Malaysia buys FA-50 light fighter jets from KAI

By Defence Industry Europe

Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., South Korea's only military aircraft manufacturer, has secured a significant contract to supply Malaysia with eighteen FA-50 light fighters, marking a milestone in their expanding global presence in the aerospace industry. The deal, recently finalized at the 2023 International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA), also holds the potential for future growth and cooperation.

The FA-50, a versatile multi-role aircraft based on the T-50 Golden Eagle advanced trainer, will serve as a cornerstone of Malaysia’s defence capabilities. Detailed discussions spanning three months led to the agreement on aircraft delivery and after-sales support, following the Malaysian Ministry of Defence’s acceptance of the FA-50 export through a letter of acceptance (LOA).

Dignitaries attending the ceremony included South Korean Defence Minister Lee Jong-Sup, KAI’s CEO Kang Goo-young, and Malaysian Defence Minister Mohamad Hasan. They expressed their commitment to fostering closer collaboration in defence and security affairs, signifying the importance of the deal.

Minister Lee highlighted the contract’s potential to strengthen defence ties between South Korea and Malaysia while opening doors for further agreements with other nations. He emphasized that the South Korean government considers defence export support a high-priority policy, aiming to improve delivery schedules, streamline regulations, provide financial backing, and deliver ongoing military assistance.

In a promising development, Malaysia has expressed its intention to procure an additional eighteen FA-50 units, potentially doubling the current contract to a total of 36 units. If this follow-up acquisition materializes, it would contribute significantly to KAI’s overall export numbers, raising the possibility of reaching approximately 240 units globally when considering their domestically produced KT-1 and T-50 series aircraft.

The contract between KAI and Malaysia not only signifies a major achievement for South Korea’s aerospace industry but also highlights the growing cooperation and trust between the two countries in the defence sector.



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