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After FA-50 Block 20 Purchase, Malaysia-South Korea Agree to Enhance Defense Cooperation

After Malaysia agreed to purchase 18 units of the FA-50 Block 20 light combat aircraft from South Korea valued at RM4 billion, both countries have mutually decided to enhance their relationship and cooperation in the defense sector.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — After Malaysia agreed to purchase 18 units of the FA-50 Block 20 light combat aircraft from South Korea valued at RM4 billion last year, both countries have mutually decided to enhance their relationship and cooperation in the defense sector.

According to a recent report by the South Korean news agency Yonhap, high-ranking officials from the defense ministries of both nations held a bilateral meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

The purpose of the bilateral meeting was to further strengthen defense cooperation in various areas.

The Ministry of Defense of South Korea, as quoted by Yonhap, stated that both countries share concerns regarding North Korea’s missiles and nuclear programs.

They have agreed to expand cooperation in the areas of cyber security, joint exercises, and the defense industry.

The delegation from the South Korean Ministry of Defense was led by the Director-General of International Policy, Lee Seung-beom, while the Malaysian Ministry of Defense was represented by its Deputy Secretary General Mohd Yani Daud, during the Defense Policy Coordination Meeting.

Korea
 Senior officials from the Ministries of Defense of South Korea and Malaysia in a recent meeting in Kuala Lumpur. (YONHAP)

 

Malaysia is expected to receive the first batch of four FA-50 light fighter aircraft by the end of 2026, with the remaining units to be delivered in stages thereafter.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) opted for the FA-50 Block 20 variant, known for its advanced capabilities compared to other variants developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).

In a report last week, industry sources informed Defense Security Asia that efforts to acquire the second batch of 18 FA-50 light fighter aircraft for the RMAF would commence “soon.”

The acquisition process for the second batch will start once the delivery of the first batch of 18 FA-50 aircraft to the RMAF is completed.

The source clarified that the procurement of the second batch would not involve a new tender process, as the previous tender had already specified the acquisition of a total of 36 units of the said light fighter aircraft.

FA-50
FA-50 Light Combat Aircraft by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI)
Surion
KUH-1 Surion

 

In addition to the FA-50, KAI expressed interest in offering its 4.5 generation fighter aircraft, the KF-21 “Boramae,” currently under development.

Speaking at LIMA 2023, KAI’s President and CEO Kang Goo-Young explicitly stated that the KF-21 is an “ideal fit” for the RMAF and could potentially replace the F/A-18D and Sukhoi Su-30MKM aircraft set to be phased out by the RMAF in 2035 and 2040, as outlined in the Capability 2055 program.

Kang Goo-Young emphasized that the KF-21, has the potential to be upgrade to a 5th generation platform and even a sixth-generation fighter in the future.

He stated that the KF-21 is highly suitable for the RMAF, considering the retirement timeline of the existing aircraft and the operational commencement of the KF-21.

Industry sources also revealed that KAI has offered the multi-role utility helicopter KUH-1 Surion to the Malaysian Army to meet the needs of the Army Aviation Regiment.

The KUH-1 Surion is expected to compete with other helicopters, such as the UH-60 Blackhawk and EC-725, for the contract to fulfill the requirements of the Army Aviation Regiment. — DSA

To contact email: lulwabyadah@gmail.com 

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