Govt To Buy 18 Korean Fighter Jets For Rm4 08b Deputy Minister
The government has agreed to purchase 18 FA-50 light attack aircraft worth RM4.08 billion from South Korea after taking into account various factors.
This includes the country’s needs involving strategy, policy and the Defence White Paper, said Deputy Defence Minister Adly Zahari.
The government considered the expertise needed in operating the aircraft and the country’s economy as well for the purchase, to ensure that the national defence industry can fully utilise the assets, he added.
“When we make 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 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 had secured a US$920 million (RM4.08 billion) contract to sell 18 fighter jets to Malaysia, with the delivery set to begin in 2026.
Deputy Defence Minister Adly ZahariKAI signed the deal with the Defence Ministry, beating India’s Tejas, Pakistan’s JF-17, Russia’s MIG-35 and Turkey’s Hurizet, Yonhap news agency reported.
Plans to purchase other assets
Adly said the ministry’s main priority with its Budget 2023 allocation would be to improve its assets.
He said several new assets would be purchased with the allocation, including littoral combat ships (LCS) and littoral mission ships (LMS).
"The Budget 2023 allocation this time increased by 1.7 percent to RM17.7 billion compared to RM17.4 billion in the previous Budget 2023 (table prior to the 15th general election)," he said.
The allocation of over RM500 million for the renovation and maintenance of residential quarters for military personnel was also a timely morale boost for them, he added.
Apart from that, Adly said the project to increase domestic maize production by military veterans in collaboration with the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) would give veterans the opportunity to contribute to the country in addition to making them productive even after retirement.
"Their welfare will also be guaranteed because there will be job opportunities and good income, in addition to providing exposure to the use of new technology as well as helping improve the country's food security," he added.
In another development, Adly said the Defence Ministry will ensure a commando’s family will be taken care of following his death by drowning while on combat diving training.
On Feb 7, Edrin Baintim who was 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, Malacca.
The 25-year-old was 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 the public at about 10.15am on Feb 19.
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