Malaysia is seeking lightweight multi-role fighter options to complement its fleet of twin-engine medium and heavyweight fighters, an air force official said.
“The Royal Malaysian Air Force [RMAF] is looking at its capabilities for the next 15-years-or-so, and how best we can suit our requirements,” the official was quoted as saying by IHS Jane's, adding that the new Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) procurement programme is looking to have some air-to-air and a full air-to-ground capability.
Although the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50 Golden Eagle, which has been inducted in Thailand and Indonesia, could be a plausibly strong option, Malaysia might look at more options, according to the report.
KAI has enjoyed strong success with the type in Southeast Asia, selling the aircraft to the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia.
The RMAF currently operates fleets of single-seat BAE Systems Hawk and twin-engined Boeing F/A-18D Hornet and Sukhoi Su-30 ‘Flanker’ fighters.
As well as being an air defender and ground-attack aircraft, the LCA should also serve as a lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) platform and should be ready for fielding in about 2021-2022, the official noted.