The exercise, codenamed ‘Op Bisa Daya and Op Taring Daya’ and conducted by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) involves six air-superior fighter planes of Sukhoi Su-30MKM and three F/A-18D Hornet aircraft, while the exercise area is the air space over the South China Sea.
Sukhoi pilot, Major Khairul Ikhwan Yussof (call sign, Trumb) told reporters that the exercise was conducted simultaneously with the civilian move around Sabah and Sarawak waters.
He said a total of six pilots, each supported by a weapon sensor specialist, were involved in the exercise.
Khairul said the air-to-ground missile firing exercise was conducted for two weeks from July 22 at the Lasarud (air exercise field) in Kota Belud, Sabah before continuing in Labuan for the air-to-air missile firing exercise.
“We are glad that throughout the exercise in Kota Belud, there had been no hiccups while some weaknesses were addressed. Importantly, we recorded zero accident,” he said.
F/A-18D Hornet pilot, Major Mohd Faizuddin Mohd Fauzi said the three aircraft used in the air-to-ground missile firing exercise in Kota Belud had been a major success for the squad.
“Collaboration between the Hornet aircraft and Sukhoi during the exercise showed positive results, with both types of aircraft complementing each other,” he said.
Hornet aircraft weapon sensor specialist, Major Kamal Jufri said the exercise was vital for the effectiveness and readiness of the aircraft and pilots.
“This exercise was to check on the credibility of the Hornet fighter aircraft in launching missiles and how effective these were in complimenting the Sukhoi Su fighter planes,” he said.
Sukhoi Su aircraft engineer, Lt Nur Afifah Muhamad Ridzuan Nasaruddin said the checklist helped her check thoroughly the readiness of the aircraft before taking off.
“My routine throughout the exercise was to check every part of the plane to see that everything was in place and in good condition, and ensuring the system could run smoothly,” she added.