Malaysia plans to operate medium altitude long endurance UAVs by 2026


The Anka-S UAV from Turkish Aerospace Industries. Photo c/o Army Recognition.

The Malaysian Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has announced plans to acquire 3 new medium altitude, long endurance unmanned aerial systems (MALE UAS) by 2025 and make them operational by 2026.

This was announced on 02 August 2022 by Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz during a query from the People’s Assembly. The deputy minister also mentioned that the ministry already completed the tender evaluation process for the project.

An unmanned aerial system may include at least 3 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and support equipment.

The MINDEF’s procurement board already certified the selected tenderers and submitted them to the Malaysian Ministry of Finance on 07 July 2022. A decision on the winning tenderer is expected to be announced within August 2022.

The new MALE UAS would be operated by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and would strengthen the country’s capabilities in its air domain.

This would include conducting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions which would provide information near real time to the Malaysian Armed Forces. The RMAF plans to deploy these UAS from Labuan Air Base in Sabah, Eastern Malaysia which is close to the South China Sea and borders with the Philippines and Brunei.

There are plans to procure weaponry for the UAS, which suggests that the model the RMAF is interested at are unmanned combat aerial systems (UCAS).

Procurement for the UAV’s weapon systems and electronic warfare equipment would be made separately, and are planned under the second and third procurement phases within the 13th and 16th Malaysia Plan covering years 2026-2030 and 2041-2045, respectively.

Previous reports indicate that Malaysia have shown strong interest in Turkey’s Anka-S MALE UCAV made by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), which has a cooperation agreement with Malaysia’s DRB-HICOM Defence Technologies (DefTech) for sales and support for the Malaysian market.

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob visited TAI’s facility in Ankara as part of his recent visit to Turkey.

[1]  Bernama

[2] Defence Security Asia

Malaysia plans to operate medium altitude long endurance UAVs by 2026 Malaysia plans to operate medium altitude long endurance UAVs by 2026 Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on August 05, 2022 Rating: 5

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