Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) personnel are expected to take full control of the Gong Kedak AFB 11 Squadron, which operates Su-30MKM Flankers, by September 2010.

The two-year service tenure of 50 Russian and Indian technical crewmembers, engineering officers and instructor pilots will come to an end following the takeover, according to

RMAF chief Gen. Datuk Seri Rodzali Daud said the departure of the expatriates would pose a strong challenge to the local airmen and women who would then stand on their own to operate the multirole combat aircraft.

The air force will employ the services of 300 personnel from ATSC Sdn Bhd, a local maintenance company, to support a same number of its own crew to run the base.

About 24 RMAF pilots will be trained to fly the SU-30MKM aircraft.

During the two years, Indian and Russian crew worked together to verify, certify and standardise the Flanker.

Established in 1993, the Gong Kedak Air Force Base launched the 402nd air defence squadron and the 11th Sukhoi Squadron in 2009.