The Douglas A-4PTM Skyhawk – Peculiar To Malaysia!

In the royal town of Kuala Kangsar in Perak state is an unusual Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Douglas A-4PTM Skyhawk attack aircraft monument (PTM = Peculiar To Malaysia!). It kind of resembles a Skyhawk on an aircraft carrier deck. Now this is nothing unusual for some operators of the A-4 but Malaysia has never operated an aircraft carrier!

Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Douglas A-4PTM Skyhawk attack aircraft monument in Kuala Kangsar (March 2018)
Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Douglas A-4PTM Skyhawk attack aircraft monument in Kuala Kangsar (March 2018)

Malaysia purchased 88 former US A-4C/L aircraft (25 A-4C/63 A-4L) in 1982 for refurbishment and upgrade. 40 of them were upgraded to the A-4PTM standard which added a Hughes AN/ASB-19 Angle Rate Bombing System, air refueling capability and increased weapons payload (originally 60 were to be upgraded but budget constraints came into play).

The 40 were made up of 36 A-4PTM single seaters and 4 TA-4PTM two-seat combat trainers (the latter were constructed from single seat airframes by adding a section to lengthen the fuselage, to accommodate the instructor’s cockpit – similar to US TA-4 aircraft with a tandem cockpit canopy). The rest remained in storage in the US (intended for spares) and were never used by the RMAF.

Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Douglas A-4PTM Skyhawk attack aircraft monument in Kuala Kangsar (March 2018)
Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Douglas A-4PTM Skyhawk monument in Kuala Kangsar (March 2018)

The first A-4PTM entered service in 1984 and they flew with RMAF No. 6 & 9 Squadrons until 1995 when they were replaced by BAE Hawk 208 light attack aircraft. The RMAF Skyhawks uncharacteristically suffered serviceability issues and the RMAF suffered a high accident rate (5 were lost between 1985 and 1992 including a two-seater) – hence the short service period.

Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Douglas A-4PTM Skyhawk attack aircraft monument in Kuala Kangsar (March 2018)
That open cockpit is a bit of a worry! Kuala Kangsar (March 2018)

The monument is actually a fountain but given its state of disrepair, it obviously hasn’t been functioning for a while. This is a pity as I have seen photos online from when the surrounding trees were just saplings. Back then it was in its heyday, when the fountain flowed like a waterfall from the platform on which the Skyhawk sits, to pools below (now empty). That was what I was expecting to see – It was once very nice! The slightly ajar cockpit canopy is also a worry in regards to preservation!

Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Douglas A-4PTM Skyhawk attack aircraft monument in Kuala Kangsar (March 2018)
Ready for launch! RMAF A-4PTM – Kuala Kangsar (March 2018)
Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Douglas A-4PTM Skyhawk attack aircraft monument in Kuala Kangsar (March 2018)
The RMAF Douglas A-4PTM Skyhawk monument looks as though it is on a carrier deck – Kuala Kangsar (March 2018)

With the closure of the RMAF Museum in Kuala Lumpur (they are constructing a high rise on that location with no known replacement museum at the time of writing! I hope the old collection is safe in storage on a base somewhere? I was looking forward to seeing an ex-RAAF CAC Sabre jet in RMAF livery and markings!), there are unfortunately very few places to see former RMAF inventory outside of the Armed Forces Museum in Port Dickson and a small number of aircraft in museums in Malacca. Hopefully the government will allocate funds some day to return this place to its former glory and also open a new air force museum…

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “The Douglas A-4PTM Skyhawk – Peculiar To Malaysia!

    1. It already IS a tragedy. Malaysia’s official Air Force Museum had a pristine Skyhawk once. A few years ago it was moved out of shelter, then the canopy left open by the civil defence agency who borrowed it for “training” on site. Immaculate cockpit became a rusted mess.

      The same has undoubtedly happened to this one.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Interesting and inspired presentation of the aircraft.

    I really wish those museums who have A-4 Skyhawks on display would all equip theirs with oleo locks so the distinctive nose high stance of the aircraft is preserved. An A-4 with a completely compressed nose gear leg just doesn’t look right.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read your post more fully now and wanted to detail the fate of the museum aircraft at the former Sungai Besi Air Base.

    The museum aircraft have been towed a few yards to the former police air wing site next door and for the foreseeable future will sit in the open. Access is not permitted. The police air wing has itself moved to Subang airport and the former site will eventually be redeveloped, but no new site for the museum has not been found.

    In Malaysia the custom is for acquirers of government land to pay for land and construction of replacements. In this case the acquirer was ex-PM Najib Tun Razak’s 1MDB. 1MDB is now dissolved following the greatest financial scandals in history and work on the project has stalled indefinitely, and with it the prospects of a new museum.

    The rest of the air force base has moved to Sendayan, in Negeri Sembilan state (at government’s not 1MDB’s expense) but no new museum was detailed.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.