PDRM Helicopter Flies In Singapore Airspace?

SHAH ALAM:A PDRM Leonardo AW-139 9M-PMD twin-engine helicopter briefly flew into Singapore airspace this morning, says a Singaporean aviation website, prompting the Republic Singapore Air Force (RSAF) to scramble two fully armed F-16 fighters.

PDRM in a press release this afternoon stated that it took notice of the reports on social media that one of its helicopters flew into Singapore airspace, this morning. It stated that the helicopter did fly “near” Singapore airspace as part of its official business. It said that during the flight and until the release was issued (8pm Malaysian time, Sept. 11, 2021), it had not been contacted by the Singapore aviation authorities that it had entered into the republic’s airspace.

From Alert 5.

Singapore scrambled two F-16 fighters armed with AIM-9 and AIM-120s this morning after 9 a.m. when a Royal Malaysia Police helicopter, 9M-PMD, flew over Pulau Tekong. Flight tracking data showed that the helicopter cross into Singapore airspace at 01:22 UTC.

One of the two RSAF F-16s which were scrambled this morning. Alert 5.

The pair of fighters were observed circling over Paya Lebar airbase at a height of approximately 5,000ft. They departed from Paya Lebar airspace and flew west around 02:07 UTC. The fighters were scrambled from Tengah air base.

A screenshot of the 9M-PMD route this morning. Alert 5

Pulau Tekong is home to the Singapore Army’s Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC), whereby males who are conscripted into National Service will undergo basic military training there.

PDRM AW1-39 9M-PMD as seen on Sept 15, 2020. PDRM

9M-PMD are one of the six AW-139 helicopters purchased by PDRM for its Air Wing unit. One of these helicopters had been written off following a crash in Tawau in early 2020.

The deputy director of the PDRM Public Order and Internal Security division arriving at PGA 9 battalion on Sept. 15. 2020 flying on board 9M-PMD. Note the VIP seats. PDRM

9M-PMD is fitted with VIP seats – for the benefit of the Home Minister, ministry and PDRM officials – though flight tracking data showed it had also been used for routine patrol over the Malacca Strait. Though it appears that the 9M-PMD was indeed flying a VIP when the incident occurred.

— Malaysian Defence

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  1. Very embarrassing situation for Malaysia! What the PDRM helicopter got the right to encroach another country’s airspace? The pilots and the crews should be warned and given a stern penalty for this incident!

  2. If we indeed strayed into Sing airspace we should acknowledge it and apologise – full stop/period. The Sings are so paranoid that even if a remote control aircraft flown by enthusuasts strayed info Sing airspace tgey would probably have scrambled fighters and placed the whole SAF on alert to show “resolve” and that hey are not intimidated. We after all only have nefarious intentions unlike them who are always friendly and responsible neighbours.

    What they won’t talk about naturally is the many instances where both manned and unmanned platforms have strayed into our airspace, unintentionally and otherwise. Naturally they will say it never happens and will deny everything. Their spin or propaganda machine at times has a certain finesse which ours lacks.

  3. Kamal,

    While we’re at it why don’t we end their careers by imposing a permanent flying ban on them and compel them to go live on T V. to make a public apology to the people of Singapore. In top of that give them 20 hours of community service on the streets of Gelang perhaps?

    First ask yourself why ATC at Senai didn’t warn them – or there wasn’t enough time? If so, how did the error occur given the clear landmarks, including the Straits?

  4. There was a white helicopter at the Subang tarmac (I guess) which I saw duruing a tv news footage just a few hours ago. It was parked alongside another heli in PDRM color.

  5. A helicopter not get warning n they sending 2 F16 with full arm? When they cross over border, I think we don’t do that also + both also part of FPDA nation, are we need to face each other in this way?

  6. Based on the chopper flight path skirting past Pulau Tekong, it is very subjective if there was or was not any infringement been done, its not as if there is a line on the sky delineating the airspace border between us. Cheeky for SG to be sounding us when they themselves had been using this ambiguity to intrude into our airspace on multiple occasions.

    My guess is, unless SG were to demand an answer or take further actions (request to our ambassador), we’d probably not reply this accusation and just let it fly past. If they did take it seriously, they would probably raise an international stink like what we did to China for their intrusion back in June.

  7. Michael,

    So what if we’re both FPDA members?

    Even within NATO there are members with longstanding issues and here you’re talking about the FPDA which is a non binding arrangement. Plus the fact that both countries have a history of tensions, not helped by the ingrained paranoia the Sings have.

