Malaysia to acquire two Leonardo AMPs and a trio of TAI drones | New
Malaysia will enhance its surveillance capabilities with the acquisition of two Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) from Leonardo, as well as three Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) from Turkish Aerospace (TAI).
Following an open tender, Kuala Lumpur has decided to accept an offer from Leonardo for two MPAs, according to a statement from Defense Minister Hishamuddin Hussein.
While Hussein does not specify the aircraft type, Leonardo has previously promoted his ATR 72MP in Malaysia. This included showing the aircraft at the country’s LIMA (Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition) in March 2017, where it made its public debut.
Kuala Lumpur has also accepted an offer from TAI for three Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) drones. Hishamuddin does not specify the type of UAV, but TAI has promoted its Anka system for Malaysia’s long-standing UAV requirement. The other competitors were the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9B and the AVIC Wing Loong II.
In early August, state news agency Bernama quoted Deputy Defense Minister Abdul Aziz as saying that Malaysia will have a MALE drone capability in 2026.
In November 2021, TAI opened an engineering and design office in Malaysia, its first such facility in Southeast Asia. TAI has also offered the possibility of industrial cooperation with Malaysia’s aerospace sector.
Hussein adds that the Royal Malaysian Air Force aims to invest MYR 2.4 billion ($514 million) in 2023 in sustaining its Boeing F/A-18D Hornet fighters.
This work will be done in cooperation with the United States, and Hussein notes that he recently discussed the plane during a call with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Cirium fleet data indicates that the Royal Malaysian Air Force operates eight F/A-18Ds with an average age of 25.2 years.
Overall, Malaysia intends to spend MYR 17.4 billion on defense in 2023, up 7.8% from 2022.
Separately, Indonesian Aerospace (also known as PTDI) has delivered the second of three Airbus Defense & Space CN235 MPAs to Malaysia, as part of a program to convert three tactical transports to the MPA role.
The work was conducted under the auspices of the US government’s Maritime Surveillance Initiative, which aims to enhance the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities of US partners in Southeast Asia.
The US Navy announced the delivery of the first modified CN235 in August.
The aircraft was fitted with an ISR suite which includes a maritime surveillance radar, electro-optical/infrared turret, line-of-sight datalink and a roll-on/roll-on mission system operator station. off. The program also includes mobile and fixed ground stations.