ALOR SETAR, March 31 — The purchase of any new defence assets for the country, including fighter jets, will be done taking into consideration the financial position and economic development of the country, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said today.
He said at present, the government was focusing more on the MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul) of existing assets rather than bringing in new ones.
“We have received many offers from other countries, including Russia, China, India, Pakistan, who have offered their jets. Now, we (Defence Ministry) are in discussion to see which one is appropriate for our country in the future.
“Most of the offers which have come in is for maintenance, so we will review all the aspects and look at it based on what suits us in Malaysia. If the county’s finances are good, only then will we buy new assets,” he told reporters after officiating the Kuala Kedah Fishermen’s Association Annual General Meeting here.
Yesterday, at the 2019 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA’19) two Asian jet producers, Hindustani Aeronautics Ltd from India and Korea Aerospace Industry from South Korea expressed willingness to help the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) refresh their asset line-up.
Last June, RMAF Chief General Tan Sri Affendi Buang revealed that more than 40 per cent of its assets have surpassed the 20-year lifespan which would necessitate an upgrade, including Hawk aircraft made by BAE, which have been in service for 25 years, United States-made Boeing F/A-18D Hornet (20 years) and Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flankers made in Russia (10 years).
Asked on the maintenance cost of Scorpene submarines, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Abdul Razak, Mohamad said it was high, costing about RM500 million a year.
“Indeed, the submarines are modern and sophisticated but they need to be maintained and that is costly. The older they get, the higher the cost is to maintain them,” he said. — Bernama