A New Day, A New Plan

SHAH ALAM: Within the next two weeks, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to table Rancangan Malaysia Ke 10 (RMK10). The bulk of allocation for the defence procurement in the next five years will be allocated in the RMK10.

I am assuming that the procurement plan for defence has been finalised and those in power already know what they will be getting in the next five years. But hey, one can throw the book out, as there is an opportunity to maximise the little money we have to get the biggest bang.

As most of you already know, the Brits are cutting their forces due to budgetary constraints (see the news story below). The last time they did that they retired five brand new diesel electric submarines which was later sold for 1 pound in exchange for a training facility in Canada. We could have gotten those subs but since we did not, its water under the bridge. And as other countries are also cutting their budgets and retiring their arms, we should also look at their list for our RMK10 shopping bag

From the list below, one could surmised that we can use our special relationship to purchase the weapon systems which are suitable for our armed forces requirement.

The first thing the Government should buy should be the Royal Air Force’s five almost-new Sentinel R1 battlefield surveillance aircraft. I know its not an AEW but the Sentinels are certainly one of the best ISR systems around. Since we are so far behind the UAV curve, we need the Sentinel capability especially for border control.

We probably cannot afford to buy all five but two are good enough. We could also supplant the Sentinels with the RN Sea Kings fitted with the Searchwater radar if the Brits want to get rid of them.

And instead of embarking on the MPSS project, we should instead purchase one of the Bay amphibious support ships to be retired. We should also persuade the Brits to retire another Bay so we could have these two support ships working for RMN within six months.

Any other wish list? No, the Challengers and AS90 are interesting but again these are tracked vehicles and I am not sure whether we can actually afford them in the long run. But theres nothing wrong in wanting more….

Lots of Losers in U.K. Defense Review
LONDON – Few winners but lots of losers have emerged from a defense review that has inflicted the most sweeping cuts to Britain’s defense capabilities since the end of the Cold War.The Strategic Defense and Security Review, unveiled Oct. 19 by Prime Minister David Cameron, stripped the armed forces of various capabilities, reduced military and civilian personnel numbers, and ushered in a restructuring of the Army.

Cameron told lawmakers that the 36.9 billion pound ($53.1 billion) defense budget was being cut in real terms by 8 percent over the next four years, but that he envisaged a possible increase in spending beyond that.

The review said that Britain will in the future deploy no more than 30,000 troops overseas, including maritime and air support – two-thirds of the force deployed to Iraq in 2003.

It will reduce the civilian MoD work force by about 25,000 and military personnel by about 17,000, both by 2015.

In a separate announcement just hours before Cameron’s, the government said it would scrap the Defence Training Review, a 14 billion-pound deal to provide technical training for the British military.

All three services will see capabilities reduced, but the British Army has come off the lightest, mainly because it is embroiled deeper in the war in Afghanistan.

The review did call for a few new programs, including a four-year, 650 million-pound national cyber security program, and increases in signals, logistics and medical support troops for special forces.

Most of the cuts have been leaked to the media over the last few weeks, so there were few genuine surprises in the list of capabilities being dumped completely, partially, or in the case of naval air strike, temporarily.

Unexpected, however, was the decision to retire the Royal Air Force’s five almost-new Sentinel R1 battlefield surveillance aircraft around 2015, once it is no longer required in Afghanistan. Government officials said radars on Joint Strike Fighter and other aircraft would be able to take over much of the role of the five Sentinels, which entered service last year. Purchased in a 1 billion-pound deal with Raytheon, the Sentinels have synthetic aperture and moving target indication radars in a Bombardier Global Express airframe.

The government also said it was scrapping the Nimrod MRA4 maritime reconnaissance capability even before the aircraft entered service. Late last year, the Labour government then in power announced it was withdrawing the Nimrod MR2 almost immediately and delaying the arrival of the nine MRA4s it had on order from BAE through 2012. Now the Conservative-led coalition says it is going to junk the 3.6 billion pound program, launched in 1996, altogether.

Cameron said the aircraft was eight years late and twice as costly as originally planned. Last week, though, the National Audit Office, the government watchdog, reported in a review of major projects that part of the reason for the Nimrod cost increase was caused by decisions over the last few to cut the number of aircraft from 21 to 18, then 12 then nine.

A Labour government commitment to acquire 22 additional Chinook helicopters has been cut to just 12. The new government said it would continue with the Eurocopter update of Puma helicopters.

The defense review said that the RAF is to lose a raft of other aircraft; see 5,000 personnel cut over five years, leaving 33,000; and close air bases. Its Hercules C-130J airlifters will be withdrawn by 2022, a decade earlier than planned, leaving the RAF’s airlifter fleet made up largely of the larger C-17 and A400M.
Two Kinds of Fast Jets

The military’s is heading toward a fast-jet fleet consisting solely of Typhoons and Lockheed Martin F-35s.

