Washington ANG and Royal Malaysian Air Force Establish Sister Squadron Relationship

  • Published
  • By Kimberly D. Burke, Western Air Defense Sector Public Affairs

In a historic moment fostering international collaboration and strengthening defense ties, the Washington Air National Guard commander, U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, and the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff Operations and Strategy of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), RMAF Brig. Gen. Azman bin Jantan, proudly signed a Sister Squadron agreement Feb. 22. The signing took place during the annual United States Air Force and Royal Malaysian Air Force Airman-to-Airman Talks hosted at Pacific Air Forces Headquarters.

This significant agreement formalizes the enduring relationship between RMAF’s 320 Squadron, Control and Reporting Center 1, and the 225th Air Defense Group, Western Air Defense Sector, Washington Air National Guard.

The roots of this partnership trace back to 2018 when Subject Matter Expert Exchanges were established under the National Guard State Partnership Program. Over the years, both the Western Air Defense Sector and RMAF 320 Squadron Control and Reporting Center 1 have benefited immensely from these exchanges, enriching their capabilities, and fostering camaraderie.

For Welsh, the State Partnership Program embodies the essence of cooperation and mutual learning. Through initiatives like the Sister Squadron relationship, he commented that “we not only strengthen our defenses but also forge bonds that endure the test of time. Our National Guard units, with their stable membership, uniquely foster long-term relationships that are invaluable.”

There are many mutual benefits of this partnership according to Col. Antony Braun, the 225th Air Defense Group commander and Western Air Defense Sector deputy commander.  "The exchange of expertise between our Airmen and their counterparts in the Royal Malaysian Air Force is invaluable. It's not just about sharing knowledge; it's about understanding each other's cultures and approaches to our unique missions. The Airmen of the Western Air Defense Sector represent the pinnacle of air defense in the U.S. Air Force, and through programs like this, we continue to elevate our standards and those of our partners."

The Sister Squadron relationship focuses on enhancing command and control for the air defense mission set, integrating data links, and information sharing. It also emphasizes ground control intercept tactics, techniques, and procedures.  Braun explained that “by furthering regional goals for air domain awareness and development of professional Airmen, this partnership establishes the foundation for mutually beneficial exchanges that emphasize detection, sensing, and fusing information. These exchanges ultimately strengthen both nations' defense capabilities.”

This Sister Squadron agreement marks a significant milestone in international cooperation and underscores the commitment of the United States and Malaysia to mutual security and prosperity.