willingly give up political power”

    The TNI didn’t ”willingly” do it; it came under a lot of pressure in the post Suharto era and it still exerts a lot of influence till this day. It still owns businesses; there are ex general/officer’s who are now politicians and policy makers and the TN is a national institution deeply imbedded in the national pysche …..

  36. Dave Choy
    OCTOBER 30, 2022 AT 1:07 AM
    Why do much talk about a souped up trainer. This aircraft is definitely not near peer in the region. Oh well, as long as it makes a loud sound for the parade
    I don’t think the Koreans think of their FA50s as a souped up fighter

  37. 1) RMAF is going to use these FA-50 to do missions of the lowest tier of fighter jets – the Hawks, Migs and MB339, not MRCA like Hornets or Flankers. Replacements for those will come later.

    2) And guess what? RMAF requirement clearly includes TRAINING. So why get something that is NO GOOD for TRAINING?

    3) ROKAF views the FA-50 as its main peacetime air patrol platform. Look at ROKAF youtube page and you can see that the 1st air defence patrol flight every year would be by – you guessed it FA-50.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgpeCq5ktVU

    4) It is now bought by even a NATO airforce, to replace what? MiG-29s just like what RMAF needed to replace! Polish FA-50PL requirements includes AESA radar and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles.
    http://breakingdefense.com/2022/09/with-korean-aircraft-buy-poland-pushes-beyond-post-soviet-airframe-legacy/

  38. 5) People usually forgets that the F-5 fighters used all over the world, and was RMAF’s first supersonic fighter, can also be considered a “souped up trainer”! The F-5 and the T-38 trainer is based on the same N-146 concept, and the T-38 is the one that is first flown and enter service.

  39. kakadu – “RMAF is going to use these FA-50 to do missions of the lowest tier of fighter jets – the Hawks, Migs”

    – the Fulcrum was not amongst the “lowest tier”‘..

    – the LCA will perform a variety of roles in operational circumstances which do not require a MRCA or it can also perform roles in conjunction with MRCAs.

    Kakadu – “can also be considered a “souped up trainer”!”

    It was based a common platform which produced “trainers” like the F-5B and F.

  40. “ROKAF views the FA-50 as its main peacetime air patrol platform.”
    ROKAF could just really rely on FA50 as their main fighter since their direct adversary only has a Cold War relic airforce. The only better thing they have is Mig29s.

    “It is now bought by even a NATO airforce”
    More as a low end plane for peacetime patrols and other low threat duties. They will eventually need to load up on more high end fighter type mix seeing as they are knocking on Putin’s door as well. Russian AF surely will put up more of a fight than KPAAAAF.

  41. “More as a low end plane for peacetime patrols and other low threat duties”

    Which is exactly what RMAF need right now. We don’t have the opex to frequently fly the Hornets and MKMs, and our Hawks, or whatever left of the fleet isn’t quick enough to do QRA. Now with mass groundings of many Hawks around the world due engine fan blade cracks, i am not sure how safe it is to continue to fly those Hawks.

    With KAI putting flying cost of the FA-50 at half of the Gripens, hopefully RMAF can afford to regularly fly those FA-50 when it enters the fleet.

  42. The Gripen C/D in my opinion is a soups up LCA but compared to the current FA-50 it has BVR capabilities and strengthen landing gear for highway landings. If we configured the FA-50 block 20/30 to do the same then the flying cost would probably be the same.

  43. @kakadu
    “Which is exactly what RMAF need right now.”
    Nobody said otherwise but it will take time to get even initial 1st units onboard and longer to get them operationally ready. Meantime it makes more sense to get those Kuwaiti Hornets that can easily be dropped in to fit with our current tactics.

  44. Jason Lo – “How unfortunate that it will take the literal end of the world for our leaders eyes to be opened”

    We have long lived in a benign environment; we have never been in a major war [the closest we came was the Confrontation], the MAF has never played a dominant political and social role unlike the military in Thailand and Indonesia and unlike say Singapore we are not vulnerable in the sense that we have strategic depth. Or unlike Vietnam we don’t have centuries of grief with China. On top of that we have a voter base [whom the politicians rely on to stay in power] who are largely indifferent towards defence matters.

    In short history, internal politics and other reasons account for our altitude towards defence.

