BUTTERWORTH: The preliminary report on the Hawk 108 fighter jet which crashed in Chukai, Terengganu on June 15, killing two Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) pilots, will be ready in two to three weeks.
RMAF chief, General Affendi Buang said the investigation into the incident needed time as the air force wanted a thorough study done.
“We have sent several samples including the aircraft equipment to the fighter jet manufacturer for investigation to determine the actual cause of the incident, and to obtain a scientific report from them,” he told reporters after the 20th anniversary celebration of the 18th Squadron ( F/A-18D Hornet) at the air base, here, today.
Major Yazmi Mohamed Yusof, 39, and Major Mohd Hasri Zahari, 31, were killed when the Hawk 108 crashed into a swamp in Chukai, Terengganu.
The incident occurred when the two pilots were conducting training in the fighter jet before losing communication at 11.30am. The bodies of both victims were found at 2.30pm the same day, about 53 kilometres from the Kuantan RMAF base in Pahang.
Affendi, who arrived from the Subang air base at 11.25am in an F/A-18D Hornet piloted by 18th Squadron commanding officer Col Koey Tang Chai, said the fighter jet was still relevant and he was confident the aircraft could still be operational for 18 more years.
“All our aircraft have been consistently upgraded including with the installation of a new weapons system, Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) as well as the AMRAAM C7 missile,” he said.
Affendi said the American-made multirole fighter jet was introduced in 1997 and was used in operations against intruders in Lahad Datu, Sabah.
“The RMAF has plans to increase the number of F/A-18D Hornet but it depends on the government and I believe they have plans on the matter,” he said.
Asked about the developments in Marawi, southern Philippines, with on-going clashes between the military and terrorists, Affendi said the RMAF had taken measures to stay alert.
“We have a base in Labuan and in fact, precautionary measures have been taken including national border and air surveillance with our assets including the Sukhoi and F/A-18D Hornet jets located in Labuan,” he said.