Malaysia picks South Korea’s FA-50 light combat jet over India’s LCA Tejas

Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI) has secured an aircraft contract worth US$920 million for 18 FA-50 Light Combat Jet from Malaysia, beating India’s HAL Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.

The deliveries are set to begin in 2026.

Besides, the FA-50 & HAL LCA Tejas, the other competitors in the fray comprised of Chengdu-Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17, RAC MiG-29, and the Turkish Aerospace Hurjet.

Till date, KAI has sold 120 T-50 variants; with the major customers being Indonesia (22), Iraq with (24), the Philippines (12), and Poland (48).

The T-50 and FA-50 are also in service with the Republic of Korea Air Force.

About FA-50 Light combat jet 

The FA-50 Fighting Eagle is a supersonic light attack aircraft developed by KAI and Lockheed Martin.

It is a multirole fighter variant of the ‘T-50’ line of aircraft, which comprises supersonic trainers, light combat aircraft, and multirole fighters.

The aircraft has a 4.5-ton weapons payload capacity and could be equipped with armament including the AIM-9 Sidewinder, AGM-65 Maverick, GBU-38/B, CBU-105 Sensor Fused Weapon, Mk-82 LDGP bombs, and Cluster Bomb Units.

The fighter plane also has an internal 20mm Gatling gun with three barrels and an LAU-3/A 19-tube 2.75′′ rocket launcher that can shoot folding-fin aerial rockets (FFAR).

Further, an afterburner-equipped GE F404 turbofan engine with a 17,700 lbf output powers the FA-50.

General characteristics

Crew: 2

Max. Speed: M 1.5

Length: 13.144 m (43 ft 1 in)

Wingspan: 9.45 m (31 ft 0 in) with wingtip missiles

Height: 4.94 m (16 ft 2 in)

Wing area: 23.69 m2 (255.0 sq ft)

Empty weight: 6,470 kg (14,264 lb)

Max takeoff weight: 12,200 kg (26,929 lb)

Fuel capacity: 2,655 litres (701 US gal) internal

Powerplant: 1 × General Electric F404 afterburning turbofan engine (built under license by Samsung Techwin), 53.07 kN (11,930 lbf) thrust dry, 78.7 kN (17,700 lbf) with afterburner

Power Plant: 17,700 lbs

Special Equipment: 20mm Three-Barreled Gun, AIM-9, JDAM