KUALA LUMPUR: Sukhoi squadron now 12th. RMAF chief Gen Ackbal Samad in his speech for the 62nd anniversary today announced that No 11 Squadron, now operating the Sukhoi Su-30MKM will now be nameplated as No. 12 Squadron. NO. 11 Squadron will now reverted to a new UAS squadron which was also stood up today though Ackbal did not mentioned the type or the base for the squadron apart from saying it would be delivered soon.
Gen Ackbal admitted that the move would not be a happy one for the Flanker squadron but it was done for historical reasons. The transfer of the squadron nameplate will also involved in the swapping of ranks and staffing in both squadrons. It is likely that the ranks and staffing in the Flanker squadron will remained as it is, as the CO is currently a Lieutenant Colonel with the XO as Major. The last time 12th Squadron was operational, a few years back, the CO was just a Major, so it is likely the new No. 11 Squadron CO will be a Major only with the XO a Captain and so on.
No 12 Squadron was previously the unit that previously operated the 16 F-5E fighters at RMAF Butterworth, was stood up in 1975, it was quietly disbanded when the fighters were progressively retired in mid-2000s. No. 11 Squadron was stood up in 1969 to operate the Avon Sabre fighter jets donated by Australia before it was disbanded when the jets were retired in the 70s.
The squadron was re-stood up in late-70s early 80s to operate the reconnaisance version of the F-5s, the RF-5Es until the squadron number and others was taken up by the Flankers. The operational F-5s and RF-5Es then took over the No. 12 Squadron until they were retired a few years ago. The No. 12 Squadron gained notoriety several years back over the action of the then CO, who was later court martialed and after being found guilty, was sacked.
It must be noted that RMAF got 10 respond from its UAV RFI which was issued out late 2018. The UAVs are
1.UAV ANKA keluaran Turkish Aerospace Industries, Turki melalui syarikat Unmanned System Technology Sdn Bhd;
2.UAV ANKA keluaran Turkish Aerospace Industries, Turki melalui syarikat Quantum Virtuality;
3.UAV Predator-B keluaran General Atomics Aeronautical, Amerika Syarikat melalui syarikat Insansiz Aircraft System Sdn Bhd;
4.UAV Wing Loong 2 keluaran China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC), China melalui syarikat Paragon Avtech Sdn Bhd;
5.UAV Patroller keluaran Safran Electronic & Defense, Perancis melalui Safran Aerospace Defense Security Malaysia Sdn Bhd;
6.UAV CH-4 keluaran China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC), China melalui syarikat Mount Matrik Sdn Bhd;
7.UAV Watchkeeper keluaran Thales, United Kingdom melalui Thales Malaysia Sdn Bhd;
8.UAV Orion-E keluaran Kronstadt Technologies, Rusia melalui syarikat Alaf Research & Technology;
9.UAV Falco Evo keluaran Leonardo, Itali melalui Leonardo (Malaysia Office); dan
10.UAV Aurora keluaran Amerika Syarikat melalui syarikat VisionGen Group
It is likely one of the above UAV/UASs will be the one chosen by RMAF. The million dollar question is which one.
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