Defence: RMAF’s A400M Proves Its Worth In Marawi

Many often question the purchases of military hardware by the Malaysian Armed Forces without once realising the need for those platforms. The purchase of the A400M airlifter by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) did not escape such criticisms.

This morning while many were asleep, a RMAF A400M aircraft was loaded with 19 tonnes of aid for the people trapped in Marawi City. This is the first Human And Disaster Relief (HADR) mission that involves the A400M.

RMAF A400M (M54-04) while being loaded with HADR aid

The A400M is a new-generation airlifter that is capable of lifting 17 tonnes of payload more than the other large transport aircraft in the RMAF’s inventory – the C-130H, and is able to fly 200km/h faster too.  It is said to be able to carry what the C-130H cannot carry, and land and take-off from where the C-17 cannot.

The Battle of Marawi that began on 23 May 2017 has killed not only the combatants but also innocent civilians. Apart from being caught in crossfires, 40 civilians are known to have died as a result of dehydration and a further 19 due to diseases contracted in congested evacuation camps.

The Malaysian SMART team accompanying the aid awaits as more aid makes its way to the aircraft hold

Due to the good relationship between the Najib Razak and Duterte administrations HADR aid is being sent from Malaysia to assist the people of Marawi. 11 personnel from the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) are also sent to assist in the distribution of the aid.

The A400M is captained by Lieutenant-Colonel Baharin bin Mohamad RMAF and is assisted by Major Wan Azrul bin Wan Azmi RMAF. The aircraft will take approximately 4 hours and 15 minutes to Cagayan de Oro and will be on ground for nine to ten hours. No refuelling is required for the aircraft to make its return leg unlike the C-130H.

It is without doubt that the RMAF had chosen the perfect aircraft, without which such mission would have required the utilisation of more aircraft and manpower, and a higher operating costs.

Defence: Airbus C295 Another Possible Platform For Malaysia’s MPA

Even before the incident involving the crash of a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Beechcraft Super King Air B200T Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) talks were rife in the industry about the limited capabilities the T200 could offer as an effective MPA and possible replacements.

The four, four-man crew aircraft in the RMAF’s inventory  complementing the C-130MP in performing the MPA role but subsequently replaced the latter due to operational costs versus mission requirements.

RMAF Beechcraft Super King Air B200T MPA

The B200T, however, has a limited endurance of four hours, maximum cruise speed of approximately 300 knots (540 km/h) which makes its on-station loiter time somewhat limited unless the aircraft is deployed on a detachment which means logistics support have to be deployed as well.  In the long run it would be uneconomical for the RMAF to run such missions.

Malaysian has recently expressed interest in second-hand Lockheed/Kawasaki P-3C Orion of the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) which are being replaced by the Kawasaki P-1 MPA. Although the RMAF is understandably weary of “hand-me-down” aircraft, the ready-to-fly P-3Cs offer an attractive opportunity to close the maritime patrol gap with hardly much that is needed to be done.  The P-3Cs have internal bays for torpedoes and depth-charges plus ten hardpoints on the wings for anti-ship missiles, torpedoes and mines.

The downside is that the last P-3C Orion to be delivered to the JMSDF by Kawasaki was on 1 February 2000, making the aircraft offered to the RMAF 17 years old or more!  The last aircraft delivered by Lockheed was in December 1994. The four Allison T-56-A-14 turboprop engines, although giving more speed, could only give a maximum range of 3,835 kilometers, which is only 700 kilometers more than the B200T, making the P-3Cs true gas-guzzlers. In December 2008, the US Navy had to ground 39 P-3Cs or 1/4 of its fleet due to age-related wing cracks. The average age of the Orions then were 28 years old.  17-year old P-3Cs have less than 15 years to offer to the RMAF unless an expensive service-life extension program is initiated for the fleet.

If acquired, the P-3Cs would be flying mainly RMAF’s anti-shipping missions.  These missions would require the aircraft to fly near wave-cap levels where the engines not only burn more fuel, but also be demanding on both the crew and the aging airframe.

JMSDF P-3C Orion (courtesy of Today’s Atsugi)

The RMAF’s need for a reliable platform that would be able to perform largely anti-shipping missions and has a reasonable but economical loiter endurance with some strike capability if required drove Airbus Defence and Space to fly the Asian route while delivering an Airbus C-295 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft to Brazil.

The aircraft, which is in a Search-and-Rescue configuration, made its stop in Malaysia late on Friday evening after Thailand and Vietnam.

