RMN Air Defence Unit

RMN GBAD unit crest

SHAH ALAM: RMN air defence unit. In a recent post, someone asked about the air defence units of the RMAF and RMN. Although some information of the RMAF unit has been posted earlier, not much is known about the RMN one.

RMN used to have an air defence unit at the Lumut naval base, which were armed with the Starburst MANPADS in the past but it appears that it was deactivated following the retirement of the system.

RMN GBAD unit crest

Another AD unit armed with the Thales Starstreak HVM missile has now been activated at the Kota Kinabalu naval base. The unit is equipped with both the ground and RapidRover launchers. The RapidRover is used to describe the launcher fitted on the rear of the Weststar GK-M1 Weapon Platform.

The Starstreak missile at the Kota Kinabalu air base being displayed to visiting cadets.

The unit according to its Twitter account was activated in February last year likely just ahead to the firing trials.
The Starstreak launcher on the RapidRover platform.

It is likely that another AD unit will be activated at the Lumut naval base once more Starstreak HVM are delivered. The next batch of the latest Starstreak NG is expected to be delivered to Malaysia, next year.
On The Way…the Starsreak seconds after it was fired at the firing trials at Tanjung Logok, Johor, in March last year. According to Thales, the missile will fired 7-8 milliseconds after the trigger is depressed.

As posted previously, the Starstreak HVM will also be operated by the RMAF and the Army air defence unit, GAPU. RMAF AD unit are with the 400-series squadrons, with the Skdn 401 based at the Kuantan airbase as the designated Starstreak training unit.
The Starstreak LML NG. Thales

The deal for the Starstreak HVM was signed on July 29, 2015 as first reported in Malaysian Defence.
The ForceShield Integrated AD system. Thales

In addition to the Starstreak missiles, the system comprises CONTROLMaster 200 radar and weapon coordination systems, RAPIDRanger and RAPIDRover mobile weapon systems and the Next Generation Lightweight Multiple Launcher, as well as associated communications.

Thales Starstreak VSHORAD

Malaysia is the third user of the Starstreak HVM, apart from Thailand and Indonesia.

— Malaysian Defence

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22 Comments

  1. Will we hear some developments about the Malaysian Armed Forces purchasing or at least expressing an interest to buy medium- and long-range SAMs in the near future?

    Reply
    None actually

  2. Basically our own version of avengers. Seems like our short range air defence is quite stacked, with manpads, AAAs and jernas providing the cover

  3. Using SHORAD to defend a submarine base? Just wondering what are their air defence parameters for defending such a high value target.

  4. @Loreng – who are we going to war with?

    Msia is full of loads of HVTs but we only have a few Rapiers and rest is VSHORAD, the rest is up to TUDM QRF. If the defence budget quadruples then can consider… but how likely is that…

  5. Loreng – ”Using SHORAD to defend a submarine base?”

    Off course it’s not the most ideal of arrangements but one works with one has ….. The RMN a few years ago stated there was a requirement for a longer range system at Sepanggar and the Defence Minister said something similar to last year. The RMN also said that it would rely on GAPU to evaluate systems on offer.

    Dundun – ” Seems like our short range air defence is quite stacked, with manpads, AAAs and jernas providing the cover”

    More importantly, Starstreak like Jernas is networked to an early alerting system. In the past Starburst crews had to rely on other assets which provided early alerting verbally.

  6. Loreng “Using SHORAD to defend a submarine base? Just wondering what are their air defence parameters for defending such a high value target.”

    Yes, it is very contradictory that we have submarines which are very expensive platforms for high tech, high intensity conflict. And yet we cannot afford enough fighter aircraft to provide air cover for the base, or even a comprehensive ground based air defence.

    But nobody ever said that the requirement for submarines came from the RMN.

    For another thing, all of the 3 services will push to expand their capabilities. For the navy, that means eventually acquiring submarines if so allowed. But where ground based air defence is concerned, anything beyond VSHORAD might be the army’s or air force’s turf and it falls to them to provide.