The Harrier GR9 is being withdrawn from service beginning in 2011; the number of RAF Tornado GR4 strike aircraft will also be reduced as Eurofighter Typhoons arrive.

The government decision to withdraw the GR9 and only start operating the F-35 in 2020 means the Royal Navy will have to take a capability holiday on carrier strike for the next 10 years.

The review said the MoD intended to operate a single type of F-35, not different land and naval variants. Officials have decided to change the type of F-35s to be flown from Britain’s new 65,000-ton aircraft carrier from the STOVL B-version to the conventional C-version to be purchased by the U.S. Navy. The British have spent hundreds of millions of pounds to buy three STOVL aircraft for operational evaluation.

One of the two carriers being built by a BAE-led consortium for the Royal Navy will be fitted with catapult and arrestor gear, and is slated to arrive in 2020. The second carrier being built will be mothballed in a low state of readiness.

Britain, the main international partner in the U.S. F-35 program, originally committed to buy 150 aircraft. That figure subsequently dropped to 138 and is likely to slip further.

Government officials said no decision on the timing and number of RAF F-35s would likely be made until after the 2015 strategic defense and security review.
Ships, Departing

The carrier Ark Royal is being decommissioned immediately. Either HMS Ocean or HMS Illustrious will be decommissioned following a study into which provides the most effective helicopter platform, and a landing and command ship will be placed in extended readiness.

Replacement of the four Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines is being delayed by five years; the first new boat will now enter service around 2028, and the lives of the existing boats will be extended.

A cost-cutting review on the next generation of Trident boats has identified savings or spending deferrals of 3 billion pounds over the next 10 years.

Overall, the government said it would reduce by one-third the number of launch tubes planned for the new boats, to eight, and cut the number of operationally available warheads from “fewer than 160 to no more than 120.”

A decision on the number of boats to be built will be taken around 2016.

The defense review also said that the 23-ship destroyer and frigate fleet would be reduced to 19: six Type 45 destroyers and 13 Type 23 frigates.

Initially, four frigates will be decommissioned. The Type 23s will be replaced by Type 26 warships “as soon as possible after 2020,” the review said.

A Bay-class amphibious support ship will also be decommissioned and Royal Fleet Auxiliary logistics vessels “will be scaled to meet Royal Navy requirements.”

Overall, the Royal Navy will lose 5,000 personnel, shrinking the force to 30,000.

The army has comes out of the review in better shape than the other services but even here it has had to endure some capability reductions. Army personnel are being cut by around 7,000 to 95,000. Five new multi-role brigades are being created each with around 6,500 personnel and a range of capabilities to make the units self-supporting. Deployable brigades will be cut from six to five, while regional brigade and divisional commands will be heavily cut.

The return of troops from Germany is being speeded up with half the 20,000 British personnel coming back by 2015 and the remainder by 2020.

The review said Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, AS90 artillery, engineer vehicles and Challenger tanks would be reduced.

Holdings of Challenger tanks will be reduced by about 40 percent and heavy artillery by about 35 percent. Numbers for other vehicles subject to cuts have not been given.

The new scout reconnaissance vehicles being developed by General Dynamics UK and eventually the Future Rapid Effects System utility vehicle will continue to be the core of the army’s maneuver fleet, the review said.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 1179 Articles
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51 Comments

  1. Marhalim, we should be thankful the government did not get the ex RN Upholders class boats. As the Canadian Navy will tell us, the Upholders have been very troublesome boats. Challengers and AS90’s would be nice but are too heavy for us. But as you so rightly said, .. ‘there’s nothing wrong in wanting more’…

  2. The British are not notable for producing good weapon systems.Their systems easily break down and expansive to maintain.

    Malaysia would be better off having a single AEW system that provide the required information to all agencies that need them.We need to look for cost-effective AEW solution and efficiency.For example the Northrop Grumman E2D can undertake simultaneous surveillance of the airspace and water/land surface at the same time.It can detect small surface objects such as pirate/smuggler/terrorist/human trafficking boats on water, and of course hostile objects in our airspace in one go. The information can be downlink to Joint Force Command HQ, Air Defence Command Centre, SOCs, Fleet HQ, Army Field Command HQ, Defence Intelligence Centre, the Police, Immigration, MMEA and Customs.

    We need to buy a system that can be used as a national asset rather than just for use by a single service/department.As someone has said we need to optimize every RM of our defence spending and be smart in our solution.

  3. The R1 is indeed a fantastic asset… so fantastic that I am not sure if it would be for sale. Withdrawn from service can mean a lot of things.

    Both Denmark and Germany are retiring a number of assets. An opportunity?

  4. Dja think they’ll sell us the Sentinels? They would have to be dumbed down big time. That and the fact that we do not have the infrastructure to really make use of them. They would certainly be on my hit list as worthy acquisitions.

