Dassault Optimistic RMAF MIG-29N Replacement Programme Will Take Off After Election
Dassault Aviation, the builder of the state-of-the-art Rafale combat jet, is optimistic the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) would open tenders for the MiG-29N replacement programme after the country 13th general election.
Dassault Aviation and Rafale International Chief Executive Officer Eric Trappier said the RMAF was in the final stage of completing its replacement programme.
The air force had planned to phase out at least 10 of its MiG-29N fighter jets by January and replace the remaining six by year-end.
Malaysia was looking to replace its ageing Russian Mig-29s with the Eurofighter, Boeing's F-18 and Saab's Gripen also in the running.
The multi-role Rafale, which entered service in the French military in 2001, can carry out air-ground or air-sea attacks, reconnaissance, aerial interception or nuclear strike missions.
"The government will continue with the programme, we know they are busy preparing for the elections which will be held soon.
"We are ready for the next phase in bidding for the contract as the RMAF has almost completed the evaluation of the Rafale jet fighters.
"So, after the election, I think the government would concentrate on the offer and tender process," he said during a breakfast session with reporters here today.
Commenting on the bid for the replacement programme he said: "Currently everyone is looking closely at our deal with India.
"We believe Malaysia is watching the deal closely before it makes a move," he said, adding that Rafale was expected to complete the deal with India to sell 126 aircraft, costing US$10 billion, by year-end.
Two Rafales are currently providing demonstration flights at the five-day Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition which ends on March 30.
Source: LANGKAWI, (Bernama) News - 27 March 2013
Photo: The Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) MiG-29N Fighter Aircraft (Photo by TUDM)