The Royal Malaysian Air Force Shortlists Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale for MRCA Requirements

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has been seeking 18 next-generation fighters to replace it’s again MiG-29 since at least 2017. The BAE Systems has offered a UK-based line-of-credit to back a sale of Eurofighter Typhoon tranche-3 fighters to RMAF, Reuters Reports.

Typhone
Eurofighter Typhoone at LIMA 2017
Dassault
Dassault Rafale at Paris Airshow 2017

BAE’s Group Business Development Director, Alan Garwood said that We have an offer on the table…It’s competitively priced, and we have offered UK government financing so the Malaysian government can spread the payment over a more extended period.

The Swedish manufacturer Saab defence has proposed a similar offer for the RMAF requirement. The Saab proposes Gripen E/F series fighter jet analogous to Brazillian requirements. Sweden authorised a loan of 39.88 billion SEK (i.e. $5 billion US today) to back the sale of 36 Saab Gripen E/F to Brazil. The loan is to be repaid over 25 years.

Malaysia’s defence procurement strategy is tailored for diversification, which results in purchases from Su-30MKM from Russia and F/A-18 Hornet from the U.S. Airbus Defence & Space (Airbus DS)  delivered A400M to the RMAF for the requirement of tactical transport aircraft. The Royal Malaysian Navy’s (RMN) recent purchases from France’s Scorpene-class submarines and Gowind-class frigates

However, Southeast Asia is also among the US’ vital defence markets, with Boeing and Lockheed Martin both maintaining critical long-term contracts in the region. In particular, Boeing is hopeful of expanding upon its F/A-18 Hornet program with the RMAF to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

“With regards to Rafale, France is still pushing for it as evidenced during the recent air show in Paris,” said the source, on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised to speak to media on the discussions—Reuters Reports.

Local media reported citing Minister of Defence Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein reiterated that Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF)’s order for new multi-role combat aircraft (MRCAs) would have to depend on the state of the country’s economy. By the year 2020, we have to decide on the [purchase of the] MRCAs. It’s an open secret that we are looking at either the Dassault Rafale, or the BAE Systems Typhoon from the UK, but we don’t have to make the decision now. What we need to do is look at the affordability, and that depends on [the state of] our economy,” Hishammuddin Hussein said.

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