  7. Point defence. Even the avenger is used defend naval base in the US

    Area defence is still under RMAF and we had nearby airbases in Labuan and Kuantan to provide cover to our airbases

    Having said that, I hope LCS programme can be used as stepping stone for acquisition of mid range SAM in vl Mica. It’s range (up to 20km), mobility (compared to jernas) and commonality (since rmn is also operating them in LCS) makes them ideally suited to malaysia.

  8. AM – ” which are very expensive platforms for high tech, high intensity conflict.”

    Submarines also have great utility in peace time or low intensity scenarios :]

    AM – ” And yet we cannot afford enough fighter aircraft to provide air cover for the base, or even a comprehensive ground based air defence.”

    Whilst there is indeed a need for a medium range system at Sepanggar it’s not an immediate urgency in that we are not in a state of conflict or tensions with anyone. Given that the shopping list is long and cash is limited; we have to prioritise. If we were to proceed on the basis that bases which house strategic or expensive assets must be protected from the air, then we won’t be able to buy anything. What we did; first buying subs and then progressively building training on the shore and support infrastructure was the right move; even if Sepanggar at the moment has no medium range system.

    dundun – ”Even the avenger is used defend naval base in the US”

    Yes but in their case Avenger or Stinger is a last ditch weapon operating as part of a tiered integrated network – for us it’s mainly our main line of defence but something we can live with given the threat environment. Stuff like Stinger will also be useful for targets flying at low level.

  9. Dundun,

    Bad Idea To Installed With VL MICA. I think is better Try CAMM Cause it has Medium Range and Extandard Range.CAMM ADS is Gonna Replace the Raiper (Jernas 2000) for The Brits.

  10. Azlan “Submarines also have great utility in peace time or low intensity scenarios”

    True, but they would not be a pressing priority considering our budget and the list of unfulfilled demands that we have. As you said, our “shopping list is long and cash is limited; we have to prioritise” As useful as the submarines are for getting exposure to ASW and ASuW tactics and current technology, and even for learning about other people’s submarines, they have taken a lot away from other priorities.

    “What we did; first buying subs and then progressively building training on the shore and support infrastructure was the right move;”

    Why did you say it was the right move- what would have been different if we had built the infrastructure first and bought the subs second?

  11. @Azlan
    What is the great utility of subs in peacetime?

    … (dots) old post is right. The priority for TLDM is Gowinds, LMS (with full MCM etc capabilities), MRSS + naval utility helis, Kedahs, then only subs or whatever else.

    TUDM, MPA, LIFT, MRCA I guess.

    TDM, AV8s and… I dunno, networking? I’ve always thought some money should be scraped up for more ATGMs like infantry Ingwe, US Javelin or French MMP.

    Reply
    RMAF priority is MRCA. if they get the MRCA, the next one is LIFT as the current plane (MB-339CM) is unreliable. MPA and AEW are also priorities in their own right and one cannot argue which one is more important than the other. For the MPA, RMAF has a few options but for the AEW its down to the few ones which is cheap – relative – for us to acquire.

  12. A smart way would be to buy a defence system that would take care of the two layers ( Shorad and Medium) in one go.There are many systems out there to choose from to fulfill this two roles for the same amount of money we spent on the Starstreak!

  13. Loreng,

    Very few systems can take care of very low level targets as well as medium or high altitude ones. It’s also not a question of being ”smart” but having the funds. Look at the bright side; we’ve replaced Starburst with a much better performing missile and one that is networked to early warning devices.

  14. Malaysia has taken the pragmatic approach.

    There is no point trying to out range attacking aircraft or ships/submarines. Precision guided munitions and cruise missiles seem to have longer and longer ranges.

    A defense system, albeit short range that can destroy these munitions and cruise missiles [which apparently Starstreak and Jernas can], reliably will render any attack useless anyway.

    By the way, are there any pictures of the Malaysian Rapid Ranger? Will these be mounted on the Uro?

    Reply
    AFAIK the Rapid Ranger has not been delivered yet. Weststar is trying to get it install on its 4X4, the same vehicle for the Rapid Rover. I was told GAPU wants it on the URO. Lets see what will happen in the end.

