Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Okay, I may be quite late in publishing this post but I can't help getting amused by the hoo-haah caused by the deployment additional troops to face the situation in Lahad datu, Sabah. The Ministry of Defence decided to transport our troops from Peninsular bases to the current hot spot using Airbus A320s of Air Asia, instead of the regular military transport planes.Appararently, this caused the better-informed among Malaysians to understand the reasons, whilst the less-informed wondered what went wrong with TUDM's C-130 force, whilst the
idiots badly informed merely said that that was just another method of wasting taxpayers' money and another example of government wastage.
According to media reports, at least 700 troops were sent to Sabah. The C-130 can only carry 92 passengers whilst an Airbus A320 can carry some 180 with their kit and other equipment stowed in the cargo bay and at higher speeds (828km/h to Hercules' 540km/h). So it can be said that it was more efficient to use the civil aircraft. Furthermore, the C-130 is designed as a tactical airlifter, with less consideration toward creature comforts. With the (then) situation getting more critical, it is imperative that the troops be sent to area quickly and in the required number. Besides, it was quite norm, even for the vaunted US armed forces, which use chartered civilian airliners for large scale overseas deployment despite numbers of C-130s, C-17s and US's largest airlifter, the C-5 Galaxy - from Vietnam to Iraq. Furthermore, the C-130 were needed to transport other military equipment/
The badly-informed however use photos of US troops disembarking from a C-17 Globemaster III and Chinese troops getting into a Shaanxi Y-8 to show how bad is our military but, I can say that the photo of the US troops were probably somewhere in Iraq or Afghanistan or as the US slang said - 'in-country deployment' - where tactical airlifter is needed. The Chinese photo quite clearly shows that the troops are actually PARATROOPERS - of course they need to board a Y-8!
Apparently people make fun of the notion that our troops were using Air Asia is because of the latter's status as a low-cost airliner - I wonder if people make fun out of the military's usage of Malaysia Airlines' planes?