I wish to refer to an article I had posted on December 9, 2009 regarding the intended phasing out of the Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-29N by the RMAF, and of a similar topic posted by Tun Dr. Mahathir in his weblog on December 28, 2009. I think, Tun Dr. Mahathir and I share a similar view concerning the phasing out of the aircraft, in that we are of the opinion that the aircrafts are still good for a number of more years.
I now wish to draw my readers to an article written by one Siva Govindasamy titled, 'Malaysia to phase out troublesome MiG-29 fighter' dated June 6, 2009, in which he wrote that 'Malaysia has announced plans to phase out its RSK MiG-29N fighter over the next few years, with the fleet having been plagued by problems since it bought the type in the early 1990s'. He went further to say that, 'Malaysia has encountered problems in obtaining spares for its 14 MiG-29s, and that maintenance has been a issue for a long while'.(http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2009/06/03/32)
Siva Govindasamy has made statements that need to be further substantiated with facts and figures; not bare statements that appears to have a 'business-like' overtone. If one is looking for an authority to speak on the subject, it can only come from the RMAF themselves. I do not believe any other person nor any authority is wise enough to make any judgment on the serviceability state of the MiG-29N aircraft, other than the RMAF.
I did suggest that we should look at how the Indian Air Force (IAF) with its huge fleet of MiG-29s, can maintain its fleet for a much longer period than does Malaysia. There must be something that we can learn for the IAF experience, if indeed the RMAF is plagued by problems in the acquisition of spares and maintenance. I suppose it would not be economically viable to begin manufacturing aircraft spares and components for the MiG-29s, but if the spares and components are difficult to procure from its Russian OEM, why not look at the possibility of purchasing them from India, who are licensed to manufacture the spares and components.
Changing of aircrafts is not like changing our clothes; like I used to do on 'change parades' during my days as an army cadet. Changing of aircrafts involves a multitude of issues ranging from the training of personnels (pilots, technicians etc) and logistics, and every bit of this costs money.
One may argue that with the change of aircraft, Malaysian air force pilots will have the advantage of engaging themselves with the latest in aircraft technologies. But that was similarly the case when we bought the F/A-18D Honets, BAe Hawk 208 and now the SU-30 MKM. But what technologies have we acquired, other than be experts at flying a variety of aircrafts.
I note a similar trend happening to the army. The buying and changing culture never ceases in the army, with the notion of a transfer of technology. Had the army been serious with this term that they so commonly refer to as the 'transfer of technology' in their procurement exercises, they would not have been discarding their capital equipments purchased at exorbitant prices too often. I think the fault lies in the unwillingness of the army, and likewise its sister services, to be serious in developing an expert maintenance capability that is comparable to the OEM. It is because of this failure that the costs of maintenance is high, and who tends to gain.................surely it is the OEM and its local agents.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION