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F/A-18D Hornet

The F/A-18 Hornet fulfills both fighter and attack aircraft duties. The first prototype of the Hornet was introduced on November 18, 1978. It entered service to the US Navy and Marine Corps in 1981. The Hornet has proven itself time and time again during Desert Storm, Operation Southern Watch and the Desert Fox strikes against Iraq in December of 1998. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Hornets dominated the aerial campaign by carrying out strikes, close air support, refueling, anti-shipping, and forward air control missions.

Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was Prime Minister between 1981 and 2003, when the MiGs and Hornets were procured in 1993. He must have wanted the Hornets very badly for the Royal Malaysian Air Force since Singapore already operated the F-16s since 1988. Malaysia could not afford a full squadron of F-18s on McDonnell Douglas' terms. George Bush probably did not want to extend any discount to Malaysia for the intended F-18 purchase through his foreign military aid schemes since Malaysia did not join the Desert Storm coalition during the 1991 Gulf War, unlike Singapore. Mahathir even openly criticised the coalition headed by H.W. Bush, George Bush's father, so could not expect any concessions here.

Malaysia placed an order for eight F/A-18DS on June 29, 1993, with the first four aircraft delivred on 19 March 1997. The final four aircraft were delivered on 31 August 1993. The F/A-18 "Hornet" case is the largest and most active FMS program in Malaysia. Since delivering all aircraft on schedule in 1997, Boeing has been providing sustainment support for the fleet at the RMAF base in Butterworth, Malaysia. These support programs include engineering and logistics support, pilot training and technical publications. Boeing provides life-cycle support solutions, services and upgrades for F/A-18 Hornet fleets worldwide, including for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Finnish Air Force, the Kuwait Air Force, the Spanish Air Force, the Swiss Air Force and the RMAF.

On 28 November 2011 the Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $17,262,617 firm-fixed-price order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-11-G-0001) for the design, development, and installation of engineering change proposal (ECP) 618 retrofit kits for eight Royal Malaysian Air Force F/A-18 aircraft under the Foreign Military Sales Program. This contract action also includes training for ECP 618 and ECP 624, and the installation of other systems that are part of the Malaysian upgrade. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo. (70 percent), and Butterworth, Malaysia (30 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

These upgrades will deliver enhanced capability for the RMAF fleet to remain effective, interoperable with allies and operationally relevant for years to come, said Julie Praiss, Boeing Global Services & Support director of Tactical Aircraft & Weapons Support. Boeing looks forward to our continued partnership with the Royal Malaysian Air Force and the U.S. Navy to ensure that these F/A-18Ds continue to serve Malaysias strike and interdiction mission needs. The upgrades also make the RMAFs F/A-18Ds more compatible with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which Boeing was offering to meet Malaysias Multi-Role Combat Aircraft needs.

The F/A-18 played an important role in dropping precision munitions on Philippino rebels illegally invading Sabah in East Malaysia in 2013. Politicians called for more laser guided bombs to be added to the inventory.

On 19 March 2015 Boeing honored the Royal Malaysian Air Force in recognition of the successful integration of 25X capability of the F/A-18D Aircraft. A plaque was presented to GEN Dato' Sri Haji Roslan bin Saad, Chief of Staff, Royal Malaysian Air Force, by Boeing officials during the 13th Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition.

"Boeing is proud to partner with the Royal Malaysian Air Force to bring upgraded capability to their classic Hornets. Designated '25X' for the software configuration needed to implement these changes, this partnership includes improvements to several critical components in the mission, communications and weapons systems of the aircraft," said Howard Berry, F/A-18 International Sales Vice President, Global Strike, Boeing Defense, Space & Security in a statement.

Malaysia's top priority is to replace its ageing Russian MiG-29 fighters with 18 modern jets that would join a fleet of Boeing F/A-18Ds, as well as Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30MKM warplanes. Malaysian defence officials have said they are assessing Boeing's newer F/A-18E/F, the Dassault-built Rafale, Swedish manufacturer Saab's Gripen, and the Typhoon from European consortium Eurofighter.

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet can operate seamlessly with Malaysia's existing F/A-18D Hornet fleet and improve combat effectiveness of the aircraft in joint operations. Malaysia was evaluating the Super Hornet for its multi-role combat aircraft requirements. "The Malaysian Armed Forces, government leaders and visiting members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will be able to see the MSA, Super Hornet and AH-6i Light Attack/Reconnaissance helicopter platforms firsthand to better understand the capabilities we offer our customers," said Jim Armington, vice president, East Asia & Pacific, International Business Development for Defense, Space & Security (BDS) in a statement March 17, 2015.

"The mission effectiveness, operational reliability and best-in-industry support for Boeing's products are recognized worldwide. The LIMA provides an ideal setting to present our defense, maritime surveillance, search and rescue, and humanitarian aid offerings to Association of Southeast Asian Nation leaders." Two U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, two U.S. Air Force F-15C/D Eagles and a U.S. Navy P-8A aircraft were on static display at the show.

The MRCA (Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) Malaysia is tender to select a 4+ generation multirole fighter aircraft that will replace the MiG-29M and F-5E/F in the Malaysian air force. This tender itself was issued many years ago and has been delayed several times because of limited military budgets Malaysia. The other candidates are the EF Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, SAAB Gripen and the F / A-18 Super Hornet. Of the several candidate Malaysia MRCA tender is apparently the F/A-18 Super Hornet has a great chance to come out a winner. This is because Malaysia already has 8 units of F/A-18D Hornet which is a close relative of the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet though has a different design. Moreover, in addition to offering the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Boeing also reportedly offered an upgrade 8 units of F/A-18 D Hornet existing use AESA radar.

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block II with radar AN/APG-79 AESA offered by Boeing to Malaysia has the capability to carry out air strikes against target on the water and also able to destroy targets on land with high precision from a distance using a special missile. The AESA radar is capable of detecting even small targets such as missile and capable of detecting enemy long before entering into missile range. Currently only the US Navy and Royal Australian Air Force who has operated the F / A-18 E / F Super Hornet. If Malaysia afford it, then the Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) will be the third operator of this advanced fighter aircraft.

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Page last modified: 06-11-2015 18:41:45 ZULU