US Naval Air Systems Command’s (NAVAIR) first CN-235 military transport aircraft converted into a maritime patrol aircraft has been delivered to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).
The delivery comes nearly four years after the US signed an agreement with the Southeast Asian nation to increase their military interoperability.
The aircraft is expected to assist the RMAF in strengthening maritime security and situational awareness within its exclusive economic zone.
According to NAVAIR, the recently delivered CN-235 was upgraded with an unspecified maritime surveillance mission suite and advanced surveillance radar.
It is also fitted with an electro-optical infrared turret, line-of-sight datalink, and a roll-on/roll-off mission system operator station.
In addition to the maritime patrol aircraft, the US Navy has delivered associated mobile and fixed ground stations to the RMAF.
‘Significant Force Multiplier’
The CN-235 is a twin-engine transport aircraft originally manufactured by Perseroan Terbatas Dirgantara Indonesia and Spain’s Construcciones Aeronáuticas.
With a wingspan of 25.81 meters (84 feet), the aircraft can support primary military roles such as maritime patrol, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and air transport.
NAVAIR official Ron Weinberger said that the modified CN-235 will be a “significant force multiplier” for the Malaysian armed forces.
It could also directly support joint Malaysian and US joint efforts to ensure global security in the Indo-Pacific region.
Before being delivered to the Asian country, the aircraft was flown to Indonesia for completion and testing, with the first flight taking place in October 2021.
Development of the two remaining CN-235 maritime patrol aircraft is scheduled to be completed this year.