Defence: RMAF’s Walks Slowly But With Big Strides

RMAF Airbus A400M (M54-04) on finals at the Labuan airbase during exercise PARADISE 2017

The A400M: How Has It Fared?

When the Royal Malaysian Air Force purchased the Airbus Defence and Space A400M Atlas, many thought it was to replace the Lockheed C-130H-30 that had entered service in 1976.  15 C-130Hs were delivered to the RMAF with 14 still flying.

However, the RMAF announced further upgrades to its C-130H fleet to keep them operational.  The A400M’s role, although similar to that of the C-130H, enhances the RMAF’s airlift capability.  Not only can the A400M carry 17 tonnes more payload compared to the C-130H, it can fly 200 knots faster and land on rough or soft landing strips like the C-130H.

Its glass cockpit/side-stick  coupled with three-axis fly-by-wire (FBW) with flight envelope protection configuration makes the A400M user-friendly and is based on the A380 but modified to suit military operations requirements.  The flight envelope protection allows the A400M to perform bank angles up to 120 degrees!

The cockpit of the RMAF A400M (M54-04) is large and is very comfortable

Not only could the A400M support the Malaysian Armed Forces’s tactical and strategic capabilities, it could also be utilised for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations in the region.  To date, the RMAF’s A400Ms have performed two HADR roles: delivering 17 tonnes of aid to embattled Marawi in July 2017 and 12 tonnes of aid to the Rohingya refugees in south Bangladesh in September 2017.

RMAF A400M (M54-04) is being loaded with HADR cargo bound for Marawi

The remarkable thing especially about the Marawi mission was the A400M’s ability to fly to Cagayan del Oro and back without refuelling (an approximately 5,400 kilometers return trip); this, together with its speed cuts down total turnaround time.

The A400M is equipped with the defensive aid sub-system and an in-flight refueling capability.  The inflight-refueling package allows the A400M to refuel helicopters at 105 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) and fighters at up to 300 knots, hence safer for the refuelling of both helicopters and fighters.  Flight tests have also revealed that at Alpha Max (with the Alpha Floor protection disabled, the A400M reached 98 KIAS before  the FBW low-speed protection function eased the nose down. There was no wing roll-off or loss of control. Recovery was almost immediate when the nose was lowered and thrust added, underscoring the fact that the A400M is indeed a very safe and capable aircraft.

Maritime Patrol Aircraft – Budgeted For

The Beechcraft Super King Air 200T MPA has been in service with RMAF for 23 years

For almost two decades the role of maritime patrol was assigned to several C-130Hs that were converted to C-130MPs.  Four Beechcraft Super King Air B200T aircraft were inducted into the RMAF maritime patrol fleet to complement the C-130MPs.  However, the high operational costs versus mission requirements of the C-130MPs saw the latter taking over the role completely.

Even before the loss of an airframe, there were already talks of replacing the B200Ts.  Leonardo brought its ATR-72MP aircraft to LIMA ’17.  Apart from the hardpoints and MPA modules on board, the ATR-72MP is just a normal commercially-available aircraft, powerplants and all.  Leonardo’s concept is to provide a platform using what is available in large numbers in the market to keep the costs down.

The Leonardo ATR-72MP, seen here at LIMA 17, also comes with an electronic surveillance and C4I platform. The airframe is that of the ATR-72-600 (photo courtesy of Janes Defence)

Airbus Defence and Space flew a CN295 almost around the world to promote it as a multirole platform.  The CN295, albeit a SAR version that was on its way to its new home in Brazil, made a stop in Malaysia and was presented to operators such as the RMAF, the MMEA, as well as the Royal Malaysian Police Air Wing.

Stretched three metres longer than the CN235 that the RMAF is currently operating, everything about the CN295 is very similar to the CN235, which makes crew conversion fairly easy to make.  It comes with a more powerful plant that features better efficiency, longer loiter capability at station and comes with six external hardpoints for ASW weapons.

When the announcement of the budget for the procurement of four MPAs in 2018 was made, the immediate follow-through was that four of the RMAF’s remaining seven CN235s will be fitted with the MP systems from the B200Ts, a sure sign that either additional CN235s will be acquired for the MPA role, or the CN295s would be acquired instead.

The commonality between the C295 and the CN235 also potentially leads to  even lower operating costs, 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 C295 makes the best option for maritime patrol and surveillance as well as anti-submarine warfare missions in Malaysia.

The C295 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  B200T’s 540 km/h, but has a range of 5,600 kilometers compared to the  B200T’s 3,100 kilometer range.

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 makes the CN295 a better choice of MPA. It also 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.

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

UAV, MRCA and LIFT

Although the procurement of the badly needed MRCA to replace the MiG-29Ns have not been announced, the RMAF is making up for the void by ensuring high serviceability rate of its frontliners.  Observers would note that the serviceability percentage has increased tremendously despite the cut in the defence budget.

