The Indian Government informed the country’s Parliament that Malaysia has shortlisted the homegrown LCA Tejas fighter. The government also added that the United States, Australia and Indonesia have also expressed interest in the aircraft.
In a written reply the government said, “Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a defence PSU under the Ministry of Defence, responded to a request for information received from Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) in February 2019 for LCA class aircraft.”
According to minister of state for defence Ajay Bhatt, Argentina and Egypt, too have evinced an interest in the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) manufactured aircraft.
Malaysia wants the Tejas to replace its ageing fleet of Russian-made MiG-29 fighter planes. The number of fighters that Malaysia is looking at buy is not immediately clear. “Other countries which have evinced interest in LCA aircraft are Argentina, Australia, Egypt, USA, Indonesia, and the Philippines,” Bhatt said.
To a separate question on whether the government intends to develop a stealth fighter jet, Bhatt said “yes” and added the “autonomous flying wing technology demonstrator” has been successfully tested by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
“Further, the desired information is sensitive in nature and its disclosure is not in the interest of national security,” he added.
Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) designed the Tejas for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. The aircraft is touted as a single-engine 4.5 gen multirole fighter capable of operating in high-threat air environment.
Last month, then Chairman and Managing Director of HAL, R. Madhavan, clarified the Tejas aircraft is an option for Malaysia.