Block 20 FA-50 For RMAF

Korean Aerospace Industries FA-50PH. KAI

SHAH ALAM: Defence Minister DSU Mohamad Hasan today confirmed in Parliament that RMAF will be getting the latest version of the Korean Aerospace Industries FA-50 – the Block 20 – for its FLIT/LCA requirements. He said the Block 20 is the latest variant of the supersonic fighter jet, capable of firing air to air and air to ground missiles.

He said the aircraft was purchased following evaluation by the RMAF which was endorsed by “multiple sessions” by the Defence Ministry tender board.

Mohamad said the FA-50 was already operational in neighbouring countries from Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia. “The aircraft had a good service record, and it uses the Lockheed Martin engines” he added. Mohamad may have misspoken here, as the TA-50/FA-50 comes with the General Electric F404 engine. Editor.

“Their aircraft are not the same as ours, theirs are Block 16, Block 18 and the latest one is Block 19. RMAF believes that it could maintain the aircraft and that was the justification buy the air force and endorsed by multiple sessions of the tender board.

“We are buying 18 aircraft for the first batch, enough for one squadron and ours is latest version – Block 20 – which better than the previous version as it had newer capabilities.
“The aircraft capability is as good as a Multi Role Combat Aircraft, a bigger and more expensive fighter jet.”

Mohamad further said as the FA-50 was capable fighter jet, it will be used for the time being as we evaluate the need for MRCA. Of course, RMAF needed a new MRCA to replace the Hornets and Flankers, Editor

It must be noted that this was the first time, the Defence Minister had spoken about the contract for the FA-50 since the new on it broke about two weeks ago.

— Malaysian Defence

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105 Comments

  1. >“The aircraft capability is as good as a Multi Role Combat Aircraft, a bigger and more expensive fighter jet.”

    The hell does that mean?

  2. “The aircraft capability is as good as a Multi Role Combat Aircraft, a bigger and more expensive fighter jet.”

    “RMAF needed a new MRCA to replace the Hornets and Flankers”

    Was he contradicting himself?

  3. Alhamdulillah. It is safe to assume that the spec would be the same as the Polish ones with the same AESA radar which I am most exited about. Gathering the available public sources, its is possible to fit the Medium sized Raytheon PhantomStrike radar could fit onto T7 Red Hawk, it seem can fit into FA50 as well but only time will tell on which size we are getting. As for the capability of the radar.

    As for the potential capabilities of the PhantomStrike radar, Raython said the Small version has same range as an F16 radar while Medium is better. Well this can mean either the worst is same performance as APG68v9 pulse doppler or the best same as APG-83 AESA for the Small size. Hence I think it is safe to assume that the Medium size have at least nearly similar performance to APG-83 AESA or better. This also meant that FA50 potentially has the same or even better radar performance compared to our Legacy Hornets and Flankers!!!! Now tell me you are not exited about that

  4. Luqman – “Now tell me you are not exited about that”

    Speaking for myself there’s little there’s little that excites me these days after observing things for so long.

    What would excite me is not the avionics/electronic fit or technical features but whether we are able to operate it on a systems centric level [that makes the difference in this age] and whether we actually get a follow batch the next Malaysia Plan as scheduled.

  5. F-16 could carry twice the payload of FA-50 that’s why philippines is looking hard at F-16 despite already having FA-50

    If KAI pushes through with F-50 variant (single seat version with F414 instead of F404) it could bring the capability closer to F-16 but it’s still no match for F-16 raw power

    To think that F-16 is supposed developed as a “light”, “day”, fighter mostly for homeland defence and export to small vassal states

  6. After hearing the news that MMEA OPV got delayed, again, I hope this one will not get delayed too. But, I got the feeling that i will be proven wrong.

  7. So does it mean we will be getting the Israeli radar? Well we have a friendlier Govt now so such is no longer a taboo.

    What worries me is this statement; “The aircraft capability is as good as a Multi Role Combat Aircraft”. If they start to get any funny ideas, it could spell a huge issue with the MRCA program.

    @Rock
    “RMAF FA-50 Block 20 in par or better than F-16 Block 32”
    LM have would made sure it would not threaten their own model lineup.

  8. Rock,

    Capability-wise, with AESA radar, latest targeting pods, electronics, yes arguably better than F-16 block 32 (produced between 1986-89)

    Performance-wise, the F-16 has better kinetic performance, better range and better weapons load capability.

  9. Most probably will be K-Aesa by Hanwha as US aesa technology is forbidden from being shared with the korean

  10. My understanding reading public sources is that it will use the smaller PhantomStrike AESA. Also while it does have some MRCA functions, the LCA will not be able to fulfil the full spectrum of MRCA capabilities. The RMAF will still eventually need an MRCA but IMHO at least there is now some time to wait for the TFX or KF 21. I know we have discussed this before, but is the Minister also implying all 18 will be the FA variant and there are no T and TA variants in the mix? Opinions?

  11. It’s probably unfair to compare with F16s or other MRCAs but the FA50 Block 20 is a better buy than the other LCA contenders, especially if they deliver on inflight refueling and BVR capabilities.

  12. Dundun – “why philippines is looking hard at F-16 despite already having FA-50”

    The PAF always intended to get a light fighter followed by a MRCA at a later date. Eventually the PAF will get a fighter but by design and not due to any limitations with the F-50. Note that there was an intention to get
    F-16s in the past but it fell through.

    Dundun – “To think that F-16 is supposed developed as a “light”, “day”, fighter mostly for homeland defence and export to small vassal states”

    You’ve actually described the F-5. Intended as a light fighter for states that didn’t need or couldn’t afford the likes of an F-4.

  13. I dont think it is wise to compare LCA and MRCA. Will you compare MBT and Light/medium tank?

    We can only assume that FA-50 block 20 can replace the role of MB339s and hawks. All equipment installed in MB339 and hawk was good enough in those time and what installed in FA-50 block 20 are good enough for now.

  14. We should put to rest this notion that the F-50 or any equivalent is as good as a MRCA. If it was countries; South Korea for one; wouldn’t be buying MRCAs. Like how a light tank can perform some roles a MBT can but can never be a substitute; same with light fighters and MRCAs.

