SHAH ALAM: Mitten Coming to Lima 19. It appears that another contender for RMAF’s LCA programme, the Yakovlev Yak-130 two-seat advanced jet trainer/light attack aircraft, is scheduled to take part in LIMA 19.
A single Yak-130 Mitten is expected to join the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd Tejas LCA at LIMA 19, two of which will be on display, one a single seater and there other a twin seat trainer. The two types are among a slew of aircraft which had received RFIs from RMAF in January. The others are the Sino-Pakistani JF-17, the Leonardo M346FA, the Korean Aerospace KAI FA-50 and even possibly the Avic L-15 combat trainer.
What is interesting three of the contenders – the Yak-120, M346FA and L-15 – were all jointly developed by Yakovlev design bureau with other manufacturers namely Leonardo and AVIC of China. From the outside,the twin engine jets, looked very similar though under the skin they are all very different.The Mitten is built at Irkutsk aviation plant where RMAF’s own Sukhoi SU-30MKM were manufactured.
Anyhow, it is confirmed that the M346FA is not coming to LIMA 19 and it is likely that JF-17 and L-15 are also not coming.
As for whether or not the LCA is going to be funded in the next procurement cycle, your guess is as good as mine. It is likely that only once the Defence white paper is published we will know for sure where the program stands in the order of importance.
However with the RMAF seeking to upgrade its Hawk fleet so it can serve for another 10 years, one would be wise not to wager any money on the LCA going forward soon.
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