SPH Delayed

PUTD AW109 M81-05 carrying the Army flag on Jan 26, 2017.

SHAH ALAM: SPH Delayed. The plan to buy the M109 SPH for the Army has been deferred due to the current budget crunch. The timing for the purchase remained uncertain and will depend on the final approval of the government, Army chief Jen Zulkiple Kassim said in an interview ahead of the 84th anniversary of the Tentera Darat today (March 1, 2017).

The government signed the LOI for the ex-US National Guard M109s at the DSA 2016 and it was envisaged that the contract would be signed before year-end. For more on the plans to purchase the SPHs go here.

Static display at Army museum at Port Dickson from today, March 1 to March 7.

Zulkiple said although the SPH would be transferred to Malaysia for free, the cost of transporting and upgrading the vehicles were still beyond the current budget. The decision to defer the M109s was the same as the cancelled Brunei Blackhawk deal.

Army FAST helmet with side armor.

Fortunately, the other contracts signed at DSA 2016 like the FAST ballistic helmets and simulator system are going ahead as confirmed by Zulkiple.

US Army cadets train with the DSTS system during Cadet Summer Training 2015 at Fort Knox, Ky. The DSTS is now operational with the Army.

As for the MD Helicopters MD530G light scout attack helicopter contract, Zulkiple confirmed that the aircraft will be delivered by year-end or in early 2018. .

A PUTD Nuri helicopter carrying an Oto Melara 105mm pack howitzer for the firing exercise.

The Army Air Wing will also be receiving 12 Nuri helicopters from RMAF as announced at LIMA 2015. Four Nuris are already operational with the PUTD with another four expected to be delivered this year while the extra ones are expected in 2018. No decision has been made on whether these Nuris will be fitted with digital cockpits planned for RMAF’s aircraft.

A digital camo Nuri of the PUTD at the opening ceremony of the Johor Military Force camp in Johor Bahru, in early April, 2016. Johor Southern Tigers photo.

The army chief also confirmed that the Ready to Deploy Battalion is the unit promised by the Prime Minister for future peacekeeping operations under the United Nations banner.

7 RRD soldiers at the ready during the UN inspection on Feb. 17, 2017 inspection. BTDM

As for the Gempita 8X8 APC, Zulkiple – in a reply to written questions from Malaysian Defence – will be delivered in stages until 2020. He declined to reveal the numbers already delivered but stated that it was according to the schedule.

The 19th RMR ATGW Gempita.

He however declined to identify the units that will operate the Gempitas apart that it will be one mechanised and two armor units.

Gempita AFV30 variant of 1 Kor Armor Di Raja seen at the Kuantan airbase at the PAT first order on Jan 24, 2017.

For the record, Malaysian Defence had reported that the 19th Royal Malay Regiment (Mechanised) and 1 Kor Armor Di Raja are operating the Gempitas though the latter has just transitioned to the 8X8s only recently.

An Army Lipanbara MRAP vehicle.

Zulkiple also declined to name the units operating the Lipanbara and the numbers already delivered. He however confirmed that the Dillon M134D mini-gun is the primary weapon of the vehicles.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2187 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Delayed??thought so…with light scout attack helicopter and gempita it will be miracle to get SPH early. hopefully we can get M109 SPH as soon as possible.

    MR Marhalim, is there any news about MRSS or LMS for LIMA?

  2. We should just use the FH-70s, replace the barrel with a new one and put it on a 5 ton truck or something

  3. Off topic. Just wanted to highlight the static display at army museum Port Dickson from today to 7 March.

  4. Many thanks for the follow-up on Gempita. Army playing TOP SECRET STUFFZ again.

    Sigh… think we’ll miss out on the SPHs? Oh well, its true that our entire nation is experiencing budget problems.

  5. The army blown millions on the few lipanbara when used MRAPs from USA can be bundled together with the SPH for less cost in total than those lipanbara buy. Well guess that Excess Defence Articles spend would not have any “national interest” trickle down to local businessmens.

  6. I don mind Gov/Army just cancel old M109A5 from US, better save money get other new SPH in few year later.
    i’m support wheel SPH.

  7. Stuff bought from Uncle Sam indeed needs approval before it can be sold/transferred/donated to a 3rd party BUT whether or not approval will be given is pure conjuncture ……. It’s not as if the Saudis are giving us their E-3s or other stuff containing technology currently not available to any ASEAN country.

  8. On schedule is abnormal to us, but delayed is normal for us, I dun think we will hv any massive procurement at this time. The GE expected will be held in this year and at end year probably. Any massive purchase will significantly negative impact to the current government. Political issue again significantly impact for any decision make. So that’s us..apology for my thoughts.

  9. savvykl,

    Profoundly unimportant whether the SPH’s are new, pre-used, tracked or wheeled ….. There are other far more important issues to be addressed.

    Pre-used M109s are good to go for at least another 20 years; age is not a vital concern but the hull, engine and OEM support. As for wheeled or tracked : both have their respective merits. I’m more interested in how we deploy our future SPHs to work in tandem with existing assets.

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