Perhaps the RMAF should think of an interim fighter or Lead-In Fighter Trainer  (LIFT) that gives the bang for bucks.  The Korea Aerospace Industries’s TA-50 LIFT comes into mind.  Each unit of the more advanced FA-50 costs half or three times less than a top-of-the-line fighter would but it carries enough sting to hurt the enemy.

RoKAF Black Eagle’s KAI T-50B zooms above Langkawi during LIMA 17

Losing only but not much in terms of range to the BAe Systems Mk 108/208 that the RMAF currently deploys in Labuan to cover both the eastern South China and Sulu seas, the TA-50’s ability to reach supersonic speeds (Mach 1.5 compared to the Hawk’s Mach 0.84) and excellent thrust-to-weight ratio (0.96 to the Hawk’s 0.65) means that the TA-50 would make a better aircraft placed on Alert 5 to intercept straying foreign aircraft. Its superb ability to deliver air-to-ground as well as anti-shipping ordnances makes it a suitable platform to support anti-incursion/counter-insurgency operations in the ESSCOM area.

The RMAF is also interested to develop its Unmanned Aerial Vehicle capability in both tactical and strategic aspects.  RMAF Chief General Tan Sri Dato Seri Affandi bin Buang TUDM said that the RMAF is conducting a detailed study to identify the UAV capable of meeting the current needs of the country apart from being equipped with technologies which could be shared with various parties in the country.

The Chief of RMAF (second from left) speaking to reporters during Exercise PARADISE 4/2017 at the Kota Belud Air Range

Besides security surveillance, UAV can also be used for other purposes such as weather information and others,” he said. “If the RMAF is able to acquire sophisticated UAVs we would be able to enhance our operations in the Peninsular, Sabah, Sarawak and also in support of the MPAs patrolling the South China Sea as well as the Sulu Sea.

Hopefully the RMAF would acquire UAVs with extended on-station endurance with some hardpoints for strike capability.

Epilogue

Although the RMAF is still in want of frontline airframes, it is seen to improve its serviceability percentage, a task that seemed daunting in times of global econmic uncertainty, but certainly achievable.  The plan to purchase capable Maritime Patrol Aircraft as per the 2018 Budget, and planned addition of sophisticated UAVs, will certainly enhance its control over the airspace.

It is hoped that the government could look into equipping the RMAF with interim strike capability, especially in the South China and Sulu seas, by adding a squadron or two of the KAI TA-50, if not a squadron each of the TA-50 and its frontline version, the FA-50, hopefully by 2020, before preparing its budget for the procurement of actual frontline MRCAs that are badly needed, not only as replacements of the recently-retired MiG-29N, but also as a contingency to replace the F/A-18D which is already in its 20th year of service with the RMAF.

The RMAF may seem to walk slowly, but it is definitely walking with big strides.

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.

Defence: RMAF – Zooming At 59

General Dato’ Sri Haji Affendi bin Buang RMAF, Chief of Air Force speaking to reporters at the ‘Media with RMAF Day’ recently. To his right is Lieutenant-General Dato’ Sri Haji Abdul Mutalib bin Dato’ Haji Ab Wahab RMAF, Commander of RMAF Operations Command
We shall prioritise our needs and ensure that the sovereignty of this beloved nation is NOT compromised in any way despite the budget constraints.

The above was said by the Chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), General Dato’ Sri Haji Affendi bin Buang RMAF when asked to comment about the effects of the budget constraints on RMAF operations.

True to this year’s 59th anniversary theme which is ‘Kuasa Udara Tonggak Kedaulatan Negara’ (Air Power Pillar of National Sovereignty) the RMAF’s assets will always be ready in any situation and time to deal with any eventuality.

The absence of any stop-gap measure since the RMAF took the MiG-29Ns offline, coupled with the lack of funds for the acquisition of new MRCAs have been worrying.  Although the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has gotten its boost in assets with the purchase of six Littoral Mission Ships, the lessons of Force Z that ended some 47 nautical miles northeast of Tioman island must never be forgotten.

Force Z comprised of the brand-new battleship HMS Prince of Wales, the battlecruiser HMS Repulse, and destroyers HMS ElectraHMS ExpressHMS Tenedos and HMAS Vampire. On 10 December 1941, Force Z was decimated by Japanese aircraft from Saigon with only the destroyers making it back to Singapore.

Lack of air cover and underestimation of the Japanese force were key reasons to its decimation.

The RMAF has been wanting for a new MRCA and the two strongest contenders are the Dassault Rafale and the Saab Gripen.  There is a need to maintain the number of airframes to meet the doctrine.  However, it does not seem as if the RMAF would be getting any in the near future.

