FRENCH DASSAULT RAFALE IS THE FRONTRUNNER TO REPLACE MALAYSIAN MiG-29 FIGHTERS

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The competition for the new Royal Malaysian Air Force fighter was narrowed to the Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon, with the first emerging as the frontrunner in the contest

As told by Reuters, French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll told reporters that Malaysia is now talking only to Dassault for its MiG-29 replacement program.

Malaysia in fact, which wants to buy up to 18 combat planes in a deal potentially worth more than $2 billion, would be now talking to only one supplier, France’s Dassault Aviation, about its Rafale jets, Le Foll said on Mar. 30, 2017.

“Negotiations have started. I believe there are now only negotiations with Dassault about the Rafale,” Le Foll told reporters in a briefing after a cabinet meeting.

He added that “There is now only a bilateral negotiation. There is no other operator.”

Noteworthy even if Malaysian government was not yet ready to make a decision, Prime Minister Najib Razak said that he had discussed the possible purchase of Rafale fighters with Francois Hollande during the French president’s visit this week.

According to Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein the competition for the new fighter was narrowed to the Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon, with the first emerging as the frontrunner in the contest.

As told by Reuters the country intends to replace the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s (RMAF) MiG-29 combat planes, nearly half of which are grounded.

The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions.

The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault.

Dassault struggled for years to secure its first foreign order for the Rafale until 2015, when the procurement of 24 aircraft by Egypt notched up several other orders for the multi-role combat jet.

In May 2015, France and Qatar concluded a 6.3 billion euro ($6.77 billion) deal for the sale of 24 Rafales and last September, India signed a deal to buy 36 Rafales for around $8.7 billion, the country’s first major acquisition of combat planes in two decades.

Photo credit: Capt. Jason Smith / U.S. Air Force