    We also should stop looking at things from a mainly platform level as if we were still in the 1980’s. The F-50 could be equipped with the most capable radar money can buy but if faced with another fighter fitted with an inferior radar but which is in an advantageous position and has better SA by virtue of being networked to other fighters or a AEW platform; the F-50 will be at a disadvantage.

  15. Csl-“Most probably will be K-Aesa by Hanwha as US aesa technology is forbidden from being shared with the korean”

    Incorrect…it is all depend on agreement.
    US made AESA is not forbid for korean but attached it on the fighter that will be sold to foreign nation is another story.
    Afaik, the korean can not installed US equipment on korean made FA-50 better than F16KF.

  16. Tomtom,

    Opinions?

    I am for T or TA (the lines are very blured now, even Thai T-50TH variant are fully combat capable) mix if that means we can get more airframes. Batch 1 is fully FA variant, batch 2 i am okay for a mix if that means we can get more than 18 units in batch 2

    I would be okay if we can have :
    -batch 1, 18x FA-50MY Block 20
    -batch 2, 10x FA-50MY block 20 + 14x T-50MY

  17. Tom tom “My understanding reading public sources is that it will use the smaller PhantomStrike AESA. Also while it does have some MRCA functions, the LCA will not be able to fulfil the full spectrum of MRCA capabilities.”

    From what I understand its capable of fulfilling all spectrum operations expected of a 4.5 gen jet.

    It’s not a F-16 lite but more of a f16 mini. In layman term a iPhone mini can do everything a iPhone (f16) can do just an iPhone or iPhone pro max(f15) can do each task better.

    Unrelated but seems the UK is thinking of a scheme for any country with MIG/flankers to do a 1 to 1 exchanged with their soon to be retired eurofighter trench 1. Seems like a no brainer deal for me.

  18. As for MY, not really as this would mean we revert to the four fast jet fleet as in the past.

    Note when BAE Systems offered the deal for Tranche 1 deal for MY as part of the MRCA programme, the Tranche 1 was supposed to be a stop gap measure for RMAF prior taking delivery of the Tranche 3 aircraft.

  19. Romeo – “Incorrect…it is all depend on agreement”

    There will be conditions attached but as a whole everything American made will require export approval from the Americans. In the 1990’s at one point we were interested in the K-1 but the OEM had to seek export approval for the FCS.

  20. The DWP has stated. Getting additional F-18s to augment the exisitng squadron along with the LCA is the priority fast jet requirement this planning cycle. The MRCA replcement would be in the next planning cycle. Little chance of a different fast jet being acquired. Almost all major asset decisions is consistent with the DWP. So stick to the plan.

  21. @Rock
    It is better than in F16 Block 32 in BVR but kinematically worse than F16 especially in high speed sustained turn rate, acceleration and climb rate. One possible way to dogfight F16 is flying FA50 similar to a Hornet ie fighting at slow speed though not sure much how FA50 handle at slow speed compared to Hornet as FA50 have smaller LERX than the Hornet.

    @Azlan
    Ya I understand that for you anything that regardless performs good or not does not matter much unless its networked together and worked with other assets.

    @joe
    It will likely be Raytheon PhantomStrike AESA radar

    @Romeo
    Then the most capable radar anyone can put on FA50 will be similar performance to APG-83

    @TomTom
    If we theoretically can afford to operate more than 18 LCAs, then there would be a third batch of 8-16 LCA in the future. To me seems like 8 TA-50 would be the suitable amount for the training squadron

  22. Zaft – “From what I understand its capable of fulfilling all spectrum operations expected of a 4.5 gen jet”

    It’s not intended to be used in similar operational conditions as a MRCA. If fitted with the right gear and if operating as part of a networked environment a light fighter is a very capable platform but it is what it is.

    Zaft – “Seems like a no brainer deal for me”

    Not as clear cut as that…

    If you think about it there are operational considerations. For one the Tranche 1s may not have all the capabilities needed and might not have ordnance and other commonality with prospective users seek. Another factor is that a might desire a platform which has inherent tech advances compared to a Typhoon and is willing to wait for it.

  23. You know… why don’t we double down and buy another 2~4 squadrons of FA-50 Block 20+ and make them RMAF’s sole combat aircraftfor the next three decades? It ought be cost saving….

  24. kel – ”The MRCA replcement would be in the next planning cycle.”

    We hope but lets see. For some background; if we go back to the turn of the millennium after the MRCA requirement had been met in the 2002 period; we should have got a Nuri supplement, MPAs, basic trainers [realised with the PC-7 MK2], radars and then MRCAs.

    kel – ”Almost all major asset decisions is consistent with the DWP”

    It’s actually consistent with the long standing wishlists of the 3 services which were formulated way before the White Paper was even conceived. Having it in the White Paper merely institutionalises it but doesn’t commit the tight fisted politicians to anything.

    Luqman – ” worse than F16 especially in high speed sustained turn rate, acceleration and climb rate.”

    Great but in the real world when things have transformed mostly from WVR to BVR; does what you mentioned actually make a difference? Also, is it ”worse than F16 especially in high speed sustained turn rate, acceleration and climb rate” [to quote you] when loaded down with ordnance and drop tanks or flying clean? And at what height?

    Luqman – ”One possible way to dogfight F16 is flying FA50 similar to a Hornet ie fighting at slow speed though not sure much how FA50 handle at slow speed compared to Hornet as FA50 have smaller LERX than the Hornet.”

    Maybe [I wouldn’t know] but principles from WW1 still stand : who detects who first has the major advantage and even if the fight goes into a merge all the super manuveurability will account for nothing if off bore sight AAMs can be undertaken.

    Luqman – ”Ya I understand that for you anything that regardless performs good or not does not matter much unless its networked together and worked with other assets.”

    Gratified you ”understand”… Also, it’s not ”me” per see but the way it is and the way various militaries are going about it. It’s not the assets per see that makes the SAF so capable but the level of networking it has achieved and have you had a chance to ask Thai pilots how things have fundamentally changed for them since getting Gripen paired with Eriye?

