SHAH ALAM: Everything still turns to gold. A few days ago I wrote that the government had approved the funding for the RMAF LCA/FLIT project next year. RMAF chief Gen Ackbal Abdul Samad however did not revealed the number of aircraft to be funded though the service had proposed the purchase of 18 airframes for the RMK12 period.
Defence Minister DS Ismail Sabri today confirmed that the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department had approved the funding for 18 LCA/FLIT programme under the Rolling Plan 1 of the RMK12 which starts next year. He said this in his response to questions in Dewan Negara. However the amount of allocation was not mentioned, which is usually the case for defence issues.
Bagi pertanyaan YB tentang perolehan pesawat Fighter Lead-In Trainer (FLIT) dan Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) pula, ia merupakan projek keutamaan utama dalam Rancangan Malaysia Ke-12. Permohonan bajet untuk perolehan Fasa 1 bagi 18 buah pesawat ini telah diperakukan oleh Unit Perancang Ekonomi, Jabatan Perdana Menteri, di bawah peruntukan Belanja Pembangunan (DE) untuk dilaksanakan pada Rolling Plan 1 (RP 1) RMKe-12 bagi tahun 2021.
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There was also no breakdown on the LCA/FLIT to be purchase, though I am assuming if indeed 18 aircraft will be funded, it will likely be 12 LCAs and six FLIT.
Whether or not additional funding will be allocated in next RMK13, is also beyond me. I am of the opinion that we should be buying around six airframes per year from 2021 actually. This way by 2027, RMAF will have the full complement of the LCA/FLIT fleet as envisaged by the service. The yearly payment for delivered aircraft will also be less taxing to the government instead of paying for them in one lump sum.
The minister also said it was the plan that the RMAF will be looking to a new helicopter during RMK12 to replace the Nuri which had been grounded since 2019 following an emergency landing. This will ensure the new helicopters will be in service once the contract for leased helicopters ends in 2025 or 2026. For the short-term, RMAF will leased a number of helicopters from a local company selected for the tender which closed on 17 December.
— Malaysian Defence