  5. I’m more inclined with their artillery reduction, AS-90 anyone? Since Malaysian MAF have been eying for SPH quite long, the golden opportunities lies ahead, just squeeze any funds that we have to acquire them and don’t forget the Chally 2 also. They’ll make a great combination with our Pendekar.

    Marhalim: I believe we can get them for free if we pay them for the training rights in Malaysia for the next 30 years although I admit with the cuts, the Brits might just want cold hard cash….

  6. This few years up to 2015 is a great opportunity for Malaysia to get capable but 2nd hand weapons and systems. If the Malaysian goverment don’t take up this opportunity, others will.

    It is a very2 good idea to snap up one of the bay-class LSD to replace the inderapura. but for the MPSS, lets get the 3 Italian san georgio class LSD (classed as LSD but it is practically a LPD with full length flight deck. It is being replaced with a bigger LPD.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Giorgio_class

    http://www.freewebs.com/jeffhead/worldwideaircraftcarriers/giorgio.htm

    As for our frigate requirement, maybe we could get hold of 2 of the 4 Type 22 that is being decommisioned under the UK cost-cutting plan. The oldest of the current Type 22 frigate is only 22years old and the youngest 20years old.

    Marhalim: While I agree with the San Giorgio procurement (if its available) I totally disagree with the type 22 purchase, these ships designed in the 70s are obsolete…

  7. With the Leopard on our southern border. I still think Challenger 2 is a good option. True, it can only be used in the city thanks to it weight but it is still a formidable tank. As for the AS90, i think the Caesars and South African G6 are much better options for the SPH. I thinks the Type 23s will be a good option for our frigates requirement rather than embarking on the Jebat Batch II projects. The money saved should be used to refit our NGPVs with missiles….

  8. the way i see it, if the ETP projects announced do not attract the required private funding, the government will have to take up the slack. In such cases, defence procurement will bear the brunt of major cuts. So wont really hoping yet

  9. I agree.The British white paper is a good way to get cheap military goods. The Chieftains are too heavy for our environment.Many bridges will not be able to take the weight of the tanks. But the AS 90 are not so heavy and as the brits are retiring them, we must take this opportiunity to grab them cheaply.Maybe, we can even upgrde the guns as its only 39 calibres to a 50 calibre weapoin from south africa. Ageed the LSD which the brits is going to retire is quite new and should be taken up immediately to replace the one thats burnt and sunk.
    Sentinel? That would be a pipe dream as the brits have decided to retain these planes as long as they are still in Afghanistan and needs these planes now that the MR4 is no more.We should take the australian route in getting the Boeing wedgetail whith the AESA radar which not only can track but also listen in to communications too.

    Marhalim: The Wedgetails are out of the table. They are too expensive to procure…

  10. I agree that we should buy second hand.First of all its cheaper. We have missed a lot of opportunities looking at how the Netherlands and Germany had retired their P3’s for example and also the Fokker Maritime patrol planes and just snap up by others in quick time. There are still Leapords for sale especially from Germany. Wwe should buy them as they are light enough for our country.The chieftains are too heavy for us.The AS 90s are a good buy and perhaps we can even upgarde the guns to 155×50 caliber too.They are of 39 calibres now.
    The LSD is anothr good buy as its immdeiately available and its not too old-maybe about 10 years only and plenty of life left. Not the heli carrier being retired as they are old and may not be so capable even though one has recently undergone major refit.

  11. Why dont we joined venture with turkey, south korea or italy and brazilian to support us to produce our own LPD/LHD, helis,transport,fighter or other defence equipment since we can, do we?

    Marhalim: Lack of cash is one reason while the lack of foresight is a bigger obstacle….

  12. We should have got surplus Dutch or German Leopards years ago, instead of the PT 91M, period. But politics came into play yet again and we are stuck with the PT 91M. The problem with the PT 91M as I see it, is that apart from maybe fitting it with bar armor around the rear of the turret and the rear and sides of the engines to protect against shoulder fired weapons, not much upgrading can be done to its armour. Other improvements that can still be done is providing the commander with a thermal to provide a night hunter killer capability at night and perhaps am OWS. To operate another type of MBT now would be silly as Kor Armor has nether the logistics infrastructure or trained personnel to operate 2 types of MBTs.

  13. Marhalim, is funding for these projects to be provided under the new budget?

    1.6 OPVs
    2. Condor and Sibmas replacement
    3. upgrade for the Nuri and Charlie
    4. the replacement for the KD Inderapura

    What about the Cougar deal? As there there is barely enough cash to cover the deals listed above, which are a priority, we can probably forget about UAVS, the army’s requirements for an SPH and new fighters for the next few years.