  8. Michael – “when the cross over the border, I think we don’t do that akso”

    The nearest base with fighters is Buttwerworth and Kuantan. Unless we happen to have fighters on station over Johore there is no way they will be able to intercept anything in the immediate vicinity unless they are able to move at the speed of light.

    A RSAF QRA at Tengah can be airborne within minutes and be anywhere over the island in minutes….

  9. Curious to know why these ppl are so gung ho lately; reminded of the “outrage” shown by SGreans on the Para exercise a few weeks ago who perasan the scenario simulated an invasion of SG. Probably the SG gov is looking for a distraction as the Covid infection rates seem raising daily these past few days over there…..

  10. Gobggok,.

    Yes but it would still not be in time to intercept an aircraft which is briefly straying into Johore airspace and I doubt it would be at Mach 1.5 all the way from Kuantan to Johore…

  11. P. S.

    Unless there already were RMAF fighters iover southern Johore, a foreign fighter would be able to enter the airspace and fly across the breadth of southern Johore without beibg intercepted in less than a few minutes. Time and space…

    In contrast a fighter from Tengah [assuming it’s on Alert 5] could be over Pulau Tekong in about a minute or less once airborne. Even then, the intruding aircraft might still be able to leave without being intercepted.

    As for going at Mach speed, even with drop tanks fighters would rarely or almost never go at that speed for minutes – they would run out of fuel.

  12. With internal fuel only, FA-50 has 1800km range

    going to and back from JB is just 600km round trip overall

    Full on 300km supersonic to JB and flying back to base subsonically is within FA-50 capability, without needing drop tanks or running out of fuel.

    Hornets from Butterworth is too far away, 600km from JB, MKM from Gong Kedak to JB around 500km. Those 2 fighters have substantially higher operating costs than FA-50.

    How much longer can we be without affordable and credible Alert 5 capability?

  13. Basically, 2027, if we got the FLIT/LCA by 2025. I prefer the QRA to be in Sabah/Sarawak – Labuan airbase or even in Bintulu- rather than over the peninsula unless the security situation changes.

  14. Gonggok,

    Just because on paper a fighter can carry “x” amount of fuel and has ‘x” amount of range doesn’t mean things are set in stone. A fighter might take off with less than a full fuel load and if it’s carrying something its range will be affected – it might still carry fuel tanks.

    No. .. no one will fly supersonic for 10 full minutes even if on paper there is enough fuel to get back subsonicly. Doesn’t work that way.

    I have no idea what you mean by “credible” [itself a very subjective term] but we do maintain a QRA on different levels of Alert. As for “affordable’ MRCAs have higher operating costs than a LCA but they can do things a LCA can’t – look at the overall context. Some circumstances will require a LCA but some will require a LCA.

  15. We need 2 QRA bases

    1 in Kuantan
    1 in Labuan

    Bare minimum essential QRA capability could be covered by at least 6 supersonic LCA at each base.

  16. Yes we need a QRQ both in West and East Malaysia. As for the type,
    it depends. In a peacetime situation a LCA might suffice but during periods of tension circumstances might call for a MRCA.

    At minimum a QRA would be maintained by a pair, with another pair at readiness at short notice as a standby. That in turn is a huge drain on given the numbers we have or are stated to have. Everything also depends on early warning, we have better coverage over some areas, compared to other areas.

  17. FA50 max speed: Mach 1.5
    F16 Block52 max speed: Mach 2.05
    F15 E max speed: Mach 2.5+

    Can anyone enlighten how exactly will FA50 “handle” those coming from the south? By the time it reach the scene, they would have long gone based on pure speed alone. Even if by chance contact can be made, those 2 would fast outpace FA50.

  18. As I’ve made clear, it can’t unless it’s already on station over Johore or unless the intruding aircraft waits for it to arrive. It’s not only “speed” but “time and space”..

    What gonggok gave are paper specs, which don’t take into account pertinent factors like whether the aircraft is carrying anything and the fact aircraft also do not go supersonic for 10 minutes continuously.

    The Sings have the advantage of geography, a fighter once airborne can be anywhere in the island or it’s periphery within a minute or less. Before anyone comes up with the silly suggestion that we build a base down south – not worth the time and effort. Our bases are up north because they are former British bases and the Brits were focused on threats up north, just like we later were.

  19. Hence my questioning the futility of using FA50(if we get it) for QRA against SG planes. If we want to show up, we gonna need a bigger stick. In the first place, we’re way past the stage of treating them as the enemy.

  20. Any plane – not just the F-50 – would be incapable of intercepting RSAF planes unless they happened to be on station over Johore. Time and space..

    We’ve never actually viewed then as a enemy”. Our main concern has traditionally been centered on a much larger neighbour and we see a strong SAF as a check on that country.

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