RFI for LCA and UAVs

SHAH ALAM: RFI for LCA and UAVs. On Feb 1, I wrote for Aviation Week,

Malaysia has begun a quest to purchase light combat aircraft (LCA) and unmanned surveillance and attack aircraft, issuing requests for information (RFIs) from selected manufacturers despite uncertainty about when funding will be available.

In a written reply, Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Gen. Affendi Buang said the service issued the RFIs in January.

For the LCAs, RFIs were issued for the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd Tejas and the Sino-Pakistani JF-17; for the latter, the RFI was addressed to the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.

All are single-engine aircraft. The FA-50, available only as a two-seater, is designed for light attack, while the Tejas and JF-17 are fighters with single-seat versions.

As for the unmanned aircraft, RFIs were issued for the General Atomics MQ-9B Sea Guardian, Avic Wing Loong II and the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) Anka.

Analysis

Yes one could be cynical about the RFI with LIMA 2019 about to start on March 26. Anyhow so far only the Tejas, Reaper and the Wing Loong II have been confirmed for the show.

MQ-9B Sea Guardian

Despite lacking funds, both the LCA and UAV are mentioned in RMAF CAP 55 though I have been told that no funding have been approved yet. I guess we will have to wait until the Defense White Paper is published this July to see what things are being funded by the government.

A full size mock-up of the Anka at TAI’s booth at DSA 2018

Although the Defense Minister and deputy had stated that the defense white paper will be modelled after the ones by Australia and others, I am not convinced that it will also specifically stated the funding for the programs approved; the Australian one clearly included the funding. The industry is hoping that the white paper will include funding provisions for green lighted programme as it will bind the government to fund them as it will a parliamentary document.

Wing Loong II. Copyright to the picture owner.

I am not convinced it will be the case however as I have been told that the government will not commit itself. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

–Malaysian Defence

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