Malaysia Buying European on Air, Anti-Air, and Naval Fronts
Malaysia’s Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) 2005 in the city of Langkaw has produced a flurry of announcements and cooperation agreements with European firms. The country is spending EUR 20 million ($23.2 million at current exchange) on two EADS’ TRML-3D air defense radars, with delivery slated for the beginning of 2008. The contract also includes options for eight more systems, to be decided next year. The TRML 3Ds will serve as long range air defense radars, and will complement Malaysia’s order for MBDA’s short range, air-mobile Jernas (Rapier FSC) anti-air systems, which are slated to begin delivery later this year.
Meanwhile, DID’s earlier report re: a potential EADS Airbus A400M buy instead of their planned C-130 upgrade program has come to pass; EADS hails the offset-laden agreement as a vindication of their strong Asia-Pacific market push. In a similar vein, Thales’ sharp uptick in local business led it to open its first Malaysian Naval Service Centre in Lumut, near Malaysia’s main naval base on the west coast. The move is likely to prefigure a similar approach in other countries. Details below…
EADS: Long Range Air Defense Scan
EADS Defence and Communications Systems’ TRML-3D is a self contained, mobile, 3D phased array radar that can detect small, fast and low-flying aircraft, missiles and hovering helicopters. It includes an integrated secondary radar system and operator workstations contained in one deployable 3-axle or 4-axle cross-country truck. It is fully interoperable with other surveillance radars and operation centers, while remaining mobile and autonomous with fast camp and decampment. They are also in service with Germany, Lithuania, and The Netherlands.
The range of the radar extends up 200 km with an antennae scan time of just 2-15 seconds, depending on the mode. It can be deployed as a stand-alone radar or can be integrated into air defence networks in coordination with other radars and command control systems, taking no more than 10 minutes to become fully operational. The radars are to be supplied by EADS’ Sensors, Avionics and Electronic Warfare House, Defence Electronics. Corporate release.
MBDA: Short Range Air Defense Engagement
Meanwhile, MBDA UK’s three component Jernas air defence system is expected to be operational by early next year. JERNAS is the export name for the Rapier FSC (Field Standard C) air defense system. It’s based on the Rapier Mk 2 missile and launcher, Blindfire tracking radar, and Dagger surveillance radar. A Bernama news report noted that the system can detect an object 30 km away and destroy it 8 km away.
Various versions of the Rapier missile system are in service with ten countries. Rapier Mk2 owners include the UK, Oman, Singapore, Switzerland and Turkey; Australia is also an upgrade customer. Malaysia signed a MYR 1.2 billion ($315 million) contract with MBDA in April 2002 to procure the Jernas system, including missile launchers, radars, missiles, training and support. MBDA will supply the Rapier components, while Alenia Marconi Systems will supply the Blindfire tracking and weapon control radars and Dagger surveillance radars.
Thales New Malaysian Naval Center Open for Business
Thales’ new naval center, meanwhile, gives the Royal Malaysian Navy direct access to diagnostic, repair and technical support services, but also training and maintenance advice. The center will hold locally-based specialists, and also and a single point of contact for the entire Thales Group.
Thales is not new to Malaysia as it already has a presence here since 1980. Its business in Malaysia recently took a sharp jump, however, from EUR 15 million in 2000 to EUR 388 million in 2004.
Thales has already supplied sonar to the Malaysian navy, equipped its Jebat Class frigates and Kasturi Class corvettes equipped with Thales radars and fire control equipment, and is involved involved in the navy’s submarine project through its 50% share in Armaris. The firm also received a recent contract to modernize the Royal Malaysian Navy’s two Lerici Class minehunters.
Thales further notes that: “In line with the Group’s multidomestic strategy, Thales plans to open similar Centres in other countries in the near future.”
Nor were these the only European contracts.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak also witnessed the signing of several more contracts for the supply and delivery of military equipment between Malaysia and the respective suppliers, among others Selex Sistemi Integrati, Sapura Thales Electronics and Sapura Defense Sdn Bhd. He also witnessed the delivery of an Agusta A109 Light Observation Helicopter by AgustaWestland for the army at the MIEC ground.