Stolen jet engine 'tip of the iceberg'
(above: The missing jet fighter engine is the powerplant of one of the four F-5E Tiger II fighters in the Malaysian air force.)
By Alang Bendahara
PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA - The armed forces has launched a full audit of its assets following the loss of a jet fighter engine from the Royal Malaysian Air Force air base in Sungai Besi here.
Armed forces chief Gen Tan Sri Azizan Ariffin said the stolen jet engine might just be the "tip of the iceberg", as initial investigations showed that other equipment might have gone missing from as far back as 2007.
"We have tightened all our procedures, especially at the logistics department, and also introduced new security procedures to prevent attempts to steal and sell sensitive military equipment," he told the New Straits Times after attending the national-level Maal Hijrah celebration at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre yesterday.
It is learnt that the armed forces had already taken disciplinary action against those responsible for the missing jet engine.
Sources said the engine, which was still operational, was transported in a military container from the air force's Butterworth base to the Sungai Besi base for a routine maintenance service last year.
The jet engine was stored at the Sungai Besi warehouse while its service and maintenance record was kept in a safe in an office on the base.
Air force officers found the jet engine missing in January when they sent a private contractor to Subang to service the engine.
They also discovered that the service and maintenance record was missing.
Both the air force and police were investigating the possibility that the engine was sold on the black market to either illegal arms traders or countries still flying the F-5E Tiger II and RF-5E Tigereye.
The stolen engine is the powerplant for one of the four F-5E Tiger II fighters and two RF-5E Tigereye reconnaissance jets still in active duty at the air force's 12th Squadron (Scorpion) at the Butterworth air base.