30 April 2009

Malaysia Buys Air Defense Systems from Europe and Russia

15 April 2002

MBDA's Jernas short range air defense system (photo : Militaryphotos)

Malaysia signed nearly $400 million worth of contracts with European and Russian firms Wednesday to buy air defense missile systems to boost its army.

Defense Ministry Secretary General Hashim Meon signed a $315.48 million deal with British-based MBDA on the purchase of an unspecified number of the Jernas enhanced short-range air defense system.

MBDA is a consortium of Matra BAe Dynamics in Britain, Aerospatiale Matra Missiles in France and Alenia Marconi Systems in Italy. The three companies merged last December into a single entity.

Igla-short range air defense sytem (photo : Militaryphotos)

Hashim later signed another deal worth $48 million with Russia's Rosoboronexport to purchase its IGLA short-range air defense system.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by British Minister for Defense Procurement Lord Bach and Malaysian Defense Minister Najib Abdul Razak. It was conducted on the sidelines of the biennial Defense Services Asia exhibition and conference, billed Asia's biggest defense show.

''This program benefits both nations and the U.K. is committed to a long-term partnership with Malaysia,'' Bach said.

''In particular, we will be sharing our experience and operational knowledge throughout the service life of the Jernas system,'' he said. ''This will include opportunities for Malaysian service personnel to undergo training in the U.K. with the British Armed Forces.''

The air defense system Malaysia bought includes the Jernas missile launchers, surveillance radar, tracking radar, missiles and a comprehensive training and support package.

The procurement also involves technology transfer programs, which may see the design and manufacture of a key Jernas sub-system in Malaysia.

Najib said the purchase will enable the armed forces to implement ''a more credible and capable defense.''

''In modern warfare, the use of air power posed the biggest threat,'' he said. ''If there is an attack, (the air defense system) will be the first defense.''

Malaysia has been embarking on a shopping spree now that its economy has recovered from the 1997 financial crisis. The ensuing recession derailed the country's aim of modernizing its military.

On Tuesday, the government concluded some $80 million worth of contracts to buy mobile military bridges and rifles. Other items on the shopping list include fighter jets, tanks and submarines.

Last month Malaysia announced it would purchase about 70 PT-91 tanks from Poland, estimated to cost a total of around $300 million.

Malaysia is also looking into acquiring either the Russian Sukhoi SU-30 fighter jet or the U.S. Super Hornet F-18 produced by Boeing to beef up its existing fleet of MiG-29s and basic F-18s.

It is also in talks with France's state-owned naval shipbuilding company DCN International to acquire submarine capabilities.

Industry sources said the two parties signed a letter of agreement last month and are finalizing the details.

Najib declined to confirm the matter.

DCN Executive Vice President Henri de Bronac said only that the talks are progressing toward a final point.

Malaysia's latest round of aggressive buying has renewed speculation that it is trying to match its neighbor Singapore's military prowess.

Najib dismissed the notion.

''We are not competing. We are doing it our way. It's part of our modernization program,'' he said.

Malaysia's submarine ambitions involve plans to buy the old French Agosta 70 submarine, which would be overhauled and used for training purposes. Later, the country would buy two new Scorpene-class submarines.

The deal is estimated to be worth about $1.05 billion. According to British-based Jane's Defense Weekly, the deal has been on hold pending an agreement on landing slots for Malaysia's national air carrier, Malaysia Airlines System (MAS), in Paris.

''I know there is some discussion on that but we are not handling that part,'' Bronac said.

MAS is apparently looking at increasing its flights to Paris from three to five a week.

Sumber : KyodoNews

1 komentar:

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    BalasHapus