The combat jet impressed the crowd with its artful maneuvers, engaging in loops, slow speed passes, minimum radius turn, maximum rate turn, negative G turn, along with point rolls.It was the first international performance of the indigenous Indian fighter produced by India’s state-based company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).Malaysia’s air force is in dire need of new and modern combat aircraft and its ageing fighter fleets need up-gradation. The Malaysian Air Force chief Gen. Affendi Buang had said that 40% of the country’s combat fleet – which includes British, American and Russian fighters – needs urgent up-gradation.Consequently, the country floated a global tender to procure a variety of different aircraft, ranging from fighter trainers to medium-range combat aircraft (MRCA). The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) intends to fill the operational and combat requirement gaps by ordering a certain number of combat jets in a two-stage process.Along with India’s multi-role LCA Tejas, which has reportedly emerged as the top contender in the race, other aircraft in the fray include the Swedish Gripen, Pakistan’s Chinese origin JF-17 jet, the South Korean T-50, among others.During its 2019 air show presence in Malaysia, Tejas attracted the curiosity of the then Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohammad, who experienced the cockpit of the aircraft first-hand and was reportedly impressed with the systems and design.India and Malaysia have similar operational needs and weapon types with both countries using considerable Russian and NATO systems.The two countries even match in their military strategy and the use of defense technologies. That will offer an advantage for Malaysia if it chooses Tejas which can accommodate both Russian and Western weapon systems, with both countries operating an amalgam of the fighter aircraft from both blocs.With India said to be offering the latest version Mk1A, which features modern AESA radar, new avionics and the capability to integrate a variety of weaponry, it will be hard for the Malaysian Air Force to ignore Tejas.The fighter also boasts of enhanced maneuverability, aerodynamics, maintainability and pilot survivability, self-protection jammer, radar warning receiver and external ECM pod.To sweeten the deal, India has offered to establish a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in Malaysia to ensure high-rate availability of the aircraft.At approximately $42 million per unit, Tejas is an economical choice for RMAF, considering it brings a wide range of modern capabilities to a multi-role fighter and has an operational edge over Pakistan’s JF-17 in many respects, the experts say.
Source : Eurasian Times