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Malaysia’s New Fighter Jet Could Be FA-50 or JF-17

Announcing a change to its existing MiG-29 fleet, the Malaysian Air Force will choose from a Korean FA-50 or JF-17 Thunder aircraft for the new platform.

A total of 18 jets will reportedly be purchased, while Rafale, Eurofighter and F-18 aircraft were first offered for Malaysia. Faced with budget problems in the program for new procurement, Malaysia changed its platform to a light attack aircraft.

There had previously been an embargo from the UK for exports of the FA-50, developed under the main contractor of Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).

In 2019 KAI signed a $200 million deal with Argentina, but England, which produces several components of the FA-50, did not approve the sale of the components to Argentina.

The Lockheed Martin-made X band AN/APG-67 radar on the aircraft can detect an air target with a cross-sectional area of 5 square meters from a range of 148 kilometres.

The aircraft’s weapons include AIM-9 air-to-air missiles, AGM-65 air-to-surface missiles, rocket pods and bombs.

Developed in partnership with China and Pakistan, the JF-17 uses AIM-9, PL-5, PL-9, PL-12 air-to-air, MAR-1, Exocet AM-39, Hatf 8 ALCM air-to-surface missiles, rocket pods and bombs.

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