SHAH ALAM: What’s up Flanker. For those keeping up on defence matters on Malaysian Defence and others will be aware that the RMAF is keeping its MRCA fleet – the F/A-18 Hornets and Sukhoi Su-30MKM – beyond 2030. In the next few years – if it happens – the Hornet fleet could be supplemented by around 18 Hornets purchased from Kuwait. The 2019 Defence White Paper (DWP) and RMAF’s own CAP 55 plan, also said the same thing as does the various statements by the successive defence ministers since 2019.
So, it was not surprise to me when Free Malaysia Today on March 23 reported that the RMAF Sukhois can fly for 20 more years, subject to available of parts. That said some people were quite surprised by the fact.
PETALING JAYA: The Royal Malaysian Air Force’s Sukhoi Su-30MKM fighter jets are capable of remaining airworthy for about two more decades, the primary contractor maintaining the Russian-made aircraft said.
Aerospace Technology Systems Corporation Sdn Bhd (ATSC) CEO Lt Col (Rtd) Fadzar Suhada said the company was capable of ensuring the 16-year-old fighter jets – the country’s most advanced and sophisticated – were maintained until 2035, subject to the availability of parts.
He also said the company could completely overhaul the Su-30MKM in Malaysia – which they had done since 2007 – at half the cost, compared with if they were to be sent to Russia for the purpose.
It is understood that each Su-30 requires a sum of US$27 million to be completely overhauled for every 1,500 hours of flight or 10 years of operation.
What is surprising is the need for the story as it is a well-known fact that we intend to fly the Sukhois for that long. The writer – a former colleague with the NST, who stayed until retirement – may well be doing it simply to get a story out. AFAIK there is no plan to retire both the Hornets and Flankers as simply there is no money to replace them in the next few years.
There is a case for their replacement in the next five years, though again the issue of funding is the biggest one that need to be overcome. This comes even before the discussion about the actual platform.
— Malaysian Defence