Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Met a friend who had just returned from visiting LIMA 2009 last night, and the discussion soon revolves around the intended replacement of the MiG 29 jet fighter aircrafts that has been in service with the RMAF for almost 15 years, and is said to be at the end of its operational life. I questioned this friend of mine as to who decides the operational life of the aircraft? Is it the maker of the aircraft, or is it the experts in the RMAF? Or are there the 'external influences' that compels the RMAF to decide upon the replacement, even though the aircraft seemed to be in good flying condition?

To answer my question, my friend drew an analogy between a Malaysian made Proton Saga car and a gleaming Ferrari sports car. He says that in the case of our country, a proclaimed developing nation finds it far too expensive to maintain the Proton Saga car; whereas in the case of the underdevelop nation like Myanmar, finds it fairly cheap to maintain the Ferrari sports car.

I was kept wondering what the analogy meant, but I soon realised that my friend was simply saying that while some 'poor nations' like Myanmar and Sudan could continue maintaining their MiG 29's, Malaysia on the other hand finds it convenient to dump the jet fighter aircraft on grounds that it is too old and, probably also far too expensive to maintain. Myanmar is believed to have acquired another 15 more MiG 29, reportedly this year.

I quickly searched the internet on articles relating to the MiG 29, only to find that there are no less than 20 countries in the world that deploys the aircraft. I note too that outside the former Eastern block countries, India has the largest fleet of MiG 29; a total of 81 aircrafts in all. Next is Algeria with 51 MiG 29 aircrafts that came into service in 2008.

The MiG 29 and along with the SU 27 jet fighter aircraft was developed by the Soviet Union to counter the American F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon. Development of the MiG 29 began in 1970 and the the aircraft entered service with the Soviet Air Force thirteen years later. At the point when Malaysia acquired the MiG 29, the RMAF was said to be 'masters of the air' of sorts, and with the induction of the Sukhoi soon, I do not know if the RMAF can continue to claim themselves to be the 'masters of the air'.

Going back to the analogy that my friend drew, I can now presume that the intended replacement is not one of age. Rather, I believe it has all to do with the exorbitant charges that the RMAF has to bare, to keep the aircraft flying. I see no logical reason for the cost to be high, since 'poor nations' who have similar aircrafts are able to maintain the aircrafts (some reportedly much older than ours). I sense that whichever agency that has been contracted to maintain the aircrafts has obviously kept the charges high, and the way to correct this 'anormaly' is probably to look at how the Indian Air Force maintain its fleet of MiG 29 and at what costs. I am quite sure there is a substantial disparity in costing that does not favour the RMAF and the government.

At a time when the nation is digging deep into its reserve, companies that are given long term maintenance contracts from the government seemed to be getting the best, at a time when the government is at its worse. Changing new aircrafts will certainly not be the best option at a time when the country is at its worse economically and financially. But what need to be looked at in future probably, is a maintenance costs structure that is comparable with other countries that has a similar aircraft. I have always believe that maintenance contracting companies in this country have been overtaxing the government in every single maintenance contracts.

As some friends of mine would say about winning a contact with the government; 'the higher the cost proposed, the better it is'.



Alpha Tango Six Niner said...

I wonder y previously TUDM owned AIROD has turned into a private company now....I prefer the maintenance of military assets and weapons to be performed solely by the armed forces without relying on any private long should Malaysian Armed Force continue to merely be technology user, while maintenance are given to 3rd party contractor????

Hang Jebat said...


I would certainly love to hear comments from our RMAF brothers, preferably those fighter pilots that flies MIG 29. Any takers?

I do believe that MIG 29 should stays..

Capt's Longhouse said... takes as follows-lah !!

,,,The military needs an Comprehensive Strategic Defence Review - very urgently now. It’s also time for our defence chiefs - the head of the Navy, Army and Air Force, to put the security of the nation before the interests of their own individual services and petty inter-service rivalries aside too.

The Malaysian military is still effectively equipped kind of, to fight a war against a conventional adversary - an event which is wholly unlikely to happen. Tomorrow’s threat will not come from strong nations as in the past strategy, but internally from weak or failed government and again from terrorists. Just watch the events surrounding us, as in Thailand and Philippines plus Burma...and Middle East countries.
,,,What is the use of heavy Challenger tanks, even if the Army wants them, against an enemy who lives and fights amongst a rural populace and whose "hearts and minds" we have to win?
,,,What use is the multi-billion ringgit submarine fleet against such an enemy which attacks with hijack civilian airliners as demonstrated at the world trade centre ?
,,,Why having too many different types of fighter aircrafts now so sophisticated and complicated that at the moment it can’t even fly often enough due to high specialized maintenance contract costings or lacking in spare parts probably due to lack in budget fundings - all of which may have indeed restricted its ability to fly. Such poor planning and madness plus wastage !.

