Royal Malaysian Air Force

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Royal Malaysian Air Force
Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia
تنترا اودارا دراج مليسيا
Crest of Royal Malaysian Air Force.svg
Royal Malaysian Air Force Crest
Founded 2 June 1958; 60 years ago (1958-06-02)[1]
Country  Malaysia
Allegiance Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Branch Malaysian Armed Forces
Type Air force
Role Aerial warfare
Size 15,000 personnel (2003)[2]
297 active aircraft[3]
Patron Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Motto(s) "Sentiasa di Angkasa Raya"
(Always in the Sky)
Colours   Navy blue and   Maya blue
March "Perwira di Angkasa"
(Warriors in the Skies)
Anniversaries 2 June
Engagements Malayan Emergency
Sarawak Communist Insurgency
Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation
Communist insurgency in Malaysia (1968–89)
MV Bunga Laurel hijacking
Cross border attacks in Sabah (2013 standoff)
MT Orkim Harmony hijacking
Colonel-in-Chief HRH Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang
Chief of Air Force General Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Affendi bin Buang RMAF
Deputy Chief of Air Force Lieutenant General Dato’ Sri Ackbal bin Hj Abdul Samad RMAF
Air Force Ensign Air Force Ensign of Malaysia.svg
Roundel and Fin Flash Roundel of Malaysia.svg Roundel of Malaysia - Low Visibility.svg TUDM fin flash.svg
Aircraft flown
Fighter Sukhoi Su-30MKM, F/A-18D
Helicopter EC 725, S-61 Sea King, Sikorsky S-70 Alouette III,
Patrol Super King Air
Trainer BAE Hawk, MB-339, Pilatus PC-7
Transport Airbus A400M, C-130, CASA CN-235, 737,

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF; Malay: Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM); Jawi:تنترا اودارا مليسيا) was formed on 2 June 1958 as the Royal Federation of Malaya Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Persekutuan Tanah Melayu; تنترا اودارا دراج ڤرسكوتون تانه ملايو). 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 American, European and Russian-made aircraft.


Early years

Labuan Air Base with CAC Sabre in 1965, today became the main airfield for East Malaysia.

The Malaysian air forces trace their lineage to the Malayan Auxiliary Air Force formations of the Royal Air Force (RAF) formed in 1934. They later transformed into the Straits Settlements Volunteer Air Force (SSVAF) and the Malaya Volunteer Air Force (MVAF) formed in 1940 and dissolved in 1942 during the height of the Japanese advance over Malaya. The latter was re-established 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 (RFMAF), this date is celebrated as RMAF Day yearly.

On 25 October 1962, after the end of the Malayan Emergency, the RAF handed over their first airfields in Malaya to the RFMAF, at Simpang Airport; it was opened 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.

A Twin Pioneer Mk.1 "Lang Rajawali" (FM1064 c/n:583) on display at the Malacca Transport Museum.

With the formation of the Malaysian Federation on 16 September 1963, the name of the air 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 1960s and early 1970s which were used in the transport role. TUDM gained an air defence capability when the Australian Government donated 10 ex-Royal Australian Air Force (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 RAAF maintained two Mirage IIIO squadrons at RAF/RAAF Station Butterworth, Butterworth Air Base as part of its commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements. These squadrons were withdrawn in 1986, although occasional deployments of RAAF aircraft continue.


RMAF Sukhoi Su-30MKMs seen from top and bottom

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 1990s 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. By March 2017 all Malaysian A400Ms were delivered to the customer.[4] 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 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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] At the 12th Defence Services Asia (DSA) exhibition 2010,[8] a Letter of Agreement (LOA) was signed for 12 EC725 helicopters to be supplied to the RMAF.[9] 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.[10]

In late 2013, Vector Aerospace, a global independent provider of aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, with its subsidiary, Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services-North America ("HS-NA"), one of the world’s leading providers of helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services was chosen to carry out a comprehensive fully integrated glass cockpit installation for the S-61A-4 Nuri, breathing new life in an already well established platform, and giving a modern, reliable and cost effective product that will carry the S61A-4 Nuri well into the future. The Royal Malaysian Air Force currently has an MRCA replacement program to replace the MiG-29 and F-5 fighters that will be retired by the end of 2015.

