Saturday, June 01, 2019

Future of RMAF fighter force

Today the NST published RMAF marks 61st anniversary with eye towards future, so I thought it might be timely to throw in my 2 sens worth of thoughts on the air force.

In fact in September 2015, that is 4 years ago, I posted National air defence - if we don’t play-play in which I raised 3 important points vis-a-vis the air force capabilities in Malaysia's defence, namely:

(a) It's damnably expensive to have a fully competent air force, like the Singapore Air Force. There's no need to be jealous of the lil' red dot, but rather to admire the RSAF and emulate its marvellous development. If our bureaucracy was not that corrupt and more competent, we would have a far more powerful air force than what the RSAF is enjoying today.

Our little southern neighbour has an air force inventory which comprises
 (ONLY interceptor force and support aircraft mentioned here - transport and helicopters not mentioned):

  • a staggering 40 F-15SG Strike Eagles
  • 60 F-16 C/D Fighting Falcons
  • 41 F-5S/T Tiger II
  • 4 Grumman E2-C Hawkeye AEW & C
  • 4 Gulfstream G550 AEW & C
  • 4 Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker (to refuel the interceptor fighters without requiring the short endurance jets to return to base for refueling)
  • 5 KC-130B/H also for air-to-air refueling of fighters
  • 6 Airbus 330 MTT for the same purpose.

And not to mention in detail, its Overseas Detachments are in the USA (4 bases), Australia (2 bases), France (1 base), that we know of.

Even as I write this post, the RSAF has ordered a 'small numer' of Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

unfortunately the F-35 is beyond the current reach of the RMAF 

I am sure the RMAF would love to have those 141 fighter aircraft (with more to come) and its impressive range of supporting aircraft such as the AEW & C aircraft and the air-to-air refuelling tankers, which would allow our air force to deploy them adequately among the locations of Butterworth, Gong Kedak, Kuala Lumpur, Kuantan, Johor Baru (or a new fighter base at the current heli base at Kluang), Kuching, Bintulu, Miri or/and Labuan, (a new base at) Kudat, Sandakan or even Tawau.

(b) Considerable time is required to build up a capable air force (or for that matter, navy and army) in terms of policy & doctrinal development, adequate and correct resources and enrichment of human resource competencies.

This is one imperative that many do-gooders (eg. Dr Kua Kia Soong, wakakaka) don't appreciate, to wit, believing that in times of emergency we could just go to the nearest arms supermarket to shop and "hey presto, we will be ready 'tomorrow' to face the foe".

And I also reminded that air defence is NOT ONLY about Peninsular Malaysia, or worse, just its north-western part centred around the Butterworth air base? Malaysia comprises Peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah and is indeed a vast territory to look after. I then said 'Let’s not treat Sabah and Sarawak as second class states with no air defence, please.'

(c) Defence strength, especially for an air force, involves numbers of aircraft (of many types, like what RSAF possesses), and shouldn't be in dribs and drabs, as we have been doing thus far.

The only time we bought aircraft in adequate numbers was when the RMAF acquired the Sikorsky 61-A, Alouettes III and the A-4 Skyhawks, the last of which Malaysia bought 88 but with only 40 delivered.

For more on the A-4, read my post RMAF aircraft missing way before Army helicopters.

Preposterously, we have been told that the undelivered 48 A-4s were held in reserve in the USA as a 'spare-parts bank' - if we were told that 20 or even 30 were, then that silly argument might have been plausible, but 48 aircraft held as 'spare parts' for 40 operational aircraft? Wakakaka.

The truth of the missing 48 Skyhawks lies in the collective 'silent' knowledge of the RMAF community, not in reading Wikipedia.


In my 2015 post I recommended against buying the Rafales, not because it's not a good aircraft (in fact it's bloody good) but because of its expensiveness we couldn't afford the numbers required. I had written:

Our air force should not purchase the Rafale aircraft UNLESS we have the money to buy 100 of them, and also to purchase AEW aircraft and more refueling tankers. Sixteen (16) Rafales will only be fooling ourselves about their meaningful usefulness within the national air defence context.

Thus we should of course look for cheaper options, perhaps even used aircraft like the Dassault Mirage 2000-5 MK II from France, Qatar, UAE and Greece as these countries are changing to Rafales or other equivalents - here’s our chance to grab them for cheap.

Mirage 2000-5 

The Mirage 2000-5 MK II may comparatively be just a wee dated but with upgrading and weapon enhancements by the company Dassault, it can be a credible weapon platform for the RMAF, and it costs only a fifth or quarter of the Rafale, meaning we could get 80 re-conditioned but upgraded Mirage 2000-5 MK II for the same amount of money we may be thinking of spending on a mere 16 Rafales.
The operative word is QUANTITY because we have a very large country, from Kangar to Tawau (ever heard of this town?), and we need around one hundred fighter aircraft. The 80 Mirage 2000-5 MK II will be a good start.

Just food for thought, on Oct 8, 1996, a Hellenic Air Force Mirage 2000-5 shot down a Turkish Air Force F-16D, the type Singapore has [grin].