,,,Previously as experienced in the fight against the CTs, our troops were being killed and injured by ambushes and booby traps because they are forced to travel by road rather than by air due to a shortage of proper transport helicopters.

,,,Ground troops will continue to face such potential hazards unless petty inter-service rivalries are killed off - hopefully this is the first step in the right direction ??.

,,,There is no suggestion that all of these conventional weapons should be scrapped but we must get the balance right !!.

I rest my case.

askarsusu said...

hang jebat sir,
since when the political master listen to the end user, and since when the end user got what they wanted. Basic economy principles demand nad supply.. and the liquidity of money... although the payment by butter trading.. i belived as long as this nation driven by political master n the civil servants is not strong enough to stand on their own... this things will remains... not like wise japan, france and even thailand.. they dont care about the changes of the political master the loyalty is to the king (jgn jadi king kong dah lah).. so that why the civil servants stand strong especially the Armed Forces.. so the summary..if the organisation is not strong they will be play by the political master especially the minister to rotten the organisation.. n the top brssses dah tentu tumpang tui dapat duit sikit... hehehehe.. minta maaf kalo pendapat saya tak betul... ampun sir..

EAGLE said...

RMAF has never even consider the operational life of an aircraft at the onset of any new asset that come into the RMAF inventory. Whims and fancies of the boss and the yes man to the political master as a good pretext for a hidden agenda and a manipulation of self interest is the basis of the life cycle cost mooted by the planners and translated into the operational life. RMAF is a real jerk!!! dare you claim "master of the air". And now it is so doubtful whether the people can trust the Air Force to defend the sovereignty of Malaysian airspace. Kapal terbang pun tak ada only ready for airshow enough to make unnecessary noise and activity like LIMA just to cover up and please the public opinion. So it is all poor planning in the RMAF. The "external influences" only play a minor part but the biggest culprit is from within, as they are clueless in the entire planning of the total assets.
Who started the demonization of MIG 29? The present chief,and the former Chief who is the present CDF are both believed to be the retired AF Chief life line!!! So it all started quite sometime despite knowing the airplanes are still in good condition!!! Why is so much hatred on the Russian jets even the Sukhoi that arrived recently was not properly plan in the acceptance of the asset in the RMAF inventory. NIce to find out but situation normal all fuck up in the RMAF right now. God bless!!!
The minister of defense seemed to be misinformed and wonder who fed him with such figure of RM 260 millions annually to maintain the fleet- ridiculous and can never be true except for him to be taken for a free ride by the people around him!!! It is worth to make an audit as to find the truth of what claimed by the minister!!!!! or otherwise the contractor maintaining the fleet must be charging such an exorbitant price but again the AF Chief sits in as the member of the Board of directors of the contracted entity.... conflict of interest!!!
Too many things to write Dato' but suffice to say that the issue brought up in your blog will hopefully wake those people up as not to simply do things as they like at the expend of national interest. We are outside here is not an idiot!!! Someone in there can enjoy your cigar and golfing all over especially in KUNMING China!!! happy new year Dato'.

SysOp said...


Gua percaya sure akan ader "mole" (agen asing) yang kerja dalam syarikat yang dapat kontrak penyenggaraan peralatan ketenteraan dalam ATM ... for sure musuh memang implant diorang punya mole ...

Ini strategi biasa mana-mana negara pun...

Jadi TUDM punya kontrak senggaraan pun pastinya tidak terkecuali..

Ada sebab la TUN M beli jet dari blok bukan Amerika dulu..... rasionalnyer ader...


cyclops said...


cyclops said...

EAGLE has said this,
RMAF has never even consider the operational life of an aircraft at the onset of any new asset that come into the RMAF inventory.

Looks like EAGLE seem to know for sure about this. Anyone who is working with the RMAF, will know that people who are used to work in three RMAF departments will have this knowledge. If EAGLE claimed as such, what is the consideration then?

cyclops said...

