Malaysia proposed on Tuesday that foreign surveillance planes help to fight piracy in the Strait of Malacca, one of the world's busiest sea lanes, in its clearest invitation for international assistance.(here)and
"Perhaps the international community can provide maritime aircraft for 24-hour surveillance over the Straits of Malacca. They can fly these aircraft but the consoles and monitors (inside them) can be operated by Malaysians, Indonesians and Singaporeans."I hear the US Navy P-3 community is looking for work...or maybe everyone could use the P-3 AEW that US Customs uses (though I note Singapore and Japan already use a variant on the E-2C Hawkeye- which I think uses the same radar as the P-3 AEW).
Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore guard the strait, which carries a quarter of global trade and nearly all oil imports for Japan and China. There are fears the waterway, already plagued by pirate attacks, could become a target for a terror attack.
The United States and Japan have offered help, but Malaysia and Indonesia in particular have resisted suggestions that foreign forces could operate within their territories. Sovereignty is the paramount concern for the littoral states.
It was widely reported last year that U.S. special forces or the Marines could be used as part of efforts to enhance security in the strait, provoking opposition from Malaysia and Indonesia.
Najib's comments are a departure from previous rhetoric. With piracy attacks rising after a lull following the Dec. 26 tsunami, there is growing pressure on the littoral states to do more.
P-3 AEW version
E-2C Japanese version:
Designed and built by Northrop Grumman Corporation, the all-weather Hawkeye aircraft is an airborne battle management and command and control center. The aircraft has been in active service with the U.S. Navy since 1973. Egypt, France, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan also operate the E-2C.(source)
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