SHAH ALAM: Hawks Flying High. At the TUDM media day last Thursday (May 25, 2017) at the Labuan airbase it was revealed that the two RMAF Hawk squadrons, No 6 Skn and No 15 Skn, have now settled down on their respective roles. The 6 Skn is the dedicated combat squadron while the 15 Skn is the training one.
It is for this reason, 6 Skn based at Labuan operates only the single seater BAE System Mk 208 Hawks while the 15 Skn, operates the twin seater Mk 108s from Butterworth airbase. In the past, they operated both types.
The transfer of the single seaters and twin seaters between both squadrons were done within the last two years as 6 Skn was transferred from Kuantan airbase to Labuan. The move to base the Hawks at Labuan was made following the Lahad Datu incursion in 2013.
Apart from the change of roles, the move was probably done due to the shrinking number of Hawk aircraft in RMAF following various accidents and crashes.
With the change of roles, new pilots destined for 6 Skn will be trained on the Mk 108s with the 15 Skn in Butterworth before they are posted to the Labuan-based squadron. In the past, new pilots to both squadrons trained on their own respective two-seaters before transitioning to the single seaters.
Those selected for the Sukhoi Su-30MKM or F/A=18D squadrons are trained at Pulatibang 3 in Kuantan on the Aermacchi MB339CMs.
The MK 208 is armed with Thales FZ rockets, dumb bombs and a single 30mm ADEN cannon fitted on the centreline.
As it was a media day, guests were allowed to get into the Hawk cockpit. Despite the size of the aircraft, the cockpit of the Hawk felt rather comfortable compared to the cramped F-16 cockpit which I had tried in Singapore. The Hawk cockpit however is smaller than the F-15 and the F-5s.
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