New Delhi: India is among the top contenders for a deal to provide Malaysia light combat aircraft. The package deal would also include maintenance and spares for the Malaysia’s Su 30 fighter jets, The Economic Times reported.
India’s financial package offered its Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) to Malaysia, along with committing Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)’s vast spares reserve and technical expertise to keep Russia-made Su 30 jets flightworthy. Malaysia possesses 18 Su 30 MKM fighters, which are not very different from the MKI version in service with the Indian Air Force (IAF).
India has advantage over the other contenders, mainly South Korea and China, as they do not have backend contracts with Russian manufacturers to work on the Sukhoi fighters.
A final decision may be possible using the government-to-government route after extensive discussions on the dual package. Western sanctions on Russia have affected a number of countries, including Malaysia, and made it challenging to buy spare parts and other supplies for legacy military equipment.
The Indian LCA has emerged as a leading contender owing to its low acquisition cost and strong technical ratings in the Malaysian air force’s search for 18 new light fighter jets. With a contemporary AESA radar, improved avionics, and the potential to combine a variety of air to air and air to ground armaments, India is providing the LCA Mk1A version. Recent orders for indigenous Astra air-to-air missiles with a range beyond optical range have also been placed by the IAF and Navy.