601 UAS Squadron Launched

A RMN ScanEagle UAV on its ground launcher. RMN

SHAH ALAM: 601 UAS Squadron launch. The RMN has formally launched up the 601 Squadron, which was established back in 2018 to operate the ScanEagle UAS system gifted by the US. The 601 is the first squadron to operate an UAS in Malaysian military service though the second operator after the military intelligence which operates the Schiebel camcopter UAS.

The launch ceremony was held at Sepanggar naval base in Kota Kinabalu where the squadron is currently headquartered. The RMN took formal delivery of the Scaneagle in February this year though the UAS was delivered in in May, last year.

RMN chief Adm Reza Sany being briefed on the Scaneagle UAS. RMN

From RMN

PELANCARAN SKUADRON SISTEM PESAWAT TANPA PEMANDU TLDM
4 Mac 2021 – TLDM melakar sejarah hari ini dengan pelancaran Skuadron 601 iaitu Skuadron Sistem Pesawat Tanpa Pemandu (Unmanned Aerial System) atau UAS di Stesen Udara TLDM Kota Kinabalu yang disempurnakan Panglima Tentera Laut, Laksamana Tan Sri Mohd Reza bin Mohd Sany. Majlis turut dihadiri oleh wakil dari Kedutaan Amerika Syarikat, Atase Pertahanan Kanan Captain Muhammad Muzzafar Feroze Khan.
UAS ScanEagle adalah pesawat buatan syarikat Boeing-Insitu yang dibekalkan oleh kerajaan Amerika Syarikat kepada kerajaan Malaysia melalui program Maritime Security Initiative (MSI). Sistem ini telah mula diterima oleh TLDM pada 6 Mei 2020 yang terdiri daripada 6 pesawat, 2 launcher, 2 skyhook dan 3 Ground Control Station (GCS) bernilai RM180 juta. TLDM dijangka akan menerima beberapa buah UAS ScanEagle lagi di bawah program MSI sebelum penghujung tahun 2021.
Skuadron 601 juga mencatatkan sejarah sebagai skuadron UAS yang pertama diwujud dan dioperasikan di dalam Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM). Pengoperasian UAS akan memberi kelebihan kepada TLDM dalam aspek Intelligence, Survillance, Recconaisance (ISR) di seluruh perairan negara serta meningkatkan maritime domain awareness (MDA) semasa.
Latihan operasi selama 12 bulan yang dibimbing oleh wakil syarikat Boeing-Insitu telah mula dilaksanakan oleh kru operasi Skuadron 601 dan penerbangan sulung bagi pesawat ScanEagle berjaya dilaksanakan pada 5 Februari 2021 yang lalu. Latihan operasi ini merupakan salah satu daripada fasa pembangunan UAS TLDM yang bertujuan melahirkan kru operasi yang kompeten serta mampu mengendalikan sistem dengan baik.

RMN Chief Adm. Reza Sany being briefed on the launch unit for the UAS.

From the above we know that the 601 Squadron took delivery of six Scaneagle UAVs, two launchers and two skyhooks, and three ground control stations. The other six Scaneagles and its associated equipment are expected by year end.
RMN chief Adm Reza Sany looking at the ground control station of the Scaneagle UAS.

Hopefully we will see more of the 601 Squadron in the coming months and years.
A ScanEagle UAV on its ground launcher. RMN


— Malaysian Defence

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8 Comments

  1. Marhalim,

    On the Schiebel Camcopters we know that a couple were leased and paid for by Petronas a few years ago.

    There was a book however; published by the army in the 2010/2011 period which had photos of Camcopters operated by the army’s sole intel battalion.

    Did you know about this? As far as I know; it was never reported.

    Reply
    No I didn’t. Even if I knew about it I will not report as with other equipment of the DISD unless it is shown publicly. Anyhow it was likely operated for trials. The camcopter has been marketed to Malaysia as far back as 2006 if I remember correctly. So it goes to show the reason why Petronas had paid for the camcopters as the MI had already had experience on them. I think the camcopters have been gifted to the Army as the tenders for parts and maintenance have been issued by the Defence Ministry

  2. Any updates on the radar gift too? And what about the progress for MPA conversion, any updates so far?

    With Biden now president, any idea if the MSI initiative will continue on, seeing as he might stop it to appease China?

    Reply
    The MSI for 2021 has not been announced

  3. Thanks to Uncle Sam and the U.S. taxpayer the RMN finally has a UAS capability.

    Will be be interesting to see if they will be operated from RMN ships in the coming years.

  4. Marhalim,

    Given that it’s U.S. policy and in its interests for SEA countries to be able to better monitor their maritime domain; (whether against state or non state threats); it’s a certainty that the MSI will continue. If anything; we’ll see the U.S. maintaining a more assertive stance against China.

    In addition to allocating ‘x’ amount to treaty allies such as the Philippines and Thailand; the U.S. also allocates ‘X’ amount annually to countries such as Malaysia; used as grants for people to attend training courses in the U.S.

    If I’m not mistaken exercises such as Kris Strike, Balance Mint and others (not CARAT and Cope Taufan) are hosted by regional countries but funded by the U.S.

  5. I’m hoping for 601 SQN, its next milestone is MALE UAS.

    Reply
    It will No 11 Squadron which operate MALE UAS

  6. Nimitz – “I’m hoping for 601 SQN, its next milestone is MALE UAS”

    I’m hoping all 3 services progressively acquire more UASs and the essential tertiary capabilities; followed by all
    MALEs operated by a joint UAS Command. The RMN needs more UASs and it needs to integrate them in all levels of ops; doesn’t need MALEs.

    Having MALEs operated by one service also doesn’t lead to jointness and doesn’t enable the other services to get info/intel provided by the MALEs.

  7. @Azlan
    “I’m hoping all 3 services progressively acquire more UASs and the essential tertiary capabilities;”

    Regardless if the service have or does not have any level of UAS, all the service must be able to access information gathered by any UAS in the military inventory. Hence your idea of a joint UAS command is the next step that should be done when we get our MALEs.

    A joint command that combines all the UAS, MPA and AWACS would also be good for connecting every maritime surveillance assets in one joint command.

  8. Luqman – “Regardless if the service have or does not have any level of UAS, all the service must be able to access information gathered by any UAS”

    The whole premise behind a “UAS Command” is to foster “jointness”; to ensure that each service gets access to the capability; without any service hogging the capability and with minimum delay; without any service centric and bureaucratic delays.

    Luqman – “d is the next step that should be done when we get our MALEs”

    Indeed. In this thread and previous ones I’ve stressed that it’s still early days but should be done at a later date as we mature as a UAS operator. This is what the SAF did.

    Luqman – “A joint command that combines all the UAS, MPA and AWACS”

    That should be done on an ad hoc basis at a theatre level under an existing service “Joint Command” to deal with specific threats. The trick is to ensure that such a command is not bloated and is staffed by the right people.

    A “UAS Command” in contrast; will be a permanent operational and administering grouping to serve tri service needs.

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