Royal Malaysian Air Force
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) (Malay: Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia (TUDM); Jawi: تنترا اودارا دراج مليسيا) was formed on 2 June 1958 as the Royal Federation of Malaya Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Persekutuan). However, its roots can be traced back to the Malayan Auxiliary Air Force formations of the British Royal Air Force in then colonial British Malaya. Today, the Royal Malaysian Air Force operates a unique mix of modern US, European and Russian-made aircraft.
- 1 Early years
- 2 Modernization
- 3 Aircraft
- 4 Airbases
- 5 Organisation
- 6 Ranks of the Royal Malaysian Air Force
- 7 Royal Malaysian Air Force Regiment
- 8 Aerobatic team
- 9 Missing jet engines scandal
- 10 See also
- 11 Gallery
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The Malaysian air forces trace their lineage to the Malayan Auxiliary Air Force formations of the Royal Air Force raised in 1934. They later transformed into the Straits Settlements Volunteer Air Force and the Malaya Volunteer Air Force formed in 1940 and dissolved in 1942 during the height of the Japanese advance over Malaya. The latter was reestablished in 1950 in time for the Malayan Emergency and contributed very much to the war effort. On 2 June 1958, the MVAF finally became the Royal Federation of Malaya Air Force, this date is celebrated as RMAF Day yearly.
On 25 October 1960, after the end of the Malayan Emergency, the British Royal Air Force handed over their first base in Malaya to the RFMAF, at Simpang Airport; it was established on 1 June 1941, in Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur which was formerly part of Selangor and the national capital city.
The first aircraft for the fledgling air force was a Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer named “Lang Rajawali” by the then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. Several Malayans serving with the Royal Air Force transferred to the Royal Federation of Malaya Air Force. The role played by TUDM was limited initially to communications and the support of ground operations against Communist insurgents during the Malayan Emergency. TUDM received its first combat aircraft with the delivery of 20 Canadair CL41G Tebuans (an armed version of the Canadair Tutor trainer). TUDM also received Aérospatiale Alouette III helicopters, to be used in the liaison role.
With the formation of the Malaysian Federation on 16 September 1963, the name of the force was changed to "Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia" or Royal Malaysian Air Force". New types introduced into service included the Handley Page Herald transport and the De Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou. TUDM received Sikorsky S-61A-4 helicopters in the late sixties and early seventies which were used in the transport role. TUDM gained an air defence capability when the Australian Government donated 10 ex-RAAF CAC Sabre fighters. These were based at the Butterworth Air Base.
After the withdrawal of British military forces from Malaysia and Singapore at the end of 1971, a five-nation agreement between Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom was concluded to ensure defence against external aggression. The Royal Australian Air Force maintained two Mirage IIIO squadrons at the Butterworth Air Base as part of its commitment to the Five Power Defence Agreement. These squadrons were withdrawn in 1986, although occasional deployments of RAAF aircraft continue.
With the withdrawal of British military forces, TUDM underwent gradual modernisation from the 1970s to the 1990s. The Sabres were replaced by 16 Northrop F-5E Tiger-IIs. A reconnaissance capability was acquired with the purchase of two RF-5E Tigereye aircraft. TUDM also purchased 88 ex-US Navy Douglas A-4C Skyhawks, of which 40 of the airframes were converted/refurbished by Grumman Aircraft Engineering at Bethpage into the A-4PTM ('Peculiar To Malaysia'), configuration (similar to A-4M standard). TUDM has traditionally looked to the West for its purchases, primarily to the United States. However, limitations imposed by the US on "new technology" to the region, such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM fire-and-forget air-to-air missile, has made TUDM consider purchases from Russia and other non-traditional sources.
The '90s saw the arrival of first the BAE Hawk Mk108/208 which replaced the T/A-4PTMs, followed by the MiG-29N/NUB in 1995 in the air superiority role and delivery of the F/A-18D Hornet in 1997 to provide an all weather interdiction capability. In 2003 a contract was signed for eighteen Su-30MKMs for delivery in 2007 to fulfill a requirement for an initial order of multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA). A requirement for a further eighteen MRCAs remains unfulfilled. TUDM is also looking for an AWACS aircraft, although no firm orders have been placed.
