Forward Operating Base

The Royal Australian Air Force''s first P-8A Poseidon, A47-001 fly in formation with a current AP-3C Orion over their home Base of RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia. RAAF

SHAH ALAM: Forward operating base. At the recent Parliament session, PM announced that a bare-bone airbase will be set up at Bintulu in Sarawak. Malaysian Defence reported that it is likely to be operating from the current Bintulu airport and it appears that RMAF designation for such a base is the Forward Operating Base (FOB). The FOB designation is also used by the Army and the RMN to describe the location of an ad-hoc base instead of a bare bones camp. As for the FOB for the Op Benteng tasking, the Army and RMN took different approaches, the navy leased small resorts for its sailors while the soldiers rough it in temporary camps like they are used to if they were in operations in the jungle.

Any how, the term FOB was discussed during a RMAF seminar titled Fixed Wing Air Mobility & Mobility Force 2021 held for four days from October 4. One of the interesting topics discussed during the seminar was China Spratly’s Fortification Overview-Implication for RMAF Maritime Air Operation Capability. Since the seminar is classified, I have no idea what was discussed during the talk apart from the picture (below) published by RMAF on its Facebook page today. It is likely the intrusions by China military into Malaysian EEZ were also discussed in the briefing.

It is likely UNCLOS was discussed in the seminar. RMAF

The post on Facebook.

Timbalan Panglima Tentera Udara, Lt Jen Dato’ Asghar Khan bin Goriman Khan TUDM telah menyempurnakan penutup Seminar Fixed Wing Air Mobility & Maritime Force (FWAMMF) 2021. Terdahulu, beliau turut mengadakan sesi dialog dan juga memberi motivasi serta kata-kata nasihat kepada para peserta FWAMMF.
Seminar yang berlangsung selama tiga hari bermula 4 Oktober lalu telah dirasmikan oleh Panglima Wilayah Udara 2, Mej Jen Dato’ Haji Shamsudin bin Kassim TUDM. Seminar ini telah berjaya mencapai matlamatnya untuk berkongsi pandangan serta pendapat daripada pelbagai lapisan anak kapal pesawat pengangkut sejajar dengan temanya pada kali ini iaitu “Moving Together”.
Antara topik-topik yang telah dibincangkan sepanjang seminar adalah Expeditionary Concept in RMAF Main Operating Base and Forward Operating Base-Wayforward and Development, CAP55 Programe Update, MSA And MPA Operational Versatility dan juga China Spratly’s Fortification Overview-Implication for RMAF Maritime Air Operation Capability . Topik-topik tersebut telah dimanfaatkan sepenuhnya oleh para peserta sebagai platform ke arah perancangan hala tuju demi mencapai resolusi bersama.
Sebagai tambahan kepada perbincangan mengenai Air Mobility Force dalam TUDM, turut dibincangkan adalah berkenaan perolehan masa hadapan yang berfokuskan kepada Pembangunan Sumber Manusia yang pada dasarnya bertujuan sebagai transformasi anak kapal pesawat pengangkut selari dengan perancangan TUDM di dalam Pelan Pembangunan Keupayaan TUDM 2055 atau lebih dikenali RMAF CAP55.

Pictures of the MSA upgrades as shown during the seminar. Note the middle picture of the two-man operators console RMAF

Also discussed was the MSA and MPA programmes with a picture of the upgrades being conducted on the three RMAF CN-235s in Bandung.

A group photo taken at the closing ceremony of the seminar. RMAF.

I was told that the first CN-235 to be upgraded as a maritime patroller is expected to be delivered this month though I have not been informed of the exact date.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam


  1. Worryingly they are copying american “expeditionary” terminology when discussing about main and FOB base that is all built within our own territory.

    American meaning of Expeditionary Force – an armed force organized to accomplish a specific objective in a foreign country.

    Would it be better for TUDM to study adopting something inspired by say the Flygbassystem 90 instead?

  2. The prophets of doom will moan and groan but even a “bare bone” base will better enable fighters to operate in the area without having to get back to Labuan.

    China’s newly built reefs/islands are intended more against the Americans and others rather than us and our neighbours. It extends their constested zone and helps with Taiwan. Ut is also aimed at securing the SLOC to the Middle East.

  3. “Worryingly they are copying american “expeditionary” terminology when discussing about main and FOB base that is all built within our own territory.”

    Try to be flexible in what you understand. A “bare base” is not uniquely American or “expeditionary.” If you insist then one could say that Bagram and Kabul were “expeditionary” but there was nothing basic about them and they supported operations on a greater scale than anything we can dream of.

    A “bare base” can come in many forms. The RAAF’s bare bases come to mind- these are in fact better equipped than most or all of our full time bases. Many of our neighbours have small bases or sections of civil airports that are used either permanently or on a rotational or contingency basis. Even Singapore has runways, taxiways and highways that will support fighters in a contingency- not full fledged bases but with all the personnel and equipment needed to make a valuable contribution when called upon.

    Even if we built a full fledged base at Bintulu we would not have the fighter strength to flesh it out for a high intensity conflict.

  4. exactly why “expeditionary” is the wrong terminology and concept to be copied and used.

    most of american “expeditionary” base are far from “bare”

    RAAF and our neighbours bare bases are not “expeditionary”. They are build on their own territory, to support small rotational detachments.

    When the main topic of the day takes up superpower american concept of war in other peoples land, instead of concepts of countries ingeniously defending their own territory, then you will question. Is the TUDM plan to defend malaysia based on the correct concepts?

  5. @gonggok
    USA may have the American dictionary but they do not own the English language. They do not “own” the terminology of ‘expeditionary’ nor ‘bare’. Everyone can have their own interpretation and it is not wrong. How they define LCS is different from us, much like how we define LMS is also different from Singapore.

  6. Gonggok – “something inspired by say the Flygbassystem 90 instead?”

    Maybe but the whole idea of having a bare bone base in a specific area to better sustain ops in a certain area and the idea to have the ability to operate from highways and grass strips are two diffrent things.

    Also note that the Swedes traditionally have had such a requirement [Gripen is also designed for this] because there were fears of a sudden Soviet attack via the Baltic onto NATO.

    On your question regarding “correct concepts”, planners have long taken into account the types of threats likely to be faced and those we can realistically meet, in line with our capabilties and resources. Those types of state threats are centered on short conflicts with neigihbours, rather than a protracted attritional based one and do not include trouble with China for which many are fixated on. If we do get into a conlict, chances are it will be with a neighbour over an overlapping unresolved claim [we actually have a few apart from the Spratlys].

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