‘MALAYSIA UN­DE­CIDED ON RAFALE’

But, we will take note of multi-role fighter’s suc­cess in other coun­tries, says PM

New Straits Times - - News -

HASHINI KAVISHTRI KANNAN PU­TRA­JAYA news@nst.com.my

MALAYSIA is not yet ready to make any de­ci­sion on whether or not to ac­quire the French-made Das­sault Rafale multi-role fighter air­craft.

Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak said the mat­ter was raised dur­ing his meet­ing with French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande and his del­e­ga­tion yes­ter­day.

“Part of the dis­cus­sion to­day (yes­ter­day) re­volved around the pos­si­bil­ity of ac­quir­ing French de­fence equip­ment, in­clud­ing the Rafale. Although Malaysia is not ready yet, Malaysia will take note of the air­craft’s suc­cess in sev­eral coun­tries.

“We will also take note of the pos­si­bil­ity of that par­tic­u­lar air­craft chief Gen­eral Tan Sri Raja Mo­hamed Af­fandi Raja Mo­hamed Noor and RMAF chief Gen­eral Datuk Seri Af­fendi Buang.

Armee de l’air (French Air Force) pi­lot Cap­tain Jean-Guil­laume Martinez, call­sign “Marty”, flew the state-of-the-art Rafale in the 10-minute rou­tine, show­cas­ing the type’s im­pres­sive rate of climb and ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity in a se­ries of tight, high-G, min­i­mum-ra­dius turns.

At sev­eral points dur­ing the high-G rou­tine, vapour, or “vapes”, formed on the Rafale’s wings as mois­ture was squeezed be­ing the sub­ject of co­op­er­a­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion with th­ese coun­tries,” he said in a joint press con­fer­ence with Hol­lande.

The Rafale is one of sev­eral air­craft still in the run­ning for the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s multi-role com­bat air­craft re­place­ment pro­gramme to re­place the out of the air. Martinez was the solo dis­play pi­lot for the Rafale at the re­cently-con­cluded Langkawi In­ter­na­tional Maritime and Aero­space (Lima) 2017 exhibition.

He said de­spite the chal­leng­ing weather, the dis­play went off with­out a hitch.

“Vis­i­bil­ity was only about 4km to 5km be­cause of bad weather, but I tried my best to give a good show. At Lima last week, I did bet­ter,” he said with a laugh.

Martinez has logged more than 1,400 hours on the Rafale and has two decades of ex­pe­ri­ence fly­ing with the French Air Force. air force’s age­ing fleet of MiG29N Ful­crum air­craft.

In re­sponse to Na­jib, Hol­lande said France would pro­vide the nec­es­sary sup­port to Malaysia should the coun­try de­cide to pro­cure the Rafale.

“I know you will be mak­ing a de­ci­sion and against that back­ground,

“This is my se­cond year as a dis­play pi­lot for the Rafale, but (this is) my first time here for my pres­i­dent’s visit and Lima.

“But, I might come back for Lima as the coach for the next dis­play pi­lot.”

The two-seat, twin-en­gine air su­pe­ri­or­ity fighter was de­signed and built by Das­sault Avi­a­tion and is also op­er­ated by Aeron­avale, the French Navy’s air arm, re­plac­ing two types pre­vi­ously flown by the French Navy — the Vought F-8 Cru­sader fighter and Das­sault Eten­dard strike air­craft. we want to pro­vide all the nec­es­sary sup­port.

“Our min­is­ters are al­ready work­ing to that ef­fect... All I would like to say is that Rafale is the best jet in its cat­e­gory. We, then, of course, need to dis­cuss the price and the spec­i­fi­ca­tions,” he said.

For­eign op­er­a­tors in­clude the air forces of In­dia, Egypt and Qatar. It is also avail­able as a sin­gle-seater.

The multi-role fighter can haul a wide range of weapons com­pris­ing a mixed load­out of both air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons.

With the mixed load­out, it can per­form both roles on a sin­gle sor­tie. Das­sault de­scribes this ca­pa­bil­ity as “om­ni­role”.

Air­bus had, on March 22, of­fi­cially de­liv­ered the fourth and fi­nal A400M air­craft on the side­lines of the Lima exhibition.

BER­NAMA PIC

The French-made Rafale multi-role com­bat air­craft dur­ing an aerial dis­play in con­junc­tion with the state visit of French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande at the Royal Malaysian Air Force base

in Subang yes­ter­day.

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