M'sia To Buy Eight Alenia Aermacchi Fighter
The Defence Ministry Wednesday signed an agreement with Alenia Aermacchi
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 (Bernama) -- The Defence Ministry Wednesday signed an agreement with Alenia Aermacchi S.p.A of Italy to procure eight Fighter Lead-In Trainer (FLIT) Alenia Aermacchi MB-339CM aircraft.
The agreement was signed by Defence Ministry Secretary General Datuk Ahmad Latffi Hashim on behalf of the Malaysian government and Alenia Aermacchi by its Senior Vice President (Commercial), Franco Ferracini. It was witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The contract worth 88.713 million Euros (RM416.951 million) is for the the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) to coach pilots to manoeuvre new generation jet fighters such as F/A-18D and Sukhoi 30-MKM.
Najib, who is also Defence Minister, said Malaysia had chosen the trainer fighters as RMAF had already owned several Aermacchi training fighters, but were older models.
"So as a logical development, we are acquiring the same category of jet fighters with the latest capability and technology," he told reporters after the signing ceremony at the ministry here Wednesday.
"In terms of gadgets, sophisticated avionics, it means the technology is advanced," he said, adding that the procurement would increase RMAF's FLIT to 10 Aermacchi MB-339A.
Najib said without the FLIT aircraft, RMAF would face difficulty in training more pilots and enhance their quality to handle more sophisticated jet fighters.
The Alenia Aermacchi new fighter trainers would be delivered in stages from Feb to July 2009.
"But before they (RMAF pilots) fly the sophisticated fighter trainers, they have to train with the older MB-339 version because it would mean releasing Hawk jet fighters for operational duties," he said, adding that RMAF could train 24 pilots on the FLIT platform yearly.
Deputy Chief of Air Force Lt Gen Datuk Bashir Abu Bakar said the new trainer fighters would be stationed together with the FLIT MBB-339A at the Kuantan RMAF base.