This has prompted the RMAF leadership under General Affendi to bring the MiG-29N back online.  “We will make sure that we have sufficient airframes to conduct the priority missions and not compromise our sovereignty,” added General Affendi.

A senior RMAF MiG-29N jock confided that it is very necessary to have the MiG-29N back online no matter the short-term cost of operating them.

We’ll see probably six to ten of them flying missions soon,” he said.

Maybe you’ll see the return of the Smokey Bandits at the next LIMA!” quipped another, referring to the RMAF’s MiG-29N aerobatic team that used to wow the crowd at previous Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibitions.

The MiG-29Ns will come back online to ensure that the sovereignty is not compromised
Most of the fighter squadrons are based in the Peninsular with only the No.6 Squadron based in Labuan operating the Hawks 208s.  The Hawks have been succesful in intercepting foreign military aircraft in the eastern South China Sea.

There has not been that many incursions by the Chinese.  It’s the countries that are observing the Chinese that have made the most incursions,” confided another senior officer. “The Hawks are doing a good job at intercepting and directing them out of our airspace.”

Even so, the Hawks are limited in terms of endurance, firepower and range to perform such task.  The squadron not only has to cover the development in the Spratlys but also the east of Sabah.

You mean for ESSCOM?” I asked another senior officer.

Not just there. To watch over the Ambalat area too,” he replied. “We could do with at least two G550 AEW equivalent to cover our waters and borders.”

Therefore, it makes real sense to have the MiG-29Ns back online, perhaps based in Labuan, while some Hawk 208s could go on rotational deployment at Sandakan for interdiction missions.

The RMAF is also seeking to develop its capabilities especially in maritime patrol and the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” General Affendi explained. “We need to look for other longer-endurance aircraft and systems that is better than the Beechcraft that we have.”

The RMAF fleet of the Beechcraft 200T MPA have been reduced to just three aircraft after a crash on the 21 December 2016 killed the aircraft commander while two other aircrew survived with injuries.  The Beechcrafts have been in service for almost two decades.

Asked if the recent offer by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Forces (JMSDF) of its almost three-decades old P-3C Orions, General Affendi said that a team will be sent to evaluate the aircraft offered.

It is not just about operating the aircraft but also the cost of upgrading if needed and maintenance as they are not new aircraft,” he replied. “We do need better MPA capabilities which is why we will scrutinise the JMSDF MPAs and compare them to purchasing and operating newer systems.”

The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Forces has offered Malaysia its decommissioned P-3C Orion MPAs (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
General Affendi thanked the government for its support and understands the constraints faced by the government as a result of a sluggish global economy.  Nevertheless, he said that the RMAF would work within its means to ensure that all systems needed to monitor and intercept incursions as well as to carry out other missions such as Humanitarian And Disaster Relief (HADR) required from time to time.

The Airbus A400M is a good buy. We can carry more load than the C-130Hs ever could and go places the (Boeing) C-17 (Globemaster III) cannot,” said General Affendi of the RMAF’s latest acquisitions. “Imagine how many stops the C-130H needed before getting to the Middle East. The A400M can fly straight to Dubai from here.”

The RMAF says its current strength of four A400M is sufficient to carry out foreseen missions
The RMAF had brought 80 media practitioners from all over the country to witness the capabilities of the force.  Performing Close Air Support displays were F/A-18D Hornets and Hawk 208s while a EC-725 Caracal helo inserted a PASKAU GFAC team to perform GLTD mission for the above aircraft before being extracted via SPIE-Rig method.

No matter the situation, the RMAF will fulfill its motto “Sentiasa Di Angkasaraya” and with a good leadership under the Chief, General Dato Sri Haji Affendi bin Buang RMAF, the RMAF will continue to be rejuvenated at 59.

Selamat menyambut Hari Ulangtahun Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia ke-59.

An F/A-18D Hornet makes an aggressive turn

An Eurocopter EC-725 Caracal positions itself to extract the PASKAU GFAC team

Three Hawk 208s orbit the airfield prior to landing

A PASKAU GFAC team is extracted using the SPIE-Rig method

Defence: LIMA ’17 Roars In Langkawi

Three RMAF Airbus A400M aircraft perform a fly pass at the LIMA ’17 exhibition

Defence expenditure is likely to rise as this region and beyond continue to face traditional and non-traditional threats.  The role of the defence industry is also changing dramatically, as new and changing threats require further research and development, increasing the overall costs and pricing of defence products and services.

This was the gist of the message conveyed by Dato’ Sri Najib Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, at the opening ceremony of the Langkawi International Aerospace and Maritime 2017 (LIMA ’17) exhibition this morning.

“We need to equip our fighting men with the capabilities required to face modern warfare, both symmetrical and asymmetrical, and LIMA ’17 brings together major aerospace and maritime firms from around the world to demonstrate their state-of-the-art static and aerial displays and cutting-edge technologies,” he added.