On 8 December 2005 four Airbus Military A400M aircraft were ordered to enhance the airlift capability. The first Malaysian A400M will be delivered in 2016. In late 2006, the Government signed a contract to purchase eight Aermacchi MB-339CMs to add to the eight MB-339AMs already in service.
In March 2007, then-Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Najib Tun Razak notified the public that the MiG-29s would continue in service until 2010. Later that year, Najib announced the Nuri (Sikorsky S-61A-4) helicopter, in service since 1968 with 89 crew members killed in 15 accidents, would be phased out by 2012 and replaced by the Eurocopter EC725. Deputy RMAF Chief Lieutenant General Bashir Abu Bakar told the media after opening Heli-Asia 2007, that tender assessment for the replacement of the Sikorsky S-61A-4 would occur in early 2008.
In June 2009, RMAF chief General Azizan Ariffin said that the air force would replace their MiG-29s with aircraft that have better agility and the capability to attack enemy forces.
At the 12th Defence Services Asia (DSA) exhibition 2010, a Letter of Agreement (LOA) was signed for 12 EC725 helicopters to be supplied to the RMAF. With that, EADS, (the European Aeronautical Defence and Space Company), has pledged 100 million Euros to set up a comprehensive helicopter centre in Subang for an aeronautical academy, training, simulation and a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility for the EC725 Cougar military version and the EC225 civilian model.
|Sukhoi Su-30MKM||Multirole Aircraft||Su-30MKM||18||An advanced version of all Su-30 family and highly specialised version for the Royal Malaysian Air Force. Can be equipped with KNIRTI SAP-518 advanced jamming pod for electronic warfare role|
|Mikoyan MiG-29||Air superiority fighter, Interceptor aircraft||MiG-29N||10||Only 10 out of 18  airworthy due to lack of spare parts. Will be retired in 2015. The replacement for MiG-29 is currently narrowed down to 4 types of aircraft (Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Saab JAS 39 Gripen)|
|Boeing F/A-18 Hornet||All weather multi-role fighter||F/A-18D||8||Upgraded in 2011.The upgrade includes GPS improvements,a color, moving-map cockpit display,IFF Interrogation capabilities and addition of Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System.The upgrades also make the RMAF’s F/A-18Ds more compatible with the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Capable of, and intended for multirole missions at sea and maritime interdiction. Operable at night/in all weather.|
|BAE Hawk||Light attack aircraft||Mk.208||13||Upgrade in 2010 to enhance the capabilities. Being used as a fighter-bomber. Provides support for MIG-29 and SU-30 MKM.|
|Northrop F-5||Interceptor and Reconnaissance||F-5 Tiger II
|13||Active reserve interceptor and reconnaissance. 11 F-5 Tiger II and 2 RF-5E Tigereye|
|Transport Aircraft/Aerial refueling/Patrol|
|Airbus A400M||Long range Military transport||A400M||0||4 on order. Will receive first batch in 2015.|
|Lockheed C-130 Hercules||Tactical transport,Maritime patrol and Aerial refueling||C-130H
|15||10 C-130H,1 C-130MP and 4 KC-130T. C-130MP is can be reconfigured into tactical airlift. All aircraft are to be upgraded.|
|CASA CN-235||VIP transport and Light military transport||CN-235-220M-VIP
|8||Military transport for army airborne (PAC) and humanitarian uses.|
|Beechcraft Super King Air||Maritime patrol aircraft||B200T||4||Equipped with tactical command system, one master search radar and one forward looking infrared system.|
|Cessna 402||Light transport aircraft||402B||10|
|Boeing Business Jet||VIP transport||BBJ1(737-700)||1||Used for the Prime Minister and/or Deputy Prime Minister.|
|Bombardier Global Express||VIP transport||BD700||1||-|
|Dassault Falcon 900||VIP transport||900B||1||-|
|Airbus 319||VIP transport||A319CJ||1||PMB/RMAF|
|Fokker F28 Fellowship||VIP transport||F28-1000||1 ( stored )|
|Aermacchi MB-339||Training aircraft||MB-339AM
|8||6 lost in accident. Replaced by 8 new MB-339CM.
