A Business and financial publication ” The Edge Malaysia” in its recent report has claimed that Pakistan that was often touted to be the favorite to bag the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s (RMAF’s) Light Combat Aircraft/Fighter Lead-In-Trainer (LCA/FLIT) contract has not responded to Malaysia’s Ministry of Defence (MinDef) tender that was issued on 22 June this year. Before the last date that was 22 September, RMAF received bids from six companies.

According to ” The Edge”, MinDef has received bids from Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) that in partnership with local company Kemalak Systems Sdn Bhd has offered FA-50 fighter jet, Turkish Aerospace Industries has offered its Hürjet supersonic advanced trainer and light combat aircraft that is still under development. Other offers are from Russia for Mig-35, China has offered its Hongdu L-15 light attack aircraft, Italy it M-346 jet, and India its LCA-Tejas Mk1 jets.

RMAF plan calls for the procurement of 36 LCA/FLIT platforms in two phases, with 18 aircraft set to be purchased from 2021 and the rest from 2025. RMAF plans to replace 18 BAE Systems Hawk Mk 108 twin-seat and Mk 208 single-seat LCAs from service after induction of new platforms. RMAF wants eight of these platforms to be primarily configured for lead-in-fighter training, while the remaining 10 would be a single-seater.

India has offered Malaysia both the Tejas Trainer variant and Single seater variant that will be configured without Israeli components . Tejas and FA-50 use American General Electric supplied F-404 engines that RMAF is familiar with due to the F-18 fleet that it operates. According to ” The Edge”, Tejas and FA-50 are front runners now in the RMAF’s LCA/FLIT program after Pakistan bailed out. has been told that HAL is in talks with three countries for sale of LCA-Tejas jets and Malaysia is one of the countries with whom a barter deal for supply of jets in return deal for Palm oil supply by Malaysia has been worked out and perhaps one of the possible reasons why Pakistan didn’t bid this time around.

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