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Malaysia Exploring Multirole Fighter Jet Options

February 2019

Malaysia is considering to add up to 30 lightweight multirole fighter jets to complement its fleet of F/A – 18D and Su-30MKM aircrafts. It was reported that the country’s Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has asked India to send a Tejas fighter to Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2019 (LIMA 2019) scheduled on March 26 – 30 in Langkawi, Malaysia for evaluation. Tejas, a multirole light combat aircraft (LCA), was designed and developed together by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Aeronautical Development Centre (ADC) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. Currently priced at USD 29 million per aircraft, sources said that Malaysia is planning to purchase up to 30 units of Tejas for its air force.

The development with Tejas came after extensive trials of JF-17 Thunder, developed in China and built in Pakistan by the defense ministry in 2018. The model is cheaper than Tejas with a USD 25 million price tag. According to news sources Malaysia has also issued a Request for Information under the Malaysian Light Combat Aircraft program to Korea Aerospace Industry (KAI) for its FA-50 Golden Eagle Block 10 on last January 5. Within South East Asia Golden Eagles are flown by Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, with only the Philippines opted for fighter/attack variant. Malaysia was reportedly seeking for 12 aircrafts with the option of adding 24 more. Aside from Tejas, JF-17 Thunder and FA-50 Golden Eagles, other compatible competitors for the potential contract include United Aircraft Corporation’s Mig-35 and Saab’s JAS-39C/D Gripen.

(Sources: International Business Times; AIN Online; Pakistan Defence)