I'm just catching up with all the posts I missed in the Groups that I am in. But I must say, this post is way off the mark. The SU-34 and SU-35 did not make the cut.
The competition for the contract is currently opened for British BAe Eurofighter Typhoon (latest configuration), French Rafale D, US Advanced Super Hornet, and Swedish Saab Gripen (in accordance of preference in terms of capabilities and technology).
Even with the requirement of having 18 MRCA to replace the 10 MiG29N (we originally bought 18, 2 crashed and another 6 been cannibalised), Malaysia still do not have a sufficiently strong air force to defend the country in the event of a conventional war. Our current order of battle are as follows:
8 FA18D Hornet, upgraded to latest configuration, based in Butterworth.
18 SU30MKM, based in Gong Kedak.
10 MiG29N, based in Kuantan.
14 BAe Hawk 208, split between Kuantan, Labuan and Tawau.
The number of jets that we have today to cover the country of our size is pathetic. We are actually putting ourselves in harms way with the current number of jets.
Our current threat matrix (which the government would not acknowledge for not wanting to hurt the feelings of our neighbours are:
Why China? We have maritime border disputes with China. Not good for us because they have a highly capable air force, helmed by J-11, which is based on the SU27 platform. They also have SU30MKK.
In a way, we are still dealing with China diplomatically as they are one of the top investors to Malaysia and they are much stronger than us.
Indonesia in recent years have upgraded their air force and is now a credible threat to us. In the event of conflict, Sarawak which is my home state, is likely to be targeted first due to shared land border and for Indonesia to get a direct lifeline to their islands in Natuna.
They do not have a strong air force. In fact, their air force was nearly non-existing until last year when Korean-made FA50 arrived in Manila. We do not know the capability of this jet yet as it was originally a training jet. However, the jet itself is derived from F16. And the Philippines still wants to claim Sabah from Malaysia.
An ideal number of jets for Malaysia is 90 jets, divided into 5 squadrons of 18 planes to be placed nationwide. Ideally, 1 at Butterworth to take care West Coast, 1 in Gong Kedak to take care of East Coast, 1 in Kuching for Southern Borneo, 1 in either Miri or Labuan to take care of South China Sea and 1 either in Sandakan or Tawau, to take care of Eastern Sabah.
- The political slant in the page is very obvious. I try to avoid both pro-govt and pro-opposition pages. Too much propaganda. When shit hits the fan, these people are the first to say tata to us. Granted, my writings are also quite pro-government. But when writing about defence, I prefer to criticise the government whenever they do not make sense.
- The name of the page itself is about finance. Which tells us that they are talking about things that are beyond their field of expertise. Granted, I'm only partially involved in the defence industry. But that alone is whole lot more than no known background.
- They do not put the name of the writer to the article. This is a major factor. Why no name? Are they scared to be tracked? At least I write with my own name, and thus is responsible for my own articles (meaning if I write something wrong, I can be hauled to face justice). That being said, I will be going against the grains of most bloggers by publicly supporting the need to register our identities with SKMM (MCMC).
Back to the MRCA programme.
Whoever wins this MRCA programme, I would wish the government to get RMAF to consider following the steps taken by the Navy with their 15-to-5 programme. This programme will greatly improve the logistics to maintain our equipment and in the long run, lowers operational costing. Not to mention the savings from conversion training.
So who do you think will win the MRCA replacement programme contract?