Malaysia-RAF Tranche 1 Typhoon Leasing

While we had hopes that Malaysia could be a possible candidate for new Typhoons it seems that the government’s budget woes are forcing them to now look at aircraft leasing instead. BAE are said to be working on a bid that would see at least some of the RAF’s Tranche 1 Typhoons leased to Malaysia.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140215/DEFREG03/302150021/Cash-Strapped-Malaysia-Looks-Lease-Fighters

While it will do little to keep the Typhoon production lines open it could well be a god send for the MOD which is due to write off several billion pounds worth of Typhoons before the end of the decade.

RAF 3 (F) Squadron Eurofighter Typhoon over the Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

RAF 6 Squadron Eurofighter Typhoons on Exercise Bersama Lima 11 in Malaysia

Could this be a model I wonder for other cash strapped developing economies who have a need for something high end like the Typhoon but have little budget to acquire such a high end capability. The Philippines springs to mind straight away but I would have to wonder if they would even have the money to lease the aircraft.

Another option could be India. The French Rafale deal seems to have completely stalled and the Indians originally chose a foreign aircraft because they needed something quick.

Could a lease of Tranche 1 Typhoons solve their problem and help the Indian Air Force get around their domestic aircraft industry with the promise of future Indian based production of Typhoon’s? The Typhoon has a major advantage over Rafale in this respect given the large number of Tranche 1 aircraft that European nations are looking to offload.

RAF 6 Squadron Eurofighter Typhoons on Exercise Bersama Lima 11 in Malaysia

If Typhoon production can keep going long enough it might even be the case that nations leasing Tranche 1 aircraft will eventually buy new tranches of aircraft.

A wider Typhoon user base would certainly benefit us as we would have more potential partners to develop systems with. An income stream from tranche 1 leases would also help the MOD greatly at the end of the decade when costs of acquiring F35 and the successor submarine program are likely to ravish the procurement budget. I have not seen Typhoon sales factored in to the ten year equipment plan so one could surmise this would be additional money. In addition it also helps us develop a bit of defence diplomacy in a key operating area and may lead to further sales in the future with the likes of Indonesia.

 

 

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Aussie Johnno
Aussie Johnno
February 16, 2014 5:57 am

The article says that BAe, Boeing and Saab are working on bids. If that is the case you would have to say that Saab will come in cheapest both in terms of leasing and operating costs and Sweden certainly has early Gripens to spare.

Observer
Observer
February 16, 2014 8:00 am

True AJ, but Malaysia’s goal is air force modernization, a Gripen buy won’t do much for them considering that they are already running Hornets and Su-30s. This is a replacement for their MiG-29s, which means a near similar capability like for like replacement. Their finances are really not that bad off, it’s probably something more like “try before you buy” and paying in instalments more than actual leasing, though they probably want to keep an option of returning the goods if it turns out to be a lemon.

Their finances are ok. It’s their procurement that’s a mess, it’s all in little pieces though given enough time, they’ll fix it as well since it has been flagged as a high priority problem.

mike
mike
February 16, 2014 9:46 am

Doubt it will work, such offers have been also given out by Germany to the Baltic states and eastern Europe states, Spain has offered to Peru even… but the logistics and training required for such an advanced and demanding aircraft like Typhoon would be too much.

Here, SAAB reigns supreme when it comes to ‘leasing’ and cost effective options, they already have succeeded in nearby Thailand, it would make sense for Malaysia to opt for that… but they often get embroiled in a pissing match with Singapore… so who knows, they may want a ‘high end’ aircraft. They do have a rather odd mix, MiG-29 and F/A-18D’s.

Keil Kraft
Keil Kraft
February 16, 2014 11:07 am

Why is the MoD due to write off several billion pounds worth of Typhoons before the end of the decade? What is the background story?

Observer
Observer
February 16, 2014 11:07 am

mike, this is supposed to replace their MiG-29s, so that is the bar they are supposed to meet, not cost. The economic meltdown is more concentrated in the US and Europe, not Asia, so they are fairly robust financially. Thailand is still a mess and their economy took a hit with all their politics, so cost was their criteria, not Malaysia’s.

