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Royal Malaysian Air Force - Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM)

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (Malay: Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia) was formed in 1958 as the Royal Malayan Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Persekutuan). However, its roots could be traced to the Malayan Auxiliary AF formations of the British Royal Air Force in then colonial Malaya.

Early years

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 Malayan 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 the first combat aircraft with the delivery of 20 Canadair CL41G Tebuan (an armed version of the Canadair Tutor trainer). TUDM also received the Aérospatiale Alouette III helicopters, used in the liaison role.

With the formation of Malaysian Federation on September 16, 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 the Sikorsky S-61A-4 helicopters in the late sixties and early seventies and used in the transport role. TUDM gained an air defence capability when the Australian Government donated 10 ex-RAAF Commonwealth Aviation CA27 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 defense against external aggression. The Royal Australian Air Force maintained a Mirage IIIO squadron at the Butterworth Air Base as part of its commitment to the Five Power Defence Agreement. This squadron has been withdrawn since 1983 though occasional deployments of RAAF aircraft continue.


With the withdrawal of the British military forces, TUDM underwent gradual modernisation in the 1970s and through the 1990s. The CA27 Sabre were replaced by 16 Northrop F-5E Tigers. A reconnaissance capability was acquired with the purchase of 4 RF-5E Tigereye aircraft. TUDM also purchased 88 surplus Ex US Navy McDonnell Douglas A-4C Skyhawks and Grumman Bethpage refurbished 40 of the airframes into the A-4PTM configuration (similar to A-4M standard). TUDM has looked to the west for its purchases, primarily to the United States. However, limitation imposed by the United States on “new technology’ to the region such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM fire and forget air to air missiles has made TUDM to consider purchases from Russia and other eastern bloc nations.

The 90's saw the arrival first with the BAE Hawk Mk108/208 which replaced the T/A-4PTM's followed by the MiG-29N/NUB in 1995 to take on the air superiority role, and finally the delivery of the F/A-18D Hornet in 1997 to provide the all weather interdictor capability. In 2003 a contract was signed for eighteen Su-30MKM's for delivery in 2006/2007 to complement the MiG-29s. TUDM has also been offered a deal to exchange their F/A-18D for the more capable F/A-18F Super Hornet models coming into service with the US Marines. However, interest in this exchange seems to have cooled down. TUDM is also looking for an AWACS aircraft, though no firm orders have been placed.

Ten Mi-171Sh (Mi-8AMTSh) helicopters worth $120 million were ordered in 2003. These helicopters will probably be used in the (C)SAR role as support for the ageing S-61 Nuri's. Another 39 Mi-171's could be purchased. The requirement for attack helicopters remain unfulfilled at present, though an armed version of the Agusta A109 has been considered. Interest in the Denel Rooivalk seems to have cooled down as well.

On 8 December 2005 four Airbus Military A400M aircraft were ordered to enhance the airlift capability. The first Malaysian aircraft will be delivered in 2013. On 18 July 2006, the Government announced that it was in preliminary discussions to purchase 8 Aermacchi MB-339CDs to add to the 10 older MB-339As currently in service.

source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

TUDM MiG-29N Fulcrum-A
TUDM F/A-18D Hornet
TUDM MiG-29N Fulcrum-A
TUDM MiG-29NUB Fulcrum-B
TUDM F-5E Tiger II
TUDM RF-5E Tigereye
Malaysia AF
TUDM MiG-29N Fulcrum-A

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