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Military intends to buy 17 more Aermacchi jets (27 May 2003)

The Defence Ministry wishes to add 17 more Aermacchi jets to its fleet of eight Aermacchis presently in service with the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The Aermacchi MB-339 jet trainers from the Royal New Zealand Air Force have been revamped and will be an asset to the air force.

The 17 Aermacchi jets will be used as lead-in jet trainers, however the decision on whether to purchase the jets will depend on the Finance Ministry.

Last month, Armed Forces chief Jen Tan Sri Mohd Zahidi Zainuddin visited the New Zealand Air Force's Ohakea base and was briefed on the aircraft.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was pleased with the deal offered on the aircrafts and stressed that the additional trainers are vital, as the RMAF possessed more modern equipment now.

New Zealand wrote off its air force's combat division in 2001 to focus on building a more modern army with its limited defence budget.