US hands over three CN 235-220 maritime surveillance aircraft to Malaysia

US Embassy Malaysia

The US government has officially handed over three CN 235-220 maritime surveillance aircraft to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).

All three RMAF CN 235-220 transport aircraft were converted into Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA)

A commemorative ceremony was held at Subang Air Force Base, Malaysia on June 27, 2024.

The conversion program began in 2018 and totaled approximately $60 million under the Maritime Security Initiative. The initiative served as the first major US security grant program in Malaysia.

The CN-235s are now enhanced with maritime surveillance radars, electro-optical infrared turrets, beyond line-of-sight communications and roll-on/roll-off system operator stations.  The aircraft are attached to Squadron 1 at Kuching Airbase in Sarawak.

According to the US Embassy in Malaysia, the US government has provided more than $240 million in total security assistance to the country between 2019-2023.

“With all three aircraft converted and incorporated into Malaysia’s overall maritime domain awareness architecture, we know that Malaysia is better able to maintain vigilant watch over activities within its Exclusive Economic Zones, and better postured to secure the maritime environment,” US Ambassador to Malaysia Edgard D. Kagan said in a statement.

The security cooperation between the US and Malaysia includes 11 bilateral and five multilateral defense exercises, the most Malaysia has with any country. The exercises help enhance Malaysian defense readiness, strengthen multinational relationships, and demonstrate the United States’ resolve to support a free and open Indo-Pacific.

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