Purchase of fighter jets from South Korea takes into account various factors - Adly

26 Feb 2023 05:26pm
A KAI FA-50 Fighting Eagle. Photo: Republic of Korea Armed Forces
A KAI FA-50 Fighting Eagle. Photo: Republic of Korea Armed Forces

ALOR GAJAH - The purchase of 18 FA-50 light attack aircraft, worth RM4.08 billion from South Korea has taken into account various factors including the country’s needs involving aspects of strategy, policy and the Defence White Paper.

Deputy Defence Minister Adly Zahari said that the aspect of expertise in operating the aircraft as well as the country’s current economy were also considered to ensure that the asset could be fully utilised by the national defence industry.

"So, when we have made a decision through a transparent procurement process, what matters most now is we can deliver it to the end user within the set period,” he told reporters after officiating the Alor Gajah Parliamentary service centre, here today.

According to Adly, based on the ministry’s assessment, the FA-50 light attack aircraft produced by Korea Aerospace Industries Co (KAI) was the best.

KAI, which is South Korea’s sole aircraft manufacturer on Friday said it has secured a US$920 million (RM4.08bil) contract to sell 18 fighter jets to Malaysia, with the delivery set to begin in 2026.

KAI signed the deal with the Malaysian Defence Ministry to export 18 FA-50 light attack aircraft, beating India’s Tejas, Pakistan’s JF-17, Russia’s MIG-35 and Turkey’s Hurizet, Yonhap news agency reported the company said in a statement.

In another development, Adly said the Defence Ministry will ensure that the welfare of the family of Malaysian Armed Forces commando Lance Corporal Edrin Baintim who drowned while on combat diving training, is taken care of.

On Feb 7, Edrin, 25, a member of the army’s special forces unit, was reported missing while undergoing diving training 0.7 nautical miles south-west of Pulau Undan.

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Edrin is said to have disappeared during the "Pari Harimau” diving exercise he was attending which comprised six officers and 37 participants from the Sungai Udang Special Warfare Training Centre.

His body was found in a mangrove swamp in Tanjung Sepat, Selangor by members of the public at about 10.15am on Feb 19. - BERNAMA