LANGKAWI, Dec 2 (Bernama) -- International arms manufacturers have joined the race to offer a replacement for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Mikoyan MiG-29N fighter aircraft to be phased out next year.At the ongoing 2009 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (Lima 2009) exhibition here, several of these manufacturers openly stated their desire to supply Malaysia such an aircraft.One company which has swiftly made known its intention is BAE Systems, which touts its Eurofighter Typhoon as the perfect replacement.
"We certainly have an interest in the MiG-29N replacement programme. We would expect that the Malaysian air force would consider every aircraft available in the market," said its Regional Director-Business Development Dave Potter.Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had reportedly said that the ministry would phase out the air-to-air interdiction aircraft next year and replace it with a more capable multirole combat aircraft (MRCA).
"Funding for the purchase, which is expected to run into billions of ringgit, will come from the (next) 10th Malaysia Plan," said an industry source which declined to be identified.According to the source, the proposal to find a suitable replacement for the 18 MiG-29N aircraft was still at the initial stage and no final decision has been made by the government or the air force."We have to wait until the government issues a 'Request For Proposal' (RFP) before we can definitely know the specification and what type of aircraft they are interested in," the source said.The decision of the ministry on the successful bidder, said the source, could also hinge on the level of transfer-of-technology the company was willing to undertake with Malaysia. Nevertheless, as of now and based on what the defence minister has announced, it said, all MRCA-type of aircraft in the market is a contender, whether it is a single or twin engine plane.
The list, according to the source, is long but the most likely aircraft would be the Russian-made twin-engine Sukhoi SU-30 MKM and SU-35, FA-18 E/F Super Hornet, JAS Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Aviation Rafael, F-16 C/D Block 52 or, perhaps, the F-15 Eagle.The Sukhoi SU-30 MKM, SU-35 and FA-18 E/F Super Hornet would be the main contenders to meet RMAF's quest to find the replacement."If the RMAF chooses commonality as the main factor behind its decision in finding the replacement for the MiGs, then the Sukhoi and the Hornet will come out tops," the source said.The RMAF has 18 Sukhoi SU-30 MKM and eight FA-18D Hornet in its inventory.
AL :- Why not we plan to buy Helicopters like apache or russian made instate of Aircraft? After all, the helicopters is more less durable & excellent to land anywhere in Malaysia?