    Marhalim: Yes we are all waiting for the RMK10 to see what procurement programme will be funded. Your guess is as good as mine as to what will be funded. Those with LOIs/contracts will probably get the go ahead…

  14. I agree with most of the comments as i think we should grab this opportunity that lies in front of us. I think this procurement would at least fill in the gap that we have already have for so long. We cannot wait another 10 years till RM available to buy sophisticated equipments. All those are decent n we have the opportunity to get them at cheap price. So why don’t we just get the like of AS90 (upgrade it to 52 cal). As for the helis, i think its worthy to get it as we really do need them to replace our own grandpa,NURI. Challengers…we should take a serious consideration..it would give logistics problem since we already have the PENDEKAR..but since we expect the future war theater would b in urbanize area, it would be no problem for this fella to move on paved road..

  15. Speaking about AWACS, why the Russian and Chinesse solution(such as A-50M and KJ-2000) has never been considered? They offer some cheap systems on their own….

    Marhalim: Cheap doesnt mean a thing when it comes to buying weapons. Integration and long term support are more important…..

  16. In a period of required national economic reconfiguration, I do not agree on the need to expand the weapons capabilities of the armed forces. The MRCA, SPA and much of the more expensive weapons systems are only justifiable in potential conflicts that are ambiguously defined or parity concerns, rather than immediate or near-immediate needs. Only the MPSS & Nuri replacements, of which the embarrassingly public disasters that were the KD Sri Inderapura, and the Nuri crashes, are obvious major procurement priorities.

    A more palatable increase of the limited budget consideration should always be the oft-overlooked military engineering capabilities & logistics support, of which the current state of world affairs show natural disaster response requirements will undoubtedly require vast participation of the armed forces.

  17. I hope the Defence Minister is watching closely the progress of this Brits cost cutting measure and how we can make potential acquisitions out of it. Dont just stuck with politics. Too heavy or not, it will make my day to see Challengers in service. Maybe we can put Pendekar as front line MBT that goes fighting in palm oil estates or terrains that suits its weight while Challenger waits on some nice solid road waiting to pounce in case the line is breached. Not totally a crazy idea to have heavy MBTs of that weight in our inventory.

  18. H.A.S., what you mentioned is very true, in the current climate, the MAF is more likely to be faced with disaster relief operations and as I believe threats such as piracy control, enroachment of our waters, etc, rather than a full fledged war. Stuff like the MPSS and Cougar should be given a priority over other stuff. The problem here is that we can’t totally neglect other areas and proceed on the assumption that what we need can be bought in time and the men trained in time should a threat arise.

    With regards to the new fighters, whilst we obviously cant afford a large fighter fleet, nor can the economy afford it or the treat enviroment justify, fighter numbers in the RMAF are low.

  19. Fadiman76’s post brings to mind of the direction Malaysian industry towards the defence sector. The inability of the local manufacturing/tooling industry to perform defence sector requirements as evinced by the PSC-Naval Dockyard debacle and continuing incompetencies make me very disillusioned to support any case for local defence investments until the revamp of vision and local political scene are completed to root out the various corrupt maladministration (alleged & real) that hamper the local defence sector.

    I envision a 3 Crescent Partnership spanning Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia in defence joint ventures but I myself cannot find what Malaysia can bring to the benefit of 2 nations that already a much-evolved local defence sectors. This is quite telling that both nations that have their militaries infringing upon civilian governance could keep a disciplined local defence sector than a nation with civilian control of the military.

    Isn’t it quite distressing?

    Marhalim: Both the Pakistan and Turkey models worked as the Govt poured money in the early years just like the South Korea defence industry. Singapore is also another country that poured money in its defence industry and continue to do so. Ours floundered due to “national” interest and not the armed forces!

    I believe the Pakistan defence industry is floundering mostly due the US intervention. Apart from the Pakistan Ordnance Factory which make guns and ammunition the rest are dying slowly due to the fact that the US is pouring in billions in cash and hardware. They will not be in a position to help us in terms of manufacturing or R/D. The Baktar Shikan and Anza were the result of the time when they cannot get US hardware.
    The only thing they can help us with is the A-bomb technology but I dont think they will dare to export the technology. Moreover if they were willing, I guess the Middle East will become their first customer.

    As for Turkey, the defence industry will also be in real trouble if the govt starting cutting back on defence expenditure although with an active insurgency, the Armed Forces will continue to get their share. Most of the defence companies there are either American owned (Nurol is BAE Systems after the take over of United Defense) or have American partners. Singapore worked with Otokar to develop the Bionix although I think the Turkey version has yet to be developed.

  20. The only Malaysian company which has actually exported ‘made in malaysia’ stuff rather than assembled in Malaysia foreign stuff, to Asian customers and a NATO country, is Metrokoats [spelling?] with its IR paint and IR resistant camo nets. For some reason, the AV4 which I feel is a well designed vehicle, ideal for motorised and 2nd line units, has not been adopted by the army.

    There are many reasons why the Pakistani and Turkish defence industries, apart from better management, government support, etc, are doing better. Both countries have something we don’t,… a clear defined threat and economics of scale. Apart from the Anza, Bakthar Shikan and RPGs, Pakistan has also rewired our MM 38’s. The first custo,er for Pakistan’s A Bomb technology was North Korea.

