PETALING JAYA: The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has launched a search and rescue operation after it lost contact with one of its Hawk Mk108 aircraft near the Pahang-Terengganu border.
In a brief statement, RMAF said the aircraft left the Kuantan air base at 11am but lost contact about 30 minutes later.
RMAF has two variations of the BAE Systems-made Hawk aircraft. The Mk108 is the two-seater variant used primarily as an advanced jet trainer, while the Mk208 is a single-seat aircraft, which is used in Malaysia for light attack and as a point-air defence fighter.
It is believed that the latter variant was employed in airstrikes against Sulu militants in the 2013 Lahad Datu standoff, ahead of the ground assault by the army and police.
BAE Systems first introduced the Hawk aircraft in 1974.
News of the missing aircraft comes months after a Beechcraft King Air 200T, also belonging to the RMAF, crashed at its Air Base in Butterworth on Dec 21, killing a pilot and injuring three others.
Since 1991, there have been only two crashes involving RMAF’s Hawk Mk108 fleet, one in 1996 and the other in 2000.