SHAH ALAM: Water Under The Bridge. Several days after Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu revealed in Parliament that only four out of 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flanker of the RMAF is serviceable, the service finally responded with a statement on the issue.
It stated that the lack of funding and provisions for the 10th year service program (10YS) as the reason for the low number of aircraft available currently.
It said the lack of funding was confirmed in an audit conducted by the National Audit Department in 2017. (This audit report was not made public though another report on the delayed Sukhoi Technical Centre was made public in 2016, ED).
The statement also stated that only one Flanker is currently undergoing the 10YS at the Gong Kedak airbase as part of a pilot program undertaken by the service and its current maintenance providers. This was because the one proposed by the OEM was deemed too expensive. Among others the 10YS will have to be conducted at its facilities in Russia.
As the OEM 10YS was beyond RMAF means, and as OEM was finalising the scope of the program – this was the first time the MKM had reached its 10 year milestone, it was decided that a pilot program be initiated at Gong Kedak by the RMAF and its vendors and service providers to determine whether the 10YS could be conducted locally
The pilot program has shown that the 10YS could be conducted locally and at a reduce cost. However as the pilot program continued to be developed and optimised, the 12 Flankers which had reached their decade milestone will not be available for operations.
This leave only six aircraft which had not the reached the decade milestone available for operations.
The service further noted that apart from completing a comprehensive 10YS plan, it was still constrained by the lack of funding. “Due to this RMAF needs the proper allocation to ensure the Flankers are capable of conducting its operations.
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