|BAE Hawk||Training aircraft||Mk.108||6|
|Mikoyan MiG-29||Training aircraft||MiG-29NUB||2|
|Northrop F-5 Tiger II||Operational conversion unit||F-5F||4|
|Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer||Training aircraft||PC-7
PC-7 Mk II
|MD3-160 Aerotiga||Training aircraft||Unknown||20|
|Aérospatiale Alouette III||Training helicopter||SA-316B
|13||Total of 26 received (not including 7× SA-316Bs transferred from Republic of Singapore Air Force in 1978/9), 10 transferred to Malaysian Army Aviation and 20 involved in crash and emergency landing in various incident.|
|Mk.1 and Mk.2||unknown||Malaysian made UAV use as coastal surveillance|
|CTRM Eagle ARV||Reconnaissance
|Helicopter and Non Fixed wing Aircraft|
|Eurocopter EC 725||Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR)||Super Cougar / Caracal||12||More orders to come to replace the aging fleet of S61A-4 Nuri.|
|Sikorsky S-61 Sea King||Transport (Multipurpose)||S61A-4 Nuri||29||Multipurpose transport and utility. Carrying troops, supplies, rations & humanitarian aid. To be upgraded with new engine, gearbox and rotor blade. Some units will possibly be handed to Malaysian Army Aviation
1 lost to crash 22 December 2013.
|Agusta A109||Multipurpose||A109C||1||Stored to be reverse engineered.|
|Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk||VIP transport||S-70||2||VIP transport.|
|Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King||VIP transport||AS-61N1||2||VIP transport.|
- TUDM Butterworth, Penang (RMAF Butterworth) , Penang
- TUDM Kuantan, Pahang (RMAF Kuantan) satellite imagery
- TUDM Gong Kedak, Kelantan (RMAF Gong Kedak) satellite imagery
- TUDM Kuala Lumpur (RMAF Simpang)
- TUDM Subang, Selangor (RMAF Subang) , Selangor
- TUDM Kuching, Sarawak (RMAF Kuching)
- TUDM Labuan (RMAF Labuan)
- TUDM Alor Setar, Kedah (RMAF Alor Setar) (Air Force Academy)
- TUDM Ipoh, Perak (RMAF Ipoh) (Air Force School)
- TUDM Bukit Lunchu Johor (RMAF Skn 323)(Control and Reporting Post)
- TUDM Kinrara, Selangor (RMAF Kinrara) (School of Logistic Management; also houses a central hospital facility)
- TUDM Bukit Jugra, Selangor (RMAF Bukit Jugra) (PASKAU headquarters)
- TUDM Bukit Ibam, Pahang (RMAF Bukit Ibam)
- 1st Division
- 2 Squadron – Fokker F-28 Fellowship, Falcon 900, Global Express, Boeing BBJ (737–700), Subang AFB
- 3 Squadron – S-61A4A Nuri, Butterworth AFB
- 6 Squadron – BAE Hawk 108/Hawk 208, Kuantan AFB
- 10 Squadron – Eurocopter EC-725, Kuantan AFB
- 11 Squadron – Su-30MKM Flanker, Gong Kedak AFB
- 12 Squadron – Northrop F-5E/F, RF-5E, Butterworth AFB
- 15 Squadron – BAE Hawk 108/208, Aermacchi MB-339AM, Butterworth AFB
- 16 Squadron – Beech 200T, Subang AFB
- 18 Squadron – Boeing F/A-18D Hornet, Butterworth AFB
- 19 Squadron – MiG 29N/UB, Kuantan AFB
- 20 Squadron – Lockheed C-130H Hercules, C-130T Subang AFB
- 2nd Division
- 1 Squadron – CN-235-220M, Kuching AFB
- 5 Squadron – S-61A4A, Nuri Labuan AFB
- 7 Squadron – S-61A4A, Nuri Kuching AFB
- 14 Squadron – Lockheed C-130H Hercules, Labuan AFB
- Training Division
- 1 FTC PC-7/PC-7 Mk II, Alor Setar AFB
- 2 FTC Alouette III Alor, Setar AFB
- 3 FTC MB-339AM/CM, Kuantan AFB
Ranks of the Royal Malaysian Air Force
Until the late 1970s, the Royal Malaysian Air Force used the same officer ranking system as the Royal Air Force. They were replaced by army-style designations and given Malay title equivalents, but the sleeve insignia remained the same mirroring the RAF practice, but all General Officers wear 1 to 5 stars on the shoulder board in addition to the existing sleeve insignia. The list of ranks which are currently used are shown below (in descending order). NCOs and enlisted ranks remained unchanged, and retain their pre-1970s names.
