KUALA LUMPUR: Over 80% of the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s BAe Hawk jets are now mission-capable following an improved serviceability level since last year, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said since the introduction of the jets in 1993, RMAF had never been able to achieve even the satisfactory 70% mark until 2000 due to several factors which affected the fighter pilots conversion training programme.
He said a team of personnel from RMAF, BAE Systems Plc from Britain, Airod Sdn Bhd and Zetro Sdn Bhd was formed in 2000 to look into making improvements.
The team worked on charting schedule completion dates for aircraft on the ground and those due for servicing, procurement of spares and a common database for effective management information to plan, co-ordinate and control projected activities and requirements of the aircraft.
“RMAF had experienced 14 of 16 Hawks serviceable at the front line by the end of 2002 (or 88% of available aircraft).
“As of today, 18 of the 23 Hawks are available to the front line and the rest in scheduled servicing,” he said at the presentation of certificates of appreciation to RMAF and the servicing team yesterday.
RMAF deputy air force chief Lt Jen Datuk Abdullah Ahmad said one of the factors causing the low rate of serviceability was the economic downturn of 1997/98 which prevented proper re-provisioning of spares which had affected major servicing programmes.
Najib said the vast improvement had now presented RMAF with “with a glut of flight checks to perform.”
“But this is a good problem to have compared with where they were just a year ago with hardly any flight checks to make,” he said.
He added that the successful working practices were being adopted across most of RMAF's aircraft fleet.
To a question, Najib said RMAF had yet to replace five of its Hawk jets that were no longer operational as there was no budget for that purpose.
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