  21. However, their floundering defence industries dependent upon their respective government investments can be supplemented by foreign nations interested in open partnerships which are more flexible and cost-effective in developing their own local defence and concurrent manufacturing/systems/R&D sectors. Buying 2nd hand stuff may be cost-effective in the immediate period but not long-term.

    Of course, that alleged “national” interest could become true to the sense of its word by a change of the “national” political leadership.

    Marhalim: Its not an alleged “national” interest. It is the real problem with the Malaysian defence industry and in society at large.

  22. Relying on the private sector to develop the defence industry has not worked well here.There is reluctance on the part of defence industry players who have been awarded with lucrative government contracts to invest on R&D to develop new products that could make a difference in the regional and global market.Uncertainty, stiff competition, lack of expertise and slow return on investment are some of the factors that contribute to the failure of the private sector model. No local defence company has produced any defence system/product which we can proudly claim to be 100% Malaysian.Our experience in counter insurgency warfare should have resulted in new defence products that we could sell to the world. The private sector model should be reviewed as it is costing the country RM billions if not trillions, and yet nothing to show in its ability to produce any credible defence system/product that we can proudly claim as a truly Malaysian invention.

    Marhalim: They are not interested in making products instead they are more interested in lining up the pockets. There is no shame in making something that is invented elsewhere as long it enhanced the capability of Armed Forces and make some money for its producer. But our problem is that the producer makes tonnes of money while at the same time the Armed Forces goes backward…

  23. I am not kidding, we should learn the way how Sudan develop its defence industries.With the full support of its government, Yarmouk Industries is fully established to manufacture all the basic items needed by the Sudanese Infantry/Artillery, such small and medium calibre ammunition, AK47 rifle, RPGs, 7.62mm Machine Guns, 82/122 mm mortar and 122mm artillery.They are not dependent on foreign supplies for these infantry/artillery items.We should look at the Sudanese model if we care to be fully independent in our basic defence needs.To be fully self-sufficient in our defence needs is a must if we want to have a credible military deterrence.

    Marhalim: So we are not too advanced than Sudan then……..

  24. Sudan, like most countries, still has to import various raw materials [chemicals, steel] to manufacture ammunition, just like SME, so it’s not 100% dependent free on foreign sources. In theory, Malaysia is self sufficient in small arms ammo as SME manufactures [or produces under license]
    small arms ammo, grenades, etc. Whether SME’s ammo meets NATO quality standards is a different matter altogether….

    And why the mention of Pakistan and Turkey for collaboration in the defence industry? What about South Korea?? South Korean is in much better economic shape, has a government who’s policy is dictated by civilians rather than the military and has companies that are more than willing to engage in joint ventures with Malaysia. Another plus point is South Korean shipyards are much more capable and have a much better track record than Pakistani or Turkish yards.

    Marhalim: Both Pakistan and Turkey are Muslim countries…Simon says SME assembled grenades and other stuff, apart from the small arms ammo….

  25. Azlan,

    SMEO has to import all all the needed raw materials including propellant to produce the 5.56mm, 9mm and .38 ball ammunition.As for medium calibre ammunition, SMEO merely assemble from imported components.

    Marhalim,

    Yes, in my view Sudan Yarmouk Defence Industries model is much better than ours.

    Marhalim: It will be very interesting if I get the chance to visit the factory especially the AK-clone one….

  26. Marhalim,
    Yarmouk Industries has the machines to produce small and medium-caliber ammunition, AK47 rifles, RPG, all sizes of mortar tubes up to 82mm and mortar/artillery ammunition up to 122mm caliber.Malaysia does not have this kind of manufacturing capability.The government must create similar model and invest money and man power, at least at the minimum, we have the basic stuff and not be controlled by other countries’ embargoes.
    Rifles with ammunition in the hands of every able bodied man will go along way to sustain national resilience!

    Marhalim: Yes perhaps Yarmouk Industry is better than ours. But you must remember that it is a state owned entity. Almost all of our defence industry are privately owned or in the case Boustead, a GLC. And profit is the name of the game, especially their only customer is the Malaysian Armed Forces. Furthermore, they can always count on “national interest” project.
    What we need to do is to figure out how to sustain these defence companies. There is the US and UK model, private and profit oriented and also the Singapore model, government owned, nationalist oriented. I believe the Singapore model is probably the best way to go as we do not have a huge military nor a huge export market to rely on.
    But the Singapore model only survives due to a much higher defence allocation. Are we willing to do this?

  27. Why do the Mindef or defence thinker of malaysian should thinks the best way to intergrated or equiped our armed force with more practical, technological and easy maintances equipment that suit to our warrior, dont talk about money about but make it for our country long term investment, to protect our country is not silly thing, we dont know whos is our real enemies, it could be in side or outside, our leader is realy know the matter or not, i not sure, our people should be protect, with people they is no nation. To our leader better think wisely in make decision to get the defence equipment.

