‘Typhoons’ fly in


BUTTERWORTH – The Eurofighter Typhoon, rumoured to be one of the potential replacements for the MiG-29N fighter, made its presence during the Five-Power Defence Agreement (FPDA) defence ministers’ visit to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) airbase here yesterday.

The Typhoons, one of the most advanced multirole combat aircraft, made a fly-by during the visit by the defence ministers from Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Their visit was part of the ongoing 40th FPDA anniversary celebrations being held in Singapore, where the Typhoons took part in joint exercises involving the five nations.

Defence minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the trip was to mark a significant milestone in the defence pact, formed in 1971, where the RMAF Butterworth airbase was made the headquarters for the FPDA integrated area defence system.

Present were the United Kingdom secretary of defence, Phillip Hammond, defence ministers Stephen Smith (Australia), Dr Wayne Mapp (New Zealand) and Dr Ng Eng Hen (Singapore).

He said Malaysia and its partners in the pact had agreed to continue working on military assets modernisation for the next 10 to 20 years.

He said the five nations had also reached a consensus to work on non-traditional matters, such as tackling issues pertaining to sea robbery, piracy and cyber threats, as well as humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.

“We are overwhelmed by the members’ pledge to ensure that FPDA remains relevant in decades to come.”

The three-week joint military exercise in Singapore involved 4,000 personnel, 68 aircraft, 18 ships and two submarines from the FPDA members.

In July, he was quoted as saying that the Defence Ministry was evaluating the Eurofighter Typhoon as a potential replacement for the RMAF’s ageing MiG-29N.

The Typhoon, developed by the Eurofighter consortium, was estimated to cost about RM3 billion per aircraft. Other than the Typhoon, other possible candidates were Sukhoi Su-35, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and JAS-39 Gripen.

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