Malaysia eyeing Turkish defense equipment to boost air capabilities
According to a recent report by Defence Post, the Malaysian government is considering acquiring defense equipment from Turkey as part of an initiative to improve its air defense systems. Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim expressed the country's interest in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and helicopters, highlighting these sectors as Turkey's areas of expertise.
However, Anwar noted that the Malaysian Armed Forces Council would make the final procurement decision. Following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in New York, Anwar said, "I will leave it to the armed forces to decide what is best. As I told the Joint Chief of Staff, my policy is that we don't want any interference in what we procure and acquire. He further mentioned his intention to instruct the Ministry of Defense to liaise with the Ministry of Finance and Turkish authorities to finalize the agreement. In addition, Anwar revealed that Erdogan will visit Kuala Lumpur this coming December.
This announcement comes shortly after Malaysia sealed a deal with South Korea to purchase 18 FA-50 fighter jets. Korea Aerospace Industries won the $910 million contract over competitors such as India's Tejas light combat aircraft and China's JF-17. The acquisition is aimed at phasing out outdated equipment in the Malaysian armed forces and bolstering the nation's air defense arsenal. The FA-50's capabilities include combat, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.
Regarding defense spending, Malaysia is one of the more conservative countries in Southeast Asia.