20th Anniversary of Fulcrum Service

SHAH ALAM: A ceremony was held to mark the 20th anniversary of the Fulcrum service in RMAF at the Kuantan air base on Friday. As usual the ceremony was by invitation only.

The 20th year anniversary was not only a milestone but as the question remains over the plane’s retirement, this year’s event was somewhat poignant.

Whatever your opinion about the Fulcrums, it was a career booster for anyone who had ever flown it, especially for those who rose to command the two squadrons, the 17th and 19th (now dormant). Tan Sri Rodzali Daud, the Fuclrum project leader, was the previous air force chief, while two members of the four man team, Lt Jen Datuk Seri Affandi Bujang and Lt Jen Datuk Seri Ackbal Samad are the deputy chief of RMAF and Air Operations chief (respectively).

Both generals were present at the 20th anniversary ceremony. Apart from the get-together of former pilots and ground crew, a dinner was also held to mark the anniversary.

RMAF Mig-29N M43-08 at its QRA hangar in 2014.
RMAF Mig-29N M43-08 at its QRA hangar in 2014.

Affandi was the leader of the Smokey Bandits, the Fulcrum air display team, while Ackbal who was the first 17th Sqdn CO is credited with developing the Mig-29N simulator which is still operational in Kuantan.

There is two version of the simulator, a cockpit procedural trainer (picture below) and the full mission simulator which is used to train complex air-to-air scenario.

The Mig-29 simulator that was developed in-house by RMAF. This is the basic cockpit procedural trainer.
The Mig-29 simulator that was developed in-house by RMAF. This is the basic cockpit procedural trainer.

Watch the MIG-29 QRA demonstration at Kuantan Air base.

— Malaysian Defence

If you like this post, buy me an espresso. Paypal Payment

About Marhalim Abas 2207 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Happy 20th anniversary tudm mig-29’s

    If their service in tudm is ending, I really hope that they would find a new home in another airforce. Given its needed periodic overhauls, it is perfectly serviceable for maybe 10-15 more years.

  2. Through out 20 yrs of service how many were lost and what were the circumstances ?

    I believed two were lost in crashes. RMAF never issued official statement on the reasons for both crashes but both pilots survived.

  3. Happy 20th anniversary! Wish u will fly another 20th years like those legacy jet havin by others country..a-4 skyhawk, mig-21 fishbed,f-5 tiger, f-4 phantom n so on

  4. @ mofaz

    AFAIK 2 were lost, 1 caused by engine failure.

    total received:

    16 single seater N (2 lost)

    2 twin seat NUB

    2 airframes for maintenance training

    By the way,

    did they paint a mig-29 with a special livery for this 20th aniversary?

    From the pictures I saw , no.

  5. So I would presume that the Procedural Motion Trainer and the Full Mission Trainer have replaced the ones supplied by CAE?


    From what I read many years ago, we received one airframe for ground training/instruction.

    It was probably supplied by CAE but developed locally…

  6. This jet has served the country really well. I bet first time when we received this beast, it sent shivers through their spines whoever they were who have ill intentions toward this beloved country. Really would love to see our Mig29 fly beyond 2015. During its glorious 20 years protecting our sovereignty, have our Migs got involved in any incidents with any hostiles?

  7. Congrats for the 20 years of service. If we cant afford to buy new mrca, cant hope for donations of dome sort, then its better to upgrade the planes. Most important being airframe upgrades, engine replacement eith newer versions of the current engines, new radar n the humb back to carry more fuel.

  8. If I were a multi-billionaire, then I would donate 2 or 3 billion dollars to TUDM and TLDM. They could then buy whatever “toys” they need for this country’s defence.

    I know, I know. It is only a pipe dream. But I really wish that our boys in uniform could have the necessary equipment to do their jobs efficiently and to the best of their ability.

  9. Actually, when it was announced that we were buying both the Fulcrum and Hornet nobody could understand why we were not standardising on a single type. Added to the fact that the purchase was for a relatively small number of airframes, I really doubt it would have send shivers to anybody’s spine. Interestingly, we never announced that the Fulcrums we were receiving were actually examples built for but never delivered to the Soviet/Russian airforce.

    What made people uncomfortable was not the Fulcrum but reports that we would order the Adder and the wiring of our Fulcrums, as part of an upgrade, to enable the carrying of Adder. During that period nobody in the immediate neighbourhood had a BVR missile and the Adder was touted as super canggih. The Thais publicly announced that they would arm their 8 Hornets (later cancelled) with AMRAAM to counter the Adder.

  10. Azlan

    We went through the topic of the migs a few thread back i think.. yes it was not a 100 pcnt satisfactory buy but it had it pros and cons.

    If i was not mistaken the singaporean and the thais had sparrows 4 their f16 long before we had the migs. We werent the first to have bvr capability.