    Marhalim: Money is important but using money smartly is more important. We have been very careless with our money, whenever it is available. For example ,what we got for some RM6 billion or probably RM8 billion? Six glorified boats which are not here nor there. Too expensive to be a patrol boat but too lightly armed for real combat.
    The main priority is always short term gain and never in the long term. Thats why we are so behind the curve….

  28. How much to set up a line like that? How do you amortize the cost over a paltry number of units for domestic consumption? Look at the goat rope that was the AUG line. Our AUGs were 2x the cost of Austrian guns even when the taxpayer paid for the plant and IP.
    Yarmouk etc. are driven by the fact those countries are pariah states and cannot buy on the open market. Their costs are entirely artificial and bear no resemblance to a real market economy.
    Compare SMEO with PPU(prvi partizan) in Serbia. They have gone from all domestic to mostly export and made an assload of money as a result.

    Simon

  29. Like buying the expensive military stuffs, building a defence manufacturing capability is a sunk cost.The P&L account does not apply here.

    Those critical manufacturing plants must be under state’s control.Our military resilience remains hollow if we do not have the infrastructures to produce the basic items needed by our soldiers.Only the government can do it, and not the private sector which has failed us miserably.

    Marhalim: Yes but it must be done correctly so as not to enrich some people but at the same time reliant on the government for funds. The P/L remained important as we need to know whether the money is spend correctly or otherwise …..

  30. It wasn’t that surprising. Public support to our defense industry is very low thus leading to low advancement. Most Malaysian just too ignorant to give any support ot both defense indsutry and the armed foces. Being an engineer myself, most techies in Malaysia just doesn’t want to work in the arm industry for religious and “no war” beliefs. This lead to a brain drain thus backwardness of the industry. Unlike the South Korea and Singapore, where the industry were as luxurious as the oil and gas industry.

    In any country, an unpopular industry meant slow development. In my opinion, making armoured vehicles and warships in Malaysia is not that hard nor expensive as in paper. We already have the industrial know-how for these. Just like Korean Daewooo Industry that make warships (Daewoo is car and cargo ships manufacturer just like Proton and MISC). Lack of interest for these corps to joint the fray is an obstacle to the advancement of the arms industry. Do you really think Malaysia with all its high technology industry can’t make a simple rifle of our own? People just doesn’t want to get involved.

    Marhalim: with the right people, money and vision, Singapore and South Korean were able to develop a world class defence industry within two decades, about the same time we were also making the same noise. Both have different take on the matter, Singapore remained a state owned company while South Korea goes for the private industry route. Both are working well. We followed the South Korean path and failed miserably not because we do not have the money nor technology but we placed our trusts on the wrong people. The vision was there but the guiding hand was only interested in showing the way….

    Yes I dont think we cannot design a good rifle, because simply we do not have the mentality for firearms. People still regard firearms as something for the police and military, who themselves for the majority regard them as a pain.

    Do we have the right technology, yes. Do we have the people to do it? Yes. Do we have the money to sustain it for long term? Probably not…..

  31. Undoubtedly, Turkey, Pakistan and Sudan has for the past few decades invested in their defence sectors due to military dominance over their governments and low-intensity conflicts. And post-Yugoslavian countries, especially Serbia, has local defence manufacturing capabilities prior to their break-up.

    Our national defence sector problem is entirely made up of the ridiculous mismanagement and lack of real vision that oddly enough, the principal instigator is now at the top of the leadership chain. How do we expect it to get any better?

    Hilariously, it is a good thing we are unlikely to face expansionist or seriously-deranged neighbours anytime soon, and have our own piranhas whittle away at the rakyat until all that’s left are bones.

  32. Marhalim, with regards to defence collaboration
    religion should not be a determining factor in who we form a partnership with. The South Korean defence industry is miles ahead of Pakistan and Turkey and thanks to a better economy, South Korea is able to offer us better financial terms. Whilst there is no disputing that Singaporean defence companies
    have progressed tremendously over the years and are many years ahead of us, it will interesting to see how much success they get over the next few years on the export market. I’m not sure if its still the case but in the past, it was well known in the industry that Singaporean gear was pricey….

    loreng, we are not Finland. Issuing an M-4 to every able bodied male would be a recipe for disaster and would do nothing to sustaining national resilience. For a start, perhaps we should ensure that there is enough funds to regularly send our troops to the firing range?

    Marhalim: We do not allocate enough funds for defence to have a mandatory national service like Switzerland or Singapore.
    Singapore defence companies do not need an export market as long as the government continue to be its godfather. Any success is regarded as a bonus and a source of national pride. But being Singapore I bet that every sen is counted, and every year they try not lose as much as the previous years….

  33. Public support= Govt support = Investment. This is always the equation for any industry.With great investment, setting up a sustainable armed industry is not a dream.