    We’re in 2023 now; not 1969 – the days of platform centric warfare is over. Nice and appealing [especially for fanboys and school kids] to be fixated on the actual platform or system; i.e; has a radar of ‘X’ range and can track and scan 8000 targets simultaneously; has “X’ power to weight ratio; has an instantaneous turn rate of ‘X’ when loaded down with ‘X’ thousand pounds and can reach 30,000 feet from sea level in 85 seconds but that’s superficial; looks good in promotional literature and at airshows where aircraft are flown by test pilots with half empty fuel tanks and in totally clean configuration but only provides half the narrative.

    Like I said in a previous post : ”The F-50 could be equipped with the most capable radar money can buy but if faced with another fighter fitted with an inferior radar but which is in an advantageous position and has better SA by virtue of being networked to other fighters or a AEW platform; the F-50 will be at a disadvantage.”

    Gratified you ”understand”.

  25. Legion,

    Let’s be clear; LCAs are great but if placed on an operational scenario where they have to punch above their weight level then it’s not so great. We still needs MRCAs as part of the RMAF’s low/high end mix.

  26. legion 3692,

    I don’t know if you are sarcastic or not but,

    the FA-50 would be great for LIFT, CAS, QRA/Air Policing; but it cannot go head to head with current 5th gen stealth fighters.

  27. Azlan, KC Wong,

    Emmm, no? I’m serious as I seriously doubt that we have enough of budget to consider a “high/heavy” element in our future air defense. As least doubling down on FA-50 can get sufficient coverage on our air space…

    Imagine 6 skuadrons, one each in Butterworth, Gong Kedak, Subang, Sendayan, Kuching, Labuan. At least we plug any holes in our airspace…

  28. Legion – “I’m serious”

    I know you are and so am I. There are reasons why we need a mix. You spoke about cost effectiveness. It won’t be cost effective if we are faced with a scenario in which LCAs are unsuitable and they’re all we have.

    Also, one does not need fighters in every air base for coverage of airspace; merely fighters in sufficient numbers and adequate early warning. A fighter from Kuantan if provided with sufficient early warning can be over KL in minutes.

  29. Ratheyon claim that the PhantomStrike in FA50 is as capable or exceeds current vipers radar is true to an extent.

    But outside the marketing pitch one has to realise that it’s capabilities is a results of it being among the first to receive gallium nitride radar. Forget 5th or 6th gen, Once others 4th gen like f16 & FA18 get the same technology then it’s bigger nose can accommodate bigger radar feeds by more electrical power due to their bigger engine would mean it radars capabilities would then exceed that In the FA50.

  30. @Zaft
    “Seems like a no brainer deal for me.”
    Yes as it would be brainless to get Tranche 1s; no self defence suite, no BVR capability, no air to ground capability. Its only worth is trying to shoot down planes before it gets shot down in turn.

  31. Seems to me the Indonesians are doing the right thing by getting Rafales. Now there is requirement for 3-4 AEW. Maybe a C295. Rafales networked with aew is the way to goz

  32. Seems to me the Indonesians are doing the right thing by getting Rafales. Now there is requirement for 3-4 AEW. Maybe a C295. Rafales networked with aew is the way to goz

  33. Marhalim Abas,

    Then I was mistaken, I’ll admit I am ill informed in this regard, but what I meant was a large enough squadron number that can provide as much coverage to our airspace as possible…

  34. Qamarul – ”Seems to me the Indonesians are doing the right thing by getting Rafales.”

    You think so? The people who have to sustain the myriad fleet might disagree and there’s a reason why most air forces are trying to cut to a minimum the number of different types operated. The TNI-AU will have F-16 [in different variants], Su-27s [in different variants], Su-30s [in different variants] and Rafale. Not to mention discussions/plans on getting F-15s. Many years ago when I was a teenager I thought it was great that we had Fulcrums, Hornets, Hawks – impressive on paper. That was until I met someone whose job it was to stockpile all the different pasts/components these aircraft required.

    Back to Rafale; Western aircraft and more so French aircraft are very resource extensive to operate/sustain. They also require ”clean” sanitised airfields to operate from and a host of test/support equipment. One thing I like about Gripen is that from Day One it was designed to be operated by conscripts and from austere locations. Ground crews require less tools compared to other aircraft and various parts of the aircraft which would require a ladder to gain access to with other aircraft; are easily accessible on Gripen. On top of that all the ground support people required for a squadron can fit into a few 4x4s and all the test/support gear can fit into a lorry mounted container.

    Legion – ”what I meant was a large enough squadron number that can provide as much coverage to our airspace as possible…”

    Just like with people who insist that we should invest in a GBAD to compensate for a lack of airpower [history clearly states that a GBAD should supplement a GBAD but can never be a substitute]; what you’re suggesting isn’t practical. You tell me: what happens if the threats we face can’t be handled by a LCA? Will it be cost effective then?

  35. Joe “Yes as it would be brainless to get Tranche 1s; no self defence suite, no BVR capability, no air to ground capability. Its only worth is trying to shoot down planes before it gets shot down in turn.”

    It’s Delta wing configurations meant for flying high & fast but it’s likely struggle to fly slow & low indicated it’s designed primarily as an air dominance platforms first.

    A quiet perfect match to a high/low mix with Fa50 which is a multirole capable but mostly design for group attack purposes.

  36. So does it mean we will be getting the Israeli radar? Well we have a friendlier Govt now so such is no longer a taboo.

    What worries me is this statement; “The aircraft capability is as good as a Multi Role Combat Aircraft”. If they start to get any funny ideas, it could spell a huge issue with the MRCA program.

    @Rock
    “RMAF FA-50 Block 20 in par or better than F-16 Block 32”
    LM have would made sure it would not threaten their own model lineup.

  37. Pretty sure the US government denied transfer of AESA technology to Korean which is why it causes difficulties in the development of KF-X back in a 2015 report

  38. “It would have been the FA-50”
    Really? Their LCA/FLIT description all the time gave me the impression that these will be separate programs of a light fighter(LCA portion aka FA-50) and a trainer(FLIT portion aka t-50) but from the same aircraft model.

    “it’s not about being friendly”
    I doubt we would have gotten Israeli radars if we stuck to the other side…

  39. The radar would have been made by LIG NEXT another South Korean company so it would have been the choice of the other side as well.

  40. I read that the F/A-50 only used a single jet engine setup. Is it true? Didn’t the RMAF had a tendecy to pick twin-engine setup rather than the single ones?

