Members of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) listen to Charles Nicholls, U.S. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) historian, during a PACAF Headquarters and Courtyard of Heroes tour on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Sept. 5, 2018. RMAF and PACAF senior leaders gathered together for the services’ first-ever Airman-to-Airman talks to develop future bi-lateral engagements. (Photo by U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Zachary Vaughn)
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- In an effort to deepen already strong bilateral ties and nurture interoperability between nations, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) hosted a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) delegation for the two air force’s first Airman-to-Airman (A2A) talks here, Sept. 5-6, 2018.
PACAF hosts A2A talks with a number of nations across the AOR, all with the effort of enhancing bilateral cooperation, discussing shared values and challenges, and developing plans for greater integration in the future.
“What we’re doing with our allies and partners has a positive impact on security in the Indo-Pacific region,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael Winkler, PACAF Strategy, Plans, and Programs director. “These talks are crucial to knowing and sharing each air forces’ common objectives and limitations.”
The discussions provided the opportunity to leverage lessons learned for future engagements between PACAF and RMAF.
“The U.S. and Royal Malaysian air forces have had a positive relationship for quite some time,” said Maj. Gen. Dato’ Hj Mohd Faudzi bin Hj Ahmad, RMAF, Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and Strategy. “The U.S. serves as a key strategic partner and we help bolster one another’s capabilities and professionalism.”
During the talks, PACAF and RMAF leadership sought avenues to mutually support each services’ interests such as improving mission planning, learning about air transportation techniques, and enhancing command and control communications.
“By having these conversations, we can share information and knowledge,” Faudzi said. “It’s important that we get to know each other and communicate so we can fulfill our requirements and objectives to maintain stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The U.S. and Malaysian militaries participate in biennial exercises like Cope Taufan and Pacific Aircraft Rally.
“We’re continuing to enhance the scope of Cope Taufan,” Faudzi said. “Previously, the exercise was mainly focused on fighter aircraft operations but this year we included air mobility elements. For the next iteration, we want to include a subject matter expert exchange program to harness the full spectrum of our capabilities.”
RMAF delegates are also invited to PACAF key leader engagements meant to enhance trust between senior decision makers.
“Partnering with Malaysia adds huge value to our organization,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeremy Horn, Washington Air National Guard commander. “We take special interest in posturing ourselves for the future. These talks allow us to build events that involve our young leaders to be able to partner and grow together throughout their careers.”
The two air forces have established a history of mutual assistance. In July 2018, the U.S. Air Force certified RMAF’s Institute of Aviation Medicine’s Centrifuge Training Program. The course trains RMAF aircrew to overcome gravitational-induced loss of consciousness, or GLOC, among other aviation related objectives.
“The U.S. Air Force assists us through a wide range of activities such as providing professional military education, government support on our military system, and improvement of our exercises,” Faudzi said. “Regional security is not the responsibility of the U.S. alone. It should be shouldered by all nations.
“The Royal Malaysian Air Force will continue working together with the U.S., particularly in the areas of maritime security, counter terrorism and humanitarian assistance,” Faudzi continued.