RMAF Wants New Assets to Keep Air Defence Relevant, Capable

RMAF Wants New Assets to Keep Air Defence Relevant, Capable

02 Juni 2017

RMAF Martello S-743D D-band 3D ground base radar system Bukit Ibam, Pahang (photo : Zone Interdate)

LABUAN: The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has submitted its proposal to acquire new assets to uplift the country’s air defence capability.

RMAF chief, General Datuk Seri Affendi Buang said among the assets proposed were multi-role combat aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, and ground base radar system.

“It is in the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP), and if the government’s financial situation allows it, we may get these assets in the near future.

“We need these assets to keep our air defence relevant and capable,” he told a press conference during RMAF with media session in conjunction with the force’s 59th anniversary at its base in Labuan recently.

Although the procurement of the new assets is still in the process, he said that the RMAF’s existing assets such as the Sukhoi, FA-18, and Hawk aircraft ensure that the force’s capability is not compromised.

According to him, to ensure that the force have sufficient airframes while waiting for the new assets to be delivered, it is considering to reactivate its MiG aircraft by upgrading them.

Commenting on the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force’s (JMSDF) plan to give its P3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft to Malaysia, Affendi said that the RMAF has sent technical a team to evaluate the aircraft to determine its effectiveness and practicality.

RMAF VERA-E passive radar (photo : Valka)

“The technical team will determine whether we can support the aircraft operation and whether it is suitable with our capability. These will be focused on by our team to ensure our decision will uplift our maritime patrolling capability.

“At the moment, we are looking at several options for maritime patrol aircraft because we are a maritime nation, and the ever changing situation in the South China Sea.

“Therefore, we are putting emphasis on acquiring sophisticated maritime patrol assets which can accomplish our missions effectively,” he said adding that the RMAF will do its best to achieve it.

On a question on RMAF’s plan on having Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV), Affendi said that the force is currently studying its application comprehensively.

Should RMAF decide to acquire such technology, he said that it might do it through smart partnership between local defence companies and foreign technological partners.

Speaking of his visit to Labuan RMAF base, he said that it is its main forward base for its South China Sea and Sulu Sea operation.

Malaysian Air Defense Ground Environment (MADGE) coverage (image : aip-dca)

“This is also where we place our important assets to ensure effective operations, and the mini air show was to showcase that our assets and our pilots are always ready to be deployed for any operations,” he said.

Speaking of the RMAF’s 59th anniversary’s theme ‘Kuasa Udara Tunggak Kedaulatan Negara’, he said that air power is critical in defencing the country’s sovereignty, considering the geo political and geo strategic situation in the South China Sea that requires a strong force that can be deployed in the front line.

In that context, he said that RMAF can be a balancing act in determining the peace and stability in the region according to the country’s favour.

“We also want to remind our personnel of the importance of the responsibilities shouldered on them. They should understand that they have been entrusted in ensuring the peace and sovereignty of the country and the stability in the region.

“Labuan is a very important base in ensuring we can achieve that, therefore we have built many infrastructures to support the assets that we have ordered, and our operations should the situation requires us to do so,” he added.

(New Sabah Times)

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