Malaysia accepts that fighter jets don’t help against IS

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Unlike Thailand, which just paved the way to acquire new fighter jets from South Korea for its army, Malaysia has put on hold a $2-billion plan to replace its ageing fleet of combat aircraft, looking instead into upgrading its aerial surveillance capabilities to confront the growing threat of militancy inspired by the Islamic State group, a source with knowledge of the matter said, according to a Reuters report.

Originally, Malaysia wanted to buy up to 18 new jets from France or the UK to replace its Russian MiG-29 fighters, nearly half of which are grounded, but it shelved those plans in order to utilise the money for improving its aerial surveillance that is critical in the fight against Islamist and other militancy.

The decision comes as Islamist fighters continue to battle security forces in Marawi in the southern Philippines. Malaysia and Indonesia, which share the nearby island of Borneo, are working with the Philippines to conduct air and maritime patrols along their shared borders in the Sulu Sea.

The defense ministry source said Malaysia was looking at acquiring four more surveillance planes that were larger and had a longer range than its existing assets, such as aircraft built by Lockheed Martin.

However, Reuters was told that Malaysia’s jet fighter talks were only “temporarily suspended” and could resume in the future, but certainly not ahead of the 2018 general elections since the priority was to secure new surveillance planes by 2020.

The decision to suspend the jet fighter acquisition programme comes as a blow to Dassault’s Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon, the two main competitors for the deal.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Unlike Thailand, which just paved the way to acquire new fighter jets from South Korea for its army, Malaysia has put on hold a $2-billion plan to replace its ageing fleet of combat aircraft, looking instead into upgrading its aerial surveillance capabilities to confront the growing threat of militancy inspired by the Islamic State group, a source with knowledge of the matter said, according to a Reuters report.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Unlike Thailand, which just paved the way to acquire new fighter jets from South Korea for its army, Malaysia has put on hold a $2-billion plan to replace its ageing fleet of combat aircraft, looking instead into upgrading its aerial surveillance capabilities to confront the growing threat of militancy inspired by the Islamic State group, a source with knowledge of the matter said, according to a Reuters report.

Originally, Malaysia wanted to buy up to 18 new jets from France or the UK to replace its Russian MiG-29 fighters, nearly half of which are grounded, but it shelved those plans in order to utilise the money for improving its aerial surveillance that is critical in the fight against Islamist and other militancy.

The decision comes as Islamist fighters continue to battle security forces in Marawi in the southern Philippines. Malaysia and Indonesia, which share the nearby island of Borneo, are working with the Philippines to conduct air and maritime patrols along their shared borders in the Sulu Sea.

The defense ministry source said Malaysia was looking at acquiring four more surveillance planes that were larger and had a longer range than its existing assets, such as aircraft built by Lockheed Martin.

However, Reuters was told that Malaysia’s jet fighter talks were only “temporarily suspended” and could resume in the future, but certainly not ahead of the 2018 general elections since the priority was to secure new surveillance planes by 2020.

The decision to suspend the jet fighter acquisition programme comes as a blow to Dassault’s Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon, the two main competitors for the deal.

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