HAL's Naval Version of Tejas light fighter jets

India's light combat aircraft TEJAS has emerged as the top choice for Malaysia as it looks at replacing its ageing fleet of fighter jets. Malaysia has narrowed down on TEJAS notwithstanding the stiff competition from China's JF-17 jet, South Korea's FA-50 and Russia's MiG-35 as well as Yak-130, Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, R Madhavan, told PTI in an interview.

TEJAS, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), is a single-engine and highly agile multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft capable of operating in high-threat air environments

In February last year, the Defence Ministry sealed a Rs 48,000-crore deal with the HAL for the procurement of 83 TEJAS fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force

Edge Over Chinese JF-17

Malaysia is procuring the aircraft to replace its ageing fleet of Russian MiG-29 fighter planes

The number of aircraft that Malaysia is looking at procuring is not immediately clear. The Chinese JF-17 was cheaper but could not match the technical parameters of the TEJAS MK-IA variant and the offer of maintenance of the Su-30 fleet as proposed by India, it is learnt.

India's Offer

As part of the package, India has offered to set up an MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) facility in Malaysia for its Russian-origin Su-30 fighter fleet as it is facing difficulties in procuring spares for the aircraft from Russia in view of western sanctions against Moscow.

“I am very confident about it unless some political shift takes place,” Madhavan said when asked whether the deal would be closed soon.

The top executive of the state-run aerospace behemoth said if the deal is sealed, it will give a “very good signal” to other prospective buyers of the aircraft and boost its overall export potential.

“It (the negotiation) is almost in the final stages. We are the only country which is offering them the support for their Su-30 aircraft as other than Russia, we are the only one who can support them to the extent that they require for the Sukhoi fleet,” Madhavan said.