SHAH ALAM: Rafales and MKIs. It appears that apart from Indian Air Force (IAF) Sukhoi Su-30MKIs, French Air Force (FAF) Rafales are also expected to visit Malaysia this year. Like the IAF, the FAF contingent is coming to Malaysia after taking part in the Exercise Pitch Black.
Pitch Black is a biennial three week multi-national large force employment exercise conducted from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal. For 2018, the multinational air-combat exercise some 80 aircraft and personnel from 16 countries that will take place during three weeks in August.
Four Su-30MKIs and a C-17 airlifter are scheduled to take part in Pitch Black while the French participation will involved three Rafales, a single Airbus A400M and an Airbus A310 transporters as well as a single C-135FR Stratotanker.
Both contingents are expected to be in Malaysia in late August or early September though the exact dates are yet to be confirmed. Both are expected to be hosted at either Subang or Butterworth airbases, as Gong Kedak, the home of RMAF Sukhois is located at a rather austere location and do not have the facilities to accomodate a large number of foreign guests.
The deployment of the IAF to Malaysia was reported earlier this year, one of the few things that ex-PM Najib got right on military matters with India. The one on the MIG is wrong. Malaysian-Indian relationship are strong that if the so-called deal for our stored MIGs was true it would have happened by now.
As for the FAF deployment to Malaysia the announcement was made yesterday. Apart from Malaysia, the FAF contingent will also visit Singapore, Indonesia and India as part of the deployment. The French deployment, code-named PEGASE 2018, will involve 90 French airmen and commandos along with 40 tons of technical and support equipment, Defense News reported.
For the plane spotters, I will try to update the arrivals of both contingents, if possible, of course.
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