Malaysia is planning to acquire Medium Altitude, Long Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MALE UAS) for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) in 2025, said Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz on Tuesday (Aug. 2).
The system is expected to be fully operational in 2026 and will be based in East Malaysia where it will be used for the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions around the South China Sea.
“This MALE UAS asset will be stationed at the Labuan Air Base to increase the air domain dominance of the RMAF, especially in carrying out surveillance in the South China Sea and the East Coast of Sabah,” he said.
He also noted that the Malaysian Ministry of Defence has completed all evaluation processes regarding the MALE UAS candidates and that the final decision will be announced this month.
Malaysian Ministry of Defence announced an international tender to acquire MALE UAS between August to November 2020. Of all the bids received, a number of candidates have been considered including General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) MQ-9 Reaper from the United States, China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIC) Wing Loong, and China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) CH-4, Turkiye’s Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) Anka, and few others.
According to some sources, there are strong indications that the TAI Anka will be announced as the winning tender. Three UAS will be acquired in the first phase under the 12th Malaysia Plan which runs from 2021 to 2025 and will be followed by three more in the 13th Malaysia Plan between 2026 to 2030.
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