2018, A Year in Review

A close up of Maharaja Lela at the BNS yard in Lumut today.

SHAH ALAM: 2018, A Year in Review. With 2019 knocking the door already its time look wind back the clock and review what had happened in the last 12 months or so. Good or bad, the first thing to come into mind of 2018 was the May 9 general elections. Pakatan Harapan led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad beat the odds and overcame the Barisan Nasional government.

The result of the GE led to the swearing in of Amanah President Mohammad Sabu as the Defence Minister replacing Hishammuddin Hussein. Even though Mat Sabu is a better politician than Hishammuddin, the evidence so far revealed that he is no better the minister than the son of the former PM.

Mat Sabu with the XO of 11th Sqdn Lt Col Jasmi Wahab who flew him on Lucky 14 on July 7.

The change of government also saw the Armed Forces chief being abruptly replaced by a former Army chief. There were also changes to the Army and navy but both were expected as they had reached their retirement age.

Thales technician testing the Control Master 200 radar and firing coordination system as part of the Forceshield acceptance test. Thales

Anyhow despite the momentous changes in the government, the military remained the same, in the fringes. Even the budget had to be redone weeks after it was announced.

On The Way…Ingwe missile leaving its box launcher from the AFV30 ATGW

A month before the changes, at DSA 2018, several contracts like the Nexter 105mm, M109SPH and NSM were signed though the upgrades for the Hawks, Hercules and Nuri were left out. Other notable events in 2018 that comes to mind include the first public firing of the Ingwe ATGW, acceptance of the Thales Forceshield VSHORAD system and the air-to-air refuelling of RMAF fighters with the A400M. RMN also finally put into service its two training ships, after almost four year delay.

A RMAF Hawk Mk 208 being refueled by the A400M. 25th Hawk Anniversary FB.

As of 2019, RMAF is not getting any new aircraft, used or even leased ones. The upgrades of its Hercules, Hawks and Nuri fleet remained unclear despite what had been claimed by the previous minister.

A Nuri seemed to land on the horizontal tail of an A400M at the Butterworth airbase open day in September.

The Army is getting more Gempita like in the previous few years, trucks and 4X4 but not really new stuff. It is unclear whether it is getting the MD Helicopters MD530G light attack helicopter by year end or not despite what the new chief said.
MD Helicopters on Oct 1, 2018 announced that it

new MD 530G will receive a U.S. Army Airworthiness Release (AWR) by December 2019

The navy is scheduled to take delivery of the first of its LMS from China next year. Though with our luck, it will be delayed as well.

Maharaja Lela at the BNS facility in October, 2018. She is still missing her mast and other items. She is likely rusty after undergoing limited harbour trials.

Hopefully by March, we will find out more the direction of the national security sector though the outlook is cloudy. Anyhow, Happy New Year!

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 1163 Articles
Shah Alam

26 Comments

  1. @ marhalim

    “Though with our luck, it will be delayed as well”

    Please put it as could be delayed, not will be delayed…

    As for the navy, they have tried their best to plan to whatever budget there is, getting what they wanted (and more) for the LCS and a very compromised ship with the LMS. The army is completing its Gempita program (with lots of delayed funding issues) and pushing next to complete the very ambitious NCO project. The airforce… well seems that they have waken up from their MRCA wet dream and now put out another far out plan with the CAP55.

    Off topic

    More sales from the Jordanians. It is put as a modernisation program, but i wonder how much effect it really was due to the severe budgetary problems of the jordanian government nowadays (people are demonstrating on the streets protesting new tax increases).

    https://www.rjaf.mil.jo/ar/showannouncement-31.html

    https://www.rjaf.mil.jo/ar/showannouncement-32.html

    The CN-235 gunship with forward firing weapons is a flawed concept (just use a smaller more maneuverable turboprop like tucanos or cropdusters if you want to forward fire your weapons). Those 8 blackhawks are interesting for PUTD though.

  2. What I am looking forward to in 2019

    – defence white paper

    – CAP55 parliment review

    – LCA, MPA for TUDM updates.

    – Su-30MKM overhauls

    – 1st LMS launch

    – APMM new ships

  3. On topic

    Japan keen to offer new defence equipment

    https://www.nst.com.my/node/444993/amp

    Start small like asking japan for 1 of their coast guard king air MPA to replace the one king air MPA TUDM lost in a crash.

    Next could be new air defence radars like the Mitsubishi Electric FPS-3 radars liket they have offered to the philippines.

  4. Next year will be a great year for TLDM,more LCS and more LMS will see the expanding of TLDMs fleet with modern assets.

