KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — Malaysia is expected to acquire Medium-altitude Long-endurance Unmanned Aircraft System (MALE UAS) in 2025 with operation commencing in early 2026, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz said the Defence Ministry has completed all tender evaluation processes to acquire MALE UAS for use by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) to strengthen Malaysia’s dominance of air domain.

He said the ministry’s procurement board had certified the selected tenderers and submitted them to the Ministry of Finance on July 7 and the final decision would be known this month.

For the maintenance ecosystem, it will be implemented after the expiry of the warranty period from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) based on the maintenance concept that will be determined by RMAF.

“The procurement of weaponry including Electronic Warfare (EW) for these assets will be carried out in the second and third procurement phases in the 13th Malaysia Plan (13MP) and 16MP,” he said in response to a question by Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman (PAS-Sik) regarding the status of the tender, procurement, maintenance for MALE UAS aircraft for RMAF use during the question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today.

In reply to a supplementary question from Awang Husaini Sahari (PH-Putatan) regarding the objective of acquiring the MALE UAS, Ikmal Hisham explained that the asset will carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions to reduce the gap in capability in channeling information near real time (NRT) to the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF).

He said the development of the aircraft’s capability is based on the RMAF’s Capability Development Plan 2055 (CAP55) and is in line with the Malaysian Armed Forces’ 4-Dimensional Development Plan (4DMAF) to support the Defence White Paper.

“This MALE UAS asset will be stationed at the Labuan Air Base to increase the air domain dominance of the RMAF, especially in carrying out surveillance in the South China Sea and the East Coast of Sabah,” he said. — Bernama