The US government has cleared Malaysia to obtain new targeting pods for fighter aircraft, as well as a deal to upgrade anti-radiation missiles used by the United Arab Emirates.

Kuala Lumpur has been cleared for a possible deal covering 10 Lockheed Martin AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pods for a total cost of $80 million, according to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

RMAF F-18D Hornet

Source: Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal

Kuala Lumpur is investing in prolonging the life of the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s F/A-18D Hornet fleet

The pods would be used on Malaysia’s fleet of eight Boeing F/A-18D fighters. The overall package includes logistical support, training, software, and other elements.

“The proposed sale will improve Malaysia’s capability to meet current and future threats by modernising its current F/A-18D platform with a common targeting pod,” says the DSCA.

“This proposed sale will also mitigate future obsolescence concerns and allow the Royal Malaysian Air Force to meet future operational requirements. Malaysia will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.”

To support its F/A-18D fleet, Kuala Lumpur acquired a number of spares and other equipment from the Royal Australian Air Force when the latter retired its fleet of F/A-18A/Bs in favour of the Lockheed Martin F-35A.

In 2022, Malaysian defence minister Hishamuddin Hussein said that MYR2.4 billion ($505 million) would be invested on Hornet sustainment in 2023 in co-operation with the USA.

The DSCA has also cleared a possible $144 million sale to the UAE which could see the supply of control section modification (HCSM) upgrades for 149 Raytheon AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARMs).

The package includes equipment, logistics and training support for the upgrades.

“The proposed sale will improve the UAE’s capability to meet current and future threats by enhancing its capability to defend its national borders, bolster air-to-surface defensive capabilities, deter regional threats, and protect vital international commercial trading routes and critical infrastructure,” says the DCSA.

“The UAE already has the HARM in its inventory and will have no difficulty absorbing these HCSM upgrade kits into its armed forces.”