SHAH ALAM: Still waiting for you. Malaysia wants to buy Kuwaiti Air Force (KAF) Boeing F/A-18 Hornets but has yet to negotiate with the government of the Middle East country for the deal, Deputy Defence Minister DS Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz told Dewan Negara today.
He said the planned purchase would – lock, stock and barrel – involved 33 airframes, both single-seat, C, and D, twin seaters. According to him, the KAF Hornets had clocked less flight hours than the eight F/A-18Ds in RMAF service. He did not say whether RMAF will fly all the airframes if we did get to purchase them.
There is no word also whether Malaysia has gotten permission from the US to make the purchase as it was necessary to do so for all US made weapons. I was told that there was an initiative to do so, three years back but as usual it fell on the wayside.
Ikhmal Hisham said KAF Hornets will be decommissioned following the deliveries of new fighters including the Boeing Super Hornets. He said the planned procurement of the KAF Hornets was waiting negotiations between the governments of Malaysia and Kuwait. He did not say when the negotiations will take place, however.
KAF is retiring its classic Hornets as part of its modernization drive which started in 2016 with an order for 28 Eurofighter Typhoons, 22 single seaters and six twin seaters. In 2018, Kuwait ordered 28 Super Hornets of which 22 are single-seat F/A-18Es and 6 two-seat F/A-18Fs.
All of the KAF Super Hornets have been delivered to the US Navy – its an FMS deal – in September, this year, though their delivery to KAF remained unknown. Apart from the Super Hornets, KAF is also getting 28 Eurofighter Typhoons, two of which arrived on December 14 in Kuwait. The rest are expected to be delivered progressively within the next few months.
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