One of the exhibitors, Leonardo Helicopter Division, a division of the Leonardo S.p.A that is headquartered in Italy, celebrated today the successful reaching of the impressive 100,000 flying hours milestone with the Weststar Aviation Services’s AW139 fleet.

Weststar Aviation Services is the largest South East Asian offshore helicopter services provider and largest helicopter operator of the AW139 in Asia.

Dato’ Sri Najib Razak visiting one of the booths at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Center in Langkawi after the opening of LIMA ’17

Leonardo has also brought the ATR-72MP aircraft which is being proposed for Malaysia’s requirement for an advanced new maritime patrol capability.  In the Electronics Warfare segment, Leonardo has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hensoldt (the new name for Airbus DS Electronics and Border Security) to offer Mode-5 IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) solutions to customers around the world. This collaboration between two European leaders in defence electronics technology shows how, by joining forces, the team can position itself as market leader for cutting-edge new requirements. The two companies, working together as “Team Skytale”, have already been selected as preferred bidder by the UK Ministry of Defence to upgrade IFF systems on more than 400 land, sea and air vehicles.

The ATR 72MP is a multirole Maritime Patrol, Electronic Surveillance and C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence) aircraft with very affordable costs, developed and built by Leonardo’s Aircraft Division from the platform of the modern ATR 72-600 regional turboprop (pic courtesy of Leonardo Company)

The IFF technology allows operators to electronically identify friendly forces, distinguishing them from potential enemies. It does this by sending out an interrogation signal to unidentified platforms and verifying the automatic responses that are sent back, effectively a modern-day challenge and password system. Ensuring that ground, air and naval crews can reliably recognise their compatriots is one of the main ways of avoiding ‘friendly fire’ incidents. In 2020, all NATO nations are mandated to switch over to the new, more-secure ‘Mode-5’ version of the technology and other nations looking to operate alongside NATO forces will also need to be able to interact with the new standard. Mode-5 uses the latest cryptographic techniques to avoid the threat of deception by adversaries.

In another development, Thales has been selected by AirAsia to supply avionics systems on AirAsia’s new fleet of 304 A320neos.  Thales will equip the 304 single-aisles with its market leading Flight Management System (FMS), the navigation solution of choice for Airbus aircraft, alongside the THALES/ACSS T3CAS surveillance platform, the preferred solution for all Airbus single aisle aircraft.

AirAsia’s Airbus A320neo (pic courtesy of Economy Traveller)

Thales has been partnering with AirAsia, leading LCC in Asia, since 2005, forging a close relationship in support of the airline’s growth strategy. AirAsia already equips their entire Airbus fleet with Thales systems and has selected the group for all maintenance and support operations for Thales systems equipped across their entire A320 fleet of 200 aircraft. In addition to the avionics suite, Thales will continue to provide a Repair-by-The-Hour (RBTH) long-term maintenance contract to support AirAsia’s fleet expansion.  The agreement provides guaranteed turnaround times on repairs and offers a commitment of reliability with reduced operational risk.

Malaysia Minister of Defence, Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, meets with representatives from five countries to discuss asymmetrical threats by Da’esh

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Minister of Defence, Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, met with representatives from five countries including Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia and Qatar to present his view on how to combat the Da’esh threats.  The establishment of the King Salman Center of International Peace was also on the agenda of this meeting.

The RoKAF Black Eagles performing the “Bomb Burst” formation over Langkawi

Making its debut in Langkawi is the Republic of Korea Air Force’s 53rd Air Demonstration Group.  Commonly known as the “Black Eagles” the RoKAF team buzzed the skies of Langkawi in their KAI T-50B Golden Eagle supersonic advanced trainers.  The T-50B is one of the few supersonic trainers currently available in the world.

The Russians is well-represented.  The “Russian Knights (Russkiye Vityazi)” aerobatic team showcasing their Sukhoi Su-30SM aircraft for the first time outside Russia, while the Royal Malaysian Air Force performs aerobatics in its Sukhoi Su-30MKM.

The air aces of the two countries, whose performances constantly evoke admiration of the audience, highly praised the flight characteristics of their supermanouverable aircraft.

President of Irkut Corporation Oleg Demchenko marked the high skills of pilots and their ability to use the maximum extent of the fighter’s capabilities while First vice-president of UAC Alexander Tulyakov said: “Positive evaluation of aircraft given by pilots is very important for us – the developers and manufacturers”.

The meeting resulted with a joint photo shoot against the background of Su-30SM and Su-30MKM aircraft.

Sukhoi Su-30 pilots from the Russian Knights and the RMAF’s No.11 Squadron pose together

Russian’s Rostec State Corporation is working with the government of Malaysia to expand cooperation through the supply of civilian products and aviation.