The Airbus C-295 of the Força Aérea Brasileira arrived at the Subang airbase on Friday 7 July 2017

Airbus Defence and Space’s marketing director Fernando Ciara explained that Airbus had decided to fly the Asian route through Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, North America, Mexico before delivering the aircraft to the Força Aérea Brasileira to showcase a platform that not only would be suitable for the SAR/MPA/ASW roles but would be friendlier for aircrews to transition to given that most of the countries mentioned, especially to Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines are already operating either the C-295 or CN-235 aircraft, while Canada has been authorised to purchase the C-295.

Fernando Ciara, Airbus Defence and Space marketing director explaining the capabilities of the C-295

The commonality between the C-295 and the CN-235 also potentially leads to  even lower operating costs.  Ciara added that given the versatile cabin configuration that allows fast switching of mission types, high manouvrability, better low-level flying capabilities given the high-wing configuration and a wide rear ramp, the C-295 makes the best option for maritime patrol and surveillance as well as anti-submarine warfare missions in Malaysia.

The C-295 is powered by twin PW127G turboprop engines driving Hamilton Sundstrand Type 568F-5 six bladed propellers which provide outstanding hot and high performance, low fuel consumption, and an endurance exceeding 11 hours.  Flying at a maximum speed of 480 km/h which is slower than the P-3C’s speed of 760 km/h and the B200T’s 540 km/h, but has a range of 5,600 kilometers compared to the P-3C’s 3,800 kilometer range and the B200T’s 3,100 kilometer range.

This first of two SAR aircraft will be delivered to the 2º/10º GAv (2nd Squadron of the 10th Aviation Group) of the Força Aérea Brasileira at Campo Grande, Brazil

The anti-submarine warfare version, which is already in service with one operator, is equipped with underwing stations to carry weapons and other stores.

The Brazilian SAR C-295 carries the Elta EL/M-2022A(V)3 surface-search radar

The C-295 makes strategic and economical sense for Malaysia as it allows operators to narrow down its aircraft types and suppliers, making logistical and technical support easier.

Malaysia is Airbus’ third largest market in Asia, after China and India.  Today there are 125 Airbus commercial aircraft flying with Malaysia’s airlines, with another 470 on order for future delivery.

200 Airbus helicopters are also being operated in Malaysia including the H225M and AS555SN flown by the Malaysian Armed Forces, and the AS365 in service with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

In addition to the CN235s, the RMAF is Airbus’s first export customer for the new generation A400M airlifter and has four aircraft in service.

AirAsia X: Jawapan Saya Kepada BERNAMA

Tengahari tadi pihak BERNAMA mengajukan soalan kepada saya mengenai pendapat sesetengah pihak yang mempertikaikan Juruterbang pesawat menggalakkan para penumpang penerbangan D7 237 untuk berdoa. Berikutnya adalah jawapan saya:

Untuk memahami keadaan krew dan pesawat kita perlu fahami jenis kecemasan yang dihadapi pesawat.

Pesawat jenis Airbus A330 sememangnya boleh berlepas, terbang dan mendarat dengan hanya menggunakan sebelah enjin. Namun ianya sekiranya bilah kipas enjin yang dipadamkan adalah berada dalam keadaan terimbang.
Dalam keadaan penerbangan AirAsia X D7 237 salah satu bilah kipas turbin telah patah dan menghentam salah satu oil pump dan merosakkan sistem hidraulik sebelum “ditelan” (ingested) oleh enjin. Apa lagi kerosakan yang dialami enjin tersebut tidak diketahui.
Ketidak seimbangan bilah kipas ini mengakibatkan gegaran teruk kepada rangka pesawat dan tindakan seterusnya ialah untuk juruterbang mematikan enjin tersebut dan berpatah balik.

Namun untuk dua jam seterusnya gegaran yang kurang sedikit kekuatannya masih berlaku kerana satu fenomena yang digelar “efek kincir angin” di mana bilah kipas tersebut diputarkan oleh angin akibat pesawat itu menujah ke hadapan.
Walau bagaimanapun, disebabkan ianya tidak berputar secara seimbang, satu lagi fenomena yang dikenali sebagai ‘dynamic spillage’ membentuk satu kon udara di hadapan enjin tersebut berlawanan dengan udara yang ditolak ke belakang oleh tujahan tersebut.
Keadaan ini boleh mengakibatkan kemungkinan ‘mounting bolt fatigue’ dan seterusnya tertanggalnya enjin tersebut. Ketidak seimbangan ini boleh berakhir dengan malapetaka besar.
Kehilangan enjin akan mengakibatkan kerosakan ‘fuel lines’, ‘electrical lines’ yang amat diperlukan oleh pesawat untuk terus terbang turun.
Kini rangka pesawat itu juga akan diberi pemeriksaan terperinci untuk menentukan ianya selamat untuk diterbangkan semula.
Juruterbang tersebut faham akan keadaan tersebut dan memberitahu para penumpang bahawa keadaan di geladak penerbangan adalah terkawal namun sekiranya ada yang ingin mendoakan keselamatan boleh berbuat sedemikian.
Apa peliknya berdoa sedangkan banyak lagi syarikat penerbangan yang memainkan video doa Musafir sebelum penerbangan termasuk British Airways untuk penerbangan khas Haji dan Umrah.
Lazimnya yang sering mempersoalkan keperluan doa adalah dari kalangan orang yang tidak beragama.

