Jon Grevatt - Jane's Defence Weekly
28 January 2019
Malaysia has issued a preliminary request for information (RFI) to Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) in support of a potential acquisition of the company's FA-50 light attack aircraft, it has been confirmed to Jane's .
A spokesperson for KAI said on 28 January that the RFI was received earlier this month and that an additional RFI is expected once Malaysia refines its air combat requirements. A spokesperson from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) could not be reached for comment.
Under the country's proposed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) procurement programme Malaysia is thought to be seeking to acquire an initial 12 aircraft with an option for another 24 units in future years.
A KAI spokesperson said, "KAI received the request for information from Malaysia on 5 January, and we expect a more detailed RFI to be issued in the near future."
Jane's first revealed that the RMAF was interested in procuring the FA-50 fighter, which is based on KAI's T-50 advanced jet trainer (AJT) platform, in 2017.
Citing an air force official, Jane's reported that the procurement would meet a requirement to acquire a single-engined, supersonic platform to augment the RMAF's fleets of single-seat BAE Systems Hawk and twin-engined Boeing F/A-18D Hornet and Sukhoi Su-30 'Flanker' fighters.
"The Royal Malaysian Air Force is looking at its capabilities for the next 15 years or so, and how best we can suit our requirements," the official said. "As part of our future capability plans we are looking at a new [LCA] that will have some air-to-air and a full air-to-ground capability."
The decision to move ahead with the LCA programme has also been motivated by Malaysia's unsuccessful attempts at procuring a larger platform under its Multirole Combat Aircraft (MRCA) programme.
KAI T-50 and FA-50: Details