“Over the last 20 years Malaysia has been a strategic partner of the Rostec State Corporation. We are actively involved in military and technical cooperation in a number of areas: aviation, the army and the military navy, and in recent years our cooperation has gained momentum.  We are currently engaged in arms supply programs and are upgrading technology that was previously supplied to Malaysia.

We are also looking to extending our cooperation to civil areas that have growth potential: electronics, composite materials and IT. The civil aviation market, especially the helicopter sector, is also showing great potential for us,” said Head of the joint delegation from Rostec and Rosoboronexport at the 2017 LIMA exhibition Viktor Kladov, Director for International Cooperation and Regional Policy Department of the State Corporation.

“LIMA-2017 is the most important event for the aviation and military navy markets of Malaysia and the surrounding region and our participation in it is a long-standing tradition. LIMA-2017 is attracting representatives of various countries of this region and we are looking to conducting fruitful negotiations both with the Malaysian Government and delegations from other countries,” he pointed out.

In the afternoon, the Prime Minister Najib Razak officiated the Maritime Segment which also involved major exhibitors such as THALES, MAST, ACS and SAAB, showcasing the latest technologies in defence products and a demonstration by the elite forces of Malaysia’s security enforcement agencies.

This year’s opening gimmick had the elite forces searching for a box containing a key for the Prime Minister to activate the launch sequence. The key was located using technologically-advanced, unmanned equipment that assisted the forces, including from the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), and was handed over to the Chief of Navy, Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Haji Ahmad Badaruddin who then handed it to the Prime Minister.

Following the launch, a live action demonstration from the RMN Special Forces, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, the Royal Malaysian Police and the Marine Department of Malaysia with the setting being a hostage rescue mission at sea.

Demonstration by the Royal Malaysian Navy’s special forces, the Marine Operations Force of the Royal Malaysian Police, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the Marine Department performs a demonstration

Later, Najib officiated the naming ceremony of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency’s latest Offshore Patrol Vessel, the “KM Pekan”.  In attendance were Defence Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein as well as Japan’s Deputy Minister of Land Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism, Tanaka Ryosei.

The “KM Pekan” is one of two offshore patrol vessels donated by the Japanese government to the MMEA in 2016.  Both vessels are 92 meters in length with speed of 20 knots and endurance of 30 days, suitable for enforcement missions in the South China Sea as well as in eastern Sabah.  Both are equipped with a helideck and state-of-the-art radars.

According to the Director-General of the MMEA, Admiral (Maritime) Datuk Seri Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar, a set of crew has been sent to Japan to bring home the second vessel.

For yesterday’s article, please click Defence: LIMA ’17 To Be More Exciting

Veteran ATM Dipolitikkan

Sejak akhir-akhir ini grup-grup WhatsApp Veteran Angkatan Tentera Malaysia yang saya sertai mula dihujani dengan mesej-mesej politik memainkan semula isu-isu lama yang telah terjawab dan terbukti fitnah.

Semalam tersebar semula video di mana Rafizi Ramli menaburkan fitnah mengatakan bahawa MRT Malaysia adalah milik Najib Razak. Jarang sekali saya bertukar pendapat di dalam grup-grup WhatsApp tersebut melainkan untuk bertanya khabar dengan mereka yang pernah berkhidmat dengan saya dahulu namun kali ini saya terpaksa menerangkan kerana saya pernah bekerja di projek KVMRT Lembah Klang.

Dakwaannya yang dikemukakan oleh veteran yang tularkan video tersebut ialah Menteri Kewangan (Diperbadankan) ialah syarikat milik satu-satunya Menteri Kewangan, dan MRT Malaysia adalah 100 peratus milik syarikat tersebut.

Saya memberitahu beliau dan lain-lain ahli grup WhatsApp tersebut bahawa Malaysia mempunyai dua orang Menteri Kewangan. Menteri Kewangan (Diperbadankan) ditubuhkan melalui Akta Menteri Kewangan (Pemerbadanan), 1957.  Ianya sama seperti Menteri Besar (Diperbadankan) contohnya di negeri-negeri seperti Perak dan Selangor, dan juga Perbadanan Menteri Besar Kelantan – bukan dimiliki mana-mana individu dan ahli-ahli lembaganya terdiri dari pegawai-pegawai kerajaan. Barulah mereka faham mengenai perkara tersebut.

Saya tidak menyalahkan mereka.  Hampir kesemua mereka lebih berumur dari saya. Sebahagian besar menyertai Angkatan Tentera Malaysia sebagai anggota lain-lain pangkat di suatu zaman yang tidak memerlukan mereka mempunyai tahap pendidikan yang tinggi.  Adalah lebih mudah untuk memanipulasi mereka ini.

Semasa mereka berhenti, Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veteran ATM masih belum tertubuh.  Mereka ibarat terbiar menghabiskan sisa-sisa hidup setelah berhenti dari perkhidmatan.  Tidak ada siapa yang menghiraukan mereka mahupun datang memberi penerangan mengenai isu-isu semasa kepada mereka.

