Maintenance Repair & Overhaul Space Air Cargo

Home- Stories

Malaysia Enhances Maritime Domain Awareness

Our Bureau - : May 26, 2023 - : 6:50 am

With maritime domain awareness being one of Malaysia’s pressing challenges, it was no surprise that the country’s s longstanding requirement for a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned air vehicle (UAV) was one of the talking points of LIMA 2019. With the country selecting Turkish Aerospace Industries to provide three Anka unmanned aircraft, the capabilities of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) have been considerably enhanced.

The UAVs, once they become operational in 2026, will provide RMAF with persistent surveillance capabilities. The UAV will initially be used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, with an electronic warfare capability to be added later. With China’s aggression in the region causing plenty of concern for its neighbors, the UAVs will be based on the island of Labuan to carry out surveillance over the South China Sea.

The Anka family of drones can perform reconnaissance, target acquisition and identification, and intelligence gathering missions. The aircraft, which features electro-optical/infrared and synthetic-aperture radar technologies, has autonomous flight capabilities and can take off and land on its own.

Malaysia will also press into service the two maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) that it will acquire from Leonardo as part of its strategy of maximizing maritime domain awareness. Leonardo’s ATR 72MP is based on the ATR 72 turboprop regional airline. Besides performing maritime patrol, search and rescue, it is also capable of carrying out electronic intelligence gathering missions using its suite of onboard systems, including radar, electro-optical sensors and satellite communication technology. The ATR 72MP is also a perfect fit for anti-submarine operations as it can carry lightweight torpedoes.

Demand for Chinese military drones, which is considerably less expensive than UAVs manufactured in other countries, had soared a few years ago, but has been on the wane since then due to complaints about their quality. However, both TAI and US-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA -ASI) have been successful in finding international customers for their drones.

Growing Demand

At IDEX 2023 in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, TAI signed contracts with Indonesia, Chad, and Algeria for the export of Anka UAVs. According to Turkish media outlets, Indonesia has placed an order for 12 drones while Algeria and Chad are acquiring 10 and two respectively. The company now has six international customers for Anka. Tunisia became the first export customer when the Tunisian Air Force with three Anka drones and three ground control stations in 2020. Kazakhstan, Anka’s second export client, is set to receive three UAVs and two ground control systems. Last year, TAI also signed an agreement with Kazakhstan Engineering to manufacture the UAVs in Kazakhstan. With the company committed to industrial cooperation with members of the Malaysian defence industry, the chances of Anka UAVs for Malaysia being partly produced in the country are high.

In March this year, TAI unveiled Anka-3, a new combat drone expected to fly for the first time this year. The drone will be outfitted with the same aviation infrastructure and ground control station as other Anka drones, according to the company. The Anka-3 will have a maximum takeoff weight of 6,500 kilograms (14,330 pounds) and a payload capacity of 1,200 kilograms (2,646 pounds). It can soar to heights of up to 40,000 feet and can last 10 hours at 30,000 feet. The UAV has a cruise speed of 250 knots (288 mph) and a top speed of 425 knots (489 mph).

GA-ASI’s MQ-9B has also garnered significant interest from customers throughout the world. After the UK Ministry of Defence selected MQ-9B SkyGuardian for its upcoming Protector program, the Belgian Ministry of Defense signed a contract for SkyGuardian. The Japan Coast Guard is currently operating MQ-9B in the SeaGuardian configuration. The SeaGuardian has also been selected by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) for its MALE RPAS Trial Operation Project.


Headquartered in Singapore with reporters spread across all major regions, GBP Aerospace & Defence is a leading media house that publishes three publications that serve the aerospace and defence sector - Asian Defence Technology, Asian Airlines & Aerospace and Daily News. Known industry-wide for quality journalism, GBP Aerospace & Defence is present at more international tradeshows and exhibitions than any other competing publication in the region.
For over three decades, our award-winning team of reporters has been producing top-notch content to help readers stay abreast of the latest developements in the field of commercial aviation, MRO, defence, and Space.

Popular Posts

Copyright 2024. GBP. All Rights Reserved.

Home Defence & Security Space Commercial Aviation Maintence Repair & Overhaul Daily News Events About Us