Analysis have recently highlighted how Malaysia’s decision to purchase 18 FA-50 Block 20 “Fighting Eagle” light combat aircraft represents a building block for the country’s goal of emerging as the region’s hub for Maintenance, Refurbishment and Overhaul (MRO) services for other users of the combat aircraft.
According to Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) chief executive officer, there are over 100 T-50/FA-50 combat aircraft currently being used by Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Malaysia is the latest entrant to Southeast Asia’s T-50/FA-50 club. KAI will start delivering the combat aircraft to Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) from October 2026.
The final assembly of the combat aircraft bought by Malaysia will be done in Malaysia as part of the Industrial Collaboration Programme (ICP). Out of a total 18 FA-50 Block 20 procured by Malaysia, four will completely made in South Korea, while the remaining 14 aircraft will be assembled in Malaysia with technical coordination with Korea.
Following the initial purchase of 18 FA-50 Block 20, Malaysia is expected order a further 18 units of the Fighting Eagles, as per the RMAF’s CAP 55 program, which sets for Malaysia to have 36 light combat aircraft. In February 2023 Malaysia signed a Letter of Acceptance with KAI to procure 18 FA-50 Block 20 light combat aircraft worth USD 920 million.
(Source: The Star)