  5. TDM agk bagus pembangunanya tahun-tahun yg lepas contohnya dgn program perolehan APV/IFV seperti IAG Guardian, AV-4 Lipanbara, AV-8 Gempita,SPH M109 155mm dan TH LG1 105mm serta misil pertahanan udara StarstreakThales ForceSHIELD.

    TLDM juga agk bagus pembangunannya dgn program perolehan frigat LCS dan kapal peronda LMS dan UAV ScanEagle.

    Cuma TUDM agk perlahan perolehannya.

    Semoga akan dtg akan ada perolehan MPA dan UAV MALE/UCAV.

    insyaAllah.

  6. With the Japanese Beechcraft C90 you need mk.1 eyeball for surveillance while our three remaining Beechcraft B.200 hv the proper electronic tools (whatever) in doing the same job.I read that the government is interested with the Orions.

  7. I did not mention about Japan Air Self-Defense Force Beechcraft C90.

    This is the aircraft I am talking about, mostly similar spec to our original MPA.

    Actually I was praying hard that the Japanese would not entertain any ideas of giving us what the Pinoys had received.Honestly I feel the C90s (If given) would be better off playing the role of multi engine trainers for TUDM .As for the JCG B200,my wild guess is that the agency still need their Beechcrafts ….otherwise it would have been flown southward by now.Hopefully the Orions are coming soon,along with at least three years worth of spareparts.

    Reply
    No Orions as well actually

  8. The outlook is cloudy indeed. Nowadays i rarely see lorry carrying palm oil in my area which is a norm before this. I heard the price is hitting rock bottom. I truly sympathize with this rural folks. They did not vote ph but they r d one who suffered d most now. This will have a domino effect on our country but hey at least ph manage 2 fulfill they manifesto which is cheaper oil price. Wakaka

  9. The local economic outlook for the next few years has many more negative indicators than positive.

    Malaysia’s economy remains highly subject to commodity price fluctuations. Investments in more resilient revenue streams will not bear fruit for literal years.

    Construction projects both public (transports and towers) and private (housing) are nearing completion. The short-term economic benefits of this activity are coming to an end. Now comes the bite as the debt incurred to build these infrastructures needs to be paid. But the revenue stream is questionable – in the case of 1mdb, absolutely loss-making.

    Cancelled projects will incur further penalties. Public demands for cash handouts and subsidies is higher than ever before, but workforce productivity remains the same.

    All this against the backdrop of a possible global recession, with weak US and Asian markets both. In SEA, Singapore and Indonesia continue to compete fiercely and the other nations are also growing fast.

    Therefore…

    What I want to see from defence and Govt, in the coming years, is not big budgets, but efficient deployment of resources.

    No more buying US$10m IFVs. Cut down the “magical” overheads aka commissions aka corruption aka stealing rakyat’s money. Let’s see if we can make Malaysia truly a nation to be proud of.

  10. MY is export oriented nation. The trade war and protectionism trade (a free trade economy is falling down) are the main problem that drag MY economy to the bottom. World trade is heading to barter trade model ( I will accept your product if you accept mine). As MY market demand is small compare to indonesia, so it is difficult for MY to export in this kind of situation.
    Public debt is already huge, the government can not play debt card to stimulus economy.

    It has been years military aquisitions are neglected. Even worse, there is not enough fund for maintenance or upgrading.

    As we seen in army, navy and AF future plan, there is not much can be hope to increase military power. Maybe pinoy with their horizon military plan can be more powerful than MY.

    It is cloudy indeed.

  11. @Ujang
    It was a pity PH didn’t continue the palm oil fight on the EU front that was spearheaded by Dr Mah. We had been making good progress in France and some other EU countries but alas… with the change of government, the fight was abandoned and lost.

    Anyways, I digress.

  12. @joe
    “PH didn’t continue the palm oil fight”

    What oil has Teresa Kok been selling, snake oil?

    More importantly, why hasn’t Malaysia diversified into other cash crops or indeed other industries in the long decades of BN rule?

    @romeo
    “Public debt is already huge, the government can not play debt card”

    EXACTLY! Because that card has already been played; the economy has already been artificially stimulated in the preceding administration and now cannot be stimulated further without undue credit risk.

    @romeo
    “protectionism … are the main problem that drag MY economy to the bottom”

    This… but you already can guess where I’m going I believe.

  13. @ Chua

    More importantly, why hasn’t Malaysia diversified into other cash crops or indeed other industries in the long decades of BN rule?

    We did, going big into manufacturing, electronics and automotive, Palm oil is actually the “other” cash corp, that has replaced rubber.

