Malaysian air force scrambles jets to intercept Chinese PLAAF aircraft

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) reported that it has detected suspicious flights of 16 Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft entering Malaysian Maritime Zone (ZMM) airspace, Kota Kinabalu Flight Information Region (KK FIR) and approaching Malaysia’s national airspace on May 31, 2021.

The detection was made by Air Defense Radar from the Air Defense Center (CRC 2) in Sarawak at 11:53 am, RMAF said.

It added that the Chinese PLAAF aircraft were detected flying at an altitude between 23,000 feet to 27,000 feet with a speed of 290 knots through Singapore FIR before entering ZMM airspace, KK FIR and then flying toward 60 nautical miles from the coast of Sarawak.

The RMAF said it deployed Hawk 208 fighter aircraft from the 6th Squadron of the Labuan Air Base to identify and intercept the Chinese PLAAF aircraft. It noted that Chinese PLAAF Ilyushin Il-76 and Xian Y-20 aircraft were identified.

The RMAF said the incident was a serious matter of threat to Malaysia’s sovereignty and aviation safety with the density of air traffic in flight route of KK FIR.