28 Mei 2011
New airbase it is reportedly believed to be at Kota Warisan in Dengkil, near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang (photo : Airplane Pictures).
KUALA LUMPUR: The new air force base, to replace the one at Sungai Besi, will primarily served as a training establishment.
Royal Malaysian Air Force chief Gen Tan Sri Rodzali Daud said the new base would house the numerous training facilities in the organisation 'under one roof' as a management and leadership centre, especially for non-commissioned officers.
"At the moment, our various training institutions, like the Air Force Specialty School in Tanjung Bungah, Penang, are scattered all over the country but soon, it will be centralised in one base.
"It will allow us to restructure our operations and relocate the air divisions and command headquarters to forward operational bases just like how the navy and army has done."
As part of the 'Air Force-Next Generation' strategy, Rodzali said the force would emphasise on courses in aero-mechanics, avionics, aerospace support equipment and information communications technology for the future generation of technically skilled personnel.
"Under our 'Engaging the Talent' mission, we want to nurture people with calibre and quality with skills in handling sophisticated equipment like digital avionics, as a way of keeping up with global challenges."
He declined to identify the exact location of the new air base, which will not have a runway, but it is reportedly believed to be at Kota Warisan in Dengkil, near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
"Having a runway will not be feasible as the Klang Valley already has a congested airspace," he told a press conference held in conjunction with RMAF's 53rd anniversary on Wednesday.
He said the bunkered air defence operations centre at the Sungai Besi base would be relocated, possibly to the air force commando base in Bukit Jugra in Banting, while the helicopter squadrons to Subang, home to the RMAF's VVIP jets and helicopters, Hercules C-130s, maritime patrol squadrons and a national disaster air relief centre.
The 160ha Sungai Besi air base will make way for the multi-billion ringgit upscale Bandar Malaysia, undertaken by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (IMDB) via the Armed Forces Superannuation Fund.
Meanwhile, he said the RMAF's development plan included buying the muti-role combat aircraft, radars, sensors and the airborne early warning and control system.
The shopping list also include the F-16 Fighting Falcon and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets of the United States, Dassault Aviation's Rafael from France and the Saab JAS 39 Gripen from Sweden.
"We are looking at acquiring between 12 and 18 ultra-modern fighter jets per squadron, to replace the aging MiG-29N Fulcrums by 2015. Ideally, we want to operate not more than two types of fighters for ease of logistics, maintenance and the like."
Rodzali added the RMAF would take delivery of 12 Eurocopter EC-725 from next year, six Airbus A400M medium-lift aeroplanes were due for delivery from 2015."
In the meantime, at least 15 of our Nuri S-61 Sikorsky helicopters will be refurbished with upgraded avionics to complement the Eurocopters.
(New Straits Times)