    BTW what this has to do with the state and future direction of our military and defence?

  14. Chua “efficient deployment of resources”

    I think this efficiency drive should not be limited to procurement. We should cut formations if need be.

    Perhaps starting with some of the FOUR jump certified battalions.

  15. @…
    Not nearly enough.

    “BTW what this has to do with the state and future direction of our military and defence?”

    This question is like asking, what does your income have to do with your life? The answer is the same: “everything”. Without the income, don’t bother thinking about living.

    A country’s income is the Govt revenues from taxation of economic activities, or in the case of GLCs, directly carrying out economic activities itself. Without revenues, there is no budget; without budget, absolutely nothing can be done.

    In any matter, including defence, the very first question to be answered, when seeking solutions, is “What resources do we have?” Money is the number one resource. No economic activity, no tax revenue; no revenue, no money; no money, no defence.

    The more income you have, the more you can spend on defence.

    But don’t forget Part 2: this must be efficient spending. If you pay 3 times more than other people for the same military equipment, for “magical” reasons, pouring more and more money into defence will not work well either.

    Guess where Malaysia regularly fails…

  16. @ AM

    The para operational costs is miniscule compared to the whole of the defence budget. The upkeep of mechanized brigade is way bigger.

    @ chua

    Yes it is important, but not to discuss here. IMO a constant budget only around 10-15% higher than 2019 budget is enough for the army, navy and the airforce to get most of the stuff they need. But of course there will be a need of “efficient” spending.

    Having a constant annual budget of say RM17.7 Billion annually, with RM4 Billion of that for the development expenditure, we can actually get most of the LCA, MPA, AWACS, GOWINDS, SUBS, IFV, howitzers, radars, MR-SAMs that we need, if we can plan carefully. I really hope to see a clear plan like the 15 to 5 from the army and the airforce too.

  17. We have to take a hard look at any formations that we maintain just for the sake of doing so. Some candidates include:

    -The large number of territorial army and PGA battalions. Not to dismiss their operational roles out of hand, but considering what we put into them, are they up to the task of performing them?
    -Retiring the Scorpions was a good move. They probably would have been no more up to the task than cheaper vehicles, even with the proposed upgrades.
    -Can we reduce the manpower size of RAD by operating fewer but more capable guns?
    -Should we also follow through with transferring marine police’s duties to the MMEA?
    -How about consolidating civil agency airlift and helicopter fleets?

  18. On the topic

    Its official

    Canada has finalized the buy of 25 F/A-18A/B Hornets from Australia for $90 million canadian dollars (USD70 million)

  19. @ AM

    -The large number of territorial army and PGA battalions. Not to dismiss their operational roles out of hand, but considering what we put into them, are they up to the task of performing them?
    Wataniahs are reserves and just part time soldiers. PGAs are not, and is fully paid full time policemens. What could be done is to use PGAs on rotation to patrol urban areas.

    -Retiring the Scorpions was a good move. They probably would have been no more up to the task than cheaper vehicles, even with the proposed upgrades.
    Ditto

    -Can we reduce the manpower size of RAD by operating fewer but more capable guns?
    The RAD is already a small force as it is.

    -Should we also follow through with transferring marine police’s duties to the MMEA?
    Yes, and IMO the most cost saving move is to pass all TLDMs PV duties to APMM and thus the need for TLDM to buy expensive OPVs like the Kedah Class.

    -How about consolidating civil agency airlift and helicopter fleets?
    All of them is under different ministries thus different budget streams. Off topic imo agencies such as civil defence and bomba could be merged as most tasks are overlapping.

  20. “What could be done is to use PGAs on rotation to patrol urban areas.”

    Is the idea to parcel out PGA members and have them work as street cops, to be recalled and retrained in a period of tension?

    I doubt this is workable as it the recall process would be slow and PGA-specific training cannot be done on a regular basis. We would still need a certain number of battalions working and training together, available at short notice.

    My preference would be to either disband some or have them work as a unit at the border, on a rotating basis

  21. Retreat Hala Tuju Kementerian Pertahanan Tahun 2019 will be held soon.

    Would be nice to know the summary of the discussions done there.

  22. Dear Mr Marhalim,

    Please kindly note that DEFTECH is the exclusive partner for Turkish Aerospace for the ANKA UAV.

    We submitted our RFI as stated to RMAF and TAI acknowledged and confirmed it has only submitted the price/technical proposal through DEFTECH.

    Thank you.

  23. Always nice to get official confirmation.

    I’m sure ANKA is a decent UAS and if it gets selected; lets hope it’s due to its merits and because it’s what the end user desires; not because of a political decision.

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