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Efforts to Acquire Second Batch of FA-50 for Malaysia to Begin “Soon” — Source

Upon the successful acquisition process for the second batch of FA-50, the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) will ultimately possess a total of 36 FA-50 light combat aircraft manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — The acquisition process for the second batch of another 18 units of FA-50 light combat aircraft for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is set to begin “soon”, as disclosed by a reliable source to Defence Security Asia.

Upon the successful acquisition process, the RMAF will ultimately possess a total of 36 FA-50 fighter aircraft manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).

“The acquisition for the second batch of 18 FA-50 light by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) will commence immediately upon the completion of the delivery of the first batch of 18 FA-50 aircraft,”

“The process (for procuring another 18 FA-50) is set to begin shortly,” stated the source, without providing specific details on when exactly the acquisition process will commence.

The source further clarified that the procurement of the second batch of 18 FA-50 aircraft will not involve any new tender processes, as the previous tender had already outlined the acquisition of a total of 36 units of the said light combat aircraft.

During LIMA 2023 on Langkawi Island in May of last year, the Ministry of Defence and KAI signed a contract for 18 FA-50 Block 20, valued at approximately RM4 billion.

FA-50

The RMAF is expected to receive the first group of four FA-50 Block 20 aircraft by the end of 2026.

“The first four aircraft (FA-50 Block 20) out of the 18 will be received by the end of 2026, followed by the others gradually,” stated the source to Defence Security Asia earlier.

All 18 FA-50 light fighter aircraft, produced by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and set to be acquired by Malaysia under the Phase 1 aircraft acquisition program, consist of the Block 20 variant.

The FA-50 Block 20 variant is considered the most capable and advanced version among the different variants of the said fighter aircraft.

Malaysia is the first customer for the FA-50 Block 20 variant in Southeast Asia and the second globally, following Poland, which also signed an agreement with KAI in 2022 to acquire the latest variant of the light fighter aircraft.

FA-50

Poland acquired a total of 48 FA-50 aircraft, comprising a combination of Block 20 and Block 10 variants.

In addition to Malaysia, other users of FA-50/T-50 fighter aircraft from previous variants in Southeast Asia include Thailand (14 T-50 units), the Philippines (12 FA-50 units), and Indonesia (22 T-50 units).

The FA-50 Block 20 aircraft used by the RMAF will be equipped with the “PhantomStrike” Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar from Raytheon Intelligence & Space in the United States.

Additionally, the RMAF’s FA-50 Block 20 will feature a U/VHF radio system similar to the one used in the latest F-16 Block 70 fighter aircraft developed by Lockheed Martin.

The RMAF’s FA-50 Block 20 is also reported to be equipped with the “Link 16 Block Upgrade 2” military tactical data link, providing secure communication against enemy interference, among other capabilities.

FA-50

The RMAF will further enhance its FA-50 Block 20 with the “Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod,” developed by Lockheed Martin.

 Additionally, the aircraft variant will include a 20mm gun, AIM-9 guided missiles, GBU-12 LGB Integration, GBU-38 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munitions), and AGM-65 Maverick guided missiles. — DSA

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