Jets of The Royal Malaysian Airforce
|A Brief History|
Avon Sabre at the RMAF Museum
Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) or Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM) was
this humble beginning, the RMAF has today expanded to include some of the most
modern aircraft being operated in the region. These include the F/A-18D, the Mig
– 29N as well as the Hawk 200.
11 Sqn had the honour of being the first fast jet equipped Suadron of the RMAF
when it was formed in October 1969 to operate the Avon CA-27 Sabre aircraft. The
15 sub – sonic Sabres aircraft were a gift by the Australian government to the
Malaysian government and assumed the role of providing air defence for the
country. Based at Butterworth Air Base, the Sabers of this squadron were armed
with twin 30mm Aden cannons and also the capability to be armed with
Sidewinders. It was powered by an Avon Mk26 engine capable of providing a
maximum thrust of 75000lb. This made it a very capable and potent aircraft
operating within the South East Asian Region at that time. This squadron adopted
a Cobra which were painted on the tailfin.
the 70’s the RMAF was looking to replace the Sabres with a more potent
aircraft to enhance and strengthen its air defence capabilities. As such, it
went on to place an order for 14 F-5E’s and 2 F-5B’s. The Northrop F-5E
Tiger II arrived in August 1975 and were inducted into the newly formed No. 12
Sqn. With the arrival of the F-5’s, the Sabers were retired from service and
No 11 Sqn was disbanded in August 1975.
taken from display at Unicorn Hobbies
and owned by Vernon Law
RMAF also purchased 13 Aermacchi MB-339M from Italy which were tasked mainly for
trainer and light strike duties. These aircraft which were powered by Rolls
Royce Viper 632 engines and were
attached to No. 3 Flight Training School based at Kuantan Air Base as well as
No. 15 Squadron based at Butterworth Air Base. The Aermacchis were joined in
1985 by 34 A-4 PTM and 6 TA-4PTM of No. 6 and No. 9 Squadron in Kuantan. The
Skyhawks were originally stocks of A-4C and A-4L and refurbished by the Grumman
Corporation at its St. Augustine plant. The majority of the Skyhawks served the
RMAF until 1994 before they were replaced by the Bae Hawks.
6 of the Skyhawks that were converted as air refueling aircraft served
until 1999 before being retired.
The 1990’ s saw the RMAF embarking on an ambitious project to equip itself
with more capable and potent aircraft. There were initial plans to equip the
RMAF with the Panavia Tornado but the idea was dropped as the cost involved was
too high. In a drastic departure from its purchasing policy, the RMAF looked to
Russia and after lengthy evaluation, signed an agreement to purchase 18 Mig-29N
and 2 Mig -29UMN aircraft. The MIG – 29’s were attached to No. 17 and No. 19
Squadron based at Kuantan Airbase. These aircraft were delivered up to the
MIG-29 SME standard and were progressively upgraded wit in-flight fueling
capability as well as the replacement of a more advance radar system. The RMAF
also purchased 8 F/A-18 D aircraft that were assigned to No. 18 Squadron which
was also based at Butterworth Airbase.
The RMAF also purchased 18 Hawk 200 and 10 Hawk 100. These aircraft now equip No. 6 and No. 9 Squadron.
the formation of the RMAF, the Square national marking earned the RMAF the
nickname of the "Square Air Force" in this region. The 14 pointed star
in the blue square
formation of the RMAF all aircraft carried FM (for Federation Malaysia) in front
of its identification number. However the identification number was changed from
FM to M (for Malaysia) followed by number in the sequence on the type of
aircraft enter in RMAF service, e.g. M29-01 for F-5E aircraft #1. The national
insignias were also changed to a smaller roundel at this point in time. In 1986,
the RMAF switched back to square, but smaller in size national insignias.
& K T
Mazlan, S.B,Thomas & K T
Happy Birthday Malaysia
Photos and text © by Mazlan Yusof, S.B Parameswaran,Thomas Ng & K T Goh