Aerospace Technology Systems Corp (ATSC) has offered to upgrade 10 MiG-29N Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) aircraft to Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) Bernama news agency reported Today.
“The enhancement proposed by the company would make the aircraft not only on par with other MRCA fighter jets in the market but also extend the lifespan by a minimum of 25 years," ATSC CEO Lt Col (Rtd) Fadzar Suhadawas quoted as saying by the Malaysian news agency.
"After carrying out an extensive study for two years, we believe the aircraft (MiG-29N) is still good but what the air force needs to do is to enhance its capabilities to the MRCA level.”
"What we are offering to the RMAF are the medium and long-term solutions to upgrade the MiGs to suit the MRCA capability and to enable the aircraft to do a multitude of tasks from air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-sea," he told Bernama at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace 2015 (LIMA'15) Exhibition here.
Fadzar said ATSC would partner Russian RAC MiG should its proposal receive the go-ahead from the government.
The enhanced model would be known as the MiG-29NM (modernisation).
According to him, the company submitted its proposal to the government recently and, if accepted, it would ensure that Malaysia would save cost compared to the option of buying a new batch of MRCA fighter jets.
"ATSC's proposal would also make sure that the country got the most in terms of transfer of technology as all the upgrading work would be done by Malaysians and in Malaysia," he said.
"It is a cheaper option (compared to buying new MRCA) and ensures that the local industry can support the aircraft should anything happen," he said, adding that the ATSC could upgrade the first two MiGs to specifications within 18 months.
Fadzar, a former RMAF engineer, also said that the enhancement of the MiGs to glass cockpit and fully-computerised avionics would also make the aircraft compatible with the country's other Russian-built MRCA jets, the Sukhoi SU-30MKM, ensuring commonality in terms of spare parts and weapons systems.
He said the enhanced RMAF MiGs would have better fire control radar featuring longer operating ranges and capable of tracking and scanning up to 10 air targets with simultaneous firing of up to four targets.
The upgraded MiGs operated by the air force, he said, would also be equipped with a conformal fuel tank and a new ventral fuel tank to increase operational range by 30 per cent, besides being capable of performing night operations.
According to media reports, Malaysia planned to decommission its MiG-29N by the end of this year and has started evaluating several MRCA fighter jets available in the market.
The Rafale fighter jet of French company Dassault Aviation; Eurofighter Typhoon by BAE Systems and Boeing's FA-18E/F Super Hornet have been billed as the frontrunners to fill Malaysia's requirements for a new MRCA squadron.