EAGLE also says this

<"The "external influences" only play a minor part but the biggest culprit is from within, as they are clueless in the entire planning of the total assets.">

Wow!! Are you sure of that?
There are something that is called the strategic part and the operational part for such thing. And there is also a tactical part being played by other group(s) to make it happen. The anology is like this.
When we procure something (aircraft and other hardwares)the high level personalities in the government (MINDEF masters) will tell us that kononnya transfer of technology, barter trades, economic gains and some other factors are the reasons why we buy that aircraft fm that company or fm that nation.Strategically, there are also some PAY-OFF being made. How? Ada banyak cara. Banyak negara pembeli yang membuatnya. Sebagai contoh, Syarikatx dari Perancis dan Britain selalu menjadi dalang dalam hal ini dan mereka memang hebat. They all know who and how. But the minister, KSU and the rest will not interfere with the AF directly. They normally say it's up to the AF what are the best systems to procure. Sometimes..I say sometimes it is not important what we are buying or fm where. As long as the interests of these people are met that will be good enough. Anyway, the 'paper' is made and done by the RMAF!!

cyclops said...

Then EAGLE said

"Who started the demonization of MIG 29? The present chief,and the former Chief who is the present CDF are both believed to be the retired AF Chief life line!!! So it all started quite sometime despite knowing the airplanes are still in good condition!!!"

Pse give a big hand to EAGLE. He was actually saying about the AF succession plan. The previous two AF Chiefs have made sure that the correct down-lines to be there now to lead the AF. I think you know why. Now you can see why the previous TPTU became PANGOP and KS Mk ATM became TPTU.. and why the previous PANGOP became PTU. Succession plan!! That is the same thing I heard happens in the ARMY. Now, what do I mean by the operational one? These people will be the ones who plan and procure and at times they will also say YES to the high level planners (MINDEF masters again). Whatever reports sent by the project team, by the experts (fm Op, engineering, logistics and so on)will then be changed by this people. The ones the experts said as not good, not meeting the rqmt, not airworthy and so on will be changed by these experts. Because their brains are what they have on their shoulders. Everything will then be justified.

cyclops said...

EAGLE also said

"even the Sukhoi that arrived recently was not PROPERLY PLAN in the acceptance of the asset in the RMAF inventory."

Now that is not these people's fault..simply because their brains do not function that way. They just procure those planes and after that, the problems will again be shifted back to the first experts.

EAGLE also said

"The minister of defense seemed to be misinformed and wonder who fed him with such figure of RM 260 millions annually to maintain the fleet- ridiculous and can never be true except for him to be taken for a free ride by the people around him!!!"

Hehehe..I will have to laugh for these statements.

cyclops said...

EAGLE said
<"It is worth to make an audit as to find the truth of what claimed by the minister!!!!! but again the AF Chief sits in as the member of the Board of directors of the contracted entity.... conflict of interest!!!">

I have read the previous two Audit negara reports. These things are actually reflected..but just to satisfy people. Action? Never.

EAGLE said
"We are outside here is not an idiot!!! Someone in there can enjoy your cigar and golfing all over especially in KUNMING China!!!"

Hehehe are you sure you are at the outside EAGLE. You seem to know a lot. I have read all your comments before...

Unknown said...

Sometimes, I wonder if people on this board have ever worked in the service or in the department that facilitates the purported corrupt procurement decisions. If they did, they must be a the bottom of their class simply because of the really bad English and to some extent the really disjointed outlook of the reality that is at MinDef. The real professionals know that you can't really get kickbacks that easily. The Scorpene submarine procurement wasn't a shame. There are simply too many eyes and ears to keep everything quiet the way the tabloids would have made it out to be. To do that it would have taken 50-60% of the profits to grease the machinery from the lowly clerk to the bigwigs at Putrajaya. Simply put it is an impossibility. What does happen is actually a misguided decision to procure a combat system or equipment. But I will bet you that such a decision would still follow the procurement rules of the bureaucracy. This happens at the Pentagon where a toilet seat on a C-130 can go for USD 800, well that was how the joke goes anyway.

With regards to the MIGS, well I would expect those that talk the talk here would know that the maintenance of the MIGS come under the purview of ATSC, a MOF company, contracted to do the maintenance of the MIGS and probably the SUKHOIs. Maybe just maybe that such a pricetag of RM250m could be true considering the kind of money one would have to pay for specific parts of the MIGS from Rosoboronexport which deals in hard currency and not RM.

Hang Jebat said...


Yes! The political masters rule. We, the end user is nobody! But my humble intention is to listen (or read) to what my serving friends and brothers in the RMAF has to say. Of course, at the end of the day no one (at the top) even bother to listen to them.

We've been writing, commenting, giving our views, agreed or disagreed on so many issues in blogs' postings. Do we get their attention? I seriously doubt that. So what's the difference then?

I think Eagle (certainly from the air) have said something..and I wonder...

maurice said...

