4 Januari 2010F/A-18D (photo : Defencetalk)
PETALING JAYA: Claims that the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) F/A-18D Hornets are not combat-ready as they are not equipped with source codes are erroneous.
Defence analyst Dzirhan Mahadzir told The Malay Mail yesterday that not having the source codes does not mean that the aircraft pilot would not be able to engage the weapons.
Dzirhan was commenting on former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's posting on his blog in which he stated that RMAF's Hornets were only good for air display as they were not given the source codes.
"It is ridiculous to believe that our pilots would fly a plane that could not be used in combat. Besides, we have carried out many exercises locally and also overseas. Our Hornets did not have problems engaging the opposing fighters in mock combat exercises."
Source codes, Dzirhan said, are software codes which modify the systems of the aircraft to work with non-standard systems.
"Most aircraft manufacturers and countries do not give out the source codes, but they might be willing in certain cases to modify them to enable the aircraft to accept non-standard systems.
"It simply means we can re-programme or modify the system, which in most cases, are kept standard, including the Russian ones.
"In any event, even if we did have the codes, do we have the expertise to do anything with it?"Dzirhan pointed out an example that since it was the Russians who conducted integration work on the RMAF Sukhoi Su-30MKM multi-role combat aircraft, this seemed to suggest that we did not get the software codes for the planes or even if we did, we don't have the expertise to do anything with it.
"As a general rule, the United States do not release its source codes to export customers and this is a known fact.
"Obviously, if we did not know this until the last minute, then somebody is not doing their homework before the purchase of the Hornets.
"Even so, why did we not back out of the deal if there were such an issue? In any event, the US does provide 'object codes' which allows the buyer to do limited re-programming on their systems to counter new or unexpected threats."