RMAF: 16 China military aircraft detected near Malaysian airspace

PETALING JAYA: The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) detected 16 military aircraft near Malaysian airspace on Monday (May 31).

"The RMAF confirms the detection of 16 People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft entering the Malaysia Maritime Zone (ZMM) airspace, and that they were flying close to our national airspace," it said in a statement Tuesday (June 1).

"The planes were detected flying in tactical formation around 60 nautical miles (111km) from each other," the statement said.

It added that planes were flying around 23,000 to 27,000 feet (7 to 8.2km) at a speed of 290 knots (537kph) in the Singapore flight information region, before entering the ZMM.

Following the detection, the Hawk 208 from the 6th squadron at the Labuan airbase was put on alert.

"Radar surveillance continued, as well as several attempts to instruct them to contact air traffic control. Interceptor planes were launched at 1.33pm to perform visual identification," it said, adding the Chinese planes have been identified as the Ilyushin Il-76 and Xian Y-20.

"These planes are strategic transport aircraft, and are capable of performing a variety of missions," it said.

RMAF said this incident was a serious threat to the country's sovereignty and flight safety, and added the Foreign Ministry has also been informed of the incident.

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