Malaysia is in the final stages of studying companies that meet the Royal Malaysian Air Force's (RMAF's) multirole combat aircraft (MRCA) requirement to replace its ageing MiG-29 fighter aircraft.
"We are now in the final stages of studying which of the companies are able to meet with our requirements and the decision to be made is not for a short term, RMAF chief, Tan Sri Roslan Saad was quoted as saying by Malaysia Digest during the RMAF 58th anniversary at Kuantan Air Base Tuesday.
"Our focus is on a multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) capable of performing various roles, among others, the role of air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack," he said.
Asked whether the RMAF would be purchasing new aircraft, he said the air force was now identifying several types of fighter aircraft among them the Gripen, Rafale and Typhoon.
Saab has offered leasing its JAS 39 Gripen C/D multirole fighter to the the Malaysian government instead of outright sale to cut costs.
BAE systems submitted a leasing proposal for the Eurofighter typhoon in March 2014. Malaysia in 2014, which had wanted to buy 18 combat aircraft by 2015, said it was choosing between Boeing’s F/A-18, Rafale, Gripen and Typhoon which is built by BAE, Airbus and Italy’s Finmeccanica.
The MRCA programme has been delayed continually in recent years due to economic constraints in Malaysia. The fleet of Russian MiG-29N 'Fulcrum-A' fighters were originally scheduled to be retired by late 2010.