Pada tahun lepas apabila pemenang pingat skuad Olimpik diberi ganjaran oleh kerajaan, ada pihak yang telah mencucuk para Veteran ATM untuk bangkit bertanya kenapa mereka tidak diberikan imbuhan setimpal.  Mereka merasakan bahawa pengorbanan yang telah mereka berikan tidak dibalas dengan setimpal.

Program 1MVHRP adalah di antara keistimewaan yang disediakan untuk Veteran ATM

Maka timbul di kalangan veteran itu sendiri penghasut-penghasut yang menanam benih-benih kebencian.  Ramai Veteran ATM itu sendiri tidak tahu-menahu mengenai keistimewaan yang diberi oleh Kerajaan kepada mereka sebagai tanda penghargaan buat mereka dan keluarga.

Di antara keistimewaan yang disediakan untuk Veteran ATM

Saya telah menjawab perkara ini dengan agak panjang lebar pada ketika itu.  Mana-mana Veteran ATM sama ada pegawai mahupun lain-lain pangkat yang telah menamatkan perkhidmatan dan tidak dibuang dari perkhidmatan layak menerima kad pengenalan di bawah dan juga keistimewaan yang disediakan untuk para Veteran.

Namun masih tidak ada usaha dari pihak Kerajaan mahupun Barisan Nasional khususnya untuk mengadakan pertemuan untuk menerangkan isu serta polisi bukan sahaja kepada para Veteran ATM tetapi juga kepada pengundi akar umbi terutamanya di kawasan luar bandar.

Veteran ATM sama ada berpencen mahupun tidak, boleh menikmati tambang pesara KTM

Mereka-mereka inilah yang terdedah kepada dakyah-dakyah serta propaganda fitnah setiap hari.  Yang ironiknya, mereka inilah yang dipolitikkan oleh golongan yang marah jika Veteran ATM dipolitikkan.

Dan jangan kita lupa apa tugas Rafizi Ramli dan para pembangkang:

Apa Yang Strategiknya?

Sibuk golongan yang kurang kebolehan berfikir memainkan sentimen kerajaan menjual aset strategik pertahanan negara kepada negara luar akibat 1MDB dan kerakusan terhadap wang.

Ceritanya, 1MDB telah membeli tanah tersebut dengan harga yang murah dan menjualkannya kepada China dengan harga yang tinggi untuk memulangkan balik wang rakyat sebanyak RM42 billion yang hilang. Maka, tanah milik Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia itu kini dimiliki oleh China.

Dari kedua-dua perenggan di atas, dapatlah kita membuat rumusan bahawa ada TIGA butiran utama yang dikaitkan dengan penukaran Pangkalan Udara Kuala Lumpur kepada Bandar Malaysia milik negara China:

  1. Menjual aset strategik pertahanan negara,
  2. Memulangkan balik wang rakyat sebanyak RM42 billion yang hilang, dan,
  3. Tanak milik Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia kini dimiliki China.

1, Bida’ah Pertama: Pangkalan Udara Kuala Lumpur Adalah Aset Strategik Pertahanan

Ada seorang pengguna Twitter baru-baru ini mengutarakan kisah yang sama: Pangkalan Udara Kuala Lumpur adalah satu aset strategik pertahanan kerana ianya satu-satu pangkalan tentera udara di dalam sebuah bandaraya.

Apabila saya bertanya apakah yang dimaksudkan dengan ‘strategik’ beliau tidak menjawab hingga ke hari ini.

Baiklah.  Mari kita bincangkan betapa strategiknya pangkalan tersebut.

Pangkalan Udara Kuala Lumpur merupakan pangkalan terakhir di mana saya bertugas sebelum menamatkan tauliah jangka pendek dalam perkhidmatan TUDM lebih 20 tahun yang lalu.  Pada waktu itu, tepi landasan kapal terbang berada agak jauh dari Lebuhraya Kuala Lumpur-Seremban. Saya sering gunakan bahagian rumput di tepi landasan tersebut di waktu petang setelah operasi udara harian di pangkalan tersebut tamat untuk membawa anak saya terbang menaiki pesawat ringan jenis Buckeye.

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Pada tahun 1975, semasa jalanraya masih berada jauh dari bahagian tepi landasan, pengganas dari Parti Komunis Malaya telah melancarkan serangan mortar terhadap pesawat-pesawat Caribou milik TUDM yang berada di pangkalan tersebut, merosakkan dengan teruk salah sebuah pesawat tersebut manakala empat lagi mengalami kerosakan kecil.

Sekiranya anda memandu dari arah Seremban menghala ke Kuala Lumpur anda boleh lihat betapa hampirnya kini lebuhraya dengan tepi landasan tersebut.  Anda tidak perlu lagi berada jauh sekiranya ingin melakukan khianat terhadap aset-aset serta bangunan-bangunan yang berada di dalam pangkalan tersebut.

