Malaysia to Examine FA-50 as Potential Light Combat Aircraft Option

Malaysia has sent a preliminary Request for Information (RFI) to South Korea’s Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) regarding its FA-50 Golden Eagle light attack aircraft.

The RFI for the FA-50 relates to the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s proposed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) procurement initiative. This procurement was outlined in the RMAF’s “Capability 55” (CAP55) future force structure program.

The CAP55 plan calls for the RMAF’s fast jet fleet to shrink to just two types in five squadrons by 2055: the multirole combat aircraft (MRCA) made up of two squadrons, and a Light Combat Aircraft/fighter lead-in trainer (LCA/FLIT) type involving three squadrons. The FA-50, which is an armed derivative of KAI’s T-50 advanced jet trainer, would ostensibly fill the latter requirement.

The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA/FLIT) platform involves a low-end, single-engine fighter/attack aircraft that will serve as a lead-in fighter trainer, making the aircraft a two-for-one type providing both capability and value for the RMAF. The economic value of such a platform is a crucial element for the service, which has seen its MRCA program – involving a swing fighter capable of both air-to-air combat and anti-ship capability – repeatedly pushed to the right due to financial pressures.

If it were to procure the FA-50, the RMAF would join regional neighbor the Philippines in operating the type as a low-end combat aircraft.


About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is Forecast International’s International Military Markets Group Leader. Specializing in history and political science with a background in finance and economics, Dan provides insight into the military markets of both the Europe and the Asia, Australia and Pacific Rim regions. Dan's work has been cited in Aerospace and Defense News, Aerotech News and Review, Defense Talk, Global Defense Review, and Small Wars Journal, among others, and by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. In addition, Dan has been quoted in Arabian Business, the Financial Times, Flight International, The National, Bloomberg and National Defense Magazine. He has also contributed commentary to Defense News and appeared as a guest on the online radio show Midrats and on The Media Line. As editor of International Military Markets, Europe and International Military Markets, Asia, Australia & Pacific Rim, Dan brings a wealth of expertise on the political and economic forces shaping these markets.

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