Malaysia’s SU-30MKM fighter jets are now almost certain to get a life extension following the launch of a local enterprise to perform deep maintenance on the Russian-made fighter jets.
Consequently, a plan to purchase the Dassault Rafale or the Eurofighter, as part of the Multi-role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) project may be delayed indefinitely as Kaula Lumpur grapples with budget cuts and a deepening palm oil crisis with the European Union.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed more or less shut the door the MRCA in the near future when he launched the first locally-overhauled Su-30MKM at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) show last week.
The overhaul had been performed by Aerospace Technology Systems Corp (ATSC) a Malaysian-Russian company formed especially for spares and servicing of Russian Su-30MKM. An ATSC executive told defenseworld.net, “it is possible that we will progress from service and overhaul to full upgrade. The airframe and engines of the Sukhois is still very good and we are talking of a life extension of 10-15 years.”
During a ceremony to launch the refurbished Su-30MKM, Mahathir said, “the aircraft we bought some time back still can perform well with proper maintenance.” He was most probably hinting at the Su-30MKMs of which only 4 out of 18 were reportedly in a fly-worthy condition according to Defence Minister Mohammed Sabu who had told parliament in August 2018.
However, at the LIMA event, some 10 S-30MKMs could be seen on the airfield at Langkawi and one performed dazzling aerobatics setting at rest some of the speculation.
“We will think of buying airplanes from China or any other country," Dr Mahathir said during the course of a press conference during LIMA. The PM was responding to questions regarding purchase of European jets in the light of the EU’s proposed plan to end the use of palm oil in biofuels.
Mahathir is known for his anti-western stance. The MRCA procurement had moved forward during the time of his predecessor, Najib Razak whose government was reported to have opened negotiations with France for buying a squadron of the Rafale jets. An executive from Dassault Aviation, told this correspondent at LIMA, “we are hopeful of selling to Malaysia as the MRCA is needed by its Air Force.”
However, the Russians now seem to be smelling blood. Viktor Kladov, director, international cooperation of Russia’s Rostec holding company said in LIMA, “we have offered to substantially hike palm oil imports from Malaysia in exchange for increased arms sales.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is set to receive its first locally overhauled Su-30MKI fighter jet- bearing registration number M52-11 belonging to the 11 squadron at a ceremony on the opening day of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) 2019 event. The overhaul marks a major milestone for Aerospace Technology Systems Corp (ATSC) a Malaysian-Russian company formed especially for spares and servicing of Russian aircraft such as MiG-29 and Su-30MKI
Malaysian Air Force has modified Russian-made Sukhoi-30 fighter jet in order to equip it with US GBU-12 laser-guided bombs. The Royal Malaysian Air Force put out a video showing their Su-30MKM fighters specifically designed for Malaysia, dropping 500-pound GBU-12s made by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon,
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) will make up the loss of fighter power following the decommissioning of the MiG-29 fighters by improving the serviceability levels of its Su-30MKM fleet. The MiG-29s are expected to be retired later this year and a competition is on to replace them
Malaysian Sukhoi-30MKM fighter jets will soon be armed with Russian missiles, Ria Novosti reported Tuesday. The missiles will be manufactured by Irkut Corporation
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