  41. Of course, it used a single engine, it’s a light fighter/trainer. The twin-engine requirement is for the MRCA. That was the reason, the Gripen was crossed out early in the MRCA programme.

  42. zaft – ”A quiet perfect match to a high/low mix with Fa50 which is a multirole capable but mostly design for group attack purposes.”

    So you say but for reasons which have been alluded to countries will not clamour for Typhoons Tranche 1s.

    As for the F-50 being ”mostly design for group attack purposes” [to quote you]; how is this relevant to anything? As it stands it has full air to air and air to ground capabilities and will be merely yet another platform which was initially designed for a specific role but whose capabilities were gradually expanded/improved.

  43. I see. Thanks for the explanation. So is it confirmed to used GE F404 version, rather than GE F414?

  44. If the MRCA has to be twin engine like you said, Marhalim, the F35 is therefore totally out of the question.

  45. The Turkish one is twin engines. AFAIK that was the requirements for the previous MRCA. Who knows they might change it for the future one.

  46. Azlan “As for the F-50 being ”mostly design for group attack purposes” [to quote you]; how is this relevant to anything? As it stands it has full air to air and air to ground capabilities and will be merely yet another platform which was initially designed for a specific role but whose capabilities were gradually expanded/improved.”

    Most jet nowadays can do everything but you can’t fight physics. Thus there’s are design consideration that would make some platforms excel at doing some things better than some other but the trade-off is it’s going to be worse at doing some other things.

    Delta wing & LO jet can’t really fly slow & low. With proper planning & training one can use it to do CAS. But it wouldn’t be as good at doing it compared to a platform specialized design for CAS like the warhog.

    Topgun maverick was a great movie but it a movie because they have to do the mission with the Hornet. If the USAF which have B2, raptors etc in it hangers then the movie would be over in 10 minutes.

    Networking & cooperative engagement do matter. but it doesn’t mean that make platforms obsolete. Which is likely why RMAF CAP55 want 2 different platforms for it jet.

  47. So the TFX will now a definite possibility. The prototype was just rolled out yesterday!

  48. If the plan is to get MRCA by 2030-2035 maybe it’s worth to look at the 6th Gen fighter now being developed by BAE systems. They’re looking for partners to fund the development. The jet is called Tempest.

    Quote;

    The BAE Systems Tempest is a proposed sixth-generation fighter aircraft that is under development in the United Kingdom for the Royal Air Force (RAF). The aircraft is intended to enter service from 2035, gradually replacing the Eurofighter Typhoon. It is being developed as part of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) programme by a consortium known as Team Tempest, which includes the Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo, and MBDA UK. £2 billion is planned to be spent by the British government on the initial phase of the project up to 2025.

  49. zaft – ”Most jet nowadays can do everything but you can’t fight physics.”

    I have no idea what you’re on about but – again – in reference to your earlier posts: the fact that the F-50 may have been initially designed for the air to ground role is immaterial and it would not be a ‘no brainer” [as you confidently claimed] for anyone to get Typhoons Tranche 1s due to reasons that have been alluded to. Not that I’m an expert but I’m keenly and fully aware that because of inherent design and other factors some platforms are better than others when it comes to doing certain things.

    zaft – ” If the USAF which have B2, raptors etc in it hangers then the movie would be over in 10 minutes.”

    If you say so. Didn’t watch it; not my kind of movie.

    zaft – ”Networking & cooperative engagement do matter. but it doesn’t mean that make platforms obsolete.”

    And they point you’re trying to make? Do you actually know?

    Two things – [1] ”Networking & cooperative engagement provides the decisive edge and is the way to go. [2] Who said anything about ”obsolete”. What I did say and have been pointing out is that without key enablers one simply can’t utilise an aircraft to its full potential; i.e. current gen platforms are designed to be operated at a systems level.

    zaft – ”Which is likely why RMAF CAP55 want 2 different platforms for it jet.”

    Assumptions again and nonsense. Under the CAP55 the RMAF seeks a single MRCA platform; that’s the end game and in case you’re unaware of the driving factors behind the CAP 55 is to lower the logistical/support footprint. The reason we have Flankers and Hornets is because of political decisions based on strategic national interest factors. If it was up to the RMAF in the 1993/94 period it would only have bought Hornets.

  50. Tun declined many things. Way before they seriously approached anyone else for strategic industrial defence cooperation the South Korean approached us. Unfortunately the list of defence related things which Tun decided on [despite objections] is a long one and had an adverse impact on the armed services and taxpayer.

  51. MRCA and LCA is really in my opinion, a Malaysia nomenclature. FA-50 is a multi-role combat aircraft, so is the SU-30, F-18 and Hawk. For Malaysia’s definition, the equivalent western definition would be MRCA = Air Superiority Fighter (almost always twin engine), and the LCA = General Purpose fighter (usually single engine). This is why the F-35 isn’t positioned as an air superiority fighter and is meant to replace F-16. Which creates an interesting situation for RMAF as the late 2030s-2040s, the F-35 is the only widely available for purchase 5th/6th gen fighter – meaning RMAF might find itself in the same decision making conundrum as Canada, Australia and Finland, which moved from twin engine to to the F-35. FA-50 isn’t the same as TA-50. Block 20 upgrades are only available for FA-50, therefore the choice of FA-50/TA-50 mix depends on how important Block 20 upgrades are. If slow delivery is the concern, the Block 20 upgrades won’t be ready until 2024/2025 (based on Poland’s delivery schedule), which means the earliest RMAF would get Block 20 jets is 2025.

  52. Azlan “Assumptions again and nonsense. Under the CAP55 the RMAF seeks a single MRCA platform; that’s the end game and in case you’re unaware of the driving factors behind the CAP 55 is to lower the logistical/support footprint.”

    Read carefully before shooting.
    I said 2 different jet not 2 different MRCA.
    Well unless you want to define the fa50 as not a jet.

    Qamarul “They’re looking for partners to fund the development. The jet is called Tempest.”

    They aren’t looking for funders anymore. Recently the Saudi wanted in but the Brits says maybe. Probably because The tempest had recently merge with the Japanese Fx into GCAP.