|Equivalent NATO Code||Pre 1970s Rank||Current Rank|
|OF-10||Marshal of the Royal Malaysian Air Force||Marshal of the Royal Malaysian Air Force
(Marsyal Tentera Udara Di Raja Malaysia)
|OF-9||Air Chief Marshal||General, RMAF (Jeneral, TUDM)|
|OF-8||Air Marshal||Lieutenant General, RMAF (Leftenan Jeneral, TUDM)|
|OF-7||Air Vice Marshal||Major General, RMAF (Mejar Jeneral, TUDM)|
|OF-6||Air Commodore||Brigadier General, RMAF (Brigedier Jeneral, TUDM)|
|OF-5||Group Captain||Colonel, RMAF (Kolonel, TUDM)|
|OF-4||Wing Commander||Lieutenant Colonel, RMAF (Leftenan Kolonel, TUDM)|
|OF-3||Squadron Leader||Major, RMAF (Mejar, TUDM)|
|OF-2||Flight Lieutenant||Captain, RMAF (Kapten, TUDM)|
|OF-1||Flying Officer||Lieutenant, RMAF (Leftenan, TUDM)|
|OF-1||Pilot Officer||Second Lieutenant, RMAF (Leftenan Muda, TUDM)|
|Officer Cadet||Officer Cadet (Pegawai Kadet)|
All officers, with the exception of the Marshal of the Royal Malaysian Air Force apply the Air Force acronym (RMAF, TUDM) to their rank title, to differentiate from their Malaysian Army equivalents. For example, a Colonel in the Air Force would be titled Colonel, RMAF or Kolonel, TUDM in Malay.
Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Enlisted personnel
- Warrant Officer 1 (Pegawai Waran 1)
- Warrant Officer 2 (Pegawai Waran 2)
- Flight Sergeant (Flait Sarjan)
- Air Sergeant (Sarjan Udara)
- Air Corporal (Koperal Udara)
- Leading Aircraftman (Laskar Udara Kanan)
- Aircraftman 1st Class (Laskar Udara I)
- Aircraftman (Laskar Udara II)
- Aircraftman Recruit (Perajurit Muda)
Royal Malaysian Air Force Regiment
The RMAF Regiment is the ground and air defence support unit of the RMAF. It is composed of the various units of the regiment tasked to fulfill the RMAF's mission and vision. These units are:
- PASKAU TUDM (Special Air Service, RMAF)
- RMAF Provost Unit
- RMAF Infantry
- RMAF Ground Air Defence Artillery
The special arm of the RMAF is known as PASKAU (a Malay acronym for Pasukan Khas Udara, which loosely means 'Special Air Service'), and is part of the RMAF Regiment. PASKAU was formed in response to a mortar attack by the then Communist Party of Malaya on a DHC-4 Caribou in the 1970s at the Kuala Lumpur Air Base. During peacetime, the unit is tasked with responding to aircraft hijacking incidents as well as protecting the country's numerous RMAF airbases and civilian airports. Its wartime roles include ground designation, sabotaging of enemy air assets and equipment and the defence of RMAF aircraft and bases. This unit is also deployed for counter-terrorism duties as well as Urban warfare/Close quarters combat.
RMAF Provost Unit
This is the military police unit of the RMAF Regiment, mandated to provide military police duties in RMAF air bases.
