The Royal Malaysian Air Force, was established on 2nd June, 1958. It was then known as, Tentera Udara Diraja Persekutuan (Royal Malayan Air Force). Its first aircraft, was a Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer. With the formation of Malaysia in 1963, (the inclusion of the State of Sabah and Sarawak into the Malaysian Federation), the name of this force, was changed to the Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (Royal Malaysian Air Force). In the early 70s, the fleet of aircraft operated by the RMAF included the HP Herald, DHC-4 Caribou, CA27 Sabre Mk32, CL41G, Alouette 3, S61A and Provost T51. In 1975, the RMAF became the first operator of the F-5E in the region when it replaced the ageing Sabres. In the 80’s, the RMAF decided to look for a replacement for the Canadair CL 141G and settled on the A-4 PTM
RMAF’s principle trainer aircraft is the Pilatus PC-7 and the Aermacchi MB
339AM. Advanced training are then undertaken utilizing the Bae Hawk 108. The
Defence Ministry has also recently announced that a decision had been made to
buy the entire fleet of MB-339C formerly
used by the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
The 90s saw the RMAF embarking on a major upgrade program. This resulted in the introduction of the Mig 29N/ NUB, and the FA 18D into its inventory. The purchase of these aircraft provided the RMAF with some of the most sophisticated aircraft in South East Asia. The Mig 29Ns which were initially baseline Fulcrum A models later underwent some upgrades program to improve its capability. Upgrades include the fitting of an in-flight refueling probe which greatly increased its operational range. The radar fit was also upgraded to the N-019ME Topaz radar, and the aircraft received wiring for the R-77 missile. This upgraded weapon system sprang some nasty surprises on RAAF F-18C Hornets during air-to-air exercises. The FA18Ds meanwhile, are equipped with the upgraded Hughes APG-73 radar and two General Electric F404-GE-402,enhanced performance engines. This 2 seater aircraft is fully night attack capable equipped with various pod like NiteHawk pod for precision strike.
the RMAF announced an order for 18 SU30MKM from Russia. The SU-30 MKM is a
derivative of the Indian Air Force SU-30 MKI and is due to be delivered sometime
in 2006 – 2007. The RMAF also expressed an interest in purchasing FA18F Super
Hornet. is expected to materialize in the near future.
The weapons fit sought by the RMAF includes the AIM-120 Amraam, Harpoon, SLAM, JDAM and JSOW for its Super Hornets whilst the SU-30MKM will be equipped with the KH31 and KH59 ASMs (The Brahmos thought to be highly probable), mated with the BARS Phased Array Radar, TVC and state of the art, Russian and European Avionics.
Dirgahayu Oh Tanah Airku!!!
Shamsul Anwar Mohd Hussein
Photos and text © by Shamsul Anwar Mohd Hussein