KUALA LUMPUR/SEOUL: Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd (KAI), South Korea’s sole aircraft manufacturer, announced today (Feb 24) it has won a 1.2 trillion-won (US$920 million) light combat aircraft deal from Malaysia, with the delivery set to begin in 2026.
KAI signed the deal with the Malaysian defence ministry to supply 18 FA-50 Block 20 light attack aircraft, beating India’s Tejas, Pakistan’s JF-17, Russia’s MiG-35 and Turkey’s Hurjet, the company said in a statement.
It is the fourth KAI aircraft deal with a Southeast Asian country after Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, the statement said. The FA-50 is the most advanced version of the KAI T-50 aircraft, possessing more internal fuel capacity, enhanced avionics, a longer radome, and a tactical datalink. The Block 20 has the capability to conduct beyond-visual-range air-to-air missions, carrying munitions such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM.
With the latest deal, KAI has exported 68 KT-1 basic trainers and T-50 advanced trainer jets, as well as FA-50 aircraft, to Southeast Asian markets. The airframe maker also expects to win a deal to provide another batch of 18 FA-50s to Malaysia as the Southeast Asian country’s service requirement for the Fighter Lead-In Trainer-Light Combat Aircraft programme also calls for a second, almost identical order.
The signing of the Letter of Acceptance between representatives of the Government of Malaysia and KAI was held today at Wisma Pertahanan (Defence Ministry). Ministry Secretary General Muez Abd Aziz along with KAI Chief Executive Officer KAI, KANG Goo Young signed the Letter of Acceptance (LoA / SST).
Also present was Chief of Staff of the Republic of Korea Air Force Gen Jung Sanghwa who had earlier met his Malaysian counterpart Gen Mohd Asghar Khan Goriman Khan at the Defence Ministry during his visit here.
Six companies submitted bids to supply 18 light combat aircraft (LCA) to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) in the tender. The contract for one squadron (18 planes) of LCA is said to be valued at around RM4 billion, with half of the amount to be paid via counter trade involving crude palm oil or palm oil products.
It was earlier reported that nine companies acquired the tender documents, the RFP (request for proposal) was in July, and six bids were received by the closing date on Oct 6, 2021.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) partnered with local company Kemalak Systems Sdn Bhd to offer the FA 50 light combat aircraft; Turkey Aerospace Industries, offering its LCA known as Hürjet; China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corp (CATIC), with its L-15 fighter; Italy’s Leonardo, with its M-346 fighter attack / trainer; India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, with its Tejas LCA; and Aerospace Technology Systems Corp Sdn Bhd which offered the MiG-35. –adj/mhi/mgm