LCA tender in Malaysia, new government requirement benefits HAL Tejas

India Tejas LCA Malaysia
HAL Tejas light combat aircraft. It appears to be on top of Malaysia's LCA tender.

The Malaysian government has imposed an obligation on potential suppliers of the 18 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), currently under evaluation, to procure at least 30% of components/services from local companies.

While it is not currently known whether all bidders intend to meet this requirement, one of them has disclosed its willingness and ability to meet this request.

Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL), which has been looking aggressively at the export market in the region, has long revealed its intention to partner with local players.

The Indian aircraft manufacturer, which is offering its Tejas jet, announced in March 2020 its interest in establishing logistics bases in Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Sri Lanka as part of its initiative to provide close support to international customers for its platform, opening local MRO facilities.

In a recent follow-up move to reiterate its serious commitment to Malaysia, HAL signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to partner with Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation (BHIC) which is a major Malaysian contractor focused on defense, security and maritime sectors.

The proposal to partner with BHIC is seen as a strategic move to meet the program's "localization" requirements by outsourcing Tejas components to Malaysian companies.

If successful, HAL will offer the full range of Depot Level Maintenance, covering reliability, availability, maintainability and supportability (RAMS). This D-level maintenance is the highest level of support ever seen from a foreign defense manufacturer in Malaysia which will result in a transfer of high technology and expertise to RMAF and the development of the nation's ecosystem of local suppliers and aerospace technicians. It will also reduce maintenance costs and aircraft downtime for RMAF, ensuring full operational readiness of air defense.

Coupled with HAL's end-to-end logistics support system covering a wide range of areas including preventative and corrective maintenance, data management, obsolescence maintenance, response planning and facilities management, the impact of the link between the two nations it should be very strong and extensive.

This initiative proposed by HAL is expected to strengthen and further expand BHIC's role in the development of local defense industries, as outlined in the National Defense and Security Policy and strongly supported by the Malaysian government.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source: Ministry of Defence Malaysia

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