The Royal Malaysian Air Force’s Sukhoi fleet has got a new lease of life, for the next 15 years, under RM2.2 billion worth full refurbishment package, according to a report by The New Straits Times.
The report cited a reliable source as saying that the two squadrons of 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKM, based at Gong Kedak in Terengganu, are being given a full refurbishment package which includes service life extension for the Flankers' airframe, avionics, weapons systems and overhaul of its engines, until 2035.
“Although it appears an expensive affair, in reality, this is a huge cost-saving as the local entity is able to manage the task at only 70 per cent of that cost (RM2.2 billion),” a defence industry senior ranking official was quoted as saying. “Additionally, the package allows for highly skilled Malaysian technicians and engineers to be employed, hence, providing job opportunities for locals”.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was quoted as saying in the report that the deal further enhanced the entrepreneurial skills and capability of Malaysians in handling such a large task in the field of aviation and aerospace.
Other than the Flankers, the RMAF’s other ageing aircraft include the BAE Systems Hawk 100/200 fighter jets, Boeing F/A-18D Hornets and a fleet of Lockheed C-130 Hercules, in service for over 20 years.
The Sikorsky S-61A-4 Nuri helicopters have, meanwhile, served the RMAF for over 40 years.