Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Hornets, Fulcrums and Hawkeyes

And now, another edition of my own comments on peoples’ comments elsewhere.

This time it is about Tun Dr Mahathir’s allegations that somebody bought another plane (the Boeing F/A-18D Hornet) instead of more Mikoyan MiG-29Ns. Rather than commenting on that allegation, and the problem with the ‘source code’, this entry will examine two entries in the comments section of Jeff Ooi’s blog.

The first one
"There are 2 versions of F-18s. One is the F/A -18 and what we have is the F-18.
The F/A-18's are dual role capable.. With the F-18, it is only for air defence role. We bought the same version as the Swiss."

Alpha says : There is actually NO two versions of the F/A-18 Hornet except single- and twin-seater. The Swiss (and also Finnish) Hornets are the exception as their planes lacked certain avionics, targeting and weapons control features to effectively engage surface targets. The reason is actually semantics – the letter ‘A’ in the aircraft designation signifying ‘attack’. The rationale is that both countries are neutrals. In the case of Finland, they don’t have armed forces, they have Defence Forces signifying that Finland’s armed forces is geared for defence, never for offence. The similar rationale is also used by the Swiss. So, in order to realize this policy, the attack systems were taken off from their airframes.

Now, TUDM’s Hornets are multi-role aircraft with night attack capability to boot. While aircraft M45-01 to M45-04 are twin-stickers (any one crew member can fly the plane – it can also be used as operational/conversion trainer) with no diminished mission capability, aircraft M45-05 to M45-08 are fully mission-capable aircraft. If TUDM’s Hornets have only the air combat capability, what is the use of the included AN/AAS-38 Nite Hawk nav/targeting pod, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missile, GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs, CVR-7 unguided rockets, AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile and dumb bombs?

The second opinion
"Frankly speaking if our pilots were to go to air battle I am not sure they can operate the MIG well because can one trust the reliability or well-maintenance of the MIG. In the past we hear our pilots were dying more from crashes before going into any air battles. Can we blame the pilot or the quality of maintenance???Not only the fighter planes but last time we hear of the tanks were not functioning well.The big question can we defend ourselves in time of war? I have my doubts. We probably find a lot of breakdowns.But then the question is what happen to all the budget spending on the defense???"

Alpha says: Sir, if you doubt that the MiGs cannot go into battle because of faulty maintenance, you might as well doubt their ability to fly at all! While a number of our fine soldiers were killed in air crashes, it is not unique; so are their compatriots in other air forces. Try read international journals on aviation especially on military.

About the tanks, I presume you read about the Adnans with faulty brake pads? Well, you should check the later news…the Adnans suffer from lack of TRACK PADS (our local reporter at it again when reporting military affairs) The track pads is placed on the tracks so that the vehicle can run more quietly and further extend the life of the track, not to mention road surfaces. Lack of track pads will only anger JKR and Samy Vellu as the unpadded tracks can tear up the road. It won’t affect the operability of the vehicles.

The third opinion
"Mahathir does not know the power of the Singapore army.
Every fighter planes in Malaysia is being tracked the moment it take off from the radar in the sky.

Once it crosses the border, it would be shot down by Singapore air defence system and expect massive attacks from its fighter planes base in US, France, Australia and Taiwan."

Alpha says: Yeah, the RSAF is all-conquering and all-powerful…sure, it has more planes than TUDM. Sure, their E-2Cs can detect aircraft taking off….and so are we! Place a powerful radar somewhere on a hill at south Johore, probably on top of Gunung Pulai, and we also can see their aircraft taking off (although perhaps at a higher altitude as compared to the AEW platform). What’s more, ALL the airbases in Singapore can come under artillery and rocket fire from Johor, denying their use. Massive attacks? They need to deploy first, and it is not comfortable sitting in a tight enclosure for hours and then having to run the gauntlet of AA fire. Even the US is quite hard-pressed to deploy its fighter assets effectively in a short space of time. This is NOT Command and Conquer! And I'd like to remind that I'm not advocating a war between our country and Singapore.

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