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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG.

Hotly contested Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) tender for the supply of 18 light combat aircraft (LCA) by six international companies is inching towards its conclusion, as RMAF has sent its recommendations to the government on aircraft they have selected claimed latest report in the Malaysian Media.

Six companies have submitted their bid to the RMAF, India’s Tejas fighter jet manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc with its Hürjet, Korea Aerospace Industries with its FA 50 fighter jet, L-15 fighter jet manufactured by China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corp and Italy’s Leonardo made M-346 planes and Aerospace Technology Systems Bhd with Russian made MiG 35 fighter jets.

While RMAF is tight-lipped about it, a Malaysian Media report speculates that Korea Aerospace Industries’ offering of the FA 50 fighter jet is leading the race with India’s Tejas fighter jet close behind. Interestingly Turkey which has been offered co-production of Hürjet and access to its 5th gen fighter program is not a favorite nor the front runner as RMAF thinks it will not be ready for the next 5-6 years and won’t be combat-ready in 36 months after the contract is signed likely in early next year.

RMAF plans to procure 18 light combat aircraft (LCA) in the first lot and another 18 in the second lot after four years gap between both deals. The RMAF listed five requirements for the LCA bidders which are that 30% of the fighter jet production has to be local content, must deliver the LCAs 36 months after the contract is signed, and air-to-air refueling capabilities, beyond visual range missile and supersonic capabilities.

RMAF is looking to retire some of the older Malaysian aircrafts such as Bae Hawk Mk 108 and Mk 208 in service and make room for the LCA and is keen to acquire used F-18 from Kuwait to fill in for the grounded Mig-29 fleet.

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