Oz F-35s In Butterworth

An F-35A Joint Strike Fighter flies over RAAF Base Richmond during circuit and instrument landing approach training. *** Local Caption *** Two F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft from No. 3 Squadron conducted daylight flying training at RAAF Base Richmond. The training included circuit training and instrument landing approaches as part of pilot familiarisation.

SHAH ALAM: Oz F-35s in Butterworth. Three days after six F-35As landed at Butterworth airbase, RMAF officially announced their arrival. The six stealth fighters are here to take part in a bilateral exercise with RMAF, Eks Elangaroo 22. A ceremony was held on November 2 to receive the Australian contingent although the news about the arrival was only published by RMAF on November 5. On arrival, the F-35 pilots were gifted the traditional warrior headgear.

RAAF F-35 pilots which flew their aircraft to Butterworth airbase on November 2 after the receiving ceremony

From RMAF FB page:

SELAMAT DATANG RAAF KE MALAYSIA UNTUK EKS ELANGAROO
Tanggal 2 November 2022, detik jam 12.58 tengah hari menjadi tarikh yang merakam sejarah tersendiri kepada Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM) amnya dan Pangkalan Udara Butterworth khususnya sebaik pesawat F-35 A mendarat di landasan terbang Pangkalan Udara Butterworth. Enam pesawat F-35 A milik Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) berlepas dari RAAF Tindal dan selamat tiba di Malaysia bersempena Eksesais ELANGAROO 22.
Ketibaan para juruterbang F-35 A yang merupakan peserta eksesais dialu-alukan dengan simbolik Selamat Datang yang disambut oleh Leftenan Kolonel Mohd Saifullizan bin Abd Shukor TUDM, Ketua Cawangan Operasi Pangkalan Udara Butterworth selaku Pemangku Komander Pangkalan dengan diiringi oleh paluan kompang dan bunga manggar dari warga pangkalan. Setiap juruterbang kemudiannya dipakaikan tanjak oleh Pemangku Komander Pangkalan sebagai simbol kepahlawanan dan perjuangan. Mereka turut diberikan bunga telur sebagai cenderahati dan sebagai tanda ketulusan TUDM menerima delegasi dari RAAF sebagai tetamu di Malaysia.
Delegasi peserta RAAF akan berada di Malaysia untuk bersama-sama TUDM di dalam Eksesais ELANGAROO 22 yang merupakan eksesais bilateral bertujuan untuk mengukuhkan perkongsian dengan meningkatkan “combine readiness” dan “interoperability” bagi kedua-dua angkatan udara ini. Lebih istimewa kerana penugasan F-35A di Malaysia merupakan julung kalinya pesawat ini dioperasikan di luar Australia dan di rantau ini. Ek ELANGAROO 22 yang akan berlangsung mulai 7 Nov turut memberikan peluang kepada para juruterbang TUDM untuk berlatih bersama pesawat pejuang generasi kelima.
Eksesais ELANGAROO 22 akan dilaksanakan seiringan dengan Eksesais PARADISE 9/22. TUDM juga telah mengeluarkan kenyataan agar orang ramai khususnya yang berada di Butterworth, Kuantan dan kawasan yang sekitar dengannya tidak merasa cemas dan risau sekiranya melihat pesawat-pesawat tentera terbang rendah di dalam tempoh eksesais bermula 7 Nov hingga 18 November 22. Kedua-dua eksesais ini dilaksanakan oleh TUDM bagi memastikan keupayaan dan kesiapsiagaan pasukan sentiasa berada di tahap terbaik khususnya dalam melindungi kedaulatan ruang udara negara di samping meningkatkan kompetensi warga TUDM dalam eksesais bersama angkatan udara.

The welcome ceremony for the RAAF F-35s. Note the stealth fighters under the shelter. RMAF

According to the post, this was the first RAAF F-35 deployment outside Australia and the first in the region. This was understandable as RAAF declared IOC for the stealth fighters in 2020 and the subsequent pandemic halted any overseas deployment. This will be the second stealth fighter visit to Butterworth since the F-22s of the USAF in 2014 and 2016.
Two Royal Malaysian Air Force BAE Hawk and an F-22 Raptor from Hawaii National Guard 199th Fighter Squadron and U.S. Air Forces 19th FS taxis during Cope Taufan 2014, P.U. Butterworth, Malaysia June 11, 2014. USAF picture

Australian media reports that RAAF currently operates 48 F-35s from the 72 aircraft ordered. The rest are expected to be delivered by next year.
A formation of U.S. Air Force and Royal Malaysian Air Force aircraft including an F-15 Eagle from the 131st Fighter Squadron, 104th Fighter Wing, Barnes Air National Guard Base, Mass., an RMAF SU-30MKM Flanker, a USAF F-22 Raptor from the 154th Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, an RMAF MIG-29N Fulcrum, an BAE Hawk, and an RMAF F/A-18 Hornet fly over the Penang Bridge in Penang, Malaysia, during Cope Taufan 14, June 18, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson/Released)

The arrival of the F-35s also likely marked the end of an undeclared ban on high end local and regional training with foreign militaries which started in the later stages of the Najib administration. It intensified following the administration of Tun Mahathir and ended after it was replaced by two administrations. Unfortunately, the resumption did not occur immediately due the pandemic.

— Malaysian Defence

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10 Comments

  1. ‘The arrival of the F-35s also likely marked the end of an undeclared ban on high end local and regional training with foreign militaries which started in the later stages of the Najib administration. It intensified following the administration of Tun Mahathir and ended after it collapsed.’

    Why did they ban it?

  2. There has been absolutely no mention of it in the news here too. Don’t want to attract too much attention from the looks of it.

  3. Don’t think so Marhalim. Not a single mention here. It may be that it’s not news worthy because it’s ‘just’ an exercise between long standing allies (ie no big deal). In contrast any exercise involving the US is trumpeted on every news channel. I think it’s because of China they are hushing it, in fear of repercussions towards Malaysia. As you might know, Australia is now in a military buildup with a focus on China. Very vocal about it too. Defence is thinking about also getting 5 billion AUD of corvettes. They are developing hypersonic missiles and wait for it….6 USAF B 52s will now be based in the Northern Territory.

  4. Rather than F-35, I’d rather if RAAF park their P-8 here on a more regular basis even as we received our own MPA

  5. I think ID and SG know when these stealth jet was heading to Butterworth.
    On peace journey they must revealed themselves.

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