As for their odd mix, blame the US. They embargoed Indonesia and more or less killed their air force. Malaysia saw the result and made a choice to avoid a situation where another country can strangle their armed forces, which resulted in some rather strange problems which I think Malaysia is starting to grow out of. As for the technical aspects, don’t underestimate them, I think that given enough time and training, anyone can do anything, so excuses like “it’s beyond them” simply doesn’t cut it.

martin, if only money was their only concern, then it would be easy to cut deals with them, but with the current racial, religions and border tensions, we’ve absolutely no idea what those loonies are going to do. Beefing up the Thai and Philippine border is a given, but China just had to trail its’ coat through disputed waters with Malaysia too, so that might force higher capability buys.

And people wonder why we’re paranoid…
Local joke here, the only natural disasters Singapore has are its neighbours.

John Hartley
John Hartley
February 16, 2014 11:28 am

Playing fantasy air fleets, I would like to see the UK gift 10 Tr 1 Typhoon to New Zealand, say 8 single + 2 x 2 seaters.

mike
mike
February 16, 2014 11:35 am

@ Observer

I was not meaning its beyond them, they have worked with RAF Typhoons rather frequently — the RAF goes ‘east of Suez’ more often than people think. But same goes with the Hornets, they frequently work with USMC and RAAF squadrons… so they have a good idea of whats on offer.
I was more thinking the costs and logistics of maintain such a type like Typhoon, a new type.

I am all for them having Typhoon, but I can see Boeing and SAAB creeping in with their offers, just as good as a MiG-29 replacement…even better actually. Typhoon is more a Su-30 tier of aircraft, which they have already.

They are also looking at the Hornet… as they already operate the type, it would lessen the logistic and training requirements.

But as the Brazilian FX-2 showed, could swing any way. Typhoon has a good chance here, lets hope BAe pulls out all the stops to get an order.

Topman
Topman
February 16, 2014 12:02 pm

@ JH

They may be used to gain influence around the world when we no longer have them in service. Although I doubt NZ could afford them, even if we gifted them. I think the early F16s were beyond their budget.

James Bolivar DiGriz
James Bolivar DiGriz
February 16, 2014 12:06 pm

I was about to pose the same question as Keil Kraft.

My understanding was that the tranches are not functional increments but (by the various governments) structured commitments to buy planes.

I understand that gradually more equipment is being integrated and verified on the Typhoon. However I thought that this applied to all tranches with, say, an early Tranche 2 aircraft having less capability as it leave the factory than a late Tranche 2 aircraft at the same stage.

On this basis I thought that all aircraft could be brought up to any higher standard. If changes to enable Tranche 1 aircraft to use, say, METEOR or Storm Shadow, merely involved software then the cost of this should be quite small. If the changes required new or different hardware then the costs will be higher initially but the basic structure of the plane is the same so I cannot see how it can be *that* much. Also having a common standard [1] makes the flexibility of the fleet of Typhoons greater and simplifies logistics, which will make.

1. Or a small number of standards, e.g. air-defense and multi-role versions.

Mark
Mark
February 16, 2014 1:05 pm

Don’t think that’s the main reason martin. I’m believe the issue is more to do with flight software being different to the later tranches and cost of the up grade is prohibitive for the raf with the force structure budget they have. Considering the tranche 1 have been around for 10-15 years by the time they go the upgrade cost is not considered value for money within a limited budget.

John Hartley
John Hartley
February 16, 2014 5:08 pm

Topman. From memory, NZ wanted to buy the 20+ new, but sat in a desert for years, embargoed Pakistani F-16s. A change of government, led to the new NZ female prime minister cancelling the purchase & blowing the money on something PC(perhaps shoes & handbags). Could NZ run 10 Typhoon? I think they cost £95,000 an hour to fly. If they feel intimidated by the Chinese carrier, they would find the money.

James Bolivar DiGriz
James Bolivar DiGriz
February 16, 2014 5:32 pm

@TD Thanks for that link and the page it linked to.

From that end page:
“There will be no upgrades from Tranche 1 to Tranche 2 due to the physical differences between the two builds.”

As far as I could see it does not say anything about what the physical differences are nor why they exist in the first place. It seems odd to me that they changed the airframe part-way through production but I suppose there was a good reason.


