KOTA KINABALU: The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) created history after it launched the 601 Squadron Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) at the Sepanggar Naval Base in Sepanggar, here today.
Chief of Navy, Admiral Tan Sri Mohd Reza Mohd Sany said RMN had received 12 units of ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) aircraft from the United States government under the Maritime Security Initiative (MSI).
The ability of the aircraft, which provides real time data and requires minimal crew involvement, can increase the RMN’s ability in carrying out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in high-risk waters in Malaysia.
“The operation of this ScanEagle aircraft is the first unmanned aircraft operation by the Malaysian Armed Forces.
“The operation of the UAS system will open a new chapter in the dimension and doctrines of our military defense and will pave the way for the use of UAS technology in our military capability in the future,” he said at the launch of the 601 Squadron UAS ScanEagle system at the Sepanggar Naval Base today.
Also present was Embassy of the United States of America Defence Attache Office, Captain Muhammad Muzzafar Feroze Khan.
Mohd Reza said the RMN plan is to acquire more UAS ScanEagle which can enhance their military and security system in the country.
“At this moment, we will operate the UAS ScanEagle on land as we need to familiarise ourselves with this new system before we move it onto our ships and vessels for real-life operations,” he said.
Mohd Reza said although the UAS ScanEagle is under the RMN, it can also be used to assist their other military forces.
“There is no constraint in using this system to assist our military counterparts, namely the Malaysian Army and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, to enhance security of our nation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Muzzafar said the US government will deliver 12 aircraft to Malaysia by this year.
“Six UAS ScanEagle aircraft will be delivered by middle of this year while the remaining six aircraft will be delivered either by end of this year or beginning of 2022.
“We also have two CN235-220M (M44-05) tactical airlifter that are currently being modified with surveillance packages in Indonesia,” he said.
The UAS ScanEagle is a Boeing-Insitu aircraft built by the US government for Malaysia through the Maritime Security Initiative (MSI).
The system was first accepted by the RMN on May 6, 2020 which includes six aircraft, two launchers, two skyhook and three ground-control-station (GCS) worth RM180 million.
The 601 Squadron made history as the first UAS Squadron to be operated by the Malaysian Armed Forces.
The operation of UAS will provide the RMN with added advantage in terms of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance throughout Malaysian’s waters as well as increase Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).