    Jason Lo – “they clearly care little about the nation’s pride and dignity”

    To be fair we don’t have an existential threat. The Chinese can focus their attention and resources towards the U.S. and Singapore [because they are paranoid buggers and because a strong SAF makes the PAP look good] can focus on us and Indonesia. Who do we focus on and should procurement be threat or capability driven? Do you expect the politicians to care when voters don’t?

    For decades our policy was to have some level of deterrence against threats we saw as likely; i.e. the declaration of the EEZ in 1979 and unresolved overlapping territory disputes with neighbours. As of 2022 there is an acute need to take defence more seriously but the fact remains that – unlike others – we still don’t have an existential threat which can convince a government which has long avoided spending a lot on defence; to spend more and also more effectively; we lack an existential threat [China doesn’t count because we can’t handle it even if we raised the budget by tenfold and adopt all the asymmetric tactics we want as fan boys often harp on].

    If we spend more on defence then “enlightened” citizens, NGOs and DAP will say we’re on an arms race and that the cash should be used to build schools and import food. It also doesn’t help that we have a ludicrous and self defeating defence policy which prevents us from getting the best value of what we do spend on.

  45. “China doesn’t count because we can’t handle it even if we raised the budget by tenfold and adopt all the asymmetric tactics we want as fan boys often harp on].”

    Personally I says most recent acquisitions is mostly about China. It is correct that we and we alone can’t do it. But deterring China with a multilateral approach could work and what most countries here in ASEAN are working on. Asean maritime states unlike their mekong Delta counterparts do not deal with China unilaterally on the SCS issue but multilaterally by hiding behind ASEAN concensus.

    The Chinese questions is not just about China alone but mostly due to the risk of US abusing their predominant position through carrot & stick approach be it in defense, trade, technology, manufacturing licences, market access & monetary power to guide nations to fight for their cause.

    George Yeo, SG former foreign minister & an avid China supporters said in an interview recently that while SAF is unlikely to be involved in Taiwan, it is likely they would have to mobilize if a fellow ASEAN state is under duress from China.

    SG are not acquiring F35B & lighting carrier just to defend themselves against MY & ID. Its an overkill for such tasks nor did MAF acquired ASW MPA to search for sinkie subs in the SCS. They are doing it to be part of regional defense structures.

    Off course SG are not doing it out of the kindness of their hearts. They do it due to hard cold calculated move. Defense is not just about protecting one own territorial integrity but also protecting & advancing one own national interest.

    There are voters and there are politicians but other than both groups there’s also the ‘deep state’ . While both US voter’s & politicians dislike any kind of FTA. Their deep state understand very well they need one to buy friends which give rise to the failed TPP & now to the IPEF. Both of which SG is privy too.

    While SG like ID do not have territorial disputes with China. They know fully well that they can take advantage of China disputes with other asean state to extract concession against China using asean as a platform.

  46. zaft – ”Personally I says most recent acquisitions is mostly about China”

    Well ”personally” you are wrong. Most of the stuff on the long shopping list was stuff planned long ago; stuff intended to modernise the MAF and stuff we’d have bought even if China didn’t exist.

    zaft – ”mostly due to the risk of US abusing their predominant position ”

    So you say but the U.S. has been the dominant player since 1945; has it ever ”abused” its position with regards rto us or our key interests : no…

    zaft – ”nor did MAF acquired ASW MPA to search for sinkie subs in the SCS. ”

    – We haven’t ordered them yet.
    – We have no idea if they will be ASW configured.\
    – Even if they are ASW configured they’ll be busy doing a host of other things; hardly any time will be spent on ASW.

    zaft – ”SG are not acquiring F35B & lighting carrier just to defend themselves against MY & ID.”

    Really; I thought it was intended against Sauron and his orcs or against Dick Dastardly and Mutley. Singapore has a policy of maintaining a qualitative edge against us and Indonesia and to have the ability to operate alongside the U.S – that explains a lot of what it does …

  47. “Well ”personally” you are wrong. Most of the stuff on the long shopping list was stuff planned long ago; stuff intended to modernise the MAF and stuff we’d have bought even if China didn’t exist”

    While it nice to believe that military acquisition is capabilities driven which mean money is always available to the military. The more likely reality is MY like most countries are threats driven. No one going to spend money for useless things as the money can be better utilize elsewhere for more votes (free healthcare for example).

