In a discussion over the ongoing Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), the Malaysian Prime Minister spoke to the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin over the country’s possible thought of purchasing Russian made MiG Aircrafts.
However, the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did express Malaysia’s apprehension of putting in so much money into their defence capabilities, while also expressing his concern over replacing old Russian Su and MiG fighter planes with newer models.
Substantiating his reasons, Mahathir Mohamad said that “spending money on expensive fighter planes is not very productive for us. We are not going to war with anyone.” His answer was in response to whether Malaysia was interested in replacing the old Russian planes it had with Su-35 or Su-57.
“These are very expensive toys,” the Malaysian prime minister added appreciation the technology of the latest Russian models.
He did not hesitate to add that ‘Malaysia has to keep the level of technology in its defence forces up to date.’ Some months ago, at a visit to Pakistan, the Malaysian Prime Minister had shown keenness to purchase the JF-17. However,
Kuala Lumpur did not hide the fact that it was also strapped for cash. The country was keen on the Pakistan offered model for the strong performer it is, at a relatively low unit price. Confirmed media reports say that Kuala Lampur has been considering the purchase possibility for at least one year now.
Currently, the thought has been taken over by a more advanced variant being offered by Pakistan again. Malaysia is being offered a more advanced Block III variant of the JF-17, which ‘features active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, better countermeasures, and a helmet-mounted display system.’
Malaysia would be keen to go ahead with the deal. However, the J-17’s makeup isn’t going to be easy to handle. The aircraft will come loaded with a Russian-design, Chinese-license-built RD-93 engine that will be difficult to service. However, Kuala Lumpur’s existing fleet of MiG-29 fighters use these engines, so the after maintenance should not be a problem. Even then, bootstrap budgets might delay the revamp they are looking for.