I didn't expect it to be this soon (after last night's article), but it seems I'm going to write about the MRCA replacement programme again.
Rumours are abound that Eurofighter Typhoon will be getting the cake.
Central to the rumour is the presence of British State Minister for Defence Procurement, Mr. Philip Dunne was photographed having a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
|The screenshot that started the rumour mill.|
While we do not have details of meeting, the timing of the meeting (soon after the conclusion of DSA 2016) is impeccable.
For those who just recently wanted to understand what is this ruckus all about, RMAF is in the midst of identifying a replacement for the Russian-made Cold War era MiG29N.
18 units of these Russian-made MRCA were procured in the 90's (consisting of 16 MiG29N and 2 MiG29NUB).
Much loved for its acrobatic abilities, the jet had suffered from operational reliability.
Much of the issues were centred on reliability of Russian logistics system.
1 MiG29N and 1 MiG29NUB were lost in 2 different crashes without loss of lives.
The MiGs were supposed to be retired a few times, but due to lack of replacement, the service had been extended several times.
It is believed that 18 units of new MRCA will be procured.
However, current economic conditions may see a much lower number being procured, which will inevitably further weaken the Air Force.
An inside source once mentioned that RMAF has an operational requirement of minimum of 5 combat squadrons totaling 90 aircrafts.
However, the air force can only muster less than half of the number.
With increasing spotlight on maritime border disputes between Malaysia and China, the replacement for the MRCA is now getting more pressing.