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Malaysia Set to Double Down on KAI’s FA-50 Supersonic Light Attack Aircrafts

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Malaysia appears to be set to acquire additional FA-50 supersonic light attack aircraft developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). After importing 18 FA-50s from KAI last year, negotiations are set to begin to purchase an additional 18 units this year.

According to the Malaysian state-run news agency Bernama, on the 8th, KAI expects the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) to purchase 18 additional FA-50M light fighter jets and order 36 planes in total.

Park Sang Shin, head of KAI’s Asia International Business Development Team, participated in the DSA&NATSEC 2024 (Defense Services Asia, National Security Asia), Asia’s most prominent defense exhibition, held in Kuala Lumpur from the 6th to the 9th (local time). Park stated, “The second round of negotiations on the deployment of fighter jets is expected to begin in the second half of 2026 and be completed by early 2027.”

He said, “Malaysia is delighted with the contract fulfillment, and the first deployment is progressing smoothly, so the likelihood of additional adoption is very high. If the RMAF wants the same platform as the first deployment, the next deployment will continue.”

Malaysia signed a central contract with KAI in February last year to introduce 18 FA-50 fighter jets. In May of the same year, they held a final export contract ceremony for $920 million.

KAI plans to deliver the first two units in October 2026, with the remaining 16 units by the end of 2027. As of March, KAI’s RMAF FA-50M light fighter assembly rate reached 26.7%.

Malaysia’s FA-50M model is more advanced and superior to the FA-50s employed by the Korean Air Force and other regional countries, such as Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

Team leader Park said, “The Malaysian Air Force will get the most advanced light fighter jet model” and added, “Only the Malaysian and Polish Air Forces have chosen this model equipped with a state-of-the-art active electronic scanning array radar and a multi-functional radar.”

Malaysia purchased domestic aircraft operated by major Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines due to high satisfaction.

Since introducing the FA-50, the Malaysian Ministry of National Defense has considered acquiring 36 light combat aircraft. Before the purchase contract, it had submitted a budget for acquiring 36 RMAF light combat aircraft worth $1.46 billion to the Ministry of Finance.

theguru
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  • Start paying and you can have some jets

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