Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) / Lockheed Martin FA-50 light attack fighter jet

A report surfaced in the Korean media that KAI's FA-50, the nation's first domestically developed light attack aircraft, is competing against the Chinese jointly manufactured JF-17 fighter for the Malaysian Air Force's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program, under which Kuala Lumpur seeks to purchase 18 jets to replace its aging MiG-29 fleet.

"Despite interest from a diverse group of manufacturers, the FA-50 and JF-17 are the finalists," the Korean new agency said quoting an unnamed source.

This was a mischievous and fake report only to garner a better marketing prospect for the Korean jet in the Malaysian jet purchase deal which, is pitched against a far inferior product in the competition namely the Chinese JF-17 fighter.

However, the Indian jet has emerged as a front runner due to its low cost of acquisition and marginal levels of maintenance. HAL, its builder has also achieved considerable level of economies of scale. Besides, only 35% of components for the light fighter is procured from overseas entities, and HAL has developed a robust ecosystem to manufacture critical components indigenously by local private industries. Another unique selling proposition which is in TEJAS's favour is its incident free operations by the National Flight Test Centre and the IAF.

Though, Malaysia has not officially denied this malicious report, it is obvious that the news is fake and lacks credibility. A point to note is that the report has since been removed (screenshot below) from the said website

Our Bureau