Mat Sabu: No plans to buying new fighter jets yet

Azril Annuar
Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu is pictured at the Parliament lobby November 21,2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said the government did not plan to purchase new fighter jets and will continue with its existing fleet for the duration of the 12th and 13th Malaysia Plans.

Mohamad or Mat Sabu told Dewan Rakyat during Question Time that his ministry only plans on maintaining the US-made F/A-18D Hornet and Russian-made Su-30MKM.

“The current requirement is to procure Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (MALE UAV) as well as light fighting capabilities and training our pilots through the procurement of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) to improve the Royal Malaysian Air Force's capabilities and its combat readiness.

“Even though we are not looking at purchasing new fighter jets, the Defence Ministry is still studying the offer from the Russian government,” said Mohamad Sabu in his reply to Pasir Mas (PAS) MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari.

The Opposition lawmaker asked if the government was open to Moscow's offer to take back 28 problematic Su-30MKM and MiG-29 fighter jets if Malaysia bought replacements.

Currently, local firm ATAC maintains and operates the fleet at cost of RM200 million a year.

The minister also told the Lower House it would be cheaper to use unmanned drones than fighter jets for border patrol and reconnaissance flights.

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