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SOURCE:  ABHOY ROY / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

The next edition of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) in Malaysia is fast approaching and India will be sending Two LCA-Tejas fighter jet which will compete in a race to supply 12 light combat aircraft (LCA) or a fighter lead-in trainer (FLIT) as stated requirement within the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).

RMAF has invited other proposals from competitors who are in the race like M-346FA Fighter Attack aircraft variant developed by Leonardo, Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft developed by United Aircraft Corporation of Russia and FA-50 light attack aircraft developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). It is rumored that even JF-17 developed by China is also one of the contestant in RMAF requirement but there is no confirmation if it will be present in the airshow.

M-346, Yak-130, and FA-50 are all advanced jet trainer (AJT)/LIFT Twin seat trainer aircraft which have been modified to perform light attack duties and according to Royal Malaysian Air Force requirements, they are looking for a jet which will have some air-to-air and a full air-to-ground capability, since there are attempts at procuring a larger platform under its Multirole Combat Aircraft (MRCA) programme.

China also has developed JF-17 Trainer variant recently but it is unlikely will be available for flight sorties in Malaysia so soon, India already has developed Two Trainer variants of LCA-Tejas MK-1 which have been flying foreign dignitaries or VVIPs, Scientists from India and Aboard. IAF already has placed orders for 8 LCA-Tejas MK-1 Trainers which will go into production from 2021 onward and if HAL is able to clinch order from RMAF it will come as a big boost to their SPORT LIFT Variant which they want to develop based on LCA-Tejas MK-1 Trainer Variant. RMAF clearly is looking for low cost Light attack fighter which can also be used to train pilots and LCA-Tejas Trainer has great shot at the tender if HAL is able to place the aircraft reasonable well with other low cost AJT Variants in the race.

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