Malaysia has reportedly identified the Indian-manufactured Tejas light combat aircraft to replace its current fleet of MiG-29 fighter jets and is believed to be in advanced negotiations to firm up its procurement.
“(Negotiations are) almost in the final stages,” R Madhavan, the chairman and managing director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), was reported by the Indian Express as saying. The number of units to be procured was not disclosed.
According to Madhavan, a team of Malaysian officials and experts was expected to visit India soon to finalise the deal.
The offer is said to include setting up a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility in Malaysia which will also support Malaysia’s fleet of Sukhoi Su-30 aircraft. This will help overcome problems in the procurement of spare parts from Russia arising from on-going trade sanctions imposed on Moscow, he said.
The Tejas is said to be an agile single-engine multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft capable of operating in high-threat air environments.
Madhavan said the deal was within Malaysia’s budget requirements and offered fast upgrades.
He gave an assurance that his company would give Malaysia the same level of service it presently offered to the Indian Air Force, which procured 83 units of the aircraft in February last year.
Malaysia had also considered China’s JF-17 jet, South Korea’s FA-50 and both the MiG-35 and Yak-130 from Russia, before settling on the Indian aircraft, Madhavan said.
He said the Chinese aircraft was believed to be cheaper but could not match the technical parameters of the Tejas Mk-1A which, coupled with the offer to service Malaysia’s existing Russian-made fleet, swayed the deal in India’s favour.
The Indian state-owned manufacturer is presently working on an MK-2 version of the Tejas and a fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), which would both be made available to Malaysia at a later time, he said.
Malaysia likely to purchase Tejas, aircraft from India