Typhoons set to rock Lima '13
EST OF SKILLS: Detachment also to work with aircraft from Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and NZ
MALAYSIAN combat pilots will have another opportunity to pit their skills against one of the best fighters in the world in April.
A detachment of at least four Eurofighter Typhoons will be deployed to the country for the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition at the end of next month.
One of the headliners at the previous edition of Lima, in December two years ago, the Typhoons will again make an appearance in Langkawi this year.
But it is not Lima '13 that Royal Malaysian Air Force pilots would be most looking forward to. The Typhoon detachment, from 29 Squadron of the Royal Air Force, will fly from Langkawi to the RMAF air base in Butterworth where they will be stationed until the following month for the annual Five Power Defence Arrangement exercise.
It would be a test of skills as the Typhoons work together with or against combat aircraft from Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
This is not least because the RMAF operates the Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flanker aircraft.
In a recent trip to the United Kingdom, the New Straits Times spoke to a number of Typhoon pilots who had not too long before, returned from Operation Ellamy in Libya.
The experienced pilots spoke the world of their aircraft and named only one other combat machine which they believed could hold its own against the Typhoons -- the Su-30.
It is understood that at least one of the Typhoons will be operating out of Langkawi for Lima '13, with the rest stationed in Butterworth.
In a recent statement, BAE Systems regional managing director John Brosnan said he was looking forward to welcoming the Typhoon detachment in Langkawi.
"At Lima 2011, Typhoon was one of the headlining displays and I know that this year, the RAF team has been working hard through the winter to prepare for this year's display season.
"Lima will be their opening event of 2013 and so the crowd can expect to see some exciting and dynamic flying by the display pilot, Flight Lt Jamie Norris," he said.
BAE Systems is one of the four European industrial partners in the four-nation Eurofighter programme.
The company, which has a regional office here, has taken the lead on behalf of its partners in offering the Typhoon to the RMAF as the latter seeks to replace its multi-role combat aircraft.
While insiders say the RMAF's MRCA replacement programme may take several years yet before any official announcement is made, industry players have long since begun overtures.
Among the frontrunners for the programme are the Typhoon, the Saab Gripen and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, while the possibility of the procurement of more Flankers cannot be discounted as the aircraft has proven its capability.
Source: New Straits Times News - 17 February 2013
Photo: A Eurofighter Typhoon in action at Lima in Langkawi. (Photo by Global Aviation Resource)