Panjang landasan di PU Kuala Lumpur tidak pernah berubah sejak ianya dibina pada tahun 1952 iaitu sepanjang 3,934 kaki. Semasa saya bertugas, pesawat taktikal sayap kaku yang diterbangkan dari sini adalah pesawat DHC-4 Caribou yang mempunyai jarak berlepas sepanjang 910 kaki, dan pesawat amfibian Grumman HU-16 Albatross yang memerlukan jarak 1.700 kaki untuk berlepas.

Kedua-dua buah pesawat telah dilucut tauliah semasa saya masih bertugas.

Kini, pesawat angkut yang digunakan oleh TUDM adalah lebih besar dari pesawat Caribou.  Pesawat A400M memerlukan jarak  berlepas minima sepanjang 3,215 kaki manakalah pesawat C-130H memerlukan 3,586 kaki.  Walaupun cukup untuk berlepas, landasan tersebut tidak cukup panjang untuk kedua-dua jenis pesawat membuat pemberhentian cemas dengan selamat.

Tambahan pula, Nombor Klasifikasi Beban (LCN) iaitu kategori kekuatan beban landasan di PU Kuala Lumpur ialah 40. Walaupun pesawat C-130H hanya memerlukan LCN 37 untuk tarmac/asphalt, pesawat A400M perlu mempunyai lebih dari 49.

Maka, PU Kuala Lumpur hanya mampu menerima pesawat-pesawat ringan tanpa menjejaskan keselamatan pesawat dan struktur landasan.

Mendarat di Runway 22, Pangkalan Udara Kuala Lumpur (Simpang)
Mendarat di Runway 22, Pangkalan Udara Kuala Lumpur (Simpang)

Gambar di atas di ambil sekitar tahun 2001.  Bahagian berumput di sebelah kiri gambar kini hanya tinggal setengah akibat pembesaran Lebuhraya KL-Seremban dan Lebuhraya SMART.  Jalan di latar depan gambar ini ialah Jalan Istana yang berhubung dengan Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar (Lebuhraya Mahameru).  Kini ada satu jejambat yang lebih tinggi dibina di situ.

Di latar belakang gambar atau di hujung landasan tersebut adalah satu tebing di mana landasan Keretapi Tanah Melayu dan juga ERL lalu.  Tebing tersebutlah yang menjadi suatu halangan yang boleh memberi akibat yang buruk sekiranya pesawat angkut A400M atau C-130H terpaksa membatalkan perlepasan.

Lain-lain halangan yang kini berada di situ ialah sebuah bangunan berketinggian hampir 60 meter berada 1.86km di hadapan landasan tersebut.Enam buat tiang lampu yang berada betul-betul di bawah pesawat yang ingin membuat pendaratan di Landasan 22; pokok-pokok milik persendirian berketinggian 55 meter juga di bawah pesawat sebelum mendarat; menara kabel tension tinggi berketinggian 105 meter di sebelah timur landasan; dua buah menara telekomunikasi berketinggian 35 meter dan 76 meter juga dalam laluan pendaratan pesawat.

PU Kuala Lumpur juga tidak mempunya kemudahan penyimpanan dan pengisian minyak yang sempurna.  Sekiranya anda menerbangkan pesawat ringan persendirian mahupun milik kelab dari situ maka anda perlu terbang ke Lapangan Terbang Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah di Subang untuk mengisi minyak sebelum pulang semula ke PU Kuala Lumpur.

Ditambah pula dengan keadaan lalulintas di sekitar kawasan PU Kuala Lumpur yang sememangnya sesak, adakah anda masih menganggap pangkalan udara ini sebuah aset yang strategik?

2. Bida’ah Kedua: Memulangkan Balik Wang Rakyat RM42 billion Yang Hilang

Wang siapa yang hilang?

Wang rakyat?

Sudah tentu bukan.

RM42 billion adalah jumlah wang yang dipinjam oleh 1MDB dari institusi-institusi luar negara untuk melaksanakan projek-projek di dalam negara.  Ianya berbeza dengan kehilangan berbillion wang yang diperuntukkan oleh PETRONAS untuk membantu kaum Bumiputera melalui Bank Bumiputera Malaysia Berhad (BBMB) semasa pentadbiran 22 tahun seseorang yang kini mudah lupa.  Wang BBMB tersebut telah diberi pinjam kepada orang luar untuk projek hartanah di luar negara yang tiada kaitan langsung dengan rakyat Malaysia mahupun kaum Bumiputera.

Jika wang RM42 billion yang kononnya hilang itu dipinjam oleh 1MDB dari institusi-institusi kewangan luar negara, bagaimana mungkin wang tersebut datangnya dari rakyat?

