report by: Thierry Letellier
This year marked the 13 edition of LIMA ( Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition )at LANGKAWI Intl Airport. As chairmanship of Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ ASEAN ] , Malaysian Authorities wanted to highly focused on ASEAN meeting held at the same place and in the same time as LIMA 2015.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF; Malay: Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia (TUDM)) was formed on 2 June 1958 as the Royal Federation of Malaya Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Persekutuan). The ’90s saw the arrival of first the BAE Hawk Mk108/208 which replaced the T/A-4PTMs, followed by the MiG-29N/NUB in 1995 in the air superiority role and delivery of the F/A-18D Hornet in 1997 to provide an all weather interdiction capability. In 2003 a contract was signed for eighteen Su-30MKMs for delivery in 2007 to fulfill a requirement for an initial order of multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA).On 8 December 2005 four Airbus Military A400M aircraft were ordered to enhance the airlift capability. The first Malaysian A400M is delivered in March 2015, exactly during LIMA 2015.Today, the Royal Malaysian Air Force operates a unique mix of modern American, European and Russian-made aircraft .The Royal Malaysian Air Force currently has an MRCA replacement program to replace the MiG-29 and F-5 fighters that will be retired by the end of 2015. The MRCA replacement program is currently narrowed down to 4 types of aircraft (Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Saab JAS 39 Gripen. As prevoiusly, the RMAF opened the ceremony by a base attack simulation led by 4SU-30 MKM-2 MB339Cm – 2 hawk 208 2/108 2 F/A-18D + 4 EC725MAF. At the exception of the EC-725, The fighters were deployed at the Butterworth Air Base where they came from and returned after each display. Following this opening time was the official arrival of the new RMAF Transport flagship, the A-400 escorted by 2 EC-725.
Listed on the flying display, there were two new formations for me: the Al Fursan and the Black Knights. Al Fursan (Arabic: ﺍﻟﻔﺮﺳﺎﻥ; in English The Knights) is the aerobatics demonstration team of the United Arab Emirates Air Force. It was formed in 2010 with Italian-built Aermacchi MB-339NAT jet aircraft.The team has a total of seven aircraft.The Black Knights is the official aerobatics team of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) featuring six F-16C Fighting Falcons in formation flight. The Black Knights’ emblem is sported on the red vertical tail of each of the team’s aircraft and the team’s name is emblazoned on both sides of the aircraft which are painted in red and white – the national colours of Singapore.
Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force sent in Langkawi its new acrobatic aircraft J-10 fighters better known as, August 1st Aerobatics Team; for a daily air demonstration program. The J-10, with its featured pair of canards and delta wing, is the first supersonic third-generation fighter designed and manufactured by Chinese indigenous technologies. The fighter has become a backbone combat aircraft in low and middle altitudes of the PLA Air Force since its active duty status was officially disclosed at the end of 2006 PLA Air Force . “It’s a great pleasure to pilot the Air Force’s new fighter in aerobatic demonstration , the J-10 has excellent agility and flexibility ” were the words of one the team members.
The 2015 LIMA will remain for me as a great vintage year; that permited me to see some very interesting new display formations. The only sad aspect was the air collision between two KT-1B from the Indonesian Air Force Jupiter Team.Miraculously theire were no poeple injuries. One of the 2 planes felt on an empty house . For the first time, i also took the time to assist to the Maritime display held inside the TUDM Base; held on the south-eastern side of the island. It was a great occasion to see the evolutions of TUDM [ Royal Malaysian Navy ] hélicopters and the CL-415 plus AS-365N3 from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency ( MMEA ) The scenario was established around something simulating a civilian maritime platform invaded by some types of terrorist, then made free by this combination of resources. Really a great moment.