23 November 2015
RMAF Hawk 208 (photo : Chosun)
LABUAN: The Hawk Squadron will be fully deployed at the Labuan Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) by the first quarter of next year.
RMAF air operations commander Lieutenant General Datuk Seri Ackbal Abdul Samad, speaking at the closing of the Paradise Exercise 2/2015 at the base here, he said detachment is being done on a permanent basis involving the squadron crew.
"This means the officers change on rotation but the aircraft are permanently here.
"But we are moving from permanent detachment to a fixed base here (for the Hawk Squadron) in Labuan, and we are looking to get this done by the first quarter of 2016.
"The Labuan RMAF manpower currently stands at 600; with the full Hawk Squadron, numbers are expected to reach up to 900 officers," he told reporters.
Labuan, East Malaysia (image : Google Maps)
Asked on the current assets in the Labuan base, Ackbal said are unable to disclose the inventory but the facility has transportation aircraft, helicopter squadrons as well as the fighter squadron.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the tabling of the 2015 Budget in October last year, announced that the Hawk Squadron was being shifted from the Butterworth base to Labuan to strengthen security in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone).
Meanwhile, about 60 media practitioners from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Labuan participated in the two-day Media Day with the Defence Ministry and RMAF which started yesterday.
The press also witnessed a demonstration of RMAF's operation capabilities using fighter jets like F/A-18D Hornet, the Sukhoi SU-30MKM and Hawk 108/208; C130H-30; KC130 and CN235 transport planes, as well as the EC725 and Nuri helicopters, at the closing of Paradise Exercise 2/2015 which began on Nov 9.
(New Straits Times)