With regard to the MiG29 costly maintenance annual bill, the Government is not telling the whole truth.

The Government made a mistake by privatizing ATSC to a private group called NADI (National Aerospace and Defence Industries).You will be shock to see the VIP that sits as the Chairman of ATSC.

Mindef Procurement Division has failed to protect the country's interest by allowing the Russians to setup a multi-layer system in the supply chain.For example, before ATSC could get a quote on the price of a spare part, it has to go through our own local company which holds a DPA (Direct Purchase Agreement Contract awarded by Mindef on MiG29 spares).The local company in turn has to buy the MiG29 spare from the numerous agents appointed by Roxboronexport, a trading company established by the Russian Government.To cut short the story short,the layers of mark-ups are as follows:first layer by MAPO (manufacturer of MiG29), second layer by Roxboronexport, third layer by European agents appointed by Roxboronexport, fourth layer by the local company holding the DPA license, fifth layer by ATSC and finally the RMAF paying the bill.

Not sure whether YB Zahid Hamidi is fully aware of the exploitative nature of the spare supply system when he blamed on the high cost of the MiG29 as the main reason to phase out the MiG29.

The real truth of the story is that the Sec Gen (KSU) who negotiated the MiG29 contract has failed to extract from the Russians a cost effective spares parts purchasing system from the Russian side.

It would have been different had ATSC remain in RMAF hands and the spare parts supply system direct between Mindef and MAPO.

EAGLE said...

The maintenance cost quoted by minister Zahid need verification. Dono, whether he is so naive swallowing outright the figure fed to him by the, "to whom it may concern!!!
Real jerk this guy!!!
Maurice!!! you are right!!!
The question is????!!!
Who are the members of the Board of Directors of ATSC??/// Do they sits in there just to drink coffee and collect whatever bonus given to them and finish of the meeting and continue with golf, cigar and wine!!!
By virtue of their rank and position, they represented the organization and must protect the interest of the organization without fear or favor.
The entity that was honored to lead the industry is not meeting the KPIs, Transfer of Technology is zilch!!!
Who will be the scapegoat!!!
Captain of industry??? how!!! he was only a retired army captain, many ex generals be it army, air force and navy serving under him now, so how guys!!!
The representatives of the organization that only drink coffee and pretend to be very concerned!!! biasa lah bodoh sombong!!!Check the trips they made to Kunming China.
The test pilots who are scared to fly the machine!!!!
Who? who and who?
Blame the airplane also cannot as it is still ok!!! so look for the unknown and something like a magic figure of 260 million.
Anyway!!! what happen to Sukhoi, is the jet ready for operational role or just waiting time following MIG29. Hantam sahaja lak Pak belalang!!! RMAF coup de grace!!! Minister don't zzzzzzzzz.. all in the package that is why so expensive!!!

maurice said...

Dear Eagle,

No need to ask YB Defence Minister how the MIG29 maintenance become so high.

I have shown you the five-layer mark-ups supply system.Let's say each layer mark 30% up for their profit, when it finally reaches the RMAF, it becomes 150% more expensive than the manufacturer's price (MAPO).If the original cost was USD1,000, then it becomes USD2,500 when it reaches the RMAF.

So from the figure of RM260 million, about RM160 million annualy is given away to the clever Russians! Mind you this has been going on for the last 10 years.Tak habis-habis kena tipu dengan Mat Saleh due to incompetent civil servants and corruption.

taming said...

Why MIG-29 is going to be phased out is because the agenda "to acquire a new combat aircraft" is in hand and some "excuses" must be generated so that the Parliament and the Rakyats would say "yes sir, yes sir....."

I share EAGLE's views because I know he was part of the RMAF systems before retirement and I am sure he has many more to share, especially those ugly and corrupt practices among top ATM and RMAF leadership as far as dealing with favourite defence contractors.

The super high MIG-29 maintenance cost is because the Russians and ATSC are almost putting the country and RMAF at ransom! ATSC which was specially established to handle MIG-29 maintenance, with Mindef KSU, PAT, PTU and Treasury Rep on the Board, has FAILED very miserabally! The directors are receiving lucrative perks,(golfing in Phuket and Kunming China, etc) and handsome allowances and bonuses, so much so ALL are rendered futile and non-effective.

Maj Gen Dato Malek Shahar and Brig Gen Dato'Richard Robless are two former CEOs of ATSC who can stand testimony to the real reasons behind the exhorbitant costs the Russians and ATSC are charging the RMAF!
MACC would like to open files??

I suggest the country hold a public inquiry to establish the truth.