The MRCA replacement program is currently narrowed down to 4 types of aircraft (Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Saab JAS 39 Gripen). Under the program, the RMAF is looking to equip three squadrons with 36 to 40 new fighter aircraft with a budget of RM6 billion to RM8 billion (US$1.84 billion to US$2.46 billion).[11]

In December 2017, the Royal Malaysian Air Force's Brigadier General Yazid Bin Arshad announced it had shortlisted four aircraft types to replace the force's ageing fleet of Beechcraft Super King Air maritime patrol aircraft. The selected types are the EADS CASA C-295 from Airbus, the P-8 Poseidon from Boeing, ATR 72 MP from ATR, a joint venture between Airbus and Leonardo, and the CASA/IPTN CN-235, which could be provided by either Airbus or Indonesian Aerospace, which acquired a licence to produce it. Brigadier General Yazid Bin Arshad added, however, that while "these four types are shortlisted, the door is not closed yet", indicating other options may still be possible.[12]

Airfields/Air bases

Airbases of the Royal Malaysian Air Force.
Royal Malaysian Air Force and US Air Force participating in Cope Taufan 2014



RMAF personnel performing combat air rescue at Cope Taufan 2012
  • 1st Division
    • 2 Squadron – Global Express, Boeing BBJ (737–700), Subang AFB
    • 3 Squadron – S-61A4A Nuri, Butterworth AFB
    • 10 Squadron – Eurocopter EC-725, Kuantan AFB
    • 11 Squadron – Su-30MKM Flanker, Gong Kedak AFB
    • 12 Squadron – Northrop F-5E/F, RF-5E,(retired) Butterworth AFB
    • 15 Squadron – BAE Hawk 108/208, Aermacchi MB-339CM, Butterworth AFB
    • 16 Squadron – Beech 200T, Subang AFB
    • 18 Squadron – Boeing F/A-18D Hornet, Butterworth AFB
    • 19 Squadron – MiG 29N/UB (retired), Kuantan AFB
    • 20 Squadron – Lockheed C-130H Hercules, KC-130T Subang AFB
    • 22 Squadron – Airbus A400M, Subang AFB
  • 2nd Division
    • 1 Squadron – CN-235-220M, Kuching AFB
    • 5 Squadron – Eurocopter EC-725, Labuan AFB
    • 6 Squadron – BAE Hawk 108/Hawk 208, Labuan AFB
    • 7 Squadron – S-61A4A, Nuri Kuching AFB
    • 14 Squadron – Lockheed C-130H Hercules, Labuan AFB
  • Training Division
    • 1 FTC PC-7 Mk II, Alor Setar AFB
    • 2 FTC EC-120B Alor, Setar AFB
    • 3 FTC MB-339CM, Kuantan AFB


Current inventory

A Malaysian Su-30MKM
A AS-61 “Nuri” rescue helicopter
A Malaysian CN-235 flies over RIAT 2006
A British Aerospace Hawk 200

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
BAE Hawk United Kingdom light attack Hawk 208 13[13]
Sukhoi Su-30 Russia multirole Su-30MKM 18[13]
Boeing F/A-18 United States multirole F/A-18D 8[13]
Maritime Patrol
Super King Air United States maritime patrol 200 3[13]
KC-130 Hercules United States aerial refuelling KC-130H 4[13]
CASA CN-235 Spain utility transport 7[13][14]
Airbus A400M France / Spain transport 4[13]
C-130 Hercules United States transport C-130H 10[13][15] one used for maritime patrol
Sikorsky S-70 United States VIP / utility 4[13] gifted from Brunei[16]
Sikorsky S-61 United States SAR / utility 25[13] being replaced by the EC 725[17]
Eurocopter EC 725 France SAR / utility 12[13]
Trainer Aircraft
BAE Hawk United Kingdom primary trainer Hawk 108 5[13]
Pilatus PC-7 Switzerland trainer PC-7 MkII 22[13]
Super King Air United States multi engine trainer 350 2[13]
Aermacchi MB-339 Italy jet trainer 7[13]
Eurocopter EC120 France rotorcraft trainer 5[13]
ScanEagle United States surveillance 2[18]
CTRM Eagle ARV Australia surveillance 1[18] developed from the Eagle 150 aircraft


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
Flag Officers
OF-10 Marshal of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (Marsyal Tentera Udara Di Raja Malaysia)[19]
OF-9 Air Chief Marshal General, RMAF (Jeneral, TUDM)[20]
OF-8 Air Marshal Lieutenant General, RMAF (Leftenan Jeneral, TUDM)[21]
OF-7 Air Vice Marshal Major General, RMAF (Mejar Jeneral, TUDM)
OF-6 Air Commodore Brigadier General, RMAF (Brigedier Jeneral, TUDM)
Senior Officers
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)
Junior Officers
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

