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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Is that an F-5E engine in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

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This whole thing with the missing/stolen/sold fighter jet engine definitely has to be filed under the WTF section. When Walski first heard about the missing Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Nothrop F-5E engine, it got him wondering. Wondering in more kinds of ways than one.

Image taken from XAIR FORCES, hosting by Photobucket

First of all, the aircraft isn’t something you’d consider “small”. In fact, the F-5E is approximately 47 ft 4¾ in (14.45 m) in length, nose-to-tail. That’s roughly twice the width of a typical Malaysian link house (aircraft dimensional data obtained from Wikipedia).

And so just how big is the engine? 
(the engine, the ridiculousness, and more, in the full post)

According to Wikipedia, the F-5E is powered by two General Electric J85-GE-21B turbojet engines. Each one of them measuring between 45.4 to 51.1 inches long – that’s between 1.153 to 1.298 meters for you metrically inclined people – depending on what accessories are installed. It’s diameter is 17.7 inches, by the way, and weighs from anywhere between 396 to 421 pounds (or 179.62 to 190.96 kg), again depending on the accessories (all engine dimension and weight data obtained from Wikipedia).

Not exactly something that would fit into someone’s pocket, now, is it?  Unless you’re one extremely gigantic person, and therefore, not at all inconspicuous.

While Malaysia can take pride in the ability to make billions of ringgit disappear, without much consequence, and make it into an art-form almost, slipping a several-hundred pound jet engine under the noses of many levels of security is something else altogether.

So, more than whodunnit, Walski was wondering more along the lines of HOWdunnit? Which, of course, led to the silly title for this post.

What’s even stranger is that the engine was first found to be missing back in – get this – 2007! That’s two years ago. And the matter is still being investigated, according to a Bernama report, posted by The Malaysian Insider – Walski knows that things move very slowly in the government, but this is ridiculous (emphasis by myAsylum)!

Earlier, Zahid said the loss was detected in 2007, and internal investigations were undertaken by Mindef while police also probed the matter.

“The investigations revealed RMAF’s logistics system was foolproof. However, the shady activity might have been carried out staff in the lower rungs in cahoots with outsiders,” he told reporters after launching the Penang and south Kedah territorial army company, here today.
(source: The Malaysian Insider)

Well, obviously not foolproof enough. And a large item like a General Electric J85-GE-21B is probably not something that could have been misplaced, hiding on a shelf someplace.

And funny, though, how it’s always the lower rung people that are immediately the first to be suspected, huh? Probably easier that way than having to overhaul the entire logistics chain of command, Walski supposes…

But has anyone considered the possibility that David Copperfield might have had something to do with the theft? He has, after all, made much larger objects disappear. And didn’t he perform in Malaysia in 2007? Oh wait, he was scheduled to perform, but had to make himself disappear from his Asian tour, due to an FBI investigation on him following allegations of sexual misconduct. Okay, so maybe not.

In any case, the missing/stolen/sold F-5E jet engine incident makes you wonder what other stuff goes missing from the Malaysian military from time to time, now, doesn’t it? Well, we already know about the C4…

Be that as it may, Walski has no intention to speculate, nor does he want to make any effort whatsoever to try to get to the bottom of the mystery. But it does make him wonder. A whole helluva lot.

And so, if you didn’t before, you now know exactly what to ask, the next time you see an inordinately large person, with a humungous bulge in his/her pocket, walking a tad bit funny…


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