Malaysia formally launches tender for new trainer, light combat aircraft

Malaysia tender RMAF FLIT LCA
Royal Malaysian Air Force Hawk 208 light combat aircraft.

The Minister of Defense of Malaysia officially announced the tender for the supply of 18 Fighter Lead In Trainer-Light Combat Aircraft (FLIT/LCA) for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), on June 22.

Under the RMAF Capability Development Plan 2055 (CAP55), the service plans to acquire 36 FLIT/LCA aircraft in two phases. RMAF asked the government for a budget for the acquisition of 18 aircraft in phase 1 (8 in FLIT variant and 10 in LCA variant) through the submission of the new projects 2021 and furter 18 aircraft in phase 2, as part of the 13th Malaysia Plan (RMK-13).

The RMAF currently operates 18 BAE Systems Hawk jets (4 in the 108 variant for training and 14 in the 208 variant for combat), together with some Aermacchi MB-339 trainers.

Half of the fleet is nearing the end of its operational life and must be replaced within 10 years. After the suspension of the MRCA (Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) purchasing program due to lack of funds, the introduction of the type became a priority for RMAF. The new LCA will provide support for the current Boeing F/A-18D Hornet and Sukhoi Su-30MKM fighter jets, as well as play a key role in the nation's security. The Hawk is proving to be pivotal in counter-terrorism operations in the eastern state of Sabah, bordering the southern Philippines.

Types currently under evaluation include the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 Fighting Eagle; the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Tejas; the Leonardo M-346; the Aero Vodochody L-39NG; the CAC L-15A/B; the CAC/PAC JF-17; the Saab Gripen and the Yakovlev Yak-130. The tender will be closed on September 22.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: RMAF

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