    I do believe that we should established a state-owned enterprise for our arm industry. A state-onwed enterprise in Malaysia has always had strong govt support and investment. Rather than focusing on high-tech weaponry, we should focused on weaponry that is easy to fit with Malaysia’s commercial industry; small arms, artillery, warships, and armored vehicles. Rather than R&D our own design, we should just licensed manufactured the products with a foreign partner(no to AV8 module, it will only benefits the companies rather than the country they served. On another note, this is MALAYSIA). Turkey, South Korea, Poland, Serbia, Pakistan and Slovakia will more than welcome our proposal.

    But the prob remains with public and govt support. If only we have a National Service just like Singapore. It will raise public support tremendously thus pulling in the govt. People will understand more on our security climate better. If only that our current govt aren’t to fixated with politics. Politics is a bigger concern than running the country rite now. News of our islands dispute with China and Indonesia at South China Sea never made it to the news. Even though they were covered by most foreign news media. Govt censorship is making our people ignorant to reality…

    Marhalim, any news on a new MBT regiment to augment the PT-91M? i hope they decide for another regiment of PT-91M, buying a different tank will complicate matters. we just doesn’t have enough for an armoured brigade.

  34. the issue why the public is not receptive to spend a lot of money on defence is that they do not trust that the government will spend it wisely. For every major arm purchase, there are always linkages to some crony ripping off the public. Just take a look at the NGPV project and the submarine project. So why should they public believe that for future large expenditures, thing would be different?

  35. Anyone here have any latest news about the Malaysian Defense Industry Council development? or is it only a white-elephant?

    Anyway, the next Tuesday visit of the US secretary of defense is the most important visit for all of us the local defense scene observer. He will be here on a two-day visit to strengthen our bilateral military-ties. Hope something very good will happen.

    Dear Hazwan, yes, Malaysia does have the capability to develop many sophisticated defense equipment. And yes again, we already have our own assault riffle which is the not so popular VB Berapi L06 AR which is the brainchild of the Vyktar Prykhodeka, a Russian that reside which is being produced by the local defense company, VB Berapi.

    Yes, you are correct again. Malaysian mostly have their biggest concern in politics over other things. Not to blame the govt, but according to my long time observation, the way our people think is like, we don’t need such a sophisticated and shining armed forces to protect our country since we are no longer in the war time and they are not aware about the Spratly issues since they are more concern about politics and some love to make chaos by protesting over silly things here and there.

    But there are still many problem if our govt doesn’t limited (I am not saying censored since we can still read about this issues in the mainstream newspaper) the spread of such news, our people will be in worry 24/7 and it will not be good for economic sectors.

    Well, I don’t think we should have military conscription like the Singaporean did which is 30 month. Even a 3 month National Service in Malaysia receive quite many complaints from the people, a 2 years conscription will be a nightmare for the government and especially the parents in every aspects. They have to increase the budget for the basic needs of the trainees and many more unimaginable things thus will limit the development budget for the armed forces.

  36. I say, we should note that our nusantara neighbour already making progress with US and may, very big MAY, get 24 ex US air force block 50 f16 for free but they have to pay the refit cost/upgrades, at estimated USD15 to USd20 million a piece.

  37. Dear Syameer,
    Yes i agreed with you that we don’t need the 30month conscription just like Singapore. What i try to say is that there is a need to publicize defense related matter to raise public awareness. I merely said that conscription is the most effective way, just like in Singapore. National Service in Malaysia should be “militarised” raise to 6months to raise awareness.

    On the thing about censorship, the govt should at least released more info on issues such as Spratly and Ambalat rather than shutting up about it. They were too little info released to the public thus leading to low public awareness to the situation. Look at Indonesia and China, the media cover the issue with depth(even i had read their articles online, and the details is amazing). Raising public awareness will greatly help the development of our armed forces and defense industry….

  38. You do realise that the taxpayer got screwed the first time round on the AUG line. We paid for a new GFM hammer forge and got the old one from Steyr. It worked but we got shafted.
    VB Berapi….is a scam.
    I just don’t understand why some people think that the nation needs vast amount of military equipment and capabilities it will never use, cannot afford, cannot sustain etc.
    Kalah tak apa, gaya yang penting.

  39. Well said MR T, the taxpayers get screwed by the government again and again, a situation made worse by a military leadership who have no spine. To save SME we embarked on the M4 project barely 15 years after the deal with Steyr was signed…… Have no fear, the ‘besi buruk’ buyers will make SME a good offer for the hammer forge and other stuff which is now collecting dust.

    Hazwan, has it ever crossed your mind that perhaps kerajaan does not want to raise public awareness too much lest the public start asking more uncomfortable questions regarding defence? What else info is there to be released about the Spratlys? Despite it being just a part of Malaysia as Labuan or Taiping, we have no way of defending Layang Layang and our other claims, if someone makes a serious effort to grab it or declare a maritime exclusion zone in the area, forbidding our ships from entering.

