Monday, September 24, 2012
Malaysia Boleh! - Singapore Armed Forces wings its way Down Under for war games aboard MAS airliners
When it comes to moving warfighters across continents, Malaysia Boleh*!
Airliners from Malaysia's national carrier, Malaysia Airlines (MAS), airlifted the first wave of Singaporean troops to Rockhampton Airport on Saturday evening, ahead of Singapore's biggest unilateral war games in Australia, codenamed Exercise Wallaby.
Australian plane spotters observed two MAS Airbus A330-300 arrivals in Rockhampton (ROK) on Saturday night. These were 9M-MKA and 9M-MKJ, flown as flights MAS8726 and MAS8761 respectively. The airliners took off from Changi International Airport (SIN) on Saturday afternoon loaded with Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel. Please click here for their report and more pictures on the Central Queensland Planespotting site.
The commercial charter means that Malaysian pilots and flight attendants were among the first to get wind of the massive trooplift Down Under - before Singaporeans were informed of the upcoming military manoeuvres.
To those familiar with SAF doctrine, the use of Malaysian airliners to kick start the troop buildup for Exercise Wallaby would probably cause some chuckles, bearing in mind the simulated scenarios that will be fought across the Australian outback during the long, hot summer.
Perhaps there's no stronger signal of a warming of bilateral ties that having MAS deliver the SAF for one of the biggest live-fire exercises on its annual calendar?
The SAF troop strength in the Australian state of Queensland will be built up in coming weeks as the 1st Frame of Exercise Wallaby gets underway. The war game is an umbrella term for several component exercises staged under that name in Australia's Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA).
Six Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Super Puma have been observed on the ROK flightline and more RSAF helicopters are understood to be en route.
This week, Apache attack helicopters from 120 Squadron are expected to land in ROK, flown in partially disassembled aboard Antonov heavy lift transports.
Stay tuned for more reports. If you know of friends leaving soon for Wallaby 2012, please write in!
* Boleh is the Malay word for "can do".
Deepest appreciation to the nocturnal plane spotters in Rocky. The year has flown by (bad pun) with astonishing speed and it's SAF war game season again Down Under.
Posted by David Boey at 10:46 PM