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Malaysia begins evaluating proposals to replace fleet of Hawk Mk 108/208s

A file image depicting a Royal Malaysian Air Force Hawk 208 in the foreground with a Hawk 108 in the background. (BAE Systems)

The Malaysian government has begun evaluating proposals to replace the country's ageing fleet of Hawk Mk108/208 light-attack and lead-in trainer aircraft.

The matter was disclosed by Malaysian Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein on 25 November in his reply to parliamentary questions on a fatal accident involving a Hawk Mk 108 aircraft.

The accident, which occurred on 17 November at the Royal Malaysian Air Force's (RMAF's) Butterworth Air Base in Penang, killed one crew member and injured another. It is the latest in a series of fatal crashes involving the aircraft type in Malaysia since 1998.

In his reply to a question from Ahmad Nazlan Indris, Malaysian member of parliament, Hishammuddin said that the government had recently invited international contractors to submit their respective proposals to replace the Hawk Mk 108/208s under the Light Combat Aircraft/Fighter Lead-In-Trainer (LCA/FLIT) programme.

The programme intends to acquire 36 LCA/FLIT airframes for the RMAF in two phases. Eighteen airframes are being procured in the 2021 process, with the remaining aircraft to be acquired from 2025 onwards.

This submission phase for the LCA/FLIT programme was closed on 6 October 2021, and defence ministry officials are now in the process of evaluating the proposals from the various contractors, said Hishammuddin. He added that the procurement process is in line with the RMAF's transformation plan known as CAP55.

Hishammuddin has stopped short of disclosing the aircraft types that are being evaluated in the process. However, the country had previously expressed interest in Korea Aerospace Industries FA-50 Golden Eagle, Italy's M-346FA Master, and Boeing's T-7A Red Hawk for this requirement.

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