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    Butterworth Airfield (RMAF Butterworth) Penang State Malaysia

Location
Lat 5° 27' 0" N Long 100° 23' 0" E. Butterworth Airfield is located near Butterworth on the western coast of the Malaysian Peninsula in Penang State (Pulau Pinang) in Malaysia. Also known as "RAF Butterworth" or "RMAF Butterworth" or "Butterworth Station". To the west is Penang Island.

Construction
Commissioned during October 1941, as a Royal Air Force (RAF) station, part of the British defense plan for defending the Malayan Peninsula against a potential Japanese invasion.

During December 1941, the airfield was bombed by G3M Nell & G4M Betty bombers from Saigon. Brewster Buffalo fighters from the Butterworth intercepted but escorting A6M2 Zeros attacked the defenders.

On December 20, 1941 captured by the Japanese 25th Army, repaired and used by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) until the end of the Pacific War.

Postwar
After the official surrender, the RAF resumed control of the airfield during September 1945 and Japanese prisoners of war were made to repair the base and improve the runways. It was fully repaired by May 1946.

During the Malayan Emergency 1948 - 1960, RAF as well as RAAF and RNZAF units stationed at the airbase played an active role in helping to curb the communist insurgency in the jungles of Malaya by attacking suspected hideouts and harassing the communist guerrillas. The base also served as a vital front-line airfield for various other units on rotation from RAF Changi, RAF Kuala Lumpur, RAF Kuantan, RAF Seletar and RAF Tengah.

In 1957, the RAF transferred the control of the base to the RAAF and it was renamed RAAF Butterworth, the base became the home to numerous Australian fighter and bomber squadrons stationed in Malaya during the Cold War era, including 3 Squadron and 77 Squadron flying CAC Sabres during the Malayan Emergency through the Confrontation with Indonesia. From August 1964 onwards, these Sabre jets responded on several occasion to incursions by MiG-21 fighter jets of the Indonesian Air Force flying towards Malaysian airspace but the Indonesian aircraft always turned back before crossing the international boundary. Also based at Butterworth was 75 Squadron flying Dassault Mirage IIIs from 1968 - 1983.

Australian Defence Force continues to maintain a presence at RMAF Butterworth as part of Australia's commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), with No. 324 Combat Support Squadron and a detachment of AP-3C Orion aircraft from No. 92 Wing RAAF being located at the base. In addition, the Australian Army maintains an infantry company (designated Rifle Company Butterworth) at Butterworth for training purposes.

On June 30, 1988, Butterworth was handed over by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and was renamed "RMAF Butterworth" and based 3 Squadron, 12 Squadron, 15 Squadron and 18 Squadron.

Today
Still in use today as a military airfield known as Butterworth Airport. Airport code: ICAO: WMKB and IATA: BWH. The single runway is oriented 36/18 measures 8,000' x 150' surfaced with asphalt.

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Last Updated
February 18, 2018

 

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