New Straits Times - - Letters - LES­LIE AN­DRES lesliea@nst.com.my

HAV­ING worked with the Malaysian armed forces and sup­ported the de­vel­op­ment of the lo­cal de­fence in­dus­try for decades, BAE Sys­tems is hop­ing to take things fur­ther.

For the past 50 years, BAE Sys­tems and its sub­sidiary com­pa­nies have been sup­ply­ing all three of the armed forces’ ser­vices with equip­ment, while sup­port­ing the de­fence in­dus­try for 20 of those years.

The re­la­tion­ship con­tin­ues till to­day, and the com­pany would like to see it grow even fur­ther by pro­vid­ing the Royal Malaysian Air Force the much-vaunted Eurofighter Ty­phoon air­craft.

The Ty­phoon is one of two air­craft said to be in the short­list for the RMAF’s multi-role com­bat air­craft (MRCA) re­place­ment pro­gramme, and BAE Sys­tems, which builds the air­craft in con­sor­tium with two Euro­pean com­pa­nies, be­lieves it is the per­fect fit for Malaysian needs.

“BAE Sys­tems has worked with the Malaysian armed forces for over 50 years and sup­ported the de­vel­op­ment of the Malaysian de­fence in­dus­try for more than 20 years, gain­ing a unique un­der­stand­ing of Malaysia’s re­quire­ments and as­pi­ra­tions. BAE Sys­tems can as­sure Malaysia that a pro­cure­ment of Ty­phoon will de­liver ben­e­fits well be­yond the de­fence ca­pa­bil­ity that the air­craft brings to the RMAF,” BAE Sys­tems re­gional sales di­rec­tor Steve Os­borne told the

Much like the deal for the sup­ply of Hawk ad­vanced jet train­ers year ago, the pro­cure­ment of the Ty­phoon would come with var­i­ous off­set ini­tia­tives that will de­liver over 21,500 Malaysian jobs.

Os­borne said it was ex­pected that the econ­omy would ben­e­fit to the tune of RM54 bil­lion over the op­er­a­tional life of the air­craft.

He said the MRCA pro­gramme re­quired an air­craft that can ad­dress the ever-chang­ing threats in the re­gion and the Ty­phoon would de­liver on this by hav­ing a clear strat­egy which up­grades the air­craft ca­pa­bil­ity in reg­u­lar phases to main­tain com­bat ad­van­tages.

“With 599 air­craft on or­der with eight na­tions, more than dou­ble that of our com­peti­tor, Ty­phoon’s ca­pa­bil­ity is the prod­uct of a global un­der­stand­ing of the op­er­a­tional en­vi­ron­ment. RMAF can have con­fi­dence that Ty­phoon will ar­rive ready to fight, have the high­est in­ter­op­er­abil­ity with its (Five Power De­fence Ar­range­ment) and other in­ter­na­tional part­ners, and re­main at the peak of ca­pa­bil­ity through­out its life.”

MRCA need to be avail­able for op­er­a­tions round-the-clock and must de­liver this with the best use of op­er­a­tional ex­pen­di­ture, and BAE Sys­tems guar­an­tees that the Ty­phoon is just such an air­craft.

“The Ty­phoon is proven to con­sis­tently de­liver the high­est lev­els of avail­abil­ity in all op­er­a­tional en­vi­ron­ments, sig­nif­i­cantly higher than sim­i­lar air­craft in its class. (It) was de­signed at the out­set for main­tain­abil­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity across all of its sys­tems.

“From the ul­tra-re­li­able EJ200 en­gine with a (mean time be­tween fail­ures) be­yond 1,200 hours to the com­bat-proven weapons sys­tems and Hel­met Mounted Sight­ing Sys­tem and sen­sor fu­sion, Ty­phoon will pro­vide RMAF with the high­est level of readi­ness.”

An­other ad­van­tage, the com­pany said, would come in terms of the FPDA.

Since the 1970s, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore, the United King­dom, Aus­tralia and New Zealand have had an un­der­stand­ing un­der the FPDA to work to­gether in times of con­flict.

To this end, the five na­tions take part in a se­ries of an­nual ex­er­cises where in­ter­op­er­abil­ity de­vel­op­ment across the air do­main is a goal.

“Shortly, the UK and Aus­tralia will in­tro­duce the F-35 Light­ning II into op­er­a­tion and it is pos­si­ble that Sin­ga­pore may look at the F-35 in the fu­ture. With Malaysia and Aus­tralia op­er­at­ing vari­ants of the F/A-18, and Sin­ga­pore op­er­at­ing the F-15SE and F-16, Ty­phoon of­fers a clear ad­van­tage for Malaysia in re­gards to cur­rent and fu­ture com­bat in­ter­op­er­abil­ity with these plat­forms.

“Fur­ther, with the UK de­vel­op­ing their doc­trine for Ty­phoon and F-35 in­ter­op­er­abil­ity, FPDA will pro­vide the means for valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence shar­ing for op­er­at­ing with this fifth-gen­er­a­tion fighter. Ty­phoon will pro­vide RMAF with the best plat­form to con­tinue to play a lead role in FPDA for the fu­ture,” said Os­borne.

BAE Sys­tems, in as­so­ci­a­tion with its train­ing part­ners, also in­tends to pro­vide Malaysia with “en­dur­ing, world-class skills and knowl­edge in aero­space tech­ni­cal train­ing”.

BAE Sys­tems South­east Asia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor John Bros­nan said do­ing so would al­low Malaysia the op­por­tu­nity to sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease its share of the re­gional civil Main­te­nance, Re­pair and Over­haul (MRO) mar­ket.

This, he said, would go some way to­wards the gov­ern­ment’s tar­get of gain­ing five per cent of the global MRO mar­ket.

“Such a de­vel­op­ment could also pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for cur­rent and past mem­bers of the RMAF to align their tech­ni­cal skills and ex­pe­ri­ence with the civil mar­ket, re­sult­ing in ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient air­craft op­er­a­tions,” he said.

The early ba­sic foun­da­tion train­ing and ele­men­tary qual­i­fi­ca­tions for aero­space main­te­nance op­er­a­tions are largely the same as those for aero­space man­u­fac­tur­ing.

BAE Sys­tems, said Bros­nan, pro­poses to pro­vide Malaysia with the ca­pa­bil­ity to train stu­dents in a way that will ben­e­fit the aero­space MRO and man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors by provito ding op­tions fol­low ca­reers in ei­ther sec­tor at an early stage.

“BAE Sys­tems recog­nises that first-class train­ing is the es­sen­tial foun­da­tion for a well-de­vel­oped safety cul­ture, con­tribut­ing to prod­uct re­lia­op­er­a­tional bil­ity, avail­abil­ity as well as re­duc­ing ac­ci­dents due to main­teer­ror. nance While BAE Sys­tems has trained a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of per­o­ver­seas son­nel from air forces, it also trains its own work­force to sup­port fifth-gen­er­a­tion prod­ucts, such as the F35, and the Royal Air Force in the main­te­nance of its Ty­phoon fleet at its Con­ingsby and Lossiemouth main op­er­at­ing bases.”

The com­pany re­cently in­vested in a new Main­te­nance Train­ing Academy and an Ad­vanced Skills and Knowl­edge Academy in the UK to serve these traire­quire­ments, ning said Bros­nan.

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