WhatI want to write on is to imagine that approval was given for the navy to have their maritime strike squadron so that they can prioritise on fleet protection based on their needs in the event the air force is busy elsewhere. As such let's consider how this can be done. What I propose is to emulate how the navy's rotary air wing was established, whereby they bought the HAS Mk1 Wasp before graduating to the modern helicopters. And what fixed wing maritime strike aircraft would fill this role I wondered before remembering that Malaysia unfortunately has about 44 A-4 cocoons bundled away in the Arizona desert. Remember that money would be tight and this have to be started in the smallest scale as possible. The ones mothballed locally I expect to be in a very bad condition already, if they have not become gate guards or engineering projects in our local universities. The ones in reserve locally if still being kept in the condition in the photo below would definitely be a no no, but if we can refurbish eight units to fighting condition from the Arizona boneyard would still leave plenty for spare parts. Mind you that these units should be for maritime strikes only, or hit and run missions with no combat flying if possible, so the airframe should still be able to handle the stress.
Having said that, the Skyhawks should be fully armed for its specialised role, and I was made to understand that the AGM-65 F/J model fits the bill for an anti-surface mission that can be launched from 28 kilometres away. Therefore these naval skyhawks would not need to fly in close and fast like the Argies during the Falklands War, and can be a worthwhile deterrent to any approaching enemy fleet. Now where shall the deterrent be based then? I would say an East Malaysian air base should be selected, as West Malaysia can be handled by the Air Force Hornets in Penang. Can Labuan Island be our stone carrier in this case, as the areas it can cover would be a potential hotspot that currently has no such organic support. And with a squadron of only eight Skyhawks to be based, not much resources would need be expanded to permanently station the aircraft while breathing life again to KD Labuan.
In case you are wondering why only eight Skyhawks should be made operational, well you have to consider that there will be also be only eight Hornets available to be transferred to the navy from the airforce, while the LIFT aircraft squaderon would be equipped with the Air Force's Hawk 208. I would expect that the Navy would take this procurement option of taking hand me down aircrafts to make the operation economical unless they can get a big bump in the available defence budget so that they can acquire new platforms. In fact I would say that the only way such a maritime strike squadron is to be operated by the navy is to make it a small scale operation, with a focused mission. Maybe only then would what I imagine may even have the smallest hint of becoming a reality, and at least as important to me also is to see our Skyhawks flying off into the sunset, and not be laid bare in the desert still. In the meantime, excuse me if I am dreaming rather than imagining.