“but then we end up with fleets within fleets which is expensive”

Sorry I thought I was clear that having a common fleet was, IMO, the best option. I was just allowing for the possibility that not upgrading the oldest, say, 30 planes out of >150 _might_ actually work out cheaper overall if the upgrade was very expensive and those 30 planes would have to go out of service relatively soon.

Sir Humphrey
February 16, 2014 6:46 pm

The problem with talk of ‘just 10’ airframes to somewhere like NZ isn’t the actual provision of airframes, but the very expensive and challenging problem of providing sufficient trained personnel and groundcrew to not only fly but support the aircraft too. The cost is enormous, and probably far out of the realm of what the NZDF needs or can afford without breaking the bank.

Typhoon is amazing, but it is a very expensive solution for smaller airforces. The training overhead attached to keep it at a high level of capability and readiness means that many airforces would love to use it, but balk at the cost and footprint. I suspect the offer of 10 airframes would be politely refused by the Kiwis.

As for leasing – it makes perfect sense in the short term – build a support base of trained crews and technicians, get them really enthusiastic about what the airframe can do, then give them the space to find funds for a larger buy in due course. The issue for places like Malaysia is getting an order placed in sufficient time to get there while the production line is still running though.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
February 16, 2014 6:49 pm

@ John Hartley, re Typhoons and New Zealand.

I’m genuinely boggled by why you think the Kiwis @@@ need any fast jets at all. They really are a bit out on a limb, geographically, with literally zero air threat to them. Their politics in the last few decades are not really into foreign interventions, and even if they want to change that, there are lots of other things they could offer from trucks, ships, helicopters, logistics, infantry or marines, none of which require the sort of cash that Typhoon costs to buy and keep running.

(Edit @@@ actually, it is not you I am boggled by, it is the Kiwi government: no personal slight intended)

John Hartley
John Hartley
February 16, 2014 10:15 pm

RT. Well it was a creed the Kiwis had when they bought their Skyhawk force in the late 60s/early 70s. The idea that a small modern force could provide the air policing to defend NZ & keep skills going, should they ever need to go back to WW2 size. You do not need to get involved in other peoples wars, in order to keep a small defence of homeland capability. Look at the F-18s of Finland & Switzerland. NZ may be out of the way, but there is a slight chance of a hijacked airliner, or a Chinese carrier lurking offshore. Yes the RAAF, USN & RN would turn up eventually, but there is the need to survive until then. I admit NZ is split on this. Half would like to see a small , but capable self defence fighter force, while the other half don’t see the need. Depends on how you see the world.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
February 16, 2014 10:45 pm

@ JH,

All very sensible. I suspect the inter-ANZAC politics would make it tricky, but if NZ contributed a Squadron of whatever common aircraft / ship type to the RAN / RAAF it would be sensible, and a battalion to an Aussie Brigade.

But only going by what I think I’ve absorbed from the news over the last 30 years, I think NZ went a bit hippy in the 80s and being not very militaristic. Not necessarily a bad thing if you are NZ without any enemies in the world.

Pity their rugby team is not very hippy.

Aussie Johnno
Aussie Johnno
February 17, 2014 2:19 am

Can someone explain how the RAF ended up with so many Tranche 1 aircraft? (53 T1, 67 T2, 40 T3).
Your T1 take is way out of proportion compared to the other partners (Germany 33, italy 25, Spain 19).

Angus McLellan
Angus McLellan
February 17, 2014 2:41 am

Regarding New Zealand, as RT says, not going to happen. The “fast jet” ship sailed long ago.

Regarding the £95k/hr, if it were to happen – which it won’t – it wouldn’t be anything like that in NZ because the operating profile would be very different. The additional cost of the F-16s was expected to be fairly small, if you care to believe NZDF’s “Review of the Options for an Air Combat Capability document.

Although cost was an issue, the main reason for scrapping the air combat force was, as RT said, that there were more pressing needs for the money elsewhere in NZDF. Peter Greener’s Timing is Everything: The Politics and Processes of New Zealand Defence Acquisition Making has a chapter on the decision.

RichardW
RichardW
February 17, 2014 9:14 am

Regarding New Zealand the money ‘saved’ by retiring the fast jets 40million pounds pa was taken out of the NZDF budget and given to the arts and culture budget, a pet subject of the then prime minister. The argument given was that no NZ fast jet had ever been used on operations, and little propect they would in the future, so why have them.

