AFP, KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will decide soon whether to buy Boeing fighter jets from the United States as it continues a military modernisation program, Deputy Prime Minister Naib Razak said Tuesday
The Boeing deal “is still under consideration,” Najib, who is also defence minister, told a press conference.
“Our shopping list is quite extensive, but we have to be realistic in terms of our affordability,” he said.
The government was also looking at buying Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, communication equipment, surface vessels, additional firepower and various types of vehicles, Najib said.
Malaysia said two years ago it intended to buy F/A-18F fighter jets from US aircraft maker Boeing Co. as part of its armed forces modernisation program which was revived after being derailed by the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis.
The Pentagon at the time reportedly notified the US Congress of a possible sale to Malaysia of 18 of the fighters as part of a deal that could be worth nearly 1.5 billion dollars but Malaysia has said negotiations were ongoing.
If purchased, the F/A-18F, used as a carrier-borne fighter by the US Navy, will join the Russian-made MiG-29N, US-made FA-18/D and the British-made Hawks in Malaysia's fighter aircraft fleet.
Malaysia has in the past two years embarked on a major arms procurement spree, ordering 18 Russian Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia for 900 million dollars, French submarines for 972 million dollars, British and Russian missile systems for 364 million dollars and Polish attack tanks worth 368 million dollars.