  15. @Loreng
    Highly unlikely. Also, our Starstreak was gotten at relatively cheap rates compared to most missiles since it happens that the design of Starstreak makes it sort of an “upgrade” from Starburst, using some of the components of the old missiles.

    @Marhalim
    “RMAF priority is MRCA. if they get the MRCA, the next one is LIFT as the current plane (MB-339CM) is unreliable. MPA and AEW are also priorities in their own right and one cannot argue which one is more important than the other. For the MPA, RMAF has a few options but for the AEW its down to the few ones which is cheap – relative – for us to acquire.”

    Ugh, headache… thanks.

    @Tom Tom
    I don’t think Starstreak and Jernas/Rapier can hit missiles or precision-guided munitions.

  16. For starstreak LML it is not a fire and forget weapon (like the igla or anza). Afaik the targeting system is similar to the starburst.

    You need to manually put a laser dot on the target with a small toggle with your thumb.

    And that means it can only target things the operator can visually see (through the optics system), coming at or away from the starstreak system. It would be extremely difficult to engage crossing targets. That is the big downside of the starstreak LML system.

    As for the rapidranger, i don’t know it it is capable of fire and forget.

  17. … – ”As for the rapidranger, i don’t know it it is capable of fire and forget.”

    Rapidranger is a stabilised mount fitted with sensors enabling early/long range detection and engagement in all weathers. The operator or system would still need line of sight to enable the missile to hit the target.

  18. ……… – ”Afaik the targeting system is similar to the starburst.”

    The gunner needs line of sight; in that he has to keep his eye on the target until detonation. The good news is that the missile is very fast so were looking at seconds here given that the missile moves at Mach 4 [according to the OEM].

    Tom Tom – ”A defense system, albeit short range that can destroy these munitions and cruise missiles [which apparently Starstreak and Jernas can]”

    Hitting a low flying, slow moving target like a cruise missile is not the issue. The question is whether the missiles’s crew has advance warning of a target, whether they can visually see it [if in the dark and there’s no thermal] and whether the IR seeker [in the case of Igla, Anza, etc] can detect the low IR signature on such a target. Obviously it will make a big difference if it’s just a standalone missile system operated by a crew whose main sensor is the Mark 1 eyeball or whether the missile system is linked to a early warning and queing device. BAE Systems – as part of its marketing – says that Jernas can hit cruise missiles; indeed it can but only when linked to Blindfire and Dagger.

  19. It would be better for Malaysia to buy Russia’s S-300 or S-400 SAM systems for the Air Bases and Naval Bases medium range defence. Even Turkey had signed an agreement with Russia for the supply of S-400 SAM system.

  20. Sundra Anand,

    Bro, If Malaysia Buys S-400 Long Range SAMs. Don’t Forget MH-17 Is not Complete Investigation Yet. We Not Gonna Buy S-400 Until it is Complete. Otherwise We Should Try CAMM Or Aster 30. About CAMM, It Should Be Intergrated With New Littoral Combat Ship as For Me. What Do You Think Marhalim ?.

  21. Sundra,

    The issue of S-300s/400s has been be done to death here over the years. I have no idea why people keep bringing it up ….

    – S-300s/400s are long range high altitude weapons. They are not useful for engaging low flying targets.
    – If we buy it we’ll have to integrate it with the existing AD network. You mentioned Turkey but NATO has made clear that if Turkey buys or a simlar Chinese system it it will not be integrated to the existing NATO AD network due to security reasons. Thus it will be a standalone system – a big no
    – Do you really think there is the political will or cash at the moment to buy S-300s/400s? What will our neighbours say if we bought such a system? With its range we’ll be able to hit targets that are within the airspace of our neighbours – needless to say they won’t be pleased.
    – The requirement is for a medium range system; preferably one that can be integrated to our existing AD network without too much hassle. Neither the RMAF, RMN or GAPU has a requirement for a long range high altitude system like S-300s/400s, Patriot or ASTER 30.

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