MSA Tail Number 05 In Action, Sort Off

CN-235 MSA M44-05 being escorted to a dispersal site for the force down exercise. RMAF

SHAH ALAM: Since its return from Bandung after undergoing the conversion process, the CN-235 MSA M44-05 have been camera shy. While its sister ship – M44-03 – was displayed at LIMA 23, 05 remained at the Kuching airbase, the home of its squadron, the No 1 Skuadron.

However, thanks to Eks Angsa 23 – the trilateral Armed Forces exercise – RMAF has given us a number of pictures of tail number 05. In its announcement for the start of Eks Angsa – RMAF and RMN – had stated that the MSA will take part in the exercise.

Paskau personnel telling the crew of M44-05 to stop and shut down the engines for the force down exercise.

Indeed, the pictures shared here is part of Eks Angsa. Of course RMAF did not share the details of Eks Angsa apart from showing tail number 05 being used as the target aircraft for a force down exercise.
Handau personnel approaching M44-05.

The force down exercise involved the interception of an aircraft by interceptors and in this case, two Sukhoi Su-30MKM fighters forcing tail number 05 to land at the Labuan airbase.
Handau personnel approaching M44-05. Note the staircase and the life raft. The staircase is use by the crew to check the engines and other parts of the aircraft.

RMAF release

‘Force Down Procedure’ merupakan langkah yang akan dilaksanakan sekiranya terdapat pesawat yang mencurigakan memasuki ruang udara tanah air atau sekiranya pesawat ditawan musuh. Di dalam siri eksesais PARADISE siri 10/23 kali ini latihan ‘Force down Procedure’ telah dilaksanakan di Pangkalan Udara Labuan melibatkan penglibatan CRC 2 Kota Samarahan dengan pesawat SU-30MKM, CN235, elemen HANDAU, ‘Explosive Ordnance Disposal’ (EOD) Cawangan Kejuruteraan, BOMBA serta RSAT pangkalan

RMAF EOD crew checking out M44-05 for the force down exercise. In a real operational scenario the EOD technicians will have to clear any aircraft force to land. RMAF

The release said the force down exercise involved the CRC 2 Kota Samarahan which controlled the airspace over Sabah and Sarawak. Handau personnel – the air base defence unit – was the main element on the ground for the force down exercise.
M44-05 after the force down exercise.

They are not to be confused with Paskau – the RMAF special forces qualified operators. Paskau operators will be needed if there is a hostage scenario. There was a time both units became almost indistinct though recently Paskau operators have converted to the Harimau Belang uniform which made them distinct from Handau and other RMAF personnel.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam


  1. Q: Why would the RMAF use an invaluable asset like this MSA for a training exercise instead of one of the unconverted CNs?

  2. Q: What is the purpose of HANDAU wearing smurf blue camo? To hide between the clouds?

  3. Tom Tom – ”Why would the RMAF use an invaluable asset like this MSA for a training exercise instead of one of the unconverted CNs?”

    Why? Why not? It’s not as if there was the possibilty of any damage being caused to the plane ….

    darren – ”To hide between the clouds?”

    You’d expect them to wear orange or crimson camo?

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