    Case in point we have more jet during the Vietnam war period then we have now and the defense spending as % of GDP had gone down both in US & EU after the falls of USSR.

    “So you say but the U.S. has been the dominant player since 1945; has it ever ”abused” its position with regards rto us or our key interests : no…”

    As if the war on terror was popular with our local voters. Who wants to lose their posh office In Bukit perdana by buying an American jet at the time when they bomb the shit out of Iraq.

    “Singapore has a policy of maintaining a qualitative edge against us and Indonesia and to have the ability to operate alongside the U.S – that explains a lot of what it does …”

    There are no permanent enemies, and no permanent friends, only permanent interests.

    SG are afterall reducing their military dependency on the US as geopolitics conditions shift. They are shifting to blue spear for their SSM while we move to NSM.

    SG too are not going to keep their qualitative & quantitative edge for long. As I said before, economically speaking they are not going to able to do so post 2040 unless they wanted to spend 6% of GDP for defense with the % increasing year over year afterwards.

  48. zaft – “While it nice to believe that military acquisition is capabilities driven which mean money is always available to the military.

    While it’s nice to obfuscate things and assume; a lot of the stuff we buy or have long planned to buy is part of the policy of progressively upgrading the MAF; less to do with China as you claim.

    zaft – “The more likely reality is MY like most countries are threats driven

    In your mind but in reality much of it is “capability” driven in line with existing policy. Do ask around.

    Zaft – “As if the war on terror was popular with our local voters”

    I’ll have you know that despite the unpopularity we fully cooperated with them on the sharing of intel and the level of overflights greatly increased. Do look it up. Profound difference in doing certain things for domestic reasons and things we do on other levels in line with our interests.

    Again, in response to what you said, the U. S. has never ”abused” its position with regards to us or our key interests : no; never happened before.

    Zaft – “SG too are not going to keep their qualitative & quantitative edge for long”

    Newsflash. The SAF already enjoys a qualitative edge over everyone else in the region and that edge is less to do with the hardware but with the tertiary capabilities it has acquired; capabilities nobody else is close to acquiring. As for for your economic forecast, let’s see how things actually pan out.

    Zaft – “There are no permanent enemies, and no permanent friends, only permanent interests”

    And the point you’re trying to make?
    BTW I appreciate the cliche but “permanent interests” is exactly why for decades our main security partners has been the U.S. and Australia.

    Zaft – “Who wants to lose their posh office In Bukit perdana by buying an American jet at the time when they bomb the shit out of Iraq.”

    Silly. It was never a point of losing power but of losing some support and being hammered by the opposition; by Mahathir adopting a pro U.S. stance

  49. zaft -”Asean maritime states unlike their mekong Delta counterparts do not deal with China unilaterally on the SCS issue but multilaterally by hiding behind ASEAN concensus.”

    The only Indochina state [a more accurate term than ”Mekong Delta”] with issues in the South China Sea is Vietnam. Laos as you may have noticed is landlocked and Cambodia has no claims in the South China Sea. Also; your claim that other ASEAN states deal ”multilaterally” is incorrect……… They may issue joint declarations and submit certain things jointly but their approach is still very much ”unilaterally”….

    zaft – ”They do it due to hard cold calculated move.”

    Every country does the same; whether France, Jamaica, Burkina Faso; Taiwan, Paraguay or Luxembourg.

  50. Zaft – ” when they believe there’s a prince charming out there that going to sweep in and save the damsels in distress”

    As has been made clear in previous posts there are historical, economical and social factors which play a part in determining public altitude towards defence….

    Zaft – “Not like the Aussie, American or European are doing anything different”

    They have a defence policy which places emphasis on the end user; tend to get better value for what they spend on; have well defined threats and have a clear and realistic assessment of what they can or can’t achieve. If you need reminders about how self defeating and wasteful our defence policy is, ask…

    Comparing our defence policy and theirs is nonsensical… If you really took time to ponder about it you’d realise that they are doing things very differently. We on the other hand haven’t learnt because of a lack of urgency and because of the anti pathetic mindset we have. On top of that politics is the priority, not the end user or taxpayer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*