The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) will not retire its Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29N/NUB (“Fulcrum”) fighter jet at the end of 2015. In stead, they will keep flying until possibly 2020 or longer and will receive upgrades to keep them up-to-date.
Commanding General Datuk Seri Roslan Saad said during the 57th anniversary ceremony of the RMAF at Kuantan on 1 June 2015 that the MiG-29s have still valid capabilities, but that adaptions might be necessary to keep it that way.
The decision is a bit of a disappointment for aircraft manufacturers like SAAB (Gripen), Lockheed Martin (F-16), Dassault (Rafale), Sukhoi (Su-30/Su-35) and Russian Aircraft Corporation (MiG-35) which were hoping to sell new jets. For now RAC might have the best cards, if the RMAF possibly decides to upgrade its 10 MiG-29N single-seat and two MiG-29NUB two-seat jets to the MiG-29SMT standard.
Malaysia operates the Fulcrums since the 1990s. Based at Sultan Ahmed Shah / Kuantan (Pahang) RMAF Base, the type forms the small 17 & 19 Squadron.
A relatively minor incident with a Taiwanese Lockheed C-130H Hercules on Wednesday 26 May 2015 again puts the focus on the ongoing military and geopolitical play in the South Chinese Sea.
The Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) airlifter landed at Nansha Taiping Island to have officials of the ministries of Defence and Transportation plus the Coast Guard inspect recent upgrades and the modernization of the Zhengjian Taiping Airport runways, navaids and facilities. The airport is small as such, but compared to the size of the island the 4,000 feet long airstrip occupies almost the entire length of the island. A oversized habour is located south of it.
Lift-off back to Taiwan was aborted because of an apparent failure in one of the flaps. But after some mechanical work on the ground, the plane left just before the evening anyway with a five hour delay.
The Herc problem has again put the Spratlys – an archipellago of atolls, islands, islets, cays and reefs in the South Chinese Sea in between the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam – again in the footlight of the ongoing tensions in Asia. Although the Taiping Island in question is officially administered by Taiwan, it is situated 900 miles (1450 km) from the southern tip of the country. Mainland China (630 miles / 1020 km away), the Philippines (290 miles / 480 km), Malaysia (290 miles / 480 km) and Vietnam (380 miles / 610 km) say that the area is theirs as well.
During the last decades the countries have many times faced each other, but so far not with any serious military escalation yet. But as the search for oil and power intensifies with an ever strong mainland China, many wonder for how long the status quo can be maintained.
Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus will deliver the five PC-7 Mark II aircraft ordered by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF/TUDM) at the end of 2016, sources in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur confirmed on 18 May 2015.
The prop trainers will be added to the 16 PC-7 Mark IIs already operated by the Air Force’s 1 Flight Training Centre and Flight Instructor School based at Alor Setar / Sultan Abdul Halim RMAF Base. The other aircraft were purchased between 1999 and 2006, but the RMAF has a wish to replace all 32 older Mark I versions of the Swiss trainer that have served the Asian country since the 1980s.
According to Malaysian media the Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia will outsource the basic training of helicopter pilots to a private company that flies six Eurocopter EC120s. Much more on the Royal Malaysian Air Force you can read
in our extensive ↑ Overview: Air Forces of Malaysia.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF or Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia (TUDM)) sole Falcon 900B VIP jet is a cool lady again. RUAG Aviation in Geneva, Switzerland, finished an an extensive upgrade, done under contract with Malaysia’s Airod Sdn Bhd.
First the RUAG experts put the Falcon 900B through a very thorough inspection of the aircraft and systems (C-check). But the Swiss company was also contracted to update and overhaul the aircraft’s avionics as well as fully renovate the cabin. And all in a relatively short time frame of a few months to rotate the jet back into service with the RMAF.
RUAG Aviation installed a new Honeywell Ovation cabin management system, their first undertaking of Ovation Select on a Falcon 900. In addition the upgrade also included fitment of innovative electronic dimming window shades from Vision Systems. This was the first such installation on any aircraft worldwide. Further the aircraft upgrade included installation of Airshow 4000 and Satcom 7000 systems as well as a fully renovated cabin interior including new seating and LED lighting.
Although the project was completed in November 2014, RUAG apparently kept things quiet a bit until this week – probably to give the RMAF first a change to put the upgraded Falcon 900B through a proper test phase of its own.
The Falcon 900 is one of the few business jets with three engines in production. It is known for its strong wings. The B-version is a revision of the original jet introduced in 1991. It has better engines and an improved range, compared to its older sister.
RUAG Aviation is mostly known as the principal life cycle support partner for the aircraft of the Swiss Air Force. The facility in Geneva is an authorized Service Center for Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault Falcon, Embraer, Piaggio and Pilatus as well as Major Service Center for Dornier, Hawker Beechcraft and the DHC-6 Twinotter. RUAG Aviation is also the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of the legendary Dornier 228 aircraft.
RMAF VIP fleet
Apart from the Falcon 900B the Royal Malaysian Air Force VIP fleet consists of a Boeing Business Jet 737-700 (prime minister’s flight), an Airbus A319CJ, a Bombardier Global Express 700, a Fokker F.28-1000 Fellowship, two Agusta (Sikorsky) AS-61N VIP helicopters and a pair of Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk choppers. The VIP fleet is primarily located at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah / Subang Air Base in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur
Aerial Power Lines Sdn Bhd (APL) will be the first to introduce the Airbus Helicopters H135 (fka EC135) helicopter in Helicopters Emergency Medical Service configuration, placing its order for two choppers this week at the LIMA 2015 Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition in Langkawi, Malaysia.
The company placed options for another six H135s, as well as two H175s (fka EC175) to support power line monitoring and utility work.
Once in service the H135 of APL will be the most technologically advanced H135 in Malaysia to date. The multi-mission twin-engine rotorcraft has been popular for HEMS missions, thanks to its sizable sliding side doors and rear clamshell doors to enable fast loading/unloading of patients, with additional safety during ground operations ensured by the shrouded Fenestron tail rotor.
APL presently owns an H135 and AS350 B3e (new name: H125), with a heavier-lift H225 to be delivered in mid-2015. The utilization of these helicopters range from passenger transport and utility to power grid management.
Notably, APL’s first two helicopters were successfully deployed for relief missions during the floods in Malaysia last December, delivering 16 tons of food and water into rural areas of the state of Kelantan. They will soon be chartered to GMC International for use in specialized aerial work. The three-year service agreement was signed during LIMA, where APL will provide their H125 and H135 for carrying out 3-D digital mapping work in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Cambodia.