Malaysia is looking to replace its ageing fighter jet fleet, and India’s Tejas light combat aircraft has emerged as the top contender. The two parties are currently in negotiations to finalise the procurement.
Despite fierce competition from Chinese JF-17 jets, South Korean FA-50s, Russian Mig-35s, and Yak-130s, Malaysia has reduced its search to the Indian aircraft, according to Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited R Madhavan in an interview with PTI.
India has proposed to establish an MRO facility in Malaysia for its fleet of Russian-made Su-30 fighters as part of the deal because it is having trouble obtaining spare parts from Russia due to Western sanctions against Moscow.
When questioned about how quickly the agreement will be finalised, Madhavan responded, “I am pretty sure about it until some political shift takes place.
If the deal is completed, it will send a “really good signal” to other possible buyers of the aircraft and increase its overall export potential, according to the chief executive of the state-run aerospace powerhouse.
“The negotiation is on the verge of being finished. Other than Russia, we are the only nation that can provide them with the assistance they need for their Sukhoi fleet, making us the only nation that is offering them support for their Su-30 aircraft “explained Madhavan.
Although the Chinese JF-17 was reportedly less expensive, it was unable to meet the Tejas Mk-IA variant’s technological specifications or India’s pledge to maintain the Su-30 fleet.
To advance the procurement process, a group of senior officials and professionals is scheduled to visit India soon.
The aircraft will replace Malaysia’s ageing fleet of Russian MiG-29 fighter jets. It’s not immediately known how many aircraft Malaysia is considering buying.
According to Madhavan, Tejas is a far superior aircraft to the JF-17 and FA-50, and Malaysia would have the opportunity to update its fleet in the future if it chose to use the Indian aircraft.
The HAL-produced Tejas is a single-engine, highly manoeuvrable, multi-role supersonic fighter capable of flying in hostile airspace.
The defence ministry signed a contract for Rs 48,000 crore with HAL in February of last year to buy 83 Tejas fighter planes for the Indian Air Force.
Both the Tejas MK 2 and a USD 5 billion effort to create a fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft have begun development in India.
According to Madhavan, “We are truly the only one who covered everything they required and we also matched their budget needs.”
“Nobody will provide them with improvements as quickly as we would. Tejas Mark 2 will be an option for them, and they may also consider AMCA “said the HAL commander.
According to him, HAL will continue to provide Malaysia with the same level of services that it has been providing to the IAF.
When asked if HAL winning the Malaysian contract will have an influence on the delivery of Tejas jets to the IAF, Madhavan responded that manufacturing of the aircraft would be increased based on demand.
The plan stipulates that the HAL would begin transferring the planes (Mk-IA type) to the IAF in 2025, and all 83 jets must be transferred by 2030.
If the agreement with Malaysia is finalised, according to Madhavan, it will signify that the plane is acceptable, which would lead to the opening of numerous other choices.
“We currently stand on a solid foundation. In this category, it is the best “said he.