French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (2nd L)
Kuala Lumpur - AFP
France has submitted a proposal to Malaysia for the purchase of 18 Rafale fighter jets, its defence minister said during a visit to Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.
"We provided a full offer to the Malaysian authorities," Jean-Yves Le Drian said at a news conference with his Malaysian counterpart Hishammuddin Hussein.
"This offer will be studied by the authorities."
He added: "This proposal marks the beginning of formal discussions with Malaysia over the acquisition of 18 Rafale planes."
Malaysia has said it intends to replace its ageing fleet of Russian-made MiG aircraft, and along with the Rafale, the American F-18, Sweden's Gripen and the Eurofighter have been mooted as potential replacements.
But Hussein warned that Malaysia would have to judge whether any short-term plans to replace the fleet were affordable, with the country grappling with an economic slowdown and a sharp fall in its currency.