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!
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.
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.
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!
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…