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Armed Forces to set up cyber unit
Wednesday, 15 Jan 2020 08:22 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) will set up a Cyber and Electromagnetic Command to deal with cyber threats, said its chief, General Tan Sri Affendi Buang.

He said the setting up of the command is aimed at strengthening the security forces in facing the threats of cyber security. 

“We know that we are living in a world where the cyber domain is very important and to a certain extent it is critical. If we don’t have those capabilities, we couldn't be sure we are protected.

“Threats come in many ways and we live in a world where cyber domain is one of the main threats,” he told a press conference here today.

Affendi said the threat of cyber-domain attacks could ravage the country as witnessed through cyber attacks such as Denial of Service, Malware and State-Sponsored Hacking.

 “It is high time for ATM to face the challenge through the setting up of the command so as to ensure not only the sustainability of the ATM network but also the security of national interests in the cyber domain,” he said.

Earlier, in his inaugural address to all military personnel at Wisma Pertahanan, Affendi said he would try to improve the preparedness of ATM assets as part of his core duties as the nation’s 21st Chief of Defence Force.

He said maintaining the assets at their highest level of preparedness was vital in the effort to defend the country and responding to any possible attacks at any time.

On the integrity among the military personnel, Affendi said military misconduct would be one of the key concerns in empowering ATM personnel.

He said the culture of integrity and anti-corruption need to be inculcated among the military personnel to maintain the image, credibility and reputation of the Armed Forces and the country.

 “The ATM’s Anti-Corruption Plan has also been developed and should be implemented as a solution to curb the threats of corruption,” he said.

Affendi said the aspect of education on integrity should also be given emphasis and that ATM was in the midst of developing its own Integrity Education and Training Module for use by the Malaysian Armed Forces Training Centre by the middle of this year.

He said an initiative to be transparent had also been taken by fully upgrading the online complaints system with the use of the Public Complaints Management System (SISPAA), which also aimed at improving the efficiency and management of complaints.

Also present at the ceremony were Army chief General Tan Sri Ahmad Hasbullah Mohd Nawawi, Armed Forces chief General Datuk Seri Ackbal Abdul Samad and Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Mohd Reza Mohd Sany.


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United States delivers six ScanEagle UAVs Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Malaysian Navy

According to a Tweet published on May 7, 2020, by the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, a first batch of six ScanEagle UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) was delivered to the Royal Malaysian Navy by the United States. The ScanEagle is a small, long-endurance, low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) produced by the American Company Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing.

In June 2019, it was announced that Boeing subsidiary Insitu was awarded an almost $48 million contract for 34 ScanEagle unmanned air vehicles for Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam, according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Scan Eagle UAV is based on Insitu's SeaScan miniature robotic aircraft and draws on Boeing's systems integration, communications and payload technologies. It carries either an electro-optical or an infrared camera. Both are inertially stabilized. The gimbaled camera allows the operator to easily track both stationary and moving targets. ScanEagle vehicles can operate individually or in groups to loiter over trouble spots.

The ScanEagle is powered by a tail-mounted two-stroke gasoline-fueled off-the-shelf model aircraft engine. The ScanEagle, which currently runs on automotive gasoline and which has demonstrated a maximum endurance of 22h, performed a flight of 28h 44min on 17 January at the company's facilities in Bingen, Washington.

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Spending Smart or Spending Big: The Value of Systematic Assessments of Weapons Procurement

The Russian Federation's Rostec aviation export consortium is offering the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) the YAK-130, a new advanced trainer/light jet fighter, to supplement, if not replace, several of the high-performance combat aircraft in the RMAF's inventory. Like many countries, unless it conducts a thorough assessment of the Russian proposed arms purchase, it risks wasting precious defense funding merely for political symbolism. Given the inevitable budgetary pressures stemming from the global pandemic, countries need to search for cost efficient approaches to any defense purchases.

To support U.S. government foreign assistance training for nations on how to comply with U.S. and U.N. sanctions, the RAND Corporation analyzed open source information on Russian arms sales around the globe. One of the findings from analyzing this source material is that countries sometimes buy armaments to politically balance between the major powers. One implication of these symbolic arms purchases is that it skews precious national resources to weaponry that may not be a good fit. In several cases, national militaries have compared alternative systems, made a purchase recommendation on technical analysis, and then had their recommendation ignored as political leaders sought to use arms purchases to demonstrate their foreign policy independence. The potential RMAF purchase of the Yak-130 is an example of this type of arms deal.

After the RMAF's creation in the early 1960's as an independent air force modeled after the Royal Air Force, it modernized its combat aircraft fleet by buying 16 Northrop F-5E Tiger-IIs and 40 variants of the subsonic A-4M Skyhawk, resulting in a relatively uniform air fleet. During the 1990s, the RMAF once again began to modernize its combat air fleet with the procurement of next-generation fighter bombers from several sources. As it added different aircraft from different countries, it had to create separate airfields and maintenance facilities for each aircraft. Losing opportunities for interoperability with different systems has added to the overall cost of its air force.

 A squadron of Russian MiG-29 aircraft is not operational since the RMAF rejected the offer by Artem Mikoyan to return the aircraft to Russia for a full servicing cycle because it is too costly. As sources in the RAND database reveal, this is a common Russian marketing approach. Ever since the Soviet era, Russian aerospace companies frequently offer combat aircraft at low prices while recouping that loss later with expensive service plans that may become unaffordable for the client state.

Like many other nations, Malaysia has a very diverse air fleet purchased from many foreign sources. Its combat aircraft fleet totals some 52 aircraft, of which 13 Russian MiG-29 are now mothballed. The Su-30 fleet of 18 aircraft has a 20 percent operational readiness rate. The eight American F-18 and 13 British BAE Hawk 200 light fighters are fully operational. From a cost-benefit perspective, the RMAF could get more value from a combat aircraft that has some interoperability features with the current fleet. The most effective way to gain interoperability is for the leadership of the RMAF to replace most of the jet combat fleet with a single type aircraft that is interoperable with what it already has in its arsenal. This would provide the RMAF with some measure of economies of scale and would create an opportunity for the winning bidder to establish a cost-efficient Malaysian maintenance program.

In light of the global pandemic and the inevitable economic difficulties, national governments should be encouraged to consider their national military requirements in a more cost-effective manner. The cost of a major weapon system is not just the original purchase price. Within seven years, a military will roughly incur the same amount of cost as the purchase price of the aircraft. Thus, countries need to think strategically about the life cycle costs of equipment and not just the original purchase price. Systematic assessment of defense needs that take into account the full range of costs and non-weapons options is a prudent way for national governments to manage defense resources in this era of financial uncertainty.

Peter Wilson is an adjunct international defense researcher and John Parachini is a senior international defense researcher at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.

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