The decision was not popular, but once done no one has seriously suggested it could or should be reversed.

Observer
Observer
February 17, 2014 9:19 am

Re: NZ

Hence things like Project Protector and the Ben My Chee. Capability for the most minimal cost or at least an attempt to. Don’t think they need something like an all up Typhoon or F-35, their defence needs are really modest. Maybe some F-5s or Gripens just in case someone hijacks an airliner through their territory, but frankly, their needs are similar to the Falklands and even less as they do not have an enemy just next door and a huge ally a short hop away. One scream for help and fast air from the Australian Defence Force can be there in under 4 hours. Not much point loading down with weapons in an area like that. Even the Falklands only has 4 jets.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
February 17, 2014 9:32 am

@ Observer, re hijacked airliners passing through NZ territory.

Where are those airliners coming from or going to? ;) There’s nowhere with a runway beyond NZ.

Best thing for a hijacked airliner is to let it land wherever the hijacker demands. No need for an escort. Once down on the ground, let the local flavour of SF or police sort it out.

Topman
Topman
February 17, 2014 10:07 am

@ JH

You are right it is a matter of priorities. However I can’t see any reason or threat to end up paying for Typhoons even if gifted. The whole cost of running a FJ fleet isn’t something I can see NZ stumping up for.

Think Defence
Admin
February 17, 2014 10:12 am
Reply to  Topman

Maybe they could be the launch customer for one of those Scorpion things

Observer
Observer
February 17, 2014 11:00 am

RT

Sydney? Get your point going in the other direction though unless the terrorists are part of the Penguin Liberation Army. :P

As for landing and sorting it out, well, I suppose you can do that, depending on how fast they want the plane to land. And if they want to land wheel first or nose first. :)

TD, not really. Can those Scorpions replace a MiG-29? If they want to replace their training aircraft, maybe. Not their front line heavy hitters. As for COIN, they seem to have no problems using F-18s for airstrikes, so the Scorpion’s out of business there too. They just did a live bombing run last March on Sulu militants. Unless you mean the old Scorpion light tanks. Those might work on the Philippines border. But I severely doubt they’re still being made.

Think Defence
Admin
February 17, 2014 11:04 am
Reply to  Observer

Sorry Observer, was talking about New Zealand

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
February 17, 2014 12:36 pm

It does occur to me that NZ is practically the only Country on earth that could defend itself from almost any contingency with nothing but a modern Air Force and some submarines – with perhaps a modest number of Gendarmes and Coastguards (to either arrest or rescue survivors)…I am really puzzled as to the psychology of having gone in exactly the opposite direction. They really should be taking advice from our old friend @IXION… :-)

The exception obviously being instant sunshine…although in that eventuality everybody intends to head in that direction, so perhaps that is not much of a threat!

A slightly baffled Gloomy

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
February 17, 2014 12:48 pm

@GNB,

I know very little of NZ’s defence policy or posture, but from 12,000 miles away, I see no threat at all of any conventional nature to NZ.

It does however have a very large EEZ, no doubt rich in fish, whales and who knows what else. So some form of EEZ enforcement is needed.

Having endured weeks of whanging on and on about MPA, perhaps there is a case there for NZ. Not MPA traditionally equipped to hunt submarines, but optimised for EEZ protection. Long loiter and surveillance cameras, and some ocean going cutters to back it up. Possibly also the ability to drop life rafts to boats, and enviro-monitoring sensors. Almost not a military capability, more safety and environment.

John Hartley
John Hartley
February 17, 2014 1:06 pm

RT Terrorists look for the weakest link, that’s why they hit the US embassies in Africa. Go where security is not great. So hijack a ANZ B777 & fly it into the US embassy in Wellington. Or wait for a major int conference in NZ & hit that instead. It is because NZ is so safe, that it becomes a target by default.

Chris
Chris
February 17, 2014 1:30 pm

Obs – Wiki says Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Brunei all have Scorpion (light tank/recce) – popular little things… Setting aside Cambodia and Vietnam (Soviet-supplied I guess), of the bordering states around there only New Guinea and (tch!) Singapore didn’t buy them. Australia didn’t buy either, I note, but New Zealand did.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
February 17, 2014 1:37 pm

@RT – I completely agree in current circumstances – my point is more that if those circumstances change significantly – if, for example, the various tensions in the South China Sea boil over into real wars – the one spot on the far side of the world that could avoid getting sucked in and could defend itself without either boots on the ground or a surface Navy…has both in numbers…but doesn’t have the fast jets or attack submarines that would allow them to put a Chinese Sea/Air Task Force a couple of thousand fathoms down.