Bila Rantai Dilepaskan

Selamat kita menjalani ibadah puasa selama sebulan di dalam bulan Ramadhan di mana syaitan-syaitan diikat dengan rantai.

Tatkala anak bulan Syawal kelihatan, maka berakhirlah bulan Ramadhan semasa masuknya waktu Maghrib, dan dengan itu syaitan-syaitan dilepaskan dari ikatan.

Dan dari sebelum kewujudan Adam itu lagi, hamba Allah yang digelar Iblis telah memohon kebenaran daripada Allah ‘Azza Wa Jalla untuk menyesatkan manusia dan didatangkan dalam berbagai rupa kepada manusia.

Seorang bekas menteri yang merupakan budak suruhan parti DAP yang juga bekas ahli parti PKR dan presiden parti KITA telah mengkritik tindakan juruterbang pesawat Air Asia X yang meminta para penumpang mendoakan keselamatan mereka apabila enjin sebelah kiri pesawat tersebut mengalami kerosakan 90 minit setelah berlepas dari Perth, Australia.

Kata beliau, sekiranya Kapten pesawat tersebut mahu berdoa, eloklah Air Asia menggajikan seorang Imam.

Dalam reaksi balas terhadap kenyataan Zaid Ibrahim itu, Ahli Parlimen Pasir Mas Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz menyelar Zaid.

Saya cuba mengagak bila Datuk Zaid Ibrahim berdoa kepada tuhannya? Bila saatnya?

Pesawat Airbus A330 tersebut telah mengalami kerosakan enjin di sebelah kiri (Enjin No.1) yang bukan sahaja telah mengakibatkan gegaran teruk kepada rangka pesawat malah mengakibatkan pesawat tersebut tidak dapat mengekalkan paras ketinggian penerbangannya.

Gegaran ini berterusan walaupun setelah enjin dipadamkan akibat fenomena yang digelar ‘windmill effect‘ di mana udara yang melalui bilah kipas turbin enjin yang dimatikan menyebabkan putaran kipas berterusan (free-wheeling) yang menghasilkan gegaran.

Gegaran berterusan ini boleh juga menyebabkan enjin tersebut tertanggal dari sayap, atau mengoyakkan hos minyak (fuel lines) atau merosakkan sistem elektrik yang kritikal.

Kehilangan enjin melalui tertanggalnya enjin tersebut dari sayap boleh mengakibatkan malapetaka yang amat sukar dielak dan menyebabkan kehilangan kesemua nyawa krew dan penumpang pesawat tersebut.

Kerosakan enjin tersebut dipercayai telah  diakibat oleh kegagalan struktur salah satu bilah kipas turbin enjin tersebut yang telah tertanggal dan kemudiannya memusnahkan sebuah pam minyak (oil pump) dan sistem hidraulik sebelum ‘ditelan’ oleh enjin tersebut dan menyebabkan lain-lain kerosakan.

Kerosakan seumpama ini dikategorikan sebagai satu insiden yang amat serius kerana hampir mengakibatkan kehilangan pesawat serta nyawa krew dan penumpang.

Maka, adalah berpatutan Kapten pesawat, selain meminta para penumpang mematuhi arahan anak-anak kapal, juga meminta agar mereka mendoakan keselamatan mereka semua.

Inilah yang dipersoalkan oleh Zaid kerana bagi diri beliau, ianya seolah-olah Kapten pesawat telah pasrah dan tidak lagi mahu ambik tindakan kecemasan, dan berserah kepada tuhan untuk menentukan nasib mereka pada ketika itu.

Mungkin Zaid lebih cenderung kepada menyuruh mereka berbuat apa jua yang dapat menghiburkan hati mereka termasuk mungkin juga meminum sebanyak mungkin minuman beralkohol yang mungkin dijual di dalam pesawat tersebut.

Sekurang-kurangnya mereka akan mati dalam keadaan gembira seperti mereka di dalam gambar berikut ini.

Sebab itu saya katakan, syaitan akan menjelma dalam berbagai rupa. Dan mereka bebas kembali menghasut anak Adam dengan berakhirnya Ramadhan.