Royal Malaysian Air Force
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TUDM (TENERA UDARA DIRAJA MALAYSIA)
Eighty-eight surplus Skyhawks were contracted for purchase from the United States in 1982, for use by the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM, or Royal Malaysian Air Force) ordered 88 A-4s (25 A-4Cs and 63 A-4Ls), delivery starting in 1984.. The TUDM wanted these planes refurbished into 54 single-seaters and 14 two-seaters. The aircraft were designated A-4/TA-4PTM (Peculiar To Malaysia was a moniker attached in the U.S., "PTM" does have a meaning in Malaysian).
From Sean Campbell, who worked on the conversion to PTM:
"I happened upon your website. I worked for Grumman on the A-4 PTM project. The 38 or so single seaters were completely restored at the Grumman facility in St. Augustine, Florida with Joe Walters as President. The two operational trainers were stretched at Grumman Beth Page on Long Island, New York. These modified forward sections were then shipped to St. Augustine for assembly.
You know, for some reason I only remember delivering 2 trainers, but the photo of this trainer was the contract completion photo. The TA-4 is clearly numbered #6. You can just see the top of my head and dark sunglasses just below the DANGER stencil on the intake. In the aircraft #40 image you can see me standing center right, next to the man in the plaid red jacket. The man kneeling front center in the flight jacket is the Malaysian Air Force Test Pilot, Major Mohammed Alwi. The photos include members of the Malaysian Government and Air Force. I no longer remember their names, but I worked closely with them. In photo 193, I'm standing far left in the TA-4 photo. The other image is #40 in the paint hangar."
It has been stated that only 40 PTM Skyhawks 34 single seat versions and six two-seat trainers, were delivered. The six two seat trainers were converted from single seat versions and look similar to TA-4F. Another source says 80 were ordered and 35 delivered. The remainder were kept in storage in the United States awaiting delivery. But It seems that when Malaysia came to claim the remainder of the Skyhawks they could not provide proof of ownership, and so the undelivered Skyhawks remained in the U.S.A. at a storage yard. See Marana Regional Airport.
Y2011 update: Many of the stored Skyhawks have now gone to museums and to restorers who intend to fly them.
September 24, 1985:
Lt. Udara Khiril ejected safely when his RMAF Sixth Squadron A-4PTM Skyhawk (unknown BuNo) skidded off the runway while trying to land at the Royal Malaysian Air Base in Kauntan while on a routine circuit and landing exercise today.
New Straits Times, Tuesday, 24 September 1985.
June 24, 1988:
Lt. Wahi Anuar Mat Amin is still missing after his A-4PTM Skyhawk (unknown BuNo) crashed in the South China Sea on June 24 while on a training flight from Labuan to Kuantan. New Straits Times, October 1, 1988.
October 4, 1988:
An unidentified pilot ejected safely when his A-4PTM Skyhawk crashed in the South China Sea. It was the second A-4PTM Skyhawk crash in less than a week and the fifth since 1984 and as a result the remaining 35 Skyhawks have been grounded for checks.
Williamson Daily News, October 4, 1988.
August 15, 1990:
Mejer Ong Cher Keong with the RMAF Ninth Squadron was killed when his A-4PTM Skyhawk (unknown BuNo) crashed into a mountain in low clouds while leading a two plane formation.
New Straits Times, August 15, 1990.
July 30, 1992:
Two unidentified pilots ejected safely when their TA-4PTM (unknown BuNo) trainer crashed at Kuantan RMAF airbase on July 30.
New Straits Times, August 12, 1992.
As of September 1999, the Royal Malaysian Air Force Skyhawks were no longer operational. The A-4PTM's and TA-4PTM's are abandoned at the Royal Malaysian Air Force Base at Kuantan. Some military related web sites list "30 A-4PTM Skyhawks as "retired".
Updated 24 DEC 2015 (twidget)
Known BuNo delivered:
Suspected BuNo delivered
Probable BuNo originally allocated
Suspected BuNo originally allocated