So if they meet their treaty obligations to Australia their modest forces could get sucked in to a war that would make their home islands potentially vulnerable…much the same reason a number of Australian fell out with us rather spectacularly in the 1940’s.

And yes, the Cousins could certainly help out if they didn’t have their hands full elsewhere…but why put yourself in that position by not doing the things most obviously useful to your own self-defence whilst spending a very limited budget on things that are not?

GNB

Observer
Observer
February 17, 2014 1:40 pm

Chris, I believe my question was “Are they still being manufactured?”.

Can say that they’re pretty handy little things, unfortunately for you guys, the Israelis were having a discount sale on M-113s and AMX-13s then. Strong rumor has it that the M-113s were sold for a US dollar a piece.

Think we can safely let NZ take care of their own security. If they think they’re safe, who are we to tell them otherwise? Not to mention with the recent earthquakes, there is going to be more of a heavier drive to HADR than CAP. Earthquakes are once every few years. Wars for NZ are once in a life time.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
February 17, 2014 1:49 pm

@ GNB,

Well, never say never, but I’m really struggling to see why the Chinese would threaten NZ, even if they could. I ‘m writing this on an iThingy so haven’t got Google Earth to hand, but it must be about 5,000 miles from China to NZ. And given that there are a about 50 million sheep in NZ, and the Chinese are not really partial to lamb, I don’t see why they’d want to go there.

I think the Japs are more of a threat to NZ’s interests, what with them wanting to research into how many whales need to be killed before you can come up with some vaguely scientific reason for why. About 1,000 last year it seems.

Chris
Chris
February 17, 2014 1:53 pm

Obs – ref buying CVR(T) – UK bought a bunch of Spartans with turrets on top – sorry – Scimitar 2 vehicles a couple of years ago. Not sure what start-up & recommissioning costs MOD placed (these were the first ones I believe not built by the Coventry works, made at the ex-GKN Hadley Castle Works instead – I recall there was a special high accuracy CNC milling machine in the Coventry factory that was bought specifically to machine the torsion bar mounting points on the two opposing lower hull sides; they needed to align to extremely tight tolerances to ensure reasonable torsion bar life). So if you have very deep pockets they are still available it seems.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
February 17, 2014 1:55 pm

@ Chris

Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Brunei all have Scorpion (light tank/recce) – popular little things… Setting aside Cambodia and Vietnam (Soviet-supplied I guess), of the bordering states around there only New Guinea and (tch!) Singapore didn’t buy them. Australia didn’t buy either, I note, but New Zealand did.”

Light tank….. Hyperventilation….

“Popular little things”….. Is perhaps your way if saying not yet replaced by something better….

You have to acknowledge the wisdom of Australia and Singapore though.

;)

Chris
Chris
February 17, 2014 2:44 pm

RT – ref something better – I’m working on it….

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
February 17, 2014 4:01 pm

@RT – where there are 50 million sheep there could be rather less cows but many more pigs…plus the fishing, of course. So food; land; natural resources, and a base to further possible ambitions in the Pacific and Antarctic and to link with their burgeoning economic “empire” in Latin America…recall if you will recent exchanges about their growing links with the Argentine…

Plus, might be Japan the way their PM is carrying on at the moment…or indeed somebody else in Asia who want to flex their muscles and piss on the Anglo-spheres chips without too much risk…

Gloomy’s First Rule for the Anglo-sphere ” The world is full of bad people who hate us and want to kill us,,,always be ready to piss on their chips…because if you are not, they will most assuredly piss on yours eventually”

@RL will enjoy that :-)

GNB

John Hartley
John Hartley
February 17, 2014 4:10 pm

Doubtless Greenpeace felt safe in a NZ harbour, but that did not stop the French secret service from blowing up Rainbow Warrior.

