Grass Is Green

RMAF F/A-18D at Eks Paradise 2017.

SHAH ALAM: Grass is Green. The air force conducted a firepower demonstration as part of the Eks Paradise 2017 at the Kota Belud air-to ground firing range in Sabah, yesterday, The range located near the town of Kota Belud is probably one of the most picturesque range in the country located in the foothills of the Crocker Range.

EC725 flying over the hills of the Kota Belud air to ground range.

Anyhow this year’s Eks Paradise (Paradrop Deepstrike Insertion Extraction) saw the return of the Hawk Mk 108 / Mk 208 trainer/light fighters into full operational service following the fatal crash in June.
Aircraft which took part in firepower demonstration gave a flypast over the Kota Belud air to ground range viewing gallery

The Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flankers from the 11 Squadron were also involved as well as the F/A-18D Hornets from the 18 Squadron. Four Flankers and four Hornets together with two Hawks were involved in the firepower demonstration. The air-to-air refueling demonstration was scrubbed following the belly landing of a Hercules on Nov. 18 however.
The 50 caliber HMG firing from the Nuri

A Nuri armed with a 50 BMG and GMPG together with an EC725 which helo-dropped a Paskal team to laser designate the targets for the fighter jets also showed off their skills as part of the firepower demonstration.
A Flanker dropping its load of bombs at the Kota Belud air to ground range.

The Hawks fired their FZ rockets, the Flankers dropped their OFAB 50kg and 250kg bombs while the Hornets dropped GBU 10, GBU 12 and GBU 16 LGBs while two of the latter also did a gun run with 20mm cannons.
Hornet firing its 20mm gun

Unfortunately due to the distance between the viewing gallery and the targets itself, I did not get the money shot apart from one of the Flankers dropping its load of OFAB bombs on the target area (though I admit it could be my fault).
Hornet M45-01 flying over the range dropping flares.

As RMAF also demonstrated its newly acquired Ground Target Emitter (GTE) simulator at the firing range, two Hornets flew low over the viewing gallery giving photographers a much better photographic opportunities.
Flanker fitted with two Knirti ECM pods.

A Flanker equipped with the Knirti ECM pods also “played” out the GTE which simulated the radar signals of ground based air defence systems though it flew away from the viewing gallery.
Five of the six Flankers taking part in Eks Paradise 2017 at the dispersal site at Labuan airbase.

However, a visit to the Labuan airbase where the aircraft were based for the exercise gave a close-up photographic images of them. Unfortunately, as their flying assignment for the day had been completed these aircraft remained on the ground though some of their stores remained on them.
Hawk Mk 108 M40-08 doing touch and goes at Labuan airport.

Fortunately, for me and another reporter, a single Mk 108 took off for a touch and go around the airport during the media visit.
Hercules M30-08 landing at Labuan airport.

Our craving for more aircraft was satisfied as a Hercules later took off and landed at the airport while our ride from Kuala Lumpur, A400M M54-04 (which flew the media entourage from Kuala Lumpur to Sabah for the firepower demonstration) also landed at the Labuan airport.

MAB_0383 (2)
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— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2149 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Marhalim,

    Nice pictures.

    Any Q&A sessions while you were there?

    Would love to hear more on

    – LCA, or basically any confirmation of the things said in the berlin conference.
    – MKM SLEP, any new info? What new capabilities does the airforce want in the MKM?
    – rumors of emphasis of ISR and CAS in urban areas?

    yes I was there, no I did not ask any questions.

  2. Is there by any chance that our Flankers are going to be equip with the BrahMos air-to-surface cruise missile as tested by IAF lately?


  3. Looks like someone will be buying some aussie legacy hornets


    Canada is scrapping a plan to buy 18 Boeing Super Hornet fighter jets amid a deepening dispute with the U.S. aerospace company, three sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday (5 dec 2017)

    Instead, the Liberal government will announce next week it intends to acquire a used fleet of older Australia F-18 jets, the same kind of plane Canada currently operates, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.

    Two of the sources said Australian military officials had been in Ottawa late last month for talks.

    One source said that by buying the Australian fleet, Canada would save money as well as avoid the need to train its pilots on a new aircraft or spend money on a new supply chain.

    Officials had previously said that if the purchase went ahead, some of the Australian aircraft would be used for spare parts.

    The offices of Public Works Minister Carla Qualtrough and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who share responsibility for military procurement, both declined to comment

  4. That’s not ideal for Canada because the Australian Hornets are almost as old as the Canadian ones.

  5. Not ideal for canada because bla bla bla…

    Lets wait for next week for the official announcement.

    Btw to comment on the news above:

    1. It is a stopgap solution. Only for 5-10years of use. There would be a new fighter competition starting 2019 to replace the hornets.

    2. No large training and supply chain investments.

    3. Some to be used as spare parts source.

    4. Exactly the same reasons why used hornets are good for malaysia too.

  6. “4. Exactly the same reasons why used hornets are good for malaysia too.”

    Canada is not in the same situation as us. They refused to buy Super Hornets for political reasons. Even though they have much commonality with their legacy hornets and have many of the advantages you stated above.

    What I meant by “almost as old” is the need to recapitalise ex-Australian Hornets may not save Canada any money. By contrast, Super Hornets and possibly Growlers cost more but would be useful for many more years alongside a future fighter yet to be selected.

  7. More on canada hornets.

    The australian hornet buy is on. To be delivered starting 2019 until 2021. To be used with current canadian hornets until new fighter delivered probably starting 2025. So probably still be used up till 2030.


    The Royal Canadian Air Force will purchase 88 advanced fighters, with a request for proposals expected in spring of 2019 and a decision by 2022, defence officials announced this week. The replacement could begin as early as 2025. Any company is welcome to bid, though officials emphasized a Canada-first policy that would continue with future procurements. Canada’s minister of innovation, science and technology repeated that the government believes Boeing’s position in the ongoing trade dispute is without merit.

    Canada did not shoot down Boeing in the long-term recapitalisation, but will let the US manufacturer’s offer of 18 F/A-18E/F models expire. Instead, the RCAF will pursue the sale of used Boeing F/A-18A/B Hornets and spare parts from the Royal Australian Air Force. The government has not cemented the purchase, with officials saying the government will respond to the letter of agreement. The government expects first deliveries in 2019 with the last of the used aircraft arriving around 2021, though the date is dependent on when the RAAF’s F/A-18 fleet is replaced by Lockheed Martin F-35s.

  8. The best way forward for the RCAF is for the Boeing-Bombardier matter to be settled in court and left in the past. Irrespective of who loses and who pays, it would open the door to Super Hornets.

    The RCAF Hornet fleet is in crisis and the government should not be trying to make it worse. The F-35 was the chosen replacement for the Hornet and some blame goes to the delays and cost growth in the F-35 program. But the government shouldn’t be scrapping the current F-35 effort and then forgoing Hornets on behalf of the RCAF, for the sake of the civilian airliner trade dispute. It might be acceptable if there are alternative fighters available, but there are none

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