    The Hawk fleet is to get a new RWR. First new engine panels in the cockpit, then a contract with BAE for spares, then an overhaul of the Adour engines ny Rolls Royce, it seems the RMAF still likes its Hawks. Marhalim mentioned a year ago that there was interest in fitting the Selex Vixen radar on the Hawk 200s. Apart from the problem of finding the cash, the Selex has yet to be integrated on the Hawk 200.

    http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/…hawk.fleet.html

  40. Syameer, pls provide further details about the sophisticated weapons you claim Malaysia can produce. There is a marked difference between manufacturing or assembling under license like what Deftech and SME does and actualy producing weapons with the ‘Made in Malaysia’ tag.

    Marhalim: The VB project is almost over. It was never really adopted by the powers-that be so it will die a natural death.

  41. On one note, VB Berapi is a total scam. How the heck and for a what a purpose it was born? I don’t know…

    Azlan, kudos to you. The govt was the cause to all the mess that we call the arm industry and local media. The current govt just like to tell people that all is fine, eventhough that wasn’t the truth.Like this year economic review, they said our economy grew 3% last year, but why does IMF said our economy shrink 1.5% in the statement. Who do you gonna believe? Ignorant will be the death of this country.

    On the Spratly issue, we should have just place a permanent fighter squadron in Labuan, not just on rotation basis. Maybe we should “persuade” the American to give us used F/A-18s to augment the squadron in Butterworth and raise another squadron to be based permanently in Labuan under 2nd Div. If we said we want to screw China with those jets, they will more than gladly to give us those jets for free….

    Selex Vixen on Hawk 200s, that’s interesting. Wouldn’t those AESA radar made the Hawk an MRCA capable of precision strike (ie equipped with air to surface missile)? Maybe we can operated them like the Tejas LCA…..

    Marhalim: We dont have enough air assets or the manpower to have a permanent presence in Labuan. There is no F/A-18s from the US to give to us. we need to buy them second hand from Canada…..

  42. What does STRIDE do? test labs,wuality checks or do they work on new technologies or weapons systems

    Marhalim: There was a project to manufacture missiles most probably with the cooperation with Pakistanis but Stride lack the funds nor the clout to do anything else. Stride in my opinion should be the lead procurement agency of the Armed Forces like the rest of the world but as usually we mucked up….

  43. If Najib’s govt transformation works,then maybe at some point it will also impact defence.
    Wishful thinking? Maybe but most countries have bigger more scandals than we have from independence to 2010.

    Its not lost, we still have lots of good points to expand on.

  44. Marhalim, sorry for the diff posts.

    does joining a particular wataniah regiment like the one in melaka,help get a possibilty to join the brigade para?
    do u know of anyone from wataniah to briged para to RGK?

    Marhalim: This is not official but I guess you must join the full time Wataniah, now called Border Regiment before you can try out for Para and then maybe you can try out for GGK. But I guess its better join the regular Army before trying out for Para and before moving on to GGK.

  45. Hazwan, there used to be a pemanant Hawk presence at Labuan but not anymore as they were hard to support because the ground infrastructure was at Butterworth. Now the Hawks are only operated by 2 squadrons.

  46. Hazwan, not sure about Berapi being a scam but I’m pretty sure they will sell next to nothing. I don’t see the rationale behind Berapi however. The first CO of MALBATT in Cambodia is employed by Berapi and is a decent man, that much I can say.

    On the Hawks I would think they still have a useful role to play as point interceptors and light strike aircraft. As you can see from the links below, kerajaan has been spending a bit of ringgit on the Hawks these past few years.

    http://www.lienmarchecnx.com/fr/releases/archive/July2005/06/c9062.html

    http://www.rolls-royce.com/defence/news/2009/130509_malaysian_adour.jsp

    http://www.baesystems.com/Newsroom/NewsReleases/autoGen_107115103418.html

  47. Why Mindef n RMAF didnt setup any fighter sqns 2 be based in sarawak n sabah, ist this 2 states is not so importance? pls reply sir?

    Marhalim: I have no idea, I am guessing that they did not have enough planes….

  48. Dear all,

    Again i am just an arm chair general, but IMHO spending almost RM500 million on the hawks upgrades (GBP75 million on engine overhaul and maybe GBP25 million on new RWR) may not be the best solution for the cash strap airforce of Malaysia.

    It was quoted/rumoured that russia went for the SMT upgrades on 180 of its legacy MIG 29, estimated to cost around USD10-USd20 million a plane. As a MIG lover, i would have thought that the MIG would be a better choice to be upgraded. But then again i may be wrong.

    Marhalim: Yes upgrading the MIGs are cheap, its maintaining them that its costing us dearly. There is no problem about commenting about defence here..

  49. Not only are there not enough fighters to be based in East Malaysia, placing fighters there on a pemanant basis will lead to lower servicebility rates as the support infrastructure is based in West Malaysia. There used to be a pemanant Hawk detachment in Labuan but not any more.

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