Thursday, December 31, 2009

US Will Not Punish Malaysia Over J85-GE-21 Jet Engines Missing Blunder

Thursday, December 31st, 2009
Petaling Jaya

The United States is not expected to punish Malaysia over the F5 jet components-for-sale racket.
Local defence industry sources told The Malay Mail it was unlikely the US would impose any action against Malaysia as the sale of the components was done illegally.

OLD BUT WORTHY: This RMAF Tigereye reconnaissance plane was put on show at Lima 2009

Two J85-GE-21 jet engines that power the F-5 fighters were stolen from two Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) facilities in 2007 while some components from the same planes were also unaccounted for.
"It is not as if the Malaysian government had sanctioned the deal. We may be told through diplomatic channels to tighten up security at our military facilities but it is unlikely that it will effect ties between our countries," a source said.
Furthermore, the items stolen were considered old technology and did not involve weapons.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said yesterday the report on the stolen F5 components, including the two J85-GE-21 engines, would be forwarded to the US.
It would be handed to the US authorities through the Malaysian ambassador to the US, Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis.
The two jet engines were reportedly stolen in June and November, 2007. The theft of the engines and and other components from the jets, worth millions of ringgit, were discovered in late 2007, following an internal audit carried out by the RMAF top brass. However, the air force only made a police report on this in August last year.
The Malay Mail had reported that some personnel implicated in the F5 jet components for sale racket had allegedly accepted RM200 "to look the other way" when the components were taken out from the Sungai Besi air base.
The personnel were bribed by a man working for a local aviation company, described as the mastermind of the racket.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department in Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur.
It was believed that RMAF personnel working with the mastermind had sent the engines and other components to a neighbouring country by declaring that the equipment needed to be repaired abroad.
Once the components arrived in the neighbouring country, they were sold to international arms dealers by the mastermind's accomplice.
RMAF began operating the F5s in 1974. In 1999, the air force replaced the aircraft with MiG-29N and F/A-18D jets. However in 2003, the F5s, then aged 29 years in the RMAF inventory, were re-activated as training and reconnaissance aircraft to meet current needs.
At least seven F5s remain in service, three single-seat F5E Tiger II fighters, two RF-5E Tigereye reconnaissance planes and two twin-seater F5F trainers.

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