KAI has signed a deal with the Malaysian defence ministry to export 18 FA-50 light attack aircraft, beating India’s Tejas, Pakistan’s JF-17, Russia’s MIG-35 and Turkey’s Hurizet, the company said in a statement.
The company said that the deliveries of aircraft to Malaysia will start in 2026.
According to KAI, Malaysia intends to buy another 18 aircraft of the same class as the FA-50. Therefore, the South Korean aerospace company expects to expand its contract with Malaysia to 36 jets in the future.
According to media reports, under the contract, Malaysia will receive the FA-50 Block 20 aircraft. The jets will have “aerial refuelling function and armed expansion, in line with customer demands”, KAI said in a statement.
The Janes website states that FA-50 Block 20 aircraft can integrate the Lockheed Martin Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP), 500 lb GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs, and the AGM-65 Maverick missile. The aircraft also has a Link 16 Block 2 upgrade.
FA-50 aircraft are also promoted by KAI on the European market. In September 2022, Poland’s Ministry of National Defence signed a contract with KAI for the supply of 12 FA-50 Block 10 aircraft, which will be delivered from the resources of the Republic of Korea Air Force. Poland also ordered 36 FA-50PL. Configuration of these aircraft will be similar to FA-50 Bock 20 and equipped with the AESA radar, which Poland will buy under a separate contract.
AESA radar for the future Polish FA-50PL has not yet been selected. One of the radars offered to Poland is PhantomStrike produced by Raytheon Intelligence & Space.