With the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) seeking 18 next-generation multi-role fighters to supplant its MiG-29, leading aviation vendors are beginning to actively position their respective platforms.
IHS Jane’s and Shepard Media report that Saab and BAE Systems are willing to provide credit or financing terms for the JAS-39 Gripen and Eurofighter Typhoon, respectively. These statements came in light of the Malaysian government’s conservative defence spending outlook.
Notes & Comments:
Malaysia’s defence procurement strategy is tailored for diversification, which results in purchases from Eastern and Western vendors. One need only look at the Royal Malaysian Navy’s (RMN) recent purchases from France (Scorpene-class submarines and Gowind-class frigates) and China (Littoral Mission Ships).
This mix is also evident in the RMAF, which operates the Boeing F/A-18D Hornet and Northrop F-5 Tiger II alongside the Mikoyan MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-30MKM. The RMAF also took delivery of its fourth Airbus Defence & Space (Airbus DS) A400M.
A tight procurement budget could very well steer the RMAF to United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), which is interested in securing overseas sales for its Su-35 and MiG-35.
The RMAF bid appears to be in a tentative stage, so it is unclear which platform is leading, though regional media outlets have identified the Dassault Rafale as among the frontrunners. Dassault did not comment on whether it would join BAE Systems and Saab in offering credit, but considering Paris’ success in selling arms to Kuala Lumpur, a loan is plausible.