    I say just send our mig & Sukhoi to Ukraine, get the eurofighter as gap filler & replace it with GCAP comes 2035.

  53. Sir Marhalim,

    Should we buy F15 Strike Eagle, let say 24 unit for MRCA force or add another 18 to 36 FA50-Block 20 + 2 AWACS ?

  54. Zaft – “Read carefully before shooting”.

    Do some basic research before hitting the keypad…

    Zaft – “I said 2 different jet not 2 different MRCA”

    Because of the need of a high/low end mix. The RMAF can’t afford to have an all twin engine MRCA fleet and not all operational scenarios call for a MRCA.
    That’s why.. Not for the reason you came up with; which some basic research would have told you.

    Zaft – “I say just send our mig & Sukhoi to Ukraine, get the eurofighter as gap filler”

    “I say” that if you understand our foreign policy and the fact that we are non aligned you’d also know that the chances of us doing what you suggest is as high as Donald Duck marrying Batwoman.

    As for the Typhoon Tranche 1 it has already been clearly unequivocally explained. Why on earth would we want a platform with such inherent limitations [“joe explained it quite succinctly in a previous post to you] and in certain ways inferior to a MKM. Didn’t you mentioned something about a “no brainer”?

    Kel – “MRCA and LCA is really in my opinion, a Malaysia nomenclature”

    The “LCA” designation was borrowed from the Indians; their “LCA” programme. The “MRCA” designation is recent but not Malaysian per see; prior to that “multi role” or “swing role” was commonly used to describe a medium or heavyweight category of fighter. In the early 2000’s Dassault came up with “omnirole”.

    Breaking posts into paragraphs makes it easier to read rather than in a huge lump.

  55. It’s always the plan to have 36 FLIT-LCA . As for the AEW there is no affordable ones really at the moment. The cheapest one is the Airbus C295 AEW has an Israeli radar. The plan for the moment is to buy Super Hornets but it’s unlikely going to happen. If the EX is available past 2030 it is likely the one to be bought to replace the Hornets.

  56. A better bet is to either join TFX or to wait for KF-21 to reach its actual intended role as 5th gen aircraft

  57. @dundun

    I don’t think thr KF21 ever intended to be a 5th gen one. The TFX maybe

  58. Azlan “Because of the need of a high/low end mix. The RMAF can’t afford to have an all twin engine MRCA fleet and not all operational scenarios call for a MRCA.
    That’s why.. Not for the reason you came up with; which some basic research would have told you.”

    Everything happens for a variety of factors and not just one single factor. Calling something which in your beliefs is minor to to another which in your personal beliefs is a major reasons doesn’t make it wrong nor irrelevant.

    Azlan ““I say” that if you understand our foreign policy and the fact that we are non aligned you’d also know that the chances of us doing what you suggest is as high as Donald Duck marrying Batwoman.”

    Policy changes according to time to suit the country’s socioeconomic & geopolitical situation. It’s not fixed like an unmovable anchor.

    Thinking what 90s/ early 2000 era Malaysia would do is not so relevant to today Malaysia. If it’s in the 90s/2000 then FA50 would never get picked.

    Azlan “As for the Typhoon Tranche 1 it has already been clearly unequivocally explained. Why on earth would we want a platform with such inherent limitations [“joe explained it quite succinctly in a previous post to you]”

    RAF due to political & economics consideration is exclusive to a single platform. They have the F35 but the f35 is exclusive to QE class. Thus The platform need to do anything. If one have other platforms then the pressure to force an omniroles/multirole/swingrole abilities is reduced.

    By your logic every single surface combatants need to have ASW function or it’s just useless. Which is not true at all.

    Azlan “Didn’t you mentioned something about a “no brainer”?”

    Our hornet would reach 30 years old by 2028. Afterwards it’s uneconomical to keep it around. Kuwaiti hornet even if we bought it are older. The MRCA is going to enter in 2035 & it’s not like you get everything in 2035. It would be at least 2045 for all the MRCA to arrive. Thus The current RMAF plan is to used to hornet for 50 years are at best can be described as delusional. It’s not value for money for the taxpayer’s

    The most likely thing to happen is that they would ride exclusively in the FA50 because as tokmat said “it’s as good as a MRCA”. The hornet even if upgraded to Cf18 standard would just be seen by the public as a bigger FA50. No difference to how the public see the hornet to superhornet. It’s look the same, it’s not noticeably faster or better in range. it going to do the same stuff. Thus the extra cost would be seen as wasting rakyat money.

  59. dundun – ”A better bet is to either join TFX or to wait for KF-21 to reach its actual intended role as 5th gen aircraft”

    Yes but when will both be mature enough to be able to be exported and once mature enough how long will the respective OEMs need to be able to meet export orders? It’s great we are getting LCAs but as it stands we don’t even have enough Flankers and Hornets to meet anything but a low intensity threat; one which does not require us to generate a high number of sorties and to sustain them over a prolonged period.

    For me; if we get the last variant of the Super Hornet with its LO features; various improvements and high level of networking; sufficient for the type of threats we’re likely to face irrespective of the fact that it’s not a 5th gen LO platform.

    Qamarul – ”I don’t think thr KF21 ever intended to be a 5th gen one.”

    What constitutes a 5th gen LO platform? A platform which has LO features in its design; a low RCS and use of non radar reflective materials and a cockpit architecture which has a high level of computing and advanced avionics to enable the platform to operate as part of networked environment. The KF21 meets the criteria.

  60. Hence the questions to ask is, given the decisions in Australia, Canada, Finland, and Switzerlnd, is it conceivable for RMAF to go single engine across its entire fleet, and will RMAF update the MRCA requirements tp include stealth? Answers to those questions will essentially dictate what the MRCA will be since 1) theres only really 3 maybe 4 twin engine stealth fighters that could be bought in 2040, 2) KF21 is the only known new 4th gen non stealth fighter to be ready by 2035, 3) there is only 1 single engine stealth fighter in 2040 and likely forever.

  61. The KF21 misses out on being called a full 5th generation by definition because it does not have an internal bomb/weapons bay. This was originally planned for later blocks but AFAIK the Koreans have decided not to go ahead with that.