  11. Shed,

    Really? What pros? The main reason we got them was the Russians accepted part payment in palm oil, we were hoping that it would lead to greater business/economic ties with Russia, they came cheap (the deal did not include a support package) and the Russians agreed to set up and partly own a depot level maintenance centre. At the end of the day, despite whatever pros we may have obtained, saddling the RMAF with 2 front line types was a stupid mistake that placed unnecessary strain on its logistical and training infrastructure. Viewed objectively from a purely military and not from a “national interests” viewpoint; there were more cons than pros.

    The RTAF and RSAF I believe got their BVRs later. I’m unaware of RTAF or RSAF F-16As equipped with Sparrows during that period.

  12. Azlan

    “Viewed objectively from a purely military and not from a “national interests” viewpoint; there were more cons than pros”
    According from the above statement there still some cons what…. Are we going into the same argument again my freind? U got ur point of view and i respect that but i still believe the migs served their intended purpose.

    Sorry it was my mistake. The RSAF hadnt recieve their sparrows not untill their peace carvin II program.. My bad.

  13. Tomahawk,

    Adder was not bought to “counter” anything. It was bought for the MKMs. Despite all the speculation that it armed the Fulcrums; it never did.

    In the 1997/1998 period when the Fulcrums were wired to take R-77 the missile wasn’t ready for export. Vympel was in financial trouble and it was only orders from China and India that enabled the company to complete development of the missile.

  14. Shed, Azlan,

    As far as I’m concern RSAF got their hands on bvr earlier by obtaining sparrow which followed by tudm in which packaged with the hornets. bvr doesnt represent adder and amraam. Amraam and adder represent arh missile. Beyond visual range kill can be done by sparrow or phoenix.

  15. P.S. ”Mexico” is I believe a euphemism for ”Israel” and is in reference to when an IDF training team in Singapore were described as ”Mexicans”. The ”certain BVR” he refers to is Derby, for which a certain customer a few years ago requested that the OEM include a mid course guidance capability.

  16. It is well reported that AMRAAM was sold to Singapore after Malaysia acquired the Adder, the missiles were initially kept in the US to be released in war.

    As for the Sparrow, I do know it was in service with the RSAF as of 1998 -visited an open day- but am not aware of the in service date.

    “Adder was bought to counter certain bvr in rsaf from Mexico”

    I highly doubt this. Looked at another way, you could say the rumoured Israeli AAMs were bought to counter the introduction of Sparrow with our Hornets around the same period, before we bought Adder as a response to that.

    The RSAF has never admitted it operated Israeli AAMs even while it openly operates Spyder, G550, F-16I Block 50/52s and other Israeli systems. They might well exist, but it is also very likely that they do not.

    I doubt Malaysia bought Adder as a response to anything. Malaysia has introduced first of its kind weapons to the region before. More often than not, it does nothing with any sort of urgency to match the introduction of new weapons by its neighbours. It should be noted that the best counter to a weapon is often not the introduction of the same kind.

  17. John Rambo,

    Missiles like Sparrow, Skyflash, Phoenix, Amos, Super 530. Alamo, AMRAAM, Derby, Meteor, Adder and MICA are all “beyond visual range” missiles. The difference between Sparrow and AMRAAM is that Sparrow is a “semi active radar homing” missile and AMRAAM is an “active radar homing” missile : both are “beyond visual range” missiles as opposed to a “within visual range” missile.

    Although missiles like AMRAAM and Adder are often called “fire and forget” they still have to be guided by radar but go independent until the seeker goes into the terminal phase. Irrespective of whether ‘semi active radar homing” or “active radar homing a missile that is able to engage a target beyond the sight of a launching aircraft is designated a “beyond visual range” missile.

  18. “The R-77 never armed our Fulcrum”

    That’s a real waste of the Fulcrum’s potential and big negative for its survival in combat, whether or not the enemy has BVRAAMs. On another note if the Fulcrums have never carried the R-77 after we acquires it, I suppose they lack the capability to carry it at all.

    Were our Fulcrums actually made for the Soviet / Russian air force?

    MAPO sits on a mountain of new and used parts and it has been known to piece these together for customers.

    Did they do this for our Fulcrums, with or without our knowledge? I don’t know. In 2012 a Fulcrum told me that apart from the aircraft’s specifications and MTBO, another factor that hinders maintenance is several parts are not interchangeable between aircraft. So the possibility is open.

    The Fulcrums are operational with the AA-10 for BVR with the R-73 for WVR. Open source records however indicated that it was only delivered in 2007.

  19. Marhalim

    Wasnt the Migs equip with the R -27 @ Alamo missile long before that Marhalim? Ive found a few photo of ordnance crews fitting the missile to the migs during the late 90’s. Or was it just inert missiles??

    I said open source, unless you got it someone else. AFAIK most pictures of the missiles on RMAF aircraft are inert ones.

  20. AM,

    No. Our Fulcrums were capable of using R-77 as all the single seaters were wired for it at ATSC with Russian help (the upgrade also included a new radar, mission computer and fuel probes). At that time, nobody knew that Vympel would experience problems and that the company would only be able to export R-77 years later. At Churinga 1996 we performed simulated launches against RAAF Hornets. By the early 2000’s we had already ordered the MKMs and had been informed we were cleared for AMRAAM so I guess arming the Fulcrums with R-77 wasn’t a priority.