Observer
Observer
February 17, 2014 4:28 pm

Ok, so now we know. If your chips taste vaguely… vinegary when you have not added anything yet, blame Gloomy. :P

I remember few years after I left the army for my studies, a stray 155mm round from our live firing in NZ went astray and minced a few cows. Government paid compensation and the units in the base there had beef for the next few meals. Now we know how to select our menu.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
February 17, 2014 5:27 pm

Hijacking response changed for ever in 2001, you can no longer let them overfly population centres. in fairness nothing not going to or from NZ flies over it but the ability to Police your airspace is pretty important.

Ace Rimmer
February 17, 2014 6:21 pm

Chris, re the Scorpion; Australia didn’t buy the tank, they just bought the turret and plonked it on top of an M113.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Puckapunyal-M113-MRV-1-1.jpg

As for the Tranche 1’s, , I’d be tempted to gift aid them to Malaysia and throw in some air force exchanges on top. If we’re the ‘global’ power our Government keeps crowing on about then this shouldn’t be a problem. I believe we need to make some serious in roads back into the Pacific region, and on top of the deals we’ve done with South Korea, this may help.

Observer
Observer
February 17, 2014 7:30 pm

BTW, took me a while to remember, but isn’t Malaysia receiving its first A400 beginning of next year?

McZ
McZ
February 17, 2014 7:35 pm


“The major issues with the tranche 1′s is that they will be unable to accommodate an AESA radar without a major rebuild. The Tranche 2 and 3 will be able to accommodate it.”

T2 is not confirmed to be able to accommodate AESA. It only supports the structural requirements, but neither cooling nor cabling nor power supply seem to be on par. It would not equal a rebuild, but would be a costly adventure, too.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
February 18, 2014 12:44 am

@ Chris, re working on something better than CVR(T).

I am not allowed to solutionise by my company’s chief engineer, because it is my job to go and charm the birds from the trees of the MoD and get them to put their hands in their pockets. He only wants me to interpret the user requirements before he and his colleagues go off and engineer something to within a micron of its’ life. Quite brilliantly.

But this is TD, where all rules are off. So what you want is something low, fast, with a space frame, bugger all claggage, and a WMIK ring. And make the engine quiet in crawl mode, with a decent amount of suspension travel independent on each wheel.

;)

Chris
Chris
February 18, 2014 10:28 am

RT – oh dull! Where’s the engineering fun in that?? Anyway one of my friends is doing that one so I wouldn’t want to mess up his chances. Think a bit bigger and a bit more adaptable – after all, apart from being a bit of fun for the RTs in the world, beyond snurgly recce what else would it be good for? This? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2749659.stm Could they do this? http://www.standard.co.uk/news/police-ride-in-tanks-to-storm-rio-de-janeiro-drug-slum-6540727.html Or any use in times of Troubles? http://www.concept2malta.com/SARACEN.jpg Would they be able to provide CASEVAC under fire? Could they provide basic protection if deployed to a checkpoint? All the sorts of things FV600 and CVR(T) got to do which was nothing to do with recce. It seems to me the open raider (of types as already noted that have been offered by many companies before) is a bit of a Combine-Harvester – very useful for one task only; probably left in the garage for 48 weeks of the year. In my opinion.

andrew deacon
andrew deacon
April 6, 2014 3:21 pm

It would seem unlikely that all the tranche 1’s would be retired given a number are test aircraft (one of which has just been upgraded to test the new aesa radar).
It would also leave a shortage of two seaters , surely some of these will have to be retained ?

monkey
monkey
April 6, 2014 6:38 pm

At the back end of 2011 No.6 Squadron RAF visited Malaysia for a fly off with their Tranche 2 Typhoons .
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/malaysian-exercise-resounding-success-for-raf-typhoon-squadron

The outcome of this exercise demonstrated at least the superiority of the Typhoon in the hands of the RAF over the RMAF manned MiG-29N Fulcrum .However the USMC in their old Boeing F/A-18D Hornet’s on their annual exercise Air Warrior also puts up a good fight against the RMAF manned MiG-29N Fulcrum’s.
http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/hornet-v-mig-5996629/?no-ist
Maybe they will go the American way and get the F/A-18 Super Hornet which be a cheaper option and keep them a chummy with the American who now much more focused on the Pacific theatre of operations .They already use the Boeing F/A-18D Hornet so a transition to an all Super Hornet fleet in the future maybe on the cards.