  62. What constitutes a 5th gen LO platform? A platform which has LO features in its design; a low RCS and use of non radar reflective materials and a cockpit architecture which has a high level of computing and advanced avionics to enable the platform to operate as part of networked environment. The KF21 meets the criteria.

    With one caveat
    It doesn’t have an internal weapon bay. Carrying missiles on external pylons will make the aircraft observable on radar regardless of stealth coatings.

  63. “It’s always the plan to have 36 FLIT-LCA.”
    If we did get all that it’d be impressive but still would not be sufficient as we would only have enough to replace 1to1; the 16 Migs, the 12 Hawks, but only 8 out of the 11 MB339 numbers. We need at least 40 in total just to get our jet numbers back up as it was then.

    I’d be more impressed if all of them were FA50 spec as it won’t be cheap but it would seriously boost up our frontline fighter numbers albeit some with dual role as trainers.

    As for joining Tempest programme. Erm nope. We don’t have any expertise worthwhile to contribute that program nor do we have enough billions to throw into its development, the same reason why Indonesia pull back from KFX development. Better to just buy the plane after it has reached maturity.

  64. I don’t think the Korean will add internal weapon bay for any future version unless they redesign the whole thing.
    One of the reasons it does not have an internal weapons bay is that it was designed to be a lightweight, highly maneuverable aircraft. An internal weapons bay would add weight and complexity to the design, and could negatively impact the aircraft’s performance.Additionally, internal weapons bays can be quite expensive to design and build, as they require specialized equipment and materials. It is likely they’re trying tk keep the cost down.

  65. Qamarul – ” it was designed to be a lightweight, highly maneuverable aircraft. An internal weapons bay would add weight and complexity to the design, and could negatively impact the aircraft’s performance.”

    Having ordnance in an internal bay equates to less drag; that equates to more maneuverability.

  66. zaft – ”The most likely thing to happen is that they would ride exclusively in the FA50 because as tokmat said “it’s as good as a MRCA”. The hornet even if upgraded to Cf18 standard would just be seen by the public as a bigger FA50. No difference to how the public see the hornet to superhornet.”

    You on hallucinogens; smoking something or voices in your head telling you things?
    Eventually we will get MRCAs because the RMAF has a need for them and the government agrees and understands. You’re probably a new observer because if you weren’t you’d know that the Defence Minister’s ‘it’s as good as a MRCA’ was just political rhetoric [nothing more; nothing less]; the likes of what we’ve seen before time and again.

  67. kel – ” will RMAF update the MRCA requirements tp include stealth? ”

    We can safely assume that when the times comes to get MRCAs one of the requirements will be for it to have ”low observable” features incorporated in its design. Natural progression; plus the fact that even if we get a non LO 5th gen platform; whatever we get will have ”low observable” features in its design to make it somewhat ”’low observable” but not ”stealthy” per see.

    Qamarul – ”regardless of stealth coatings.”

    RAM coating.

  68. Adding an internal weapon bay to a completed aircraft models is like trying to add vertical launch system into a small diesel electric submarine. Having an internal weapons bay (or bays) impacts the entire design of the aircraft, especially the fuselage, air intakes, engine mounting, landing gear mounts, accessory equipments. The TFX however was designed to be a 5th Gen stealth aircraft with F110 engine that has top speed of Mach 2.4 from the start.It has 19m length while the F22 has 19.5m & the J20 is at 20-21m. The KF21 length is only around 14-15m. They gonna need a larger body to fit an internal weapon bay that could carry atleast 3 ordinance to make it worth modifying. The F-35 on the other hand carries a couple of sidewinders that make its rcs larger & exposed to radar. F35 single engine make it easier to fit an internal weapon bay. So based on this I don’t think it’s worth to get the Boramae instead of TAI TFX. They expected the prototype to be flying by the end of 2023. Also expecting into service by 2030 just in time for our MRCA program. Just my 2 cents

  69. Qamarul – “So based on this I don’t think it’s worth to get the Boramae instead of TAI TFX. They expected the prototype to be flying by the end of 2023”

    Both haven’t even completed development thus it’s way too early days to form any firm conclusions conclusions about what we should get or shouldn’t …

    On my part; the actual 5th gen low observable platform we buy is important but more important is getting the right numbers and the key enablers rather then specific tech details as ultimately; whatever we buy Will have certain pros and cons which will be dependent on the trade off we make. There is also the fact that 2030 is some years away; anything can happen from now till then.

  70. Zaft,

    Malaysia since 1970 [do your research] has adopted a policy of non alignment and neutrality [do your research]; thus any notion that we’d send stuff to the Ukraine [which no ASEAN member has done] displays a serious lack of understanding on Malaysian policy – period/full stop. Are you next going to say we should send people to Mars or that Hello Kitty should be weaponised? Yes things do evolve but our policy in this regard isn’t evolving any time soon.

    There’s a reason the RMAF wants two type of fighters goes back decades and is because of the need of a high/low end mix; because it can’t afford to have an all twin engine MRCA fleet and not all operational scenarios call for a MRCA. Do your research. It’s not my” belief” silly.

  71. On the KF-21

    The internal weapons bay space is designed into the airframe from day 1.

    But for Block 1, to reduce development risk, and to shorten development time, the space designated for the internal weapons bay is converted into additional fuel tanks. This is to get the long range requirement wanted by Indonesia, also to not have extensive weapons release tests required for weapons to be deployed from the internal weapons bay.

    ROKAF plans to buy 40 of the KF-21 Block 1 from 2026-2028, 80 Block 2 from 2029-2032

    Concurrently as the KF-21 Block 1 is in mass production, KAI will continue to develop the Block 2 version.

    Block 2 version will be up to LO (low observable) standard with internal weapons bay. Please see image below for explanation
    https://img.bemil.chosun.com/nbrd/data/10040/upfile/201305/20130520142511.jpg

  72. Luqman – You’ve always been excited to wanting something “bigger and better” than Malaysia’s next door neighbours.

    And no, LCA can never match the Flankers and the Legacy Hornets. KAI’s AESA radar is still not a mature platform yet.