    It is known for a fact that all Fulcrums exported from the late 1990’s to the mid 2000’s were actually originally built for but never delivered to the Russian air force. The only source which mentions that our Fulcrums were originally intended for Russia is Yefim Gordon. He is a Soviet/ Russian military aviation writer.

  21. P.S. Not “late” 1990s but “early”.

    We knew fully well that our Fulcrums were uncompleted examples that were stored after the Russian government couldn’t pay for them. The 8 Mil-35s that we were offered along with the Fulcrums were also uncompleted examples originally intended for Russia.

  22. I thought SIPRI recorded we received around 150 AA 10 (A) from Ukraine in 1995-1997?

    Yes you are right, Kamal, my mistake.

  23. Surprised we were willing to annoy the Russians by buying from the Ukraine. The Russians for many years refused to provide any support for the Peruvian Fulcrums sourced from Belarus. When it comes to numbers, I always take anything provided by SIPRI and the UN Arms Register with caution.

  24. @ azlan

    Remember 1995 scenario was totally different than 2015. There are some manufacturing plants that was left in Ukraine after the Soviet collapse, and those items are manufactured in Ukraine but bought with contracts with Russia. Most of the r-27 missile manufacturing plant is in Ukraine. Even now a lot of components for Russian missiles are made in Ukraine.

    Thats probably the reason the R77 development got delayed. The Russian authorities must had Vympel move the development of the project to its mainland instead of Ukraine.

  25. If the Fulcrum is retired, I’m wondering if a new demonstration team will be formed at 11 Squadron with the MKM.

    Pilots will be transferred to other types so it’s possible at least some with experience in the Smokey Bandits will fly the MKM.

    There won’t be too many pilots to transfer. The retirement has been planned for a long time and the air force will have adjusted the training pipeline accordingly.

    Something the MiG-29 has that Western types don’t is a built in laser rangefinder for air-air use. I can’t find much information on this- I’m not sure if it is fixed or integrated with the IRST and moves with the pilot’s helmet mounted sight. Alexander Zuyev’s book mentioned that he would use it to find the range for gun kills. Leaves me wondering, if he is able to line up the target to use it, why bother?

  26. @ am

    The laser rangefinder is a part of the irst system.

    Other western fighters with irst such as the rafale, also have the air-air laser rangefinder.

    One of the reasons that the MKM has laser warning sensors is to detect systems such as the irst sensors, and laser beam riding manpads such as starstreak.

  27. ……..,

    Various components used in various Russian systems are made in the Ukraine. The decision by the Ukraine to stop supplying these parts worries the Russians as it will take some for Russian companies to fill in the void.

    As far as the Russians are concerned; various licensing agreements signed with Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact partners call for licensed stuff to be used only internally. Any stuff exported by a Warsaw Pact partner during the Cold War came with Soviet approval.

    Post Cold War, any stuff exported by Poland or the Ukraine or Belarus is a violation of the licensing agreement as the property rights belong to Russia – this is the Russian position. Back in 1995 us buying from the Ukraine would still have annoyed Russia as Russia sees itself as the only entity that has the legal right to export the missiles. The Russian position would have been for us to order the missiles via Rosvooruzenie and not from the Ukraine.


    Use of the laser range finder is used with caution as it’s not eye safe. It’s part of the IRST. Most accounts state that the IRST is a passive detection device. True but it’s also intended to cue the cannons.

  28. I’m still a little confused. Lasing the target with will take time. Also, between the time the target is lased off-boresight and the time it is lined up for the cannon on-boresight, the range would have changed. What’s the point of this device?

  29. @ am

    The point of the laser rangefinder is to have the target position known (range and location in space) at all time, similar to how the radar works. So with this, the target position could be displayed on hud or radar screen as if it is tracked by radar.

  30. The laser rangefinder is useful when the IRST picks up a contact and you use it to find the range to said contact. This part I understand.

    But Alexander Zuyev’s book said that he used it in a training dogfight to find the range when he was going for a gun kill. He did mention that he knew the laser might blind the other pilot and he took the chance. This is the part I don’t understand. Why was it necessary to find range?

    Time is of the essence. Firstly the rangefinder takes precious time to use. Secondly the range changes every second. Thirdly you must point the aircraft at a target to lase it. But to shoot it, you must aim ahead where it will be when the cannon shells arrive.

  31. indirect message to Russia, we not breakup but we may not further tight the relationship if MH-17 not settle…

    Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday reiterated Malaysia’s disappointment over the United Nations’ failure to adopt the resolution to set up an international tribunal to look into the downing of MH17 because a veto was imposed.

    “We will continue to seek justice through other legal options, because we owe it to the families of those who perished in this outrageous crime,” he said at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly yesterday.

  32. Am

    The irst uses lasers to find the range of its target. This is then send to the balistic computer 4 adjusting the correct lead and aiming of the pipper so much like the radar ranging gun sight. The same type of system is found on modern main bttle tanks i believe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.