The Kris Sakti (English: Magic Dagger) is the recently founded aerobatic display team of the Royal Malaysian Air Force.It makes its debut on 2011 Langkawi International Maritime and Air Show on December 2011. They operated four Extra 300L aircraft.
Missing jet engines scandal
In May 2008, two J85-GE-21 engines that power the Northrop F-5E Tiger II fighter jets belonging to the Royal Malaysian Air Force were reported missing, as of sometime in 2007, from an RMAF warehouse in Kuala Lumpur during Najib's tenure as Defence Minister in Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's Cabinet. The jet engines belonged to the 12th Squadron (Scorpion) based in Butterworth. The issue became a matter of political dispute, and it was reported a brigadier-general, 40 other armed forces personnel, had been sacked over the incident. On 6 January 2010, two Malaysians, an Airman (Sergeant) and a civilian contractor, were charged in connection with the theft and disposal of both engines.
Engines diverted to Uruguay
On 5 February 2010, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail revealed that the two missing engines had been found in Uruguay with the help of the government there and the Malaysian government is proceeding with the necessary measures to secure their return. Investigations showed that the engines were taken out of the RMAF base on 20 December 2007 and 1 Jan 2008, and sent to a warehouse in Subang Jaya before being shipped out of Malaysia to South America.
A Royal Malaysian Airforce Sukhoi Su-30MKM
A Royal Malaysian Airforce Boeing F/A-18 Hornet during Cope Taufan 2012
- Note: Originally founded as Malaysian Auxiliary Air force in 1936
- "Malaysian Armed Forces". GlobalSecurity.org.
- Malaysia: Military plane delivery delayed
- "RMAF’s two new copters arrive". Eurocopter Malaysia.
- International Tender For Nuri Replacement To Open Soon
- "TUDM tunggu keputusan kerajaan ganti MiG-29N". Utusan Malaysia.
- Malaysian military aviation OrBat
- "Sukhoi, Malaysia Sign $100 Mln Deal on Fighters' Maintenance". March 28, 2013.
- "Malaysia Invests In Sukhoi Fighter Readiness". June 28, 2013.
- "Sukhoi Malaysia Dilengkapi Knirti". November 12, 2013.
- "AMR Air Force Directory 2013". Asian Military Review.
- Defence ministry mulls RM30bil for new fighter jets
- Boeing, Eurofighter Hope To Nab Malaysia’s MRCA Contract
- "Malaysia wants to buy 18 fighter aircraft by 2015". March 29, 2013.
- "Russia Offers Upgrade Package for RMAF's MiG-29Ns". June 21, 2013.
- "Russia to Offer Post-Sales Services for Malaysia Jet Deal". July 12, 2013.
- "Malaysia Has An Option Now To Consider Advanced Super Hornets". September 27, 2013.
- Malaysia to receive first A400M in January 2015
- "New RMAF Plane Plays Three Roles". October 10, 2013.
- "TUDM Perlu 27 Eurocopter EC725". December 20, 2012.
- "EC-725 Akan Ditempatkan di Kuantan dan Sabah". January 2, 2013.
- "No Plan To Dispose Of Nuri Helicopters - Armed Forces Chief". February 4, 2013.
- This rank is only used by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the Supreme Commander of the Malaysian Armed Forces.
- The Chief of Defence Force and the Chief of the Air Force hold this four-star rank.
- This three-star rank is bestowed on the commanders of the various RMAF commands, and by the Vice Chief of the Air Force.
- "PASKAU". Laman Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia.
- "Stolen engines case was covered up from the start". Malaysian Insider. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- "PM: Fighter jet engine reported stolen to cops". TheStar Online. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- "Two Malaysian Indians charged with aircraft engine theft". Deccan Herald (India). Retrieved 7 January 2010.
- "Missing jet engines found". TheStar Online. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- "El enigma de los motores de F-5 robados". El Pais.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Royal Malaysian Air Force.|
- RMAF Official Website
- Malaysian Armed Forces Official Website
- Malaysian Ministry of Defense Official Website
- Scramble, Malaysian Forces Overview, Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM)
- Royal Malaysian Air Force Museum
- Bases and Squadrons