Taking the cue from EAGLE's comments on top military seniors taking over chairmanship of crony companies after their retirement, this is most unethical and the government MUST put a stop to
this because such practice breeds corruptions. There is no big surprise at all these senior chiefs were directly involved in facilitating favours for these companies while serving so as the perks would be enjoyed by them on retirement! No wonder I see many of these retired chiefs are having great time with defence contractor companies.

Most of us know who they are and may Dato' Arshad and EAGLE can share all the names of retired generals and admirals so that PM Najib and Minister Zahid Hamidi can put a stop to similar nonsense from happening in future.

MIG-29 is still a good fighter plane, viable and worthy to be retained if only a proper and complete study is made.



taming said...


I thought I saw you at LIMA recently.

I have been informed that Ministers, Deputy Defence Minister, KSU and Mindef Seniors, PAT, PTU and RMAF generals, their wives plus ex-RMAF Chiefs were given special hospitality and "thank you" treat by a defence contractor company for their support.

I suppose you had similar treat of five star lodging, free Sari Ratu meals air flown from Kuala Lumpur and endless perks during the LIMA from the same contractor when you were with the RMAF. What do we call this?

No wonder the RMAF aircraft combat ready state can never meet the target!

Something to ponder.


EAGLE said...

Cyclops and Taming!!!!!
What a real fun to be in LIMA for all paid for trip!!!
As I told you!!! expensive cigar, play golf and good dinner at night!!!
What a privilege to be a general in the Malaysian Armed Forces!!! Especially when you are the Chief of service or the CDF lagi best!!!
Walk around look important, why bother and crack your head meeting the aircraft combat ready state... you can still get promoted!!! why not!!! Just give all kind of excuses or transfer the blame!!!
Just be a good pretender but might as well call it hypocrites!!!! period....!!!!! chow!!! chop su-ey.

The Lady of The Sea said...

hahaha i bet it will be "france" next huhuhu
remember submarine..more to come

beb1961 said...

dedah bro jangan tak dedah... bermacam hanky panky yang orang awam dah dengar pasal top brass kat MINDEF... anggota LLP yang jadi balaci hanya ternganga sahaja bila baca komen kat blog macam ni.

Delta Mike said...

It is already Happy new Year to you all. Although I am no longer in the RMAF or ATSC, but it hurts me when unscrupulous comments were posted relating to "RMAF AIRCRAFT CHANGE". Many commentators became instant gurus claiming as experts in the MiG-29 aircraft. Even my name was implicated when the maintenance of the MiG-29 was purported to be exhorbitantly high. Let me record here that during my 5 and 1/2 years at ATSC, the total turn-over NEVER went beyond, Eagle and Tamingsari were correct when they both doubted the figure RM260m!!! On the other hand the Minister could be right because he had already included the nett life cycle cost for 15years over the purchased price of RM2.1billion which gave a figure of RM140m a year. The figures totalled RM260m lah...
I was the RMAF Asst Chief for Plans and YBhg Gen Tan Sri Nik (Rtd)was my project officer when we inducted the MiG-29 fleet into the RMAF inventory. We went from the known to the unknown when being confronted with a first time procurement exercise from a country behind the Iron Curtain. We did our best and the formation of ATSC was considered state-of-the-art decision considering the Russian bureaucracy and the non-enterprising attitude of their socialist mind-set. ATSC was never under the RMAF but held 70% equity by Minister of Finance (MOF) incroporated and 30% by the Russians. When ATSC was given to NADI, PJSI bought over the MOF 70% share while MOF maintained the Golden Share to ensure ATSC continues to perform as a strategic asset. The admin philosophy was commendable but the implementation may swayed a bit...just A BIT lah!!!
Nonetheless, ATSC performed credibly as a viable Technical Support Center for the MiG fleet. Outsiders should know that the RMAF went through difficult period during the 1998 economic slow down when the MiG-29 spares supports really down. The insufficient operational budget affected the fleet servicebility to less than 20%. It took another 3 years before the serviceability recovered to almost 70% but at an exorbitant costs to procure the delayed maintenance packages. Hope you all understand that maintaining aircraft is not as simple as A,B and C...maintenance needs planning and when the Russian bureaucracy does not subcribe to planning without the accompanying budget, you are left stranded. So, watch out for the maintenance of the is not going to be any easier or cheaper, at least don't let banana fruiting twice...
That's all for the time being folks. Last but not least, I opined that the MiG-29 should continue to serve the RMAF for another 10-15 years...High maintenance? Very subjective...we could look for alternative sourcing like India or even long as Rosoboronexport do not interfere with their claimed warranty. Salam.