Untuk makluman semua, cerita RM42 billion ini adalah merupakan cerita basi yang dimainkan semula akibat kehabisan modal untuk terus menipu rakyat.  1MDB telahpun melangsaikan segala hutang awal tahun 2016 lagi!  Malah, 1MDB dapat membuat lebihan berjumlah RM2.3 billion lagi.  Maka, hentikanlah dari berbohong atau bersubahat menyebarkan pembohongan melainkan anda memang tidak percaya kepada Tuhan.

3. Bida’ah Ketiga: Tanah Milik TUDM Kini Milik China

Bagi saya, saya kurang faham bagaimana cerita bodoh ini boleh dipercayai ramai seperti juga cerita 700,000 bakal warganegara baru Malaysia yang berasal dari China.

Bagaimanapun, saya akur Tuhan tidak menjadikan kita ini semua sama kalau tidak hidup ini akan menjadi bosan.  Oleh itu saya amat terhibur dengan cara mereka yang mempunyai daya pemikiran yang sama seperti katak puru yang tersenarai sebagai salah satu dari empat binatang terbodoh di dunia.

Seingat saya, angka 700,000 yang dibawa oleh U-Turn Mahathir ini adalah angka yang sama didakwa oleh bekas Senator Chong Eng Leong dari Sabah telah menerima kad pengenalan Malaysia semasa pentadbiran U-Turn Mahathir.  Chong Eng Leong mendakwa bahawa Projek IC semasa pentadbiran U-Turn Mahathir telah memberi kad pengenalan Malaysia kepada 700,000 orang asing yang mana seramai 200,000 adalah pengundi berdaftar di negeri Sabah.

Siapa sebenarnya yang memiliki tanah milik TUDM ini?

Mari kita lihat pecahan pemilikan tanah tersebut:

  1. 40 peratus adalah milik Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOF Inc), sebuah syarikat di bawah Kementerian Kewangan Malaysia;
  2. 22 peratus adalah milik Credence Resources Sdn Bhd., sebuah syarikat swasta milik warganegara Malaysia;
  3. 14 peratus adalah milik Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor Sdn Bhd (KPRJ); dan,
  4. 24 peratus milik China Railway Engineering Corporation yang akan membina terminus High-Speed Rail di situ.

Ini bermakna, 54 peratus milik syarikat-syarikat kerajaan dan 46 peratus milik swasta (22 peratus milik swasta Malaysia dan 24 peratus milik swasta China).

Ini juga bermakna 76 peratus Bandar Malaysia adalah milik Malaysia manakala 24 peratus adalah milik China.

Jadi di mana mungkin China memiliki tanah bekas milik TUDM?

Dan murahkah nilai tanah TUDM yang dibeli oleh 1MDB?

1MDB membeli tanah tersebut pada harga RM400 juta.  Namun sebagai ganti, 1MDB perlu membina sebuah Pangkalan Udara untuk unit-unit TUDM dari PU Kuala Lumpur ditempatkan.  Selain pangkalan udara yang baru, 1MDB juga perlu membina TUJUH buah lagi pangkalan tentera  menjadikan jumlah keseluruhan LAPAN buah pangkalan tentera berjumlah sekitar RM1.6 billion. Jumlah keseluruhan = RM2 billion.

Bayangkan apa yang boleh memanfaatkan kita dengan jumlah RM2.5 billion pinjaman yang lesap di Hong Kong semasa pentadbiran U-Turn Mahathir!

Fikir-fikirkanlah!

Defence: What Have YOU Done For Your Country?

The late Major Kayamboo Chellam TUDM

The nation, especially the Royal Malaysian Air Force, said goodbye to one of its finest, Major Kayamboo Chellam TUDM who perished in an accident involving the aircraft he captained at the Butterworth Airbase.

He died on his 45th birthday.

The recently retired Chief of the RMAF, General Tan Sri Dato Sri Roslan bin Saad TUDM found it alarming that the non-Malays are staying away from joining the RMAF

In a September interview, General Roslan invited more non-Malays to join the RMAF.

The late Major Kayamboo was among the non-Malays who make up the five to ten percent of the RMAF’s total strength of 15,000.

Both he and his severely injured co-pilot Captain Wai Lik, also a non-Malay, decided to serve the nation when many prefer to condemn the country on a daily basis.

Minister of Defence Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein visiting Captain Wai Lik TUDM at the Seberang Jaya Hospital. He is flanked by the Chief of RMAF General Dato Sri Hj Affendi bin Buang TUDM and Chief of Defence Forces General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi bin Raja Mohamed Noor. Captain Wai Lik’s father is in red.

In fact, Captain Wai Lik’s father proudly said:

“Forget about serving for the country if you cannot die for the country.”

So what excuse do you have when all you do daily is to whine about but never serve the nation?