  73. @Azlan

    Well comparing the performance in a few different scenarios
    – 1st, FA50 heavily loaded vs F16 lightly loaded, F16 has better performance
    – 2nd, FA50 lightly loaded vs F16 heavily loaded, maybe 50-50 and this is the highest chance FA50 could get over F16
    – 3rd, FA50 light loaded vs F16 lightly loaded, F16 have better performance, same goes if both are heavily loaded

    So most of the time F16 will have kinematic performance advantage over FA50

    When it comes to “if off bore sight AAMs can be undertaken” there wil be situation when both have no off bore sight AAMs left hence dogfight/BFM with guns is the way to go and now the kinematic performance will play important role (ya ya pilot skills, training and luck also come into play).

    Ya I understand ‘networking’ is important hence why i did not elaborate further as i agree with your points. For Thai pilots + AWACS thing I dunno and havent look up yet. Would you care to share this info with us?? Thanks!

    I still believe that the optimum force would be a force that has capable individual platforms working together in a networking environment with proper tactics and training. We need both capable individual platforms and good networking, not either one or neither nor but both.

  74. Luqman – ‘there wil be situation when both have no off bore sight AAMs left hence dogfight’

    That’s assuming that any survive the merge – note that the average ‘dogfight’ lasts seconds or 3-5 minutes at the most. Given how AAMs have improved nobody can escape once inside an AAM’s no escape zone. You will also have noticed that advances in tech has resulted in BVR engagements being the norm for the past 2 decades or so; from Kosovo to Iraq to Syria to the Pakistani/Indian engagement to the Ukraine. The last conflict which had a number of WVR engagements was the Ethiopia/Eritrea war.

    Also, the gun is important but can you name a recent engagement in which guns were used? A few occasions during Desert Storm against helicopters? The Ecuador/Peru war? Ethiopia/Eritrea war?

    Luqman – ‘For Thai pilots + AWACS thing I dunno and havent look up yet.’

    If you’re ever at LIMA and RTAF Gripens are there; if you get a chance ask them and they’ll tell you that having Eriye has completely/fundamentally changed the way they do things. Like the RMAF the RTAF was a platform centric air arm; until it got the Gripe/Eriye combination. An AEW platform doesn’t just provide SA but battlespace management; enabling one to be in a adrvantageous position.

  75. FA-50 was never designed to compete or outclass the F-16. If you send a FA-50 to engage a F-16, the F-16 will usually destroy the FA-50. Even the ROKAF does not classify the fighters in the same category. On all measures, the F-16 is a superior fighter to the FA-50. But the FA-50 is cheaper. You could attempt to engage a F-15 or Flanker with a F-16, but you won’t attempt to do it with a FA-50. You could go BVR, but the FA-50 can’t do it until 2026 (Poland Block 20 will only be delivered end of 2025).

  76. @Azlan
    “That’s assuming that any survive the merge”

    Yes correct because one cannot assume the merge would never happen and cannot assume no one cannot survive off bore sight AAM. The merge will gonna happen. Yes BVR performance increases, longer range missile, longer range radar, networked to AWACS etc still the merge will happen at some point. And when the merge happens, the performance of the individual platforms to do dogfight counts (as well as pilot skills and luck of course), hence also why you still have guns on fighters hence also why pilots even RMAF pilots still train for gun only dogfights. Individual platforms matters as same as networking also matters, need both.

    “BVR engagements being the norm”
    It is the norm doesn’t meant gun only engagements (or gun + missiles engagements) wont ever happen in future. Yes the recent gun air to air kill that I could find is in 1992 between F16 and a Tucano, yes the trend of gun only kills had decreased a lot since 1990s but we should not take it for granted and lessons learned from previous wars by US indicates that gun only dogfights is still a necessary skills as they also practiced is until today. As I said before we need both individual platform performance as much as we need networking to really give us the most advantage as possible.

    Thank you for providing the Thai pilots input. I am sure even the non Gripen pilots can appreciate the AWACS capabilities. Lets hope RMAF plans to get AWACS wi8ll come into fruition in the near future

  77. Sure FA50 will not be able to compete with F16 even their earlier variants let alone block 52 above.Classed as medium fighter but still pack a punch to the teeth especially the block 72/viper variant.But hey at least FA50 + TA50 (or all FA50) will be a leap for RMAF from BAe Hawk and Macchi.And they desperately need them too so this project better progress smoothly..18 first batch and hopefully additional 18 units for 2nd batch

  78. If compared between KFX and F35, I’d rather we go for the latter, as its being a more matured platform, proven in operations, more widely adopted (and will be adopted), and Uncle Sam has direct vested interest to make it work and its program longevity.

    Another component of LO which no one here talked about is the anechoic paint which is proprietary formulated and one that LM won’t be sharing with KAI for their KFX, no they have to develop that their own and to that end it will likely be inferior to LM’s one. So stealthwise the F35 would have the edge over KFX and with LO vs LO its all a matter of who can ‘see’ who first and shoots.

  79. kel – ”FA-50 was never designed to compete or outclass the F-16.”

    Anymore than a Rooikat was intended to go against a MBT or a 106mm RCL on a 4×4 becoming a ”tank killer”. People however are fond of making direct comparisons because it’s easy and appealing. I maintain however that if a LCA meets a MRCA with a longer range radar and weapons; the LCA might have the advantage if it’s working in tandem with other assets but as a whole it would be daft to put anything in a position where it has to punch above its weight category so to speak.

  80. kel – ”FA-50 was never designed to compete or outclass the F-16.”

    Anymore than a Rooikat was intended to go against a MBT or a 106mm RCL on a 4×4 becoming a ”tank killer”. People however are fond of making direct comparisons because it’s easy and appealing. I maintain however that if a LCA meets a MRCA with a longer range radar and weapons; the LCA might have the advantage if it’s working in tandem with other assets but as a whole it would be daft to put anything in a position where it has to punch above its weight category so to speak.

  81. @ Kel – “You could go BVR, but the FA-50 can’t do it until 2026 (Poland Block 20 will only be delivered end of 2025)”

    The year does not matter. TUDM Block 20 from day 1 we receive them will be do BVR with Gallium Nitride AESA radar.

  82. Luqman,

    Let’s keep it simple. I never said WVR fights and the need for a gun are things of the past. What I did say is that they are becoming increasingly rare for reasons I’ve alluded to. I’m cognisant of the fact that guns are still needed and that there’s alwAys the chance things will go into a merge.

