Wednesday, May 29, 2024

HAL Targets Southeast Asia Market, Makes Strides In Malaysia

By Staff Correspondent

India’s state-backed aerospace manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), has bolstered its presence in Malaysia with the launch of a second office, positioning itself to take advantage of the prospective Southeast Asian market for its assortment of utility and attack helicopters and fighter jets.

The inauguration of this Regional Marketing Office in Kuala Lumpur was carried out by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on his three-day diplomatic trip to Malaysia. This expansion effort is part of a broader strategy to cultivate stronger defence-industrial ties between the two nations.

This fresh marketing outpost will reinforce HAL’s ties with Malaysia and serve as a strategic hub for its outreach to the larger Southeast Asian market, said the Defence Ministry. It also aims to offer visibility for other Indian defence public sector undertakings (PSU) in the region.

Reports suggest that a further motive behind this move is the potential to maintain and service the Su-30 fleet of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), a key regional client. HAL, being one of the largest manufacturers of Su-30s, is also looking to provide spare parts to the RMAF, particularly at a time when their availability has been compromised due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

HAL’s overseas marketing expansion in Malaysia started in August 2022. At the time, the company was attempting to seal a deal for Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, which was eventually secured by a South Korean competitor.

During his visit, the Defence Minister also met with his Malaysian equivalent, Dato’ Seri Mohamad Hasan. The leaders delved into possibilities for further enhancing their countries’ defence relationship, focusing especially on strengthening industrial collaboration.

Singh emphasised the capacity and capability of the Indian defence sector to cooperate with the Malaysian Armed Forces on inventory modernisation and maintenance plans, bolstering the Enhanced Strategic Partnership between the two nations.

According to defence insiders, the newly inaugurated office in Malaysia will also cater to the wider Southeast Asian market. It has been suggested that HAL is negotiating with several nations interested in the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and various helicopter models, including the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH).

Furthermore, negotiations with the Philippines over the sale of six indigenous Advanced Light Helicopters are also underway. The Philippines has already signed a contract with India for BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles in the previous year.

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