Indian aerospace company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) signed an MoU on 18 August for establishing an office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Indian Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, High Commissioner B.N. Reddy and Additional Secretary (Defence Production) Sanjay Jaju were present during the occasion along with officials of Forte Drus which represents HAL in Malaysia. It will take up market promotion of HAL’s range of products and services in the entire South East Asian region. The Indian officials met multiple Malaysian officials during the visit and held discussions.
A press release from HAL stated that the office in Malaysia will help tap new business opportunities for Fighter Lead-in Trainer (FLIT) LCA and other requirements of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF). HAL had submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) Malaysia in October 2021 for supply of 18 FLIT LCAs against a global tender issued by RMAF. The two seat Tejas LIFT variant offered “a fair chance of selection in the bid as it meets all the parameters sought by RMAF” according to HAL. HAL expects the final winner of the tender to be declared soon by Malaysian authorities.
HAL is also offering support to RMAF for its Su-30MKM fleet “which is facing low serviceability issues due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.” HAL is one of the largest producers of the Su-30. HAL is also offering an upgrade of RMAF’s Hawk fleet, which is to be replaced by the FLIT LCA. This is relevant as it is not clear when RMAF will announce the FLIT LCA winner. The possibility of a reduced order exists as well. In total RMAF operates 18 Su-30MKM and 16 Hawk aircraft.
The HAL press release stated that other HAL platforms such as HTT-40, Do-228, ALH Dhruv, Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) have the potential to be inducted by RMAF in the future. HAL had exhibited a model of the LCH during DSA 2022 in March. HAL had then stated to Overt Defense that it could be offered for future Malaysian requirements.
For the Tejas aircraft offered to RMAF, the Israeli EL/M-2052 radar will be replaced by India’s Uttam radar. Other Israeli components also have alternatives according to HAL. HAL is also open to integrating any munitions required by the client. HAL is also looking for contracts from the Philippines where it had signed an MoU with the Philippines Aerospace Development Corporation in April to set up a MRO facility.
Albert L contributed to this report.