India out of Royal Malaysian Air Force deal
Source – Financial express
Amid Malaysian political uncertainty, based on reports in the public domain the chances of the deal going to South Korea are more compared to the possibility of HAL getting the deal.
State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has left no stone unturned to close the Royal Malaysian Air Force deal for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mark 1A. Amidst the changing political landscape in that country, it is said that South Korea is on the brink of closing the deal.
Amid Malaysian political uncertainty, based on reports in the public domain the chances of the deal going to South Korea are more compared to the possibility of HAL getting the deal. “The deal related to the sale of the Light Combat Fighter Aircraft (LCA) `Tejas’ is expected to come up when defence minister Rajnath Singh meets his ASEAN counterparts in New Delhi on November 20, 2022 for a meeting.
ASEAN countries like Indonesia and the Philippines have expressed interest in Indian defence offerings like the BrahMos cruise missile, fighter jets and helicopters and other platforms.
Financial Express Online has reported earlier that HAL has been among the front runners for the Royal Malaysian Air Force contract. They are in the market to replace their decommissioned MiG 29s. Along with LCA Tejas and the KAI FA-50, the Sino-Pakistani JF-17 from Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and Chengdu Aircraft Corporation, the Italian M-346 from Leonardo, and the Russian Yak-130 have been named as the potential contenders. And HAL set up its first overseas office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that would liaison the company’s interests in the South East Asia region.
Expert View: Fighting Finesse: How Do FA-50 and LCA Tejas Compare?
“HAL LCA Tejas, a modern fighter, is the most expensive consideration for the Royal Malaysian Air Force. Compared to the KAI FA-50’s mechanical radar, HAL has equipped Tejas Mark 1A with Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. For this variant, indigenous Uttam AESA radar will replace the Israeli EL/M-2052,” explains Girish Linganna, Defence and Aerospace Analyst.
According to him, “In terms of technological advancements, LCA Tejas trumps FA-50. The latter only carries forward a flying boom for refuelling from the T-50A. The status of the certification for airworthiness and penetration is ambiguous too.”
“The modern LCA Tejas Mark 1A can carry anti-ship missiles, unguided rockets, conventional/retarded bombs and a variety of air-to-air missiles on its eight hardpoints. While the FA-50 has a similar range, Tejas can fly to a higher service ceiling with its delta wing design. FA-50 also loses out in top speed and maximum take-off weight,” Linganna adds.
India & Malaysia
Malaysian foreign policy has been akin to the Indian foreign policy of Non-Alignment. Hence, Malaysia shall enjoy the ability to integrate a more significant number of weapons onto the HAL Tejas, which has tested weapons from India, Russia, France, Israel and the US. The FA-50 is entirely oriented towards the US and misses out on Russian weaponry, with which Malaysia has a history.
Whoever wins the bid for the 18 Lead in Trainer-Light Combat Aircraft (FLIT-LCA) programme will build an assembly line in Malaysia. “This is also where HAL shines, given its ability to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities for the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s Russian Su-30s. Interestingly, the Indian Air Force aided and trained the Royal Malaysian Air Force pilots to fly the Su-30. The two air forces continue to share a deep bond and train regularly,” opines Linganna.