Malaysia issues tender for procurement of 18 new Light Combat Aircrafts

The Malaysian Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has opened the international tender for the supply of new Light Combat Aircraft / Fighter Lead-in Trainer (LCA/FLIT) for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) on 22 June 2021.

According to the MINDEF’s tender announcement, bidders can start procuring the tender documents starting 29 June 2021, with a tender clarification scheduled on 28 July 2021, and the bid submission on or before 22 September 2021.

This new requirement for new LCA/FLIT aircraft are meant to replace ageing assets of the RMAF including 7 Aermacchi MB-339C and 10 BAE Systems Hawk Mk 108 FLIT aircraft.

British defense media outlet Jane’s mentioned in their report that the RMAF may be looking for 8 of the new aircraft to be configured as Fighter Lead-in Trainers to replace the MB-339C, while the other 10 aircraft would be configured as Light Combat Aircraft.

The RMAF has a requirement for 36 new LCA/FLIT aircraft under its “Capability 55” programme, to be procured in 2 batches of 18 aircraft each to equip 1 FLIT and 2 LCA squadrons.

Among those expected to submit their bids are Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), with the T-50 Golden Eagle family of LCA/FLIT aircraft, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) with their Pakistani-Chinese JF-16 Thunder LCA, India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with their Tejas LCA, Boeing-Saab’s T-7 Red Hawk, Leonardo M-346 Master, and the Yakolev Yak-130 from Russia.

Malaysian defense sources mentioned that the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle and the PAC JF-17 Thunder are expected to be favourites, although the project being procured through public tender may be dependent on pricing and commercial factors rather than overall capability.

Source: Asia Pacific Defence Journal


  • Shantanu K. Bansal

    Founder of IADN. He has more than 10 years of experience in research and analysis. An award winning researcher, he writes for the leading defence and security journals, think-tanks and in-service publications. He is a senior consultant at the Indian Army Training Command (ARTRAC), Shimla. Contact him at:

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