Feb 17, 2014

Cash-Strapped Malaysia Looks To Lease Fighters

Malaysia’s proposed purchase of fighter jets has switched from a procurement competition to a leasing competition due to affordability issues.
The Malaysian government put its multirole combat aircraft program in the freezer last year for fiscal and political reasons. Now Boeing, BAE Systems and Saab have, or are about to, submit leasing proposals in the hope of making a deal palatable.
It’s possible Dassault Aviation and Sukhoi, which were also on the original procurement shortlist, are in a similar position.
Until recently, the Royal Malaysian Air Force had been looking for a straight purchase of a new jet to replace 18 aging MiG-29 fighters.
But Malaysian budgets are under pressure to be cut, making it politically difficult to approve a multibillion-dollar deal for a fighter while the administration is cutting subsidies on items such as food and fuel while hiking taxes.
The new jets, if they arrive, will complement the Boeing F/A-18D and Sukhoi Su-30 fleets in service with the Royal Malaysian Air Force.
Saab has put an offer on the table for the Gripen. Boeing is about to with the F/A-18 and BAE with the Eurofighter Typhoon won’t be far behind. French and Russia are probably doing the same.

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