Royal Malaysian Air Force looking for new fighter jet

The Royal Malaysian Air Force’s is looking  for a Light Combat Aircraft, and for now, three candidates seem to be considered by Malaysia.

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JF-17 Thunder of the Pakistan Air Force (Picture source: Wikimedia/Shimin Gu)

The Royal Malaysian Air Force will acquire new Fighter Lead-In Trainer/ Light Combat Aircarft (FLIT/ LCA) aircraft within the next three years, Air Force Chief General Ackbal Abdul Samad said last December. 

He said under the RMAF Capability Development Plan 2055 (CAP55), the service planned to procure 36 aircraft (FLIT/ LCA) in phases, depending on the government’s approval. “RMAF needs the FLIT/ LCA as this dual-function single platform aircraft has a balanced capability in performing the roles as fighter pilot training and for various operational missions.

According to The Korea Times, Malaysian officials have confirmed that the JF-17 Pakistani jet is competing with its South Korean counterpart, the FA-50 Golden Eagle, for the requirement.   On another hand, the Economic Times reports that a team of Malaysian Air Force is expected to visit India within the coming months to assess the suitability of the indigenously developed light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter jet.


The JF-17

The PAC JF-17 Thunder, or CAC FC-1 Xiaolong, is a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) of China. It was designed to replace the A-5C, F-7P/PG, Mirage III, and Mirage V combat aircraft in the Pakistan Air Force. The JF-17 can be used for multiple roles, including interception, ground attack, anti-ship, and aerial reconnaissance. Its designation "JF-17" by Pakistan is short for "Joint Fighter-17", while the designation and name "FC-1 Xiaolong" by China means "Fighter China-1 Fierce Dragon".

The JF-17 can deploy diverse ordnance, including air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, and a 23 mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel automatic cannon. Powered by a Guizhou WS-13 or Klimov RD-93 afterburning turbofan, it has a top speed of Mach 1.8. The JF-17 is to become the backbone of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), complementing the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon at half the cost.[5] The PAF inducted its first JF-17 squadron in February 2010. In 2015 Pakistan produced 16 JF-17s. In 2016, Pakistan was believed to have the capacity to produce 25 JF-17 per year. 58% of the airframe is Pakistani and 42% Chinese/Russian-origin.

The FA-50

 The FA-50 is a light combat aircraft manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF). It is a light combat version of KAI T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft.

The indigenously developed KAI FA-50 light attack aircraft replaced the ROKAF’s ageing fighter fleet of F-5E/F and A-37 aircraft.

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A Republic of Korea Air Force FA-50 (Picture source: Republic of Korea Armed Forces)

The LCA-Tejas

The LCA Tejas is an Indian single-seat, single-jet engine, multirole light fighter created by HAL and the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. The Indian Air Force has already ordered 40 new LCA Tejas, including 20 FOC-configured aircraft and 20 IOC-configured aircraft. The Tejas are initially equipped with a NVG-compatible glass-cockpit, an infra-red search and track (IRST) sensor, some air-to-air, air-to-surface and anti-ship missiles and also different bombs.

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HAL LCA-Tejas at Defexpo 2018 in India (Picture source : Air Recognition)