When I read that The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) plans to acquire used Kuwaiti fighter jets while waiting to purchase new aircraft in the next 10 to 15 years.

RMAF chief General Affendi Buang said Kuwait is planning to phase out its existing fleet of Hornet FA-18C and 18D aircraft as it waits for the delivery of the Boeing Super Hornet aircraft in 2021.

“I think we will grab some of the aircraft to add on to our current fleet, at least while waiting for the new multirole combat aircraft (MRCA) programme, so we have a slightly bigger fleet than what we have today,” he told reporters during a special press conference on the RMAF’s anniversary celebration on June 1.

However, he said talks between the two air forces had yet to start.

It's a wise decision and strategy, whether the additional (used) aircraft is the Mirage 2000-5 or F-18C (D is twin seat version).

But do get a decent numbers like, say, 60 and above. That should provide enough to cover most important and currently critical parts of Malaysia, like the north-eastern parts of Sabah and the general South China Sea areas.


  1. Just be super nice to the next superpower China, don't quibble with their legitimate demands, and Malaysia should be safe.

    No need for the expensive flying toys from USA, Russia or France.

    1. Monsterball, didn't Najib did just what you said? Wakakaka..

    2. Sorry I don't see the point in having 80-100 fighter jets to defend "Kangar to Tawau". I have been to both towns and I can tell you the danger there is not from invading neighbouring countries' armed forces but rather illegal immigrants and religious terrorists. You don't need fighter jets for these threats.

      As for China in the South China Sea do you think 80-100 old clunkering fighter jets will scare them off? They are not afraid of US aircraft carriers or warships. As long as there is freedom of navigation and they don't sapu all the oil and gas we have to live with this bully.

      Better for us to buy Chinese fighter jets and be friends with them. And I know Tiger Teresa has a huge inventory of palm oil to pay for the jets. And frozen Musang Kings too....ha ha ha.

      Note: Toonsie already made a strong hint when he supported Huawei 100%.

    3. Monsterball is becoming like Dr Kua in defence understanding, except Dr Kua is a do-gooder, unlike Monsterball, a dedak-makan-er, wakakaka

    4. TS, the phrase "Kangar to Tawau" means the national airspace - it's NOT those towns per se - sorry you don't know, wakakaka

      80-100 is enough to deter off China, any ambitious move by Indons and to remind Philippines Sabah belongs to Malaysia - the logistic line is too far stretch for China to do much - it only has at most two aircraft carriers. Only way for China to destroy such a M-sian air force is by way of nuclear missiles

      Defenec is far more easier than attack, which is why China is not afraid of the USA, just as we should not be afraid of China or anyone

    5. Bloody brain dead moron!

      "…be super nice to the next superpower China, don't quibble with their legitimate demands, and Malaysia should be safe."

      When jibby played his desperado game of 'be nice' to China, his ONLY aim was to get Chinese money to help extract himself from the 1MDB financial quagmire! His sole inyention was never based on the M'sia first.

      Thus jibby's 'be nice' to China policy was a one way track that was been dictated purely by the Chinese! The Chinese got what they want fully while jibby got the money to relieve the hard-pressed monetary installments. Jibby sold M'sia interest to the chinese, pure & simple.

      W/O the looming financial pressures, the ph govt CAN navigate/negotiate for a bilateral relationdship based on mutual benefits as reflected in those latest outcomes of the various renegotiations done by daim.

      So, once again, CAN yr lalang-infested thinking equates jibby's self-immolation with ph's new M'sia interest?

      I demand my seed money BACK!

    6. ccp help n support a crook that steal from people?

    7. RD moron!

      That's international politic.

      U want money, then give me what I want - very simple!

      Yr demoncracy is doing the same thing too in Middle East too.

  2. Shocking state of affairs, more rubbish left behind by the BN government, country now 1.1 trillion in debt and we inherit an air force of dilapidated planes...

    Fighter jets typically takes 5-10 years to procure and have lifespans of 20 years, meaning what we are supposed to buy today should have been planned for since the 90s.

    Note Jibby was Defence Minister TWICE (1990-1995 and 1999-2008), for a total of FIFTEEN YEARS out of 29 years (1990-2019) but what did he buy?

    Mat Sabu (Amanah) 2018-.....
    Hishamuddin Hussein (UMNO) 2013-2018
    Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (UMNO) 2009-2013
    Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (UMNO) 2008-2009
    Najib Razak (UMNO) 1999-2008 -YES SECOND TIME...!!!!
    Syed Hamid Albar (UMNO) 1995-1999
    Najib Razak (UMNO) 1990-1995

    1. just as you guppies have always defended Mahathir, why bring up the past? The future is ours and the current PH govt to implement

    2. Wakakakakaka…

      Who's the biggest fart about mamak, manmanlai, lks etc etc for their past (mis)deeds?

      Who's the biggest fart keeps ignoring jibby's past & current misdeeds?

      The future is ours & definitely NOT in the way u want!