Malaysia shows interest on India's Tejas light combat aircraft

A HAL Tejas Mk. 1 light combat aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force. Photo c/o Wikipedia.

In a surprise move, Malaysia has invited Indian aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aerospace Ltd. (HAL) to send in their Tejas light combat aircraft to the upcoming Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition 2019 (LIMA 2019) for evaluation by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).

The RMAF is considering opening a program to acquire a fleet Light Combat Aircraft to replace their existing BAE Hawk trainer and light combat aircraft. This enables the RMAF to boost their air combat capability without needing to allocate a significant funding.

Currently the RMAF operates a fleet of Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30MKM and MiG-29N/NUB fighters, as well as a small fleet of Boeing F/A-18D Hornet attack aircraft, in addition to the BAE Hawk LCA.

Aside from India's Tejas LCA, the RMAF already made extensive evaluation of the China-Pakistan JF-17 Thunder, while also considering the FA-50 made by Korean Aerospace Industries. All of the contenders were reported to not exceed a price of US$30 million per aircraft.

HAL is currently having difficulties securing further orders from the Indian Air Force (IAF), although there is currently a proposal for the IAF to purchase 30 more Tejas fighters. And it has yet to secure its first export order, despite interests from other countries like Egypt, and other Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries.

The HAL Tejas was originally intended to be an affordable yet capable light combat aircraft for the Indian Navy, but it was hit by development issues, including problems in developing a more advanced version, and a carrier-capable variant for the Indian Navy, although recently it has had success in tests.

The Tejas can be equipped with Russian and Israeli-made air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and munitions, and has allocation for development to integrate other missile types in the future.

[1] International Business Times
[2] Asian Military Review
[3] Naval Technology
[4] The Diplomat
Malaysia shows interest on India's Tejas light combat aircraft Malaysia shows interest on India's Tejas light combat aircraft Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on January 10, 2019 Rating: 5

No comments