Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) F/A-18D M45-02 Hornet aircraft
Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) F/A-18D M45-02 Hornet aircraft

Royal Malaysian Air Force to Buy Kuwaiti F/A-18D Hornet Fighter Jets to Expand Fleet

The Star reported that the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is currently in the process of procuring a number of F/A-18D (Hornet) fighter jets from Kuwait. Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz was responding to an supplementary question from Senator Datuk Zaiedi Suhaili on the F/A-18D fighter aircraft service life extension programme and whether there were plans to increase the number of the aircraft. He said the RMAF also intended to use F/A-18D fighter aircraft until 2035. He said the Sukhoi Su-30 MKM fighter aircraft was also undergoing a service life extension programme.

According to Ikmal Hisham,”It would be a “lock, stock and barrel” procurement of 33 Kuwaiti Air Force F/A-18C/D aircraft which were still in good condition and with low operating hours. However, this initiative is still waiting for discussions between the two countries or at the government-to-government level. If this initiative is successful, it will definitely increase the level of preparedness and capability of the RMAF in safeguarding the country’s space. Further to that, the RMAF has planned a programme to increase the capacity of the F/A-18D fighter aircraft which is expected to begin in 2022 to ensure the preparedness of this aircraft remains relevant.”

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A camouflaged F-18C Hornet aircraft of the Kuwaiti Air Force parked on the flight line.
A camouflaged F-18C Hornet aircraft of the Kuwaiti Air Force parked on the flight line.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia) has eight F/A-18Ds.[93] Delivery of the aircraft spanned from March 1997 to August 1997. Three Hornets together with five UK-made BAE Hawk 208 were deployed in a bombing airstrike on the “Royal Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo” terrorists on 5 March 2013, just before the joint forces of the Royal Malaysian Army and Royal Malaysia Police commandos launched an all-out assault during Operation Daulat. The Hornets were tasked with close air support to the no-fly zone in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

The Kuwait Air Force (Al Quwwat Aj Jawwaiya Al Kuwaitiya) ordered 32 F/A-18C and eight F/A-18D Hornets in 1988. Delivery started in October 1991 until August 1993. The F/A-18C/Ds replaced A-4KU Skyhawk. They have also participated in military exercises with the air forces of other Gulf nations. Kuwait had 39 F/A-18C/D Hornets in service in 2008. Kuwait also participated in the Yemeni Civil War (2015–present). In February 2017, the Commander of the Kuwait Air Force revealed that the F/A-18s based at King Khalid Air Base had performed approximately 3,000 sorties over Yemen. Kuwait is planning to phase out its existing fleet of Hornet FA-18C and 18D aircraft as it waits for the delivery of the Boeing Super Hornet aircraft in 2021. In November 2016 the US State Department approved the sale of up to 40 Super Hornets (32 F/A-18Es and eight F/A-18Fs) for Kuwait, valued at USD10.1 billion

Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) F/A-18D M45-02 Hornet aircraft
A Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) F/A-18D Hornet aircraft lands at RMAF base Butterworth, Malaysia, June 11, 2014, during Cope Taufan 2014. Cope Taufan is a biennial aerial combat exercise designed to increase the combat readiness and interoperability of the U.S. Air Force and Royal Malaysian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson/Released)
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