India’s LCA-Tejas, produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, and the FA-50 Golden Eagle, made by South Korea’s Korea Aerospace Industries. one of the two could likely emerge as a winner to the tender floated by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) to fulfill a light combat aircraft requirement, which already got a response from 7 other contenders said Defense analyst Ben Ho.

Ben Ho, an analyst with the Military Studies Programme at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, says that the General Electric F404 engine used in the FA-50 Golden Eagle and LCA-Tejas gives its clear advantage over the Chinese-Pakistan offer of the JF-17 that is powered by a Russian Klimov RD-93 engine that due to serviceability issues with the related engine of Malaysia’s MiG-29s won’t be preferred.

General Electric F404 engines are also equipped on Malaysia’s Boeing F/A-18D Hornet fleet and RMAF will prefer jets with the same engine but FA-50 Golden Eagle has an edge over LCA-Tejas due to non-Israeli components that will be an issue unless India will be ready to offer local system for the RMAF since Malaysia doesn’t have an official diplomatic relationship with Israel.

Recently RMAF scrambled its Hawk 208s in response to what it considers to be an incursion of Malaysian airspace by 16 PLAAF aircraft. since then chances of JF-17 winning a Malaysian contract have fallen considerably and FA-50 Golden Eagle seems to be in the driver seat while HAL Chief recently claimed that LCA-Tejas has good chances at export order from Malaysia.

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