SHAH ALAM: In the post yesterday, we know that Indonesia has bought twelve ex-Qatari Air Force Mirage 2000-5 for US$745 million (RM3.44 billion). The figure is about RM800 million short of our own buy of 18 brand new Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 FLIT/LCA.
So, the question here is whether we will spend some RM3.4 billion on a dozen or so of used fighter jets? The question is relevant as Malaysia has expressed interest in buying 33 ex-Kuwaiti Air Force Boeing F/A-18 Hornets.
Will the Kuwaiti Hornets costs as much as Qatari Mirages then? I have been told it will be much cheaper, but no figures have been bandied about.
I am guessing here but if the cost of purchasing and upgrading the Kuwaiti Hornets reached more than RM500 million, I do not think it will go ahead. The bean counters at the Finance Ministry and even RMAF will balk at spending so much money on a fleet of aircraft that will be 35 years old in ten years time. And it will cost a bomb to maintain them for that period.
As an example, the ministry cancelled the chance to buy the Brunei Black Hawks when it was revealed that we had to pay for them and after that the maintenance costs. The funny thing about this is now we are paying more money to lease four Black Hawks. That said its cheaper than leasing four AW139s.
In my opinion, rather than spending so much money on the Kuwaiti Hornets, it will better for RMAF to buy the second batch of FA-50s. What say you?
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