    Wars which saw gunfights were the Peru/Ecuador and the one in Ethiopia. We haven’t seen them in the Ukraine and did’nt see them during the Indian/Pakistani engagement.

    As for technical specs; important yes but it will hardly prove a decisive element in a WVR engagement or in a real world scenario as opposed to an air show or the days when platform centric warfare was the norm. No amount of speed, turn rates or thrust will defeat a current gen AAM which has you in its no escape zone or someone who has you in his gunsights and is indulging in deflective shooting. Also, everything we buy or will buy is decent in terms of specs.

  83. Luqman – ”etc still the merge will happen at some point. ”

    You’re assuming but I won’t. I’ll merely say that for the majority of all air to air [Kosovo, Bosnia, Gulf War, Ukraine, etc] engagements the past 2 or so decades; WVR engagements were a rarity. I will also say that yes practising BFM is needed as it may come in useful – just like how infantrymen still practice using bayonets – but the stats speak for themselves. It’s not given that WVR engagements will descend into a WVR one or that even if it does; guns will be employed.

  84. @hulubalang from my sources KF21 won’t be a 5th gen. I mean yea there were talks back then but it was nevee intended to be one because of the cost. If Korea wants to develop a 5th gen it will never be KF21. Maybe KF22 or KF35

  85. Depend on what one definitions of 5th gen is. LO is a mostly a function of shape. So J20,TFX,KFX is a 5th gen by that account alone. But if what defines 5th gen is sensors fusions then even the mighty raptors won’t make it into 5th gen definitions.

    Inventing Sensors fusions are a very expensive affairs, it’s took thousands of commited purchased, multiple countries contributing expertise, technology & money for it R&D just to make it into active services so it’s unlikely other jet which are mostly a single nation effort, which aren’t going to be mass produced in the thousands would ever be able to achieve the f35 level of sensors fusions.

    Thus IMHO going for either TFX or KFX are just a waste of money. You either get a F35 if you wanted a jack of all trades or get either FA-XX/GCAP which most observers speculates as being a F35 in F22/FB22 bodies.

  86. Zaft – “LO is a mostly a function of shape”

    Incorrect. It’s a “function” of various things.

    Zaft – “Thus IMHO going for either TFX or KFX are just a waste of money”

    “IMHO” you are wrong… Not everyone can afford or needs or can get a F35.

    To keep it simple; when the times comes we will get a platform to replace the Hornets and Flankers; one with LO features; one designed to be operated on a systems centric level and with various other enhancements. Whether we get ‘X’ or ‘Y’ or which is “better” is something I’ll gladly leave to the soothsayers and fanboys.

  87. Qamarul,

    I don’t hold to hearsay, but actual korean details on KF-21 (and not western written articles)

    You are clearly wrong to say KF-21 has no internal weapons bay (and need to be redesigned to fit one) when KAI itself in black and white say Block 1 have internal weapons provision built into the design.

    Block 1 and Block 2 is already firm plan. ROKAF will get 40 Block 1 from 2026-2028, and 80 Block 2 from 2029-2032. As per my previous post, Block 2 will have internal weapons bay and be a LO plane.

    Zaft,

    On sensor fusion. I would not bet against the koreans to be able to match what avionics is on the F-35 but with much lower costs in a few more years. They could leverage their huge local electronics industry to do so.

  88. There is a version of the KF-21 during development that had internal weapons bay but was ultimately rejected due to high cost vis-a-vis intended role of the KF-21. The KF-21 was meant to replace the F-5 and F-4. While there are online articles that claim internal weapons bay may appear in Block 2, it is not currently included in the plan. There are other articles that say no internal weapons bay because it was not designed to have one and it would be too costly to re-engineer the plane. The physical design reinforces that view. The only way it would get internal weapons bay if it gets redesigned like what happened with the Super Hornet, which is an entirely different plane – no retrofitting or upgrading Hornets. Just stick to how KAI and the Korean government is pitching the KF-21, an affordable 4th gen fighter with low observability and modern equipment. KF-21 is suitable for Malaysia because by late 2030s, it maybe the only affordable twin engine left in production – Eurofighter and F-15 should be nearing the end of its production while the Super Hornet production would have ended.

  89. Azlan “Incorrect. It’s a “function” of various things.”

    Then you are describing what most would classify as VLO. A combination of electronic warfare, Radar absorbent coating etc etc to make the jet a VLO.

    But as you said for some countries a LO jet is good enough for their needs. But the price point would hardly differ much because the f35 is the only mass produced jet around. So I would still maintain that we shouldn’t bother with KFX or TFX. Going around Buying something a bit worse at the same price ain’t gonna impress the voters.

    Azlan “To keep it simple; when the times comes we will get a platform to replace the Hornets and Flankers; one with LO features; one designed to be operated on a systems centric level and with various other enhancements”

    technically the correct jet for RMAF is whatever jet RAAF is using because If you wanted their help then it helpful if there’s a existing ground facilities to service their jet.

    Hulubalang “On sensor fusion. I would not bet against the koreans to be able to match what avionics is on the F-35 but with much lower costs in a few more years. They could leverage their huge local electronics industry to do”

    Korea electronic industry are build on top of US IP. So Unless the American gracefully allow the avionics transfer of technology or they pull a Japan who plans to spend tones of money & goes in bed with UK & Italy inorder to develop one. The Korean would never achieve sensors fusions. At best KFX & tfx would have 4.5gen avionics and nothing more.

    Nor do they need for anything more. The KFX like tfx is more of less a modern equivalent of F-16/yf-17. a well rounded, high availability, cost effective platforms.

    While F35 is more of a modern equivalent of hornet where you need a bit more while FA-XX/GCAP is modern equivalent to F15 if you wanted dominance. NGAD is the modern equivalent of F22 when it debuted. Something so revolutionary that US is the undisputed king.

  90. zaft – ”Then you are describing what most would classify as VLO.”

    Thanks for the lesson but as said : having LO is ” a function” of various things.”.

    zaft – ”technically the correct jet for RMAF is whatever jet RAAF is using because If you wanted their help then it helpful if there’s a existing ground facilities to service their jet.”

    Yes on paper but in reality we don’t strive for that level of commonality/interoperability for reasons that have been explained to you.

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