MALAYSIA – On March 18, the Wall Street Journal highlighted the weaknesses and clandestine nature of regional air-defense systems in Malaysia and other countries in South East Asia, which were exposed by the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Despite the Malaysian Air Force tracking the missing Boeing 777’s deviation from its flight plan, it did not scramble jets to investigate, and was unable to identify the plane as Flight 370, without foreign assistance. However, Malaysia is taking steps to improve their capabilities.
Malaysia is expected to spend around $1.4 billion on defense procurement and research this year.” –AVASCENT
“Malaysia’s priorities include missile-defense systems, new maritime patrol boats and replacing its ageing Russian-built fighter jets said analysts at Avascent…The annual budget is forecast to rise almost 9% a year from 2012 to 2018, lower than many of its Asian neighbors as the region has become a focus for Western arms makers.”
Additionally, last year Malaysia activated a ThalesRaytheonSystems air-defense radar system, but this new, advanced equipment does not guarantee that training and subsequent abilities exist to utilize it in situations like the current one.
Meanwhile regional neighbors such as India, Pakistan, notably Indonesia and Thailand, as well as Singapore and South Korea have all acquired new radar systems over the past five years, but the effectiveness of these systems is understandably classified for defense purposes.
“Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said last week that Malaysia was divulging unprecedented national security information and invited other nations to overcome their reluctance and help find the plane.”
Click here to read: “Lack of Useful Radar Exposes Defense Weakness” [subscription required.]