Mahathir raises issue of poorly-maintained Sukhoi, MiG with Putin

By  Sharanjit Singh

November 13, 2018 

SINGAPORE: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has raised the issue of poorly-maintained Russian fighter jets in the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s (RMAF) inventory with President Vladimir Putin.

The prime minister informed Putin about the problem during their meeting at the Shangri-La Hotel here tonight.

“We have a number of Russian aircraft and we need to know how to maintain and repair them.

“We have a joint venture with a Russian company but unfortunately, sometimes only a few of the aircraft are flying,” he said.

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu had in July revealed that only four of the 28 Russian fighter jets owned by the RMAF were able to take to the skies.

RMAF has 18 Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30MKM and 10 MiG 29 jet fighters.

“Only four of the Sukhoi are able to fly well while the remaining 14 are under repair,” Mohamad was quoted as saying.

Mohamad had said that RMAF was unable to properly maintain the fighter jets’ airworthiness.

He said the Defence Ministry had terminated the contractor engaged by the former administration and was looking at replacing them.

The 10 MiG multi role jets entered service in 1995 while the six Sukhoi Su-30MKM Air Superiority Fighters were delivered in 2007 and the remainder in 2009.

During the meting, Dr Mahathir also expressed hope of increase trade with Russia.

Earlier, Putin also spoke about relations between both countries.

He said there had been significant increase of over 60 per cent in trade between Russia and Malaysia over the past six months.

“A lot more can be done and a lot more could have been done in previous years,” he said.


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