The Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) Exhibition 2023 in Malaysia witnessed one of Malaysia’s most critical acquisition decisions. Last February, KAI and the Malaysian Defence Ministry signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to procure 18 FA-50 Block 20 light fighter aircraft, eliminating Turkish Aerospace’s Hürjet offer. The FA-50 Block 20 is the latest variant of the FA-50 aircraft as it will be equipped with the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) “PhantomStrike” radar developed by Raytheon. Poland has also chosen the FA-50 Block 20 variant.
The aircraft offered to Malaysia will also have “Link 16 Block Upgrade 2” and the Air-To-Air Refuelling Probe (AAR Probe) facility. The aircraft will have the ability to integrate Lockheed Martin’s Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP), GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs, 500 lb GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), and the AGM-65 Maverick missile.
KAI has also said that RMAF’s order of 18 FA-50 aircraft will be followed by a second order of an additional 18 aircraft.