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Malaysia shortlists Tejas under acquisition program; US, Australia among 6 countries of interest

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Malaysia shortlists Tejas under acquisition program; US, Australia among 6 countries of interest

The government on Friday said the US, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines are among six countries that have shown interest in India’s Tejas aircraft, while Malaysia has already shortlisted the jet as part of its acquisition programme. According to Minister of State for Defense Ajay Bhatt, the two other countries that have shown interest in the aircraft are Argentina and Egypt.

Tejas, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, is a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft capable of operating in high-threat air environments. In February last year, the Defense Ministry inked a Rs 48,000-crore deal with HAL for the purchase of 83 Tejas light combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Replying to a question in Lok Sabha on Tejas, Bhatt said HAL responded to a request for information (RFI) or preliminary tender received from the Royal Malaysian Air Force in February 2019. Following this, HAL responded in October 2021 to a Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by Malaysia for 18 aircraft, offering to add a twin-seater version of the Tejas.

Malaysia is buying aircraft to replace its fleet of old Russian MiG-29 fighters. It was not immediately clear how many planes Malaysia is looking to buy. “Other countries that have shown interest in LCA aircraft are Argentina, Australia, Egypt, the US, Indonesia and the Philippines,” he said.

Last month, the then chairman and managing director of HAL R Madhavan had said that Tejas aircraft had emerged as the top choice for Malaysia. Asked whether the government proposes to build a stealth fighter jet, Bhatt said “yes” and said the “Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator” has been successfully test-fired by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

“Moreover, the desired information is sensitive in nature and its disclosure is not in the interest of national security,” he said.

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, Malaysia shortlists Tejas under acquisition program; US, Australia among 6 countries of interest

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