RAAF F-35 and Spartans train with Malaysian Air Force – Australian Aviation

An RAAF C-27J Spartan flies over Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, during Operation Solania. (defense, LAC Sam Price)

RAAF F-35 and C-27J Spartans will train alongside the Royal Malaysian Air Force next month as part of Exercise Elangaroo.

It is hoped that the training program will improve troop integration and readiness between the two countries when it takes place Nov. 7-18.

“Australia and Malaysia have a longstanding relationship and a history of conducting military exercises together,” said Group Captain Ravinder Singh, co-executive officer of the RAAF.

“Exercise Elangaroo marks the return of the RAAF’s 75 Squadron to their old home at Butterworth, where they lived and worked alongside RMAF counterparts for 16 years from 1967 to 1983.

“This particular exercise will feature a series of modern air combat platforms that integrate across the diverse and challenging geography and weather patterns of Peninsular Malaysia.

“Crews will utilize RMAF and RAAF tactical assets, including the use of strike and air control missions, to continue the great mutual understanding that exists between our nations.”

The F-35 is the country’s newest fighter, purchased to replace the RAAF’s F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets, which had been in service since 1985 and were retired at the end of 2021.

In the coming years, Australia will purchase 72 under the US$17 billion AIR 6000 Phase 2A/B program, all of which are expected to be fully operational by 2023.

So far, the fighters have completed more than 15,000 flight hours and have already achieved the first operational skills that make them combat-ready.

The aircraft comes in three variants: the F-35A, purchased from Australia, is a Conventional Takeoff and Landing (CTOL) version; The F-35B is a short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant and the final F-35C is the carrier type (CV).

The RAAF took delivery of four more in September, bringing its current fleet to 54.

It comes after Australian Aviation reported last week how Quickstep secured a new six-year deal to manufacture components for Northrop Grumman’s global F-35 program.

The Australian manufacturer of carbon fiber composites was first integrated into Prime’s global supply chain in 2012.

Work is expected to be carried out in Sydney to support Northrop’s manufacture of the center fuselage for all three F-35 variants.

Meanwhile, the C-27J’s capabilities are focused on regional peacetime operations, including search and rescue, aeromedical operations, and airlift duties such as troop movement, cargo transport, and air drop operations. Australia is operated by No 35 Squadron from RAAF Base Amberly and currently has a fleet of 10.

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