List of Chiefs of the Royal Malaysian Air Force

No Name Tenure Begin Tenure End
1 Air Commodore Alexander Vallance Ridell Johnstone 30 November 1957 4 September 1958
2 Air Commodore Nicol Challis Hyde 5 September 1958 31 December 1959
3 Group Captain John Nichol Stacey 1 January 1960 19 May 1963
4 Group Captain C.S.J. West 20 May 1963 13 May 1965
5 Air Commodore Alasdair Mackay Sinclair Steedman 14 May 1965 31 October 1967
6 Air Vice Marshal Datuk Sulaiman Sujak 1 November 1967 31 December 1976
7 Lieutenant General Dato' Mohamed Taib 1 January 1977 24 August 1983
8 Lieutenant General Tan Sri Dato' Mohamad Ngah Said 24 August 1983 18 March 1990
9 Lieutenant General Dato Seri Mohd Yunus Mohd Tasi 19 March 1990 19 August 1993
10 Lieutenant General Dato Seri Abdul Ghani Abdul Aziz 19 August 1993 10 August 1996
11 General Tan Sri Dato' Seri Ahmad Saruji Che Rose 10 August 1996 12 June 2001
12 General Dato Sri Suleiman Hj Mahmud 12 June 2001 4 March 2003
13 General Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad 4 March 2003 4 April 2004
14 General Tan Sri Dato Sri Nik Ismail Nik Mahmud 4 April 2004 30 October 2006
15 General Tan Sri Dato Sri Azizan Ariffin 30 October 2006 31 August 2009
16 General Tan Sri Dato Sri Rodzali Daud 1 September 2009 11 September 2014
17 General Tan Sri Roslan Saad 12 September 2014 20 December 2016
18 General Tan Sri Dato Sri Affendi Buang 21 December 2016 current

Source:[22][better source needed]

Royal Malaysian Air Force Regiment

Two PASKAU officers on patrol at Langkawi Airport security gate during LIMA 2009

The RMAF Regiment is the ground and air defence support unit of the RMAF. The regiment is composed of four sub-units tasked with fulfilling the RMAF's mission. These units are:


The special forces arm of the RMAF is known as PASKAU (a Malay acronym for Pasukan Khas Udara, which loosely translates as 'Special Air Service'). 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.

RMAF Infantry
RMAF Ground Air Defence Artillery

Aerobatic team

The Kris Sakti (English: Magic Dagger) is the aerobatic display team of the Royal Malaysian Air Force. It made its debut on 2011 Langkawi International Maritime and Air Show in December 2011. They operated four Extra 300L aircraft.

See also


  1. ^ Note: founded as Malaysian Auxiliary Air force in 1936
  2. ^ "Malaysian Armed Forces". Global Security. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  3. ^ See Equipment of the Royal Malaysian Air Force.
  4. ^ "Fourth and Final A400M Delivered to Malaysia". Airheads Fly. 9 March 2017. Archived from the original on 10 March 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  5. ^ "RMAF's two new copters arrive". Eurocopter Malaysia. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  6. ^ "International Tender For Nuri Replacement To Open Soon". Bernama. 24 October 2007. Archived from the original on 24 January 2009. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  7. ^ "TUDM tunggu keputusan kerajaan ganti MiG-29N" (in Malay). Utusan Malaysia. 4 June 2009. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  8. ^ "DSA 2010: Asia's Largest Defence and Security Exhibition Closes on a 'High' Despite Challenges (Ministry of Defence Malaysia signs RM10.355 billion contracts)". Defence Services Asia. April 2010. Archived from the original on 3 November 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  9. ^ "Eurocopter likely to deliver 12 EC725 helicopters to Malaysia". Defense World. 21 April 2010. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Aerospace corp to set up copter centre in Subang". New Straits Times. 22 July 2010. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  11. ^ John Gilbert (18 March 2014). "Three fighter jet makers to submit leasing bids". The Malaysian Reserve. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  12. ^ Ridzwan, Rahmat (19 December 2017). "Malaysia discloses line of aircraft shortlisted for maritime patrol requirements". IHS Jane's 360. Archived from the original on 26 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "World Air Forces 2018". Flightglobal Insight. 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Brunei gives 4 Black Hawks to Malaysia". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  17. ^ "Malaysia's Eurocopter selection kicks up dirt". Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  18. ^ a b SIPRI
  19. ^ This rank is only used by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the Supreme Commander of the Malaysian Armed Forces.
  20. ^ The Chief of Defence Force and the Chief of the Air Force hold this four-star rank.
  21. ^ This three-star rank is bestowed on the commanders of the various RMAF commands, and by the Vice Chief of the Air Force.
  22. ^ "History of RMAF". Blogger. 26 October 2009. Retrieved 22 January 2015. [unreliable source?]

External links

  • RMAF Official Website
  • Malaysian Armed Forces Official Website
  • Malaysian Ministry of Defence Official Website
  • Scramble, Malaysian Forces Overview, Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM)
  • Royal Malaysian Air Force Museum
  • Bases and Squadrons
Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Royal Malaysian Air Force"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA