The majority of the Malaysian defense Analytics seems to agree that India’s LCA-Tejas and Turkey’s Hurjet light attack jet are two frontrunners that are leading the race with Korean offer being distant third while Chinese offer of the JF-17 is more or less out after diplomatic tensions between two countries in the global tender for 18 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) that was floated by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) last year.

HAL and Turkish Aerospace are the only companies that have met all the logistics and technical parameters set by the air force and RMAF is also highly impressed by the LCA-Tejas flight demonstration that was held on the sideline of the LIMA-2019 but aggressive Turkish diplomacy and Islamic connections between the two countries might come into play which might result into RMAF going for a plane that is yet to be rolled out let alone which is flying.

Hurjet aircraft is expected to make its maiden flight during Turkiye’s centennial in 2023 and Turkish Aerospace has promised Malaysia that deliveries of the jet will start from 2027 onwards if it is awarded the contract. While Turkey is mum on the price per unit cost of the Hurjet aircraft AJT variant of the jet will be similar to aircraft in the competition as Turkish Aerospace has made aggressive plans of targeting the potential in the export market.

Turkish Aerospace is yet to confirm when it could be ready with the LCA (Combat Variant) of the Hurjet since RMAF wants eight of these platforms to be primarily configured for lead-in-fighter training, while the remaining 10 would be single-seater LCAs. Conversion of a LIFT into Light Light Attack Aircraft is not only time consuming but will also require integration and certification of weapons that can prolong its developmental timeline since RMAF wants AESA Fire Control Radar and Mid-Air Refueling probe on the LCA Variant along with the ability to fire a Beyond visual range air to air missiles and anti-ship missiles it’s not clear if Hurjet can meet these requirements at this stage.

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