SHAH ALAM: Another day has just begun. Yes its the first day of the new year and it seemed just like yesterday I wrote that we will be muddling through the new year. So what is in store in 2018 then? I am not a soothsayer but listed below are somethings that might get mildly interesting in the coming days.
I am going to say it will be a bumper year for the maritime services, the RMN and MMEA. RMN will be getting two new ships this year, the Gagah and Teguh Samudera, the training ships. Contrary to what I wrote earlier, the commissioning of the two much delayed ships will be held not this month but on April 27, the 84th anniversary of the RMN.
Teguh, the second training ship, will be handed over to the RMN supposedly by January 18. As she is handed over by Grade One Marine Shipyard to the RMN, her sister ship, Gagah will undergo a minor refit at the same yard to prepare her for the commissioning ceremony later in April.
I was told that Gagah was to be commissioned during the 83rd anniversary celebrations but the legal troubles which had delayed their completion since 2013 caused the plan to be scrubbed.
As for the MMEA, the third NGPC is expected to be commissioned this month as posted by one of our commenters. I have not got any confirmation on this yet (everybody is on holidays) but it seemed likely. The rest of the NGPC fleet is also expected to be delivered this year so the junior service will have a leg up on its senior for once.
As for the Army, it is getting more Gempita 8X8 this year though its likely not more than 30 vehicles. Perhaps we will see a new variant this year though I am not sure which one. I believed it will either be the reconnaissance or engineering variant though it could be both. Perhaps we will also see the first public firing of the Ingwe missile from the ATGW variant at the firepower exercise later this year.
RMAF is not expected to take any delivery of new aircraft this year but it is likely that contracts for the upgrades of the Hawks, Hercules and Nuri will be signed at DSA 2018 later this April. This was stated in the 2018 budget announcement. The contracts for the Army including the Nexter 105mm LG1 howitzers and the M109 SPH are also likely be signed at the same show.
As for the MRCA and MPA contracts, your guess is as good mine.
Happy New Year!
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