SHAH ALAM: RMAF is to retire its three remaining Beechcraft Super King B200T maritime air surveillance (MSA) in the immediate future, its chief Gen Ackbal Abdul Samad said in his speech on the 63rd anniversary of the service. The 16 Squadron (No. 16 Skuadron) itself will moved to Kuantan airbase to become the Tactical Transport Training Centre (PLTT – Pusat Latihan Terbang Taktikal- Angkut). It is unclear however when the B200T will be retired though, it could be next week for that matter.
The squadron will conduct the multi-engine conversion programme to train newly qualified pilots to become transport pilots to fly the CN-235s, C-130H and the Airbus A400M airlifters. The PLTT currently has two Beechcraft Super King Airs 350 leased from Aerotree Sdn Bhd. It is likely that they had confirmed the lease deal with Aerotree following the tenders held last year. The centre is currently operating from Subang airbase.
Apart from the 16 Squadron, the 15 Squadron now based in Butterworth operating the Hawk Mk 108 and Mk 208s will also be relocated to Kuantan. The squadron according to Ackbal will be operating the future Fighter-Lead In Trainer (FLIT) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). Preparations for the FLIT/LCA is underway and an open tender for the aircraft is expected in the near future, he added earlier.
The 22 Squadron which operates the A400M airlifters, will be renamed as the 8 Squadron, which was the unit that had operated the DHC-4 Caribou light transporters from Labuan in the 1970s until they were retired in 2000.
With 15 Squadron moving to Kuantan, the 17 Skuadron which used to operate the MiG-29Ns will be stood up in Butterworth as the MRCA squadron, Ackbal added. He did not elaborated on when this will take place as currently the new MRCA will only be procured in the 2030s.
It is likely it will be a paper squadron for the time being to preserve the current ranks and appointments already allocated to the 17 Squadron is not lost when personnel moved or retired.
In his anniversary speech, last year, Ackbal also announced the redesignation of two squadrons namely the 11 Squadron to 12 Squadron, the new 11 Squadron to operate the MALE UAS once it is procured.
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