Jet engine theft mystery deepens

After all, how can they be sacked before the theft was discovered?



The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has now said a brigadier-general and several others sacked in 2007 have nothing to do with the embarrassing theft of two F-5E jet engines found only missing in 2008.

That makes sense.

After all, how can they be sacked before the theft was discovered?

But there precious little sense and details of the theft that has put international spotlight on Malaysia’s lax security, possible role in the global black market arms trade and corruption that has put the country at 56 in the Transparency International graft rankings.

The police are now saying the engines — the General Electric J85-21A turbojets — have been traced to Argentina. It apparently went there by way of a Middle-East nation, believed to be Iran, from Port Klang. And police are now looking for the documentation for the shipping.

No one has yet shed light how the thieves sneaked the engines, the size of a small car, out of the RMAF Sungei Besi airbase, to the port. It is also not known why the engines, said to be spares, are kept in Sungei Besi when the F-5E squadron is based in the RMAF Butterworth airbase.

The greater mystery is why would anyone want to acquire jet engines first made 30 years ago? No one has yet to reveal the answer to that, especially when the RMAF has the F/A-18Ds and the MiG-29Ns using far superior powerplants made with better technology.

For the record, Malaysia bought the 14 F-5Es in 1974 and decommissioned them in 1999. One crashed in the Malacca Strait near Perak on May 31, 1995. There are 13 now but only six are operational after they came back to service in 2003.

Selling the jet engines to Iran also does not make sense as the Islamic republic has 65 F-5 of the A, B, E and F variants, according to Wikipedia. The United States had sold them to Iran in the 1970s when the Shah was in power before being toppled in 1979.

READ MORE HERE:–the-malaysian-insider