First MSA in Kuching

CN235-220M M44-05 on static at Subang airbase, picture taken in 2016.

SHAH ALAM: It appears that the second CN-235-220 tail number M44-03 to undergo the conversion into a MSA has returned to Kuching, Sarawak. I was told that the aircraft landed at the Kuching airbase on June 17 about 6pm, some 20 months after it flew to the PTDI facility in Bandung, Indonesia for the conversion process. The aircraft was flown to Bandung on September 2, 2020.

I was told that there was no formal ceremony for the newly converted aircraft. Perhaps, RMAF is waiting for all three aircraft to return to Kuching before conducting a formal ceremony. Or simply there will be one held when the RMAF chief made an official visit to the airbase soon. He made an official visit to the Gong Kedak airbase on June 15.

RMAF Chief Jen Mohd Asghar Khan Goriman Khan checking out the Flankers undergoing maintenance at the Sukhoi Technical Centre at the Gong Kedak airbase during his official visit there on June 15, 2022. RMAF

The conversion of the three airlifters into maritime surveillance aircraft is paid by the US’s Maritime Security Initiative (MSI). RMN also benefited from the same programme.
RMAF crew with PTDI test flight personnel posed with M44-05 when it arrived at Bandung on Sept. 2, 2020. RMAF

Apart from M44-05, the other two CNs undergoing the conversion is M44-03 – arrived in Bandung on September 30, 2020 and M44-01, in Bandung March 21, 2021. As previously reported the aircraft will be fitted with a Carte Nav AIMS-ISR mission system which is also proposed for the RMAF MPA programme by De Havilland PAL Aerospace with its Dash 8 400 P-4 MPA.
RMAF and PTDI personnel posed with M44-03. PTDI

All the aircraft will be operated by the No.1 Skuadron which on May 17 got a new aircraft, another CN-235 -220M which was previously operated as a VIP aircraft. Tail number M44-08 was given the water salute (picture below) to mark her transfer to No. 1 Squadron from the No. 2 Squadron.
CN-235-220M M44-08 was given the traditional water salute at Subang airbase to mark its transfer to No. 1 Squadron from the No. 2 Squadron, the VIP squadron on May 17, 2022. RMAF

Her transfer to Kuching meant that the squadron will now have seven CN-235s, four airlifters and three MSAs (once the conversion programme is completed). The eighth CN-235 was destroyed in a non-fatal incident in 2016.
RMAF CN-235 M44-01 after her arrival in Bandung. RMAF

It is likely that 01 will be flown home soon while 05 by early next year.

–Malaysian Defence

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

About Marhalim Abas 2203 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Welcome home

    The easiest way forward for our maritime patrol needs are to just convert the 3 remaining CN-235-220 into maritime patrol aircrafts.

    The 3 current Beechcraft B200T maritime patrol aircraft could be traded in to PTDI to fund the conversion.

  2. M44-08 is not a CN-235-220 version.

    It is of the older CN-235-100 version.

    most of the differences are internal, with the 220 version having a strengthened wing spar among others. Externally the CN-235-100 can be differentiated by noticing its smaller nose radome.

    It is rumoured that the M44-07 and M44-08 are secondhand ex merpati airline airframes converted to VIP configuration, and given to RMAF as a reimbursement to the cancelled Indonesian MD-3 Aerotiga deal.

  3. m – ”3 current Beechcraft B200T maritime patrol aircraft could be traded in to PTDI to fund the conversion.”

    It’s one thing being able to do something on paper but in reality it can be different. Does PTDI even have a need for 3 almost 30 year old airframes; what will it do with them and how much do you think they are worth?

  4. Those 3 beechcrafts are equipped with AMASCOS systems, which are also fitted nto quite a few Indonesian CN-235s. It is still a potent aircraft, for units such as BAKAMLA. In fact it would be a good fit for indonesian BAKAMLA, which currently is flying its own Beechcraft B200T, but not fitted with any surveillance equipment except for Mk1 eyeballs.

    RMAF could pass those B200T MPA to PTDI, as a partial payment of the CN-235 maritime patrol conversion. Then PTDI could pass those on to relevant bodies in Indonesia, such as BAKAMLA.

  5. @m
    What I understand, the B200s are reaching their airframe lifespan and for that going to retire soon. PTDI would have no use for 3 unusable planes so they would have no interest. What would be beneficial is to harvest the Ocean Master sensor mission suit from these planes for conversion of 3 more CN235 to MPA config, giving us 3 converted MPA, 3 converted MSA, and we only need 1-2 new MPA with Carte Nav AIMS-ISR.

  6. vader – ”differences are internal, with the 220 version having a strengthened wing spar among others.”

    Yes … mentioned this some time back.

    vader – ”ex merpati airline airframes”

    Flew on one from Denpasar to Lombok back in 1997.

    vader – ”to the cancelled Indonesian MD-3 Aerotiga deal.”

    A deal which included a few thousand Protons and a paper requirement for up to 30
    CN-235s. The Aerotigas were supposed to have been intended for the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.

  7. @vader
    That was info shared in earlier discussion. We cannot compare to USA, a full rebuild could add lots of years to a plane’s original lifespan and US can do that indefinitely (see USAF B52, USMC legacy Hornets) but eventually the law diminishing returns applies. Plus it seems there are habitable issues for long missions on such small & cramped plane.

  8. Joe,

    That US Army King Air was not put through any full rebuild. There is a few small life-limited items that you can just change to a new one, but thats it.

    Because it is such a small & cramped plane is exactly why its better to pass them as part payment for PTDI CN-235 maritime patrol conversion. Not for RMAF to continue using them.

    King airs are used by many nations as a maritime patrol aircraft. UK coast guard uses it, Malta uses it. As is BAKAMLA Indonesia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.