SHAH ALAM: The RAAF deployment of maritime surveillance aircraft to Malaysia – Operation Gateway – was commemorated in a ceremony at the RMAF Butterworth airbase in Penang today. The 40th anniversary of the deployment was supposed to be held on May 21, 2021 but the pandemic got in the way.
According to RMAF, Operation Gateway had provided the Malaysian Armed Forces not only with a maritime surveillance capability but also intelligence. RAAF maritime patrollers – the Lockheed AP-3C Orion and recently the Boeing P-8A Poseidon – had been deployed to Butterworth for the role.
One of the notable incidents was the search and rescue of hijacked oil tanker MT Okim Harmony in 2015 when an Orion MPA was instrumental in detecting and tracking the ship, which led to a successful rescue operation.
THE 40TH COMMEMORATION OF OPERATION GATEWAY IS A MANIFESTATION OF CONTINOUS BILATERAL COOPERATION BETWEEN RMAF AND RAAF
BUTTERWORTH, 23 October 2021 – “40 YEARS AND STILL GOING STRONG” becomes a sacred expression that is significant to the commemoration of 40th Operation Gateway (40th OP Gateway) which defines the continued support for the bilateral
cooperation between the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The commemoration that was planned to be held in May 2021 had to be postponed due to the increased Covid-19 cases and the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO). This momentous occasion is finally coming into realization today
with a small scale celebration and with strict compliance to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), including limiting the number of attendees.
The 40th commemoration of OP Gateway is held at the 19 Squadron RAAF’s hangar with approximately 50 personnel from both RMAF and RAAF as spectators. Brigadier General Shaiful Azuar bin Ariffin RMAF, the Commander of Butterworth Air
Base representing the Chief of Air Force, while Group Captain Gretchen Fryar, the Defence Adviser Australia, from Australian Embassy representing the RAAF Chief of Air Force. Other distinguished guests in attendance are Miss Hannah Birdsey, Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy; Lieutenant Colonel Van Der Peer, Commanding Officer of 2nd/30th Training Group; Wing Commander Darren, Commanding Officer of No. 19 Squadron RAAF; Squadron Leader Benn Carroll, Commanding Officer of No. 92 Wing
Detachment Alpha; Australian Embassy officers and staff, and the crew of OP Gateway.
From Malaysian Army, the Commander of 6th Brigade, Brigadier General Mohd Akib bin Hj Yusof alsos attended this event. Meanwhile for RMAF, the Commander and Executive Officer of Butterworth Air Base; the OP Gateway committee members and the officers and airmen of Butterworth Air Base.
Brigadier General Shaiful Azuar bin Ariffin RMAF in his commemorative speech, expresses his gratitude and appreciation for the honour given to Butterworth Air Base as the venue for the commemoration of the 40th OP Gateway that is jointly coordinated with the Operations and Strategy Division, RMAF Headquarters as the event organizer. He also expresses his appreciation and thanks to the RAAF for this year’s 40th commemoration is a clear manifestation of the continued support for military cooperation between RMAF and RAAF especially Operation Gateway, which has started since 1981, and even more so with the establishment of RAAF in Malaysia which has long existed since before the World War II.
In this commemoration, both the RAAF Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld and Chief of Air Force, General Tan Sri Ackbal bin Hj Abdul Samad RMAF have delivered keynotes respectively via virtual platform. The Chief of Air Force in his speech
has welcomed the RAAF delegation and Australian Embassy to Butterworth Air Base for their continued support in celebrating this historic event today and cherished OP Gateway as an important aspect in the bilateral relations between Malaysia and
The Chief of Air Force has also expresses his gratitude and appreciation especially to Flight Lieutenant A. Steff, RAAF as the Aircraft Commander of the P-3 Aircraft and his crew for their involvement in the search and rescue mission in the
hijacking incident of the Malaysian tanker, MT Orkim Harmony in 2015. The RAAF’s AP3C Orion had located the vessel and gave valuable position updates leading up to the success of recovering the vessel and crew.
The objective of Operation Gateway is to provide maritime surveillance and intelligence for the Malaysian Armed Forces and the 40th commemoration this year is a significant occasion in sustaining the bilateral ties between RMAF and RAAF, in addition
to safeguarding the national interest. He also reflects the history of mutual cooperation forged between the two air forces in various assignments together, including combined training, joint operations and other collaborations that involved the air defence aspect ofnational air space in general. The Chief of Air Force is also thanking the RAAF and Australia for the long standing relationships between the two air forces since 1958. Malaysia and Australia will continue their mutual cooperation through Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), which has just celebrating its 50th anniversary recently.
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— Malaysian Defence
I wonder what happened to the MPA acquisition program. It was tendered out last year, right?