Currently, the Royal Malaysian Air Force is seeking candidates for its LCA programme, and India’s Tejas and Turkey’s Hurjet are emerging as the final two candidates for this Malaysian programme.
India first introduced the LCA Tejas to potential foreign customers at the Bahrain Air Show in 2016. Since then, HAL has aggressively marketed the jet throughout Southeast Asia, West Asia and North Africa. Meanwhile, the Turkish Aerospace Industries now offering joint production on its Hurjet trainer and several other front-line military planes.
The Hürjet advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft, as well as the Anka medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, are among the platforms TAI is now placing for the Malaysian Armed Forces. It is also proposing Malaysia a partner status on its project to produce its next-generation fighter jet, Turkish Fighter Experimental, the TF-X, the report said.
Tejas is currently operating with the Indian Air Force and is in the last phases of development. Hürjet, on the other hand, is still in the pipeline and won’t be ready for another year. The Tejas currently has three production models – Tejas Mark 1, Mark 1A and trainer variant. On the other hand, Turkey’s Hürjet is expected to have its first flight by the end of 2022.
The Tejas is a single-engine multirole combat aircraft which has a tailless, compound delta wing design with “relaxed static stability” for enhanced manoeuvrability and agility. The Tejas’ flexibility permits it to carry out Interception, air-to-surface and anti-shipping roles in a single mission.
Tejas has eight hardpoints – one beneath the port-side air-intake, one under the fuselage and three hardpoints under each wing, of these, three are wet hardpoints which can carry drop tanks. The Tejas weapon suite consists of I-Derby ER and Astra beyond visual range air-to-air missiles and R-73, Python-5 and ASRAAM close combat missiles. The Tejas has an internal 23 mm Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23 twin-barreled autocannon under the starboard side air-intake. The BrahMos-NG supersonic cruise missile is being developed for the Tejas.
The Hürjet is a single-engine, tandem seat, supersonic advanced trainer and light combat aircraft, under development by Turkish Aerospace Industries. As of January 2020 the aircraft did not have an engine selected, although the Eurojet EJ200 and the General Electric F404-GE-102 were under consideration to the power the design. Capabilities are planned to include air-to-air refuelling, fly-by-wire with parameter limiting, built in auxiliary power unit, night vision goggle-compatible cockpit, head-up display and an integrated helmet display system.
Turkey has invited Malaysia to join the Hürjet project, in the role of producing some parts for the aircraft. While Malaysia has some experience developing composite materials, it has never designed and built any aircraft. Malaysian aspirations for developing its indigenous aerospace sector could be met by this collaborative aircraft manufacturing offer. India’s HAL, on the other hand, could establish logistics centers in Malaysia.