Army Media Day 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: I just got back from Gemas for a two-day visit to Kem Sirajuddin for the Army media day 2008. The event was supposed to be held in late February but delayed due to the elections.

Anyhow, this was the biggest bash for the media by the armed forces not only terms of numbers but the breadth of weapon Blhandling experience. For the first time, the Malaysian media personnel and some others, were given the chance to fire not only the Steyr and M16s. but also the GPMG,Minimi, Browning Ma Deuce. the AGL, the 203, LAW90. RPG amd gasp! the Carl Gustaf. No M4s though as they only got a small batch only and its still undergoing testing prior to issuance to front-line units.

Every one had a nice time shooting these weapons and almost the same people lined up behind two Adnans to fire the 25mm Bushmaster and the Browning. Not to be outdone, two G-Wagens were brought in to the firing line which allowed most of us to have another around pn the Browning and the AGL.

Before the shooting line was opened, a PT91M duly took the honours to fire at targets across the valley while another three fire their Brownings across the same area while two fired their smoke and gremades. They were followed by two Sibmas which duly fired several rounds from their 90mm cannons while the Adnans also showed up firing their cannons, machine guns and grenade launchers.

Was it fun? Of course, its not every day in Malaysia you got the chance to fire the RPG-7! As for me, I did not manage to get my hands on the Carl Gustaf as the rounds were limited but I fired everything else. The only bad thing about the whole experience were the fact that most of the arms were meant for people who uses their right eye to aim.

I am a right hander but left eye dominant. So when it comes to shooting long arms, I have to place the gun on mu left shoulder, only then I could aim correctly. As I did not want to miss the opportunity, I fired most of the weapons basically without aiming. The only time I did use my left eye to aim, on the Minimi, I got hit by spent rounds which blistered my right wrist and got hit in the face and right knuckle. Ah, well..

Of course, enjoy the video above of the PT91M now officially called the Pendekar. All of the tanks will be in country by year end and expected to be fully operational by Army Day next year. Perhaps by that time, they will calm down enough to allow Malaysian Defence to fire pull the trigger on the Sagem FCS.

I have edited this post to add the Sibmas and Adnan video as well. We did not get the chance to fire the guns on the Sibmas but the Bushmaster trigger on the Adnan was a tad uncomfortable for me. Perhaps it was done deliberately so the gunner wont ride the trigger too long but it sure make it harder to get a good grip on the target especially when the other side is also firing back. Thats my opinion anyway but the Ma Deuce reputation to me is highly deserving.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2147 Articles
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  1. wow, i envy u. so lucky. i wish i could have the same opportunity. btw,whats the status of M4 actually? i ve read comments on the net and watched future weapons programs, most of the comments were negative judging by the performance in afghanistan and iraq. in addition,tests conducted by the us army for its special op rifle replacements resulted over 880 stoppages compare to its competitor which only experienced around 200+ stoppages. it is almost 4 times than it competitors. if this is true,which i strongly believe, i have doubt the m4 is the best rifle available for our front liners. how could a proven failure be chosen for our steyr replacement program?

  2. The first batch of M4s are in town but have yet to be issued to front line units. We are all very concern about the selection of the Black Rilfe but the army I believed is using this opportunity to get what they want. It is the only thing that they have some control over compared to the other assets. One weak excuse given during the Army Media Day was that the M4 being a carbine was well suited for mounted warfare ie good for our mechanised brigades. I politely pointed out that the Steyr being a bullpup had a 20 inch barrel and still fit easily into the Adnan but the point was not noted by my host.

  3. I think M4 is problematic. It is accurate, no doubt, but reliability is the issue. They should choose HK416 instead, which is still identical to M4 but with some important improvement made by German engineers. The rest of the world are moving to introduce piston system instead of direct gas pressure system for their rifles which is proven to be more reliable. H&K with HK416 and G36, FN with SCAR, Bushmaster with MASADA/ACR and XCR, Belgium with F2000, Mexico with FX05, Singapore with SAR 21, French with Famas, all these rifles are piston operated rifles. These countries chose piston operated rifles for their respective Future Soldiers programs. Even the US army is beginning to switch to this piston operation for its Future Soldier program and if I am not mistaken, they will stop the production of M4 in near future. The minister said the M4 will be produced under license within the country and for export as well. I doubt the potential for exports since more and more countries are moving to introduce the piston operated rifles into their services. So why we are the only country that seem to step backwards in term of rifle selection while the rest of the world starts to switch to piston. Even our neighbours Indonesia and the most capable Singapore use this type of operation for their rifles.

  4. Thanks to you moderator for publishing my comments. Thanks for sharing some information. Btw, all my comments are my personal view based on the facts I am able to get. So,I hope we can share and exchange information or views on this matter regarding our defence.

  5. On the HK416, it was tested locally by the PASKAU together with SWISS Arms SG552 and the Swiss weapon won! The 552 is also according to the Swiss Arms rep I met in Singapore is also selectively issued to US Socom units.

    BTW, each of the Swiss gun is prices around RM7,000 which is of course the same price of the M4 which we are buying, which is way too much since Uncle Sam paid around USD1,000 (we could argue about the price for ever, but after checking commercial and USGI contract prices, I decided to use USD1,000 figure as my benchmark).

    The Swiss gun is sold commercially in the US for around USD1,200 for the semi-auto version, I guess with a large order and military discount, the US forces only pays around USD1,000 for the same gun.

    We of course, had to pay another 1 grant extra to pay for the transportation charges!!!! As for the ridiculous price of the M4? Remember what happened to Razak Baginda and Amin Shah,

    The US is waiting breathlessly for a revolution in small arms design, meaning that they will use the M4 until the Phaser or Laser gun is available, unless this is delayed indifinitely perhaps they will buy a piston rifle.

    My personal preference? The Sig chambered with 7.62 Russian cartridge, a do it all assault/battle rifle!

  6. SIG 552 is too short. the action is extremely violent and the guns beat themsleves to death within a few thousand rounds. The only users of the 552 in USSOCOM are the SEALs due to OTB isssues with the M4. The 551 is a fine gun but the 552 isn’t. Funnily enough PASKAU had not long previously bought some Bushmaster Carbon 15s, a carbon fibre version of the M4 which are really light but aren’t fit for prime time.

    The going USG price for a Colt M4A1 as of press time is USD 1,730 inclusive of spares. This was the price quoted for a USAF buy from this year. Colt Defense jacked up their prices last year.

    The SIG552 is not sold to civillians in the US in any guise. The gun sold in the US is the SIG-USA made Stg 556 which is based on the 550-series weapons but with a M16/STANAG magwell. It shoots pretty nice but has a 16″ barrel and weighs like a mofo. Also fit and finish is distinctly not up to Swiss standards. The 552 is sold to LEO/Mil for about USD 1,200.

    There’s much more movement in the small arms realm than is generally reported.

    Trying to build M4s in Malaysia will result in the same fiasco as the Steyrs because it’s being done by the same set of actors, namely SMEO under NADI. Colt will require them to produce major components such as receivers and barrels rather than buying them in and assembling. The cost of the tooling and dies will make the guns utterly uncompetitive due to the need to amortize these costs. Major subs in the US amortized these costs 30 years ago. This was why the Malaysia taxpayer paid USD 3,000 per Steyr when the Austrian units were going for half or less as much.
    Not that SMEO cares since the taxpayer is underwriting the whole effort.

    Marhalim have you found out where this allocation for the M4s came from? You will note that it does not appear anywhere in the 9MP. You will be very surprised to learn how the project came together in the aftermath of the spectacular and protracted collapse of Steyr-Mannlincher Malaysia S/B. Great story of how appropriations can be massaged and modified and how to avoid tenders and other such silliness.

    The US Army is very fond of vaporware. Every program they ahve conducted to replace the M16 has been a signal and horrible failure from Project SALVO back in the 60s, through the flawed but amusing ACR trials and the botched OICW and its bastard progeny the XM-8. This would be due to people taking PowerPoint presentations as gospel……..

  7. I have not found out from where the money came from but its certainly not from 9mp since the original deal was signed i n 2006, so it must have been cooked up well before that!

  8. The funding allocation was not for a new rifle or any M4s. It was approved for something else and then ‘appropriated’ to fund the M4 buy. But you ask…why no open competition and tender? Have to be quick to ask the decision maker about this, he’ll be retired in a few weeks…….

    I’ll give you a few helpful hints. The money was allocated in 2004….cast your mind to the announcements made at DSA that year….:). How was it possible to fly this under the radar of Treasury….? Well, for that you must ask the Minister of Finance Lah.

  9. Perhaps you were right MeesterT but nothing for sure..We can assume a lot of thing but the answers are known to this ‘people’..Maybe it will take some gut for someone to dare ask ‘him’ especially those mainstream masses to unveiled the truth about this..Otherwise, the public will not know how our money are spent by those ‘people’..

    There were many decisions that aroused reasonable doubt..We seem to overspent our money for things that below expectations..I wish they will be wiser to spend the fund..we have limited fund and yet we buy thing that are not the best..Why not,since we have limitation, we ensure that we get the best quality with that fund..

  10. Personally i prefer the punch of 7.62 with the accuracy of 5.56. It will be better if only we could manage to come up with this combination. I watched discovery channel recently where a company which manage to come up with this combination by introducing 6.8 which was said to have the punch