In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, the Minister of State Defence, Ajay Bhatt said that the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd had responded in October 2021 to a Request for Proposal (RFP) issued against the tender released by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), Malaysia for 18 numbers of Fighter Lead In Trainer –Light Combat Aircraft (FLIT–LCA) & HAL offered LCA Tejas twin-seater variant.
The Malaysian airforce has been on a quest to replace their ageing Mig-29 fighters and replace them with new modern light combat aircraft that are capable of providing training and have ample combat abilities.
In this competition, the Chinese J-17 Thunder, Korean T-50 Golden Eagle, Turkish Hurjet and Indian LCA Tejas took part.
The LCA has been the leading contender in the competition hosted by the Royal Malaysian Airforce as reported by several Malaysian news outlets.
Tejas shares engine commonality with the American-built F/A-18 Hornet as RMAF flies 8 of these warplanes. Both the jets use the General Electric-made GE404. Engine commonality will allow easier maintenance due to shared technicalities.
Similarly, Tejas also has weapon commonality with the Russian-made Su30 MKM fighters as both fighters can fire missiles like R-73 Archer.
In 2021 the Indian Airforce placed an order for 83 units of the Tejas MK1A to HAL, a contract worth $6 Billion t. This was to replace the existing and ageing Mig-21 fighters.
“Other countries which have evinced interest in the LCA aircraft are: Argentina, Australia, Egypt, USA, Indonesia, and the Philippines,” Junior defence minister, Ajay Bhatt, told members of parliament in a written reply.