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Malaysia MINDEF Awaits Technical Team Report Before Deciding on Acquisition of Kuwait’s F/A-18 C/D Hornet

The Malaysian Ministry of Defence will make a decision regarding the acquisition of used F/A-18 C/D Hornet fighter jets from the Kuwaiti Air Force only after receiving a comprehensive report from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) technical team that visited Kuwait last June.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — The Malaysian Ministry of Defence will make a decision regarding the acquisition of used F/A-18 C/D Hornet fighter jets from the Kuwaiti Air Force only after receiving a comprehensive report from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) technical team that visited Kuwait last June.

Deputy Defence Minister Adly Zahari stated that they are awaiting the report and will base their decision on its findings as well as the country’s needs, particularly those of the RMAF.

“Currently, the technical team has updates from Kuwait, and we will make our decision based on the evaluation report they conducted. We are still waiting for the overall report. Only then will we decide on our procurement strategy, including the methods and choices for purchasing. Any decision will need to consider various factors,” he said at a press conference during the Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans Entrepreneurs Empowerment Program (PUVET) 2024 here today.

In June, the RMAF technical team visited Kuwait to negotiate the acquisition of these fighter jets.

RMAF Chief Tan Sri Mohd Asghar Khan Goriman Khan mentioned that the Kuwaiti Air Force’s F/A-18D (Hornet) jets are in good condition and have lower operational hours compared to the RMAF’s existing Hornet jets.

Kuwait
Kuwait’s F/A-18C /D Hornet

 

“The RMAF is still hopeful about acquiring the F/A-18D Hornet fighter jets despite the delays in the delivery of the F/A-18E/F (Super Hornet) jets purchased by Kuwait.

“Kuwait has 39 of these Hornet jets, comprising single and twin-seat aircraft. During the visit, the RMAF and the Malaysian government will determine the number of jets needed,” he told local media last May.

The issue of acquiring Kuwait’s F/A-18D Hornet jets resurfaced despite Kuwait’s request to the United States last June to maintain and upgrade its Hornet jets for $1.8 billion.

This request was due to delays in the delivery of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jets Kuwait purchased, necessitating the maintenance and upgrade of their existing Hornet fleet.

Kuwait plans to continue using its Hornet jets until the new Super Hornet jets are received.

Last June, the U.S. Department of State announced its approval of a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Kuwait for engineering and maintenance work valued at $1.8 billion.

Hornet
One of the 33 F/A-18C/D Hornet fighter jets of the Kuwaiti Air Force.

 

This includes software upgrades, engine component upgrades, engine and aircraft part repairs, and other maintenance work.

This maintenance and upgrade work suggests that Kuwait might not yet be ready to part with its Hornet jets, either to Malaysia or other parties.

In March of last year, the Ministry of Defence expressed its hope to acquire the used F/A-18C/D Hornet jets from Kuwait, but this intention was hindered by a lack of commitment from the Kuwaiti government.

The then Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan, mentioned that the ministry and previous Defence Ministers had written three letters to the Kuwaiti government expressing Malaysia’s interest in acquiring these jets.

Despite being used, the Kuwaiti Hornet jets are still operational with low flying hours and have been upgraded.

Malaysia plans to purchase the Kuwaiti Air Force’s F/A-18 C/D Hornet jets as a stop-gap measure until the RMAF is equipped with new Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA).

Hornet
Kuwaiti’s Air Force F/A-18 Hornet

 

The Kuwaiti Air Force decided to retire its F/A-18 C/D jets after acquiring F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets and Eurofighter Typhoons.

To replace its F/A-18C/D jets, Kuwait has acquired 28 Super Hornets, consisting of 22 single-seat F/A-18E and six twin-seat F/A-18F Super Hornets, which will be based at Ahmed al-Jaber Air Base.

In addition to the Super Hornets, Kuwait also purchased 28 Eurofighter Typhoon jets developed by BAE Systems, valued at approximately $8.7 billion.

In 2021, then Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz stated that the Ministry of Defence planned to negotiate with Kuwait to acquire 33 Hornet fighter jets from the Middle Eastern country “lock, stock, and barrel.” — DSA

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