Thursday, December 9, 2010

So Can We Imagine

The forumers in my military forum was discussing how the RMN could realise a fixed wing component for their air service. It was proposed that a maritime patrol squadron and/or a maritime strike squadron should be established and whether an aircraft carrier should even be included in the equation. This is supposed the relieve the air force so that they can concentrate on air superiority as their main business. The arguments now basically agree that the most required is the MPA squadron as it can also be used as an anti-surface and anti-submarine platform, while an aircraft carrier is totally unnecessary as we have enough land mass to perform as a stone carrier. Meanwhile the maritime strike squadron is thought of as a nice too have, but unnecessary based on current conditions. Well the matter is still being argued, so if you want to participate in the discussions, join the forum.

WhatI want to write on is to imagine that approval was given for the navy to have their maritime strike squadron so that they can prioritise on fleet protection based on their needs in the event the air force is busy elsewhere. As such let's consider how this can be done. What I propose is to emulate how the navy's rotary air wing was established, whereby they bought the HAS Mk1 Wasp before graduating to the modern helicopters. And what fixed wing maritime strike aircraft would fill this role I wondered before remembering that Malaysia unfortunately has about 44 A-4 cocoons bundled away in the Arizona desert. Remember that money would be tight and this have to be started in the smallest scale as possible. The ones mothballed locally I expect to be in a very bad condition already, if they have not become gate guards or engineering projects in our local universities. The ones in reserve locally if still being kept in the condition in the photo below would definitely be a no no, but if we can refurbish eight units to fighting condition from the Arizona boneyard would still leave plenty for spare parts. Mind you that these units should be for maritime strikes only, or hit and run missions with no combat flying if possible, so the airframe should still be able to handle the stress.

Having said that, the Skyhawks should be fully armed for its specialised role, and I was made to understand that the AGM-65 F/J model fits the bill for an anti-surface mission that can be launched from 28 kilometres away. Therefore these naval skyhawks would not need to fly in close and fast like the Argies during the Falklands War, and can be a worthwhile deterrent to any approaching enemy fleet. Now where shall the deterrent be based then? I would say an East Malaysian air base should be selected, as West Malaysia can be handled by the Air Force Hornets in Penang. Can Labuan Island be our stone carrier in this case, as the areas it can cover would be a potential hotspot that currently has no such organic support. And with a squadron of only eight Skyhawks to be based, not much resources would need be expanded to permanently station the aircraft while breathing life again to KD Labuan.

In case you are wondering why only eight Skyhawks should be made operational, well you have to consider that there will be also be only eight Hornets available to be transferred to the navy from the airforce, while the LIFT aircraft squaderon would be equipped with the Air Force's Hawk 208. I would expect that the Navy would take this procurement option of taking hand me down aircrafts to make the operation economical unless they can get a big bump in the available defence budget so that they can acquire new platforms. In fact I would say that the only way such a maritime strike squadron is to be operated by the navy is to make it a small scale operation, with a focused mission. Maybe only then would what I imagine may even have the smallest hint of becoming a reality, and at least as important to me also is to see our Skyhawks flying off into the sunset, and not be laid bare in the desert still. In the meantime, excuse me if I am dreaming rather than imagining.


asrar said...

lest our fellow readers forget , during the Falklands war the Argentine skyhawks did managed to hit a number of the royal tasks force vessel.
They used general purpose dumb 500/1000lb bombs, the only problem was that the bombs did not go off.
The royal navy ships that was hit managed to survive and fight on.\

If all the bombs had worked as the were suppose to , skyhawk will be know as the most deadly modern day anti- shipping aircraft today.

The Royal Navy found out why the bomb didn't go off and kept that information for many years as military secret.

As for the reason why bombs didn't go off, i leave that for the readers to search and find out
why ?.(p.s. I know why .The answer will surprise a lot of you, )

Happy hunting

tin said...

IMHO, the PTM is no longer economical to be revived as RMN attack assets. In terms of capabilities, the PTM also not as versatile as one might imagine.
If RMN really wanted to establish a long maritime strike squadron, they should consider the A-6 Intruder. These aircraft has longer legs and much more versatile compared to PTMs. It also can carry a wide range of weapons from dumb bombs, precision guided munition, missiles to mines. Best of all, the A-6 hardly look sinister and are often regarded not dangerous compared to other attack aircraft. There are quite a number of rewinged A-6E in AMARC.

As for the reason why argies dumb bombs failed to detonate after hitting RN's warships in numerous occasions during Falklands war, it turns out that the bomb fuse failed to arm because they were released at a very low altitude. It is actually a fail safe mechanism to avoid the attack aircraft from being damaged or destroyed by its own bomb. Unfortunately (and fortunately for the RN) argies A-4 flew very low to avoid from being engaged by Sea Darts and Sea Wolves and to confuse enemy's fire control radar/ systems.

Having said that, what are the odds of PTMs in punching through enemy fleet air defence umbrella without any ASMs?

Abu Ikhwan said...

Salam all,

Mengaktifkan semula A-4PTM Hawk satu cadangan yang bagus tetapi bukan dari kerangka sedia ada dlm simpanan negara sebaliknya memperoleh dari luar. Paling bagus dari New Zealand.

Pesawat Hawk dari New Zealand telah dinaiktaraf dengan sistem enjin dan avionik moden, setanding pesawat Generasi ke-4. Penjualan kepada firma latihan tempur dari US dengan harga USD17.5M seunit telah gagal kerana tidak mendapat kelulusan.