SHAH ALAM: In several posts on the Army, there were a plenty of robust discussions on how to boost the firepower of our infantry units. It came mostly from postings on how the Army was looking to boost its firepower as a result of lessons learnt from the Lahad Datu incursion.
And although the Army has deployed mini-guns to some units, we have yet to see that kind of “whoop-ass” for infantry units apart from the issuance of 7.62mm Colt CM901 rifles to some.
On Feb.1 courtesy of Berita Tentera Darat Malaysia online (the Army online news) we have some inkling of the extra firepower. At an inspection at the Mentakab camp, attended by Army chief Jen Zulkiple Kassim, soldiers of the 7th Ranger Regiment (Mechanized) were photographed carrying RPG-7s apparently as their secondary weapons.
From the picture (below) we could assumed that only the riflemen are issued with the RPG-7s while those carrying machine-guns (GPMGs and LMGs) are not as it should be as they also carry the M4 Carbine as their secondary weapons.
As the media was not invited to the inspection, Malaysian Defence could not confirmed at present whether the RPG-7s are a permanent feature of the army’s infantry units. We have seen other infantry units on parades with soldiers carrying the RPG-7 (or other weapons like the Carl Gustav) as their secondary weapons but their numbers are usually small.
According to the BTDM online posting, the Army chief visited the 7th Rangers – the Ready to Deploy Battalion of the Army – to check whether the unit was ready for an inspection from the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operation on Feb 13 to Feb 17.
Panglima Tentera Darat, Jen Dato’ Sri Zulkiple Hj Kassim melawat Batalion Siap Sedia Tentera Darat (BSS TD) hari ini di Batalion Ketujuh Rejimen Renjer Diraja Mekanize bagi tujuan memastikan segala persediaan dan persiapan BSS TD berjalan lancar sebelum wakil dari United Nation Department Of Peacekeeping Operation (UN DPKO) datang melakukan pemeriksaan pada 13 hingga 17 Feb 2017.
Checks with RMN chief Admiral Kamarulzaman Badaruddin (he was the acting Armed Forces chief as the PAT is away) in Kuala Lumpur, on Thursday, revealed that Malaysia was not deploying to any UN peace-keeping operations. He said the Armed Forces had always have ready to deploy units for internal and external emergencies.
For the record, the government had previously pledged a battalion strength task force for UN peace-keeping operations apart from the unit already deployed to Lebanon under UNIFIL – Malbat 850-4. And as any peace-keeping deployment (even emergency ones) will take several months to be approved, it’s likely that the requirement for the pledged UN task force is also part of the tasking for the Army’s own RTD battalion.
By assigning other units to the RTD battalion – Special Forces, medical, logistics and others, the unit becomes a full-fledged task force ready to be tasked with any peace-keeping deployment.
It likely that some 850 soldiers are assigned for the UN tasking, the same number of personnel deployed for Malbat 850-4. It could be higher of course.
* All the pictures posted here are from BTDM Online.
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