The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is set to receive its first locally overhauled Su-30MKI fighter jet- bearing registration number M52-11 belonging to the 11 squadron at a ceremony on the opening day of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) 2019 event.
The overhaul marks a major milestone for Aerospace Technology Systems Corp (ATSC) a Malaysian-Russian company formed especially for spares and servicing of Russian aircraft such as MiG-29 and Su-30MKI.
An announcement from ATSC said that the event is being held upon successful completion of the program of 'Preventive and Restoration Works', for 10 year calendar inspection on aircraft Sukhoi M52-11.
Earlier there have been reports that only 4 of the 18 Su-30MKM fighter jets in service with the 11 squadron of RMAF were airworthy. Malaysian Defense Minister Mohamad Sabu had revealed to his parliament on July 31, 2018 that only four of the 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKMs of the RMAF 11 Squadron are airworthy. He had added that the previous administration had terminated the original maintenance contracts, and the new government is looking at engaging local contractors.
There have also been reports that the RMAF was thinking of replacing its MiG-29 and Su-30MKM with multi-role fighter jets such as the Eurofighter and Dassault Rafale. Both these companies are present at the 2019 LIMA event. Dassault in fact was expecting a contract two years ago.
The first local overhaul should open the door for possible upgrades of the RMAF's Russian aircraft such as what India has done with its MiG-29's. The Indian MiG-29UPG has been added with air-to-ground capability. The potential upgrades to the Su-30 include the Brahmos missile, precision attack weapons and an improved engine.
ATSC is a subsidiary of National Aerospace and Defence Industries Sdn Bhd (NADI), which hold 70% of the shares whilst its two Russian partners, RAC MIG and ROSOBORONEXPORT hold 25% and 5% of shares, respectively. Ministry of Finance of Malaysia holds one golden share.