English World

R-air treat for defence ministers

BUTTERWORTH, Malaysia – One of the world’s most advanced new generation multi-role combat aircraft made a special flypast for the defence ministers of Malaysia, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Singa­pore.

Europe’s sophisticated Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft made the solo flypast around noon yesterday at the Butterworth RMAF air base to allow the ministers – Malaysia’s Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Britain’s Philip Hammond, Australia’s Stephen Smith, New Zealand’s Dr Wayne Mapp and Singapore’s Dr Ng Eng Hen – to get a glimpse of its capabilities.

The aircraft is being used in the Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA)’s three-week long joint military exercise participated by the countries over South China Sea, Mersing in Johor and Pekan in Pahang, which ends tomorrow.

The aircraft will take part in the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (Lima) 2011 exhibition for public viewing next month.

Ahmad Zahid had earlier accompanied his counterparts to visit the FPDA’s Headquarters Integrated Area Defence System (HQIADS) located at the base, in conjunction with the FPDA’s 40th anniversary celebrations this year.

He said the FPDA members had renewed their commitment to assist Malaysia and Singapore in carrying out joint air surveillance and to tackle security threats.

He added that FPDA used to have about 2,000 personnel based in Butterworth, especially from the Royal Australia Air Force.

“Now since the country is more peaceful, there are only 39 personnel in the FPDA.”

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