The Malacian Air Force.
Until the Second World War the Malacian Air Force was little more than a reconnaisance organisation equipped with Supermarine Singapore flying boats, a few Gloster Gauntlett fighters and a flight of Supermarine Walrus seaplanes. However, in 1940 they obtained a number of Gloster Gladiators, and in 1941 were able to purchase Spitfire MkII fighters along with Blenheim MkIV fighters and bombers. When Malacia joined the Allies in 1942 they were supplied with Spitfire MkVc fighters. After the end of the war they were able to purchase later marks of Spitfire and some Lancaster bombers. In 1950 Gloster Meteor F3s were purchased, and in 1956 these were supplemented by F8s. Canberra B1 bombers wer bought in 1953, with further B6s in 1957. In 1960 a few Hawker Hunter F1s were bought, followed by a larger quantity of F3s in 1963. Later in the same year some Javelin FAW1s were acquired, followed by FAW7s in 1965. The Hunters, Javelins and Canberras formed the main fighter and ground-attack strength until the 1980s. Considerable disquiet was caused, however, when Venezuela sought to acquire F16 fighters. Although the Malacian Defence Staff were confident that the country could be defended by the Bloodhound surface-to-air missile batteries but a comparable fighter would be needed to shadow or ward off any airborne incursions. As the F16 could literally run rings around the Hunters and Javelins the search was on for a suitable fighter. The British EE Lightning was ruled out on cost and maintenance overheads as well as its landing characteristics. Eventually the purchasing commission foud themselves investigating the Swedish SAAB Draken J35D which the Swedes were willing to to sell. The US government tried to stop the sale on the grounds that the radar and missile armament were controlled items. The Swedish government responded that the aircraft were being sold without either as the Drakens were being fitted with Ferranti AIRPASS radar and would be able to use Firestreak and Red Top missiles.
After the US Government withdrew its support for Venezuela the long-standing ban on the export of military equipment to Malacia was quietly dropped; many US companies tried to sell Malacia various military aircraft but Malacia turned again to Sweden and bought Saab AJ37 Viggens.
This page copyright SR Jenkins February 2012; reproduction without prior approval is prohibited.
Page last updated: 22nd
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