The Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM, Royal Malaysian Air Force) Fighter Lead‐In Trainer/Light Combat Aircraft (FLIT/LCA) programme is in its final selection phase. This programme, on which Scramble Magazine reported on 4 February 2021 is also known as Capability Development Plan 2055 (CAP55) where the air force is looking for a new Fighter Lead‐In Trainer/Light Combat Aircraft (FLIT/LCA) to be acquired within the the next three years.
The programme was initially also considering to acquire a heavy weight fighter aircraft like the Boeing F-18E/F Super Hornet (Malaysia already operates the F/A-18D Hornet), the Dassault Rafale or the Eurofighter Typhoon. In 2018, due to budget cuts, the scope of the programme was changed to the purchase of a lighter weight fighter/trainer aircraft.
The TUDM wants to purchase 36 dual purpose aircraft in a two phases acquirement plan: eighteen aircraft in phase 1 through the submission of the new projects 2021, and another eighteen in phase 2, under the thirteenth Malaysia Plan (RMK-13). The new LCA will provide support to the current F/A-18D Hornet and Sukhoi Su-30MKM fleet while the FLIT must replace the MB339.
The final selection is about three type of aicraft for the dual FLIT/LCA role. The South Korean KAI FA-50 Fighting Eagle, the Indian HAL Tejas LCA and the Pakistan/China PAC/Chengdu JF-17 Thunder. It is reported that the Leonardo M346 Master and the Yakolev YAK-130 Mitten have since been cut from the competition.