Russian MiG-35, Indian LCA, Pak JF-17 in Malaysian Fighter Procurement Bid

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Russia will pitch its MiG-35 jet for Malaysia’s light fighter aircraft procurement program, a field that could potentially include the Indian LCA Mk1A, Pakistani-Chinese JF-17, Dassault Rafale, Boeing F/A-18 and the F-16 Block 70/72.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) sent out a Request for Proposal (RFP) earlier this year to various manufacturers around the world for 18 brand new aircraft (Fighter Lead In Trainer-Light Combat Aircraft, or FLIR-LCA) to replace its fleet of ageing FA/18 and MiG-29 jets. A brief statement on the government’s tender web site said that the due date for replies is 22 September 2021.

The LCA opportunity attracted some interest at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) event in March 2019. The event saw Tejas Mk 1 and Yakovlev Yak-130 make their debuts at the show. It was the first time that Tejas had appeared in a flying display outside India.

“We are considering the possibility of Rosoboronexport’s participation with the MiG-35 in the Malaysian Air Force tender for the supply of training / light combat aircraft. Our proposal for participation in this tender is planned to be presented to Malaysian partners this month,” Dmitry Shugaev, director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation of the Russian Federation, was quoted as saying by state media during the Eastern Economic Forum.

India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will also respond to the RFP in September. “There are many countries which are showing interest in LCA Mk-1A. Malaysia has issued the RFP and we are responding to it. It has to be sent in the third week of September. We stand a very good chance. There are eight more contenders including U.S., China and Russia,” HAL chairman R Madhavan told the Indian Express last month.

Other potential contenders included the Korea Aerospace Industries FA-50, Chengdu/Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17, and Leonardo’s M-346.