Hornets for Malaysia

Last revised September 20, 2015

After months of debate on re-equipment of the Tentara Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM, or Royal Malaysian Air Force), the Malaysian Defense Minister confirmed on July 1, 1993 that they would order both MiG-29s and F/A-18s. On December 9, 1993, Malaysia signed a letter of offer and acceptance for eight F/A-18D Hornets. On June 7, 1994, Malaysia announced that they would also order 18 MiG-29 Fulcrums from Russia (16 single-seat MiG-29Ns and two MiG-29NUB two seaters). The Hornets will perform air-to-ground missions, wheeas the MiGs will perform the air-to-air mission.

The TUDM Hornets were equipped with F404-GE-402 EPE engines and were provided with with the Hughes APG-73 radar set. The first F/A-18D (serial number M45-01) was delivered to the Royal Malaysian Air Force on March 19, 1997. All eight of the Hornets had been delivered to Malaysia by September of 1997. A follow-on order for another 12 F/A-18Ds was shelved. The TUDM Hornets are currently serving with 18 Skuadron based at Butterworth.

Three Hornets were employed together with five UK-made BAE Hawk 208 aircraft in an airstrike on the Royal Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo terrorist hideout on 5 March 2013, occupying part of Borneo, just before the joint forces of Malaysian Army and Royal Malaysia Police operatives launched an assault in the Operation Daulat. Malaysian Hornets were deployed for close air support to the no-fly zone in eastern Sabah.


  1. Vespidae Varius--Recent Variations in the Hornet Family, Paul Jackson, Air International, December 1993, p. 301

  2. ASEAN Air Power, Robert Hewson, Air Forces Monthly, March 2000.

  3. McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_F/A-18_Hornet