India has emerged as the top contender for a Malaysian requirement of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) with a package deal that would include maintenance and spares for the nation’s Russian-origin Su 30 fighter jets, the Economic Times reported on June 23.
The Malaysian air force is looking to buy 18 new light fighter jets.
India is offering an appealing package for LCA Tejas for this deal. It has committed that it can keep Malaysia’s fleet of 18 Su 30 MKM jets flightworthy, given the vast spares reserve and technical expertise available with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the report noted.
The Tejas is an indigenously developed, single-engine, fourth-generation, high-agility, multirole, supersonic light combat aircraft.
One thing where India has the upper hand in its bid is that the other contenders - primarily South Korea and China - do not have backend contracts with Russian manufacturers to work on the Sukhoi fighters, it said.
India has priced LCA Tejas at around $42 million per unit for the package.
It is to be noted that the Indian government has set an annual export target of $5 billion, or Rs 36,500 crore by 2025.The value of defence exports by India has grown approximately by six times since 2014, with the ongoing financial year registering Rs 11,607 crore till 21 March, according to Union Minister of State in Ministry of Defence Ajay Bhatt.