SHAH ALAM: RMAF CN-235 MSA, it appears, is participating in its first joint exercise, OSTEXEast 1/23, organised by the RMN’s Eastern Command. It must be noted that RMN and RMAF had not officially announced that the MSA is involved in the on-going exercise – likely ending within the next few days.
Eastern Command in its social media post on the exercise did state that RMAF aircraft – the Hawk, EC725 and CN-235 – are also involved in the exercise. Both the Hawk fighter jets and EC725 helicopters are regular participants of the exercises in the past. This is likely the first time that the MSA will be involve though. In the past, RMAF Hercules also took part in similar exercise, dropping PASKAL operators and their gear with parachutes but it is unlikely they will used the CN-235 for an equivalent manner.
Eastern Command has shared a picture of a EC725 helicopter winching down someone to one of the RMN submarine. It is unlikely they will share a picture of the MSA in the exercise, however. The aircraft like other surveillance aircraft will be flying well above and way from the fleet using its maritime surveillance radar, signals and electronic intelligence and FLIR camera to collect data.
Hence, if the MSA is involved it is likely be used to share the data collected to RMN ships and even submarine involved in the exercise as a precursor for actual operations. This is of course needed as the CN-235 MSA is a new capability in the armed forces. While RMAF may already figure out what it can do, its sister services may not. Who knows, it might even be able not just obtain and share simple data but also firing solutions to RMN ships and submarines.
As Malaysian Defence posted previously the MSA/MPA missions and exercises are classified, hence we will be lucky if we get confirmation of its involvement in the exercise.
Anyhow, Malaysian Defence can confirm that the third MSA – tail number M44-01 – is still in Bandung as it was photographed there, a week ago. Unfortunately, I cannot publish it here for reasons.
— Malaysian Defence