Malaysia is likely to buy 12 additional Pilatus PC-7 Mk II primary trainers and could sell its early-model PC-7s to the Philippines.
A first batch of new PC-7 Mk IIs will probably be purchased after April 2011, when the country's new five-year budget - the Tenth Malaysia Plan - will come into effect, says an industry source.
"The problem with the current five-year plan is that most of the defence money was spent on armoured personnel carriers," says the source. "The air force definitely has a need for 12 PC-7 Mk IIs, but a decision is not likely until after April 2011." The service will split its planned purchase between two batches, the source says.
In April Malaysia decided to acquire 257 armoured personnel carriers for around $2.5 billion, according to media reports.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force operates 17 PC-7 Mk IIs (above) out of an original fleet of 19 purchased in 2005, with two having been lost in accidents. It also has 31 early-model PC-7s that were acquired in the 1980s.
The source says the older aircraft could be refurbished and sold to the Philippine air force. The Philippines recently took delivery of four Alenia Aermacchi SF-260F primary trainers, with 14 more to follow in early 2011. It also has 25 older model SF-260s and six S-211 trainers, says Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.
The shortage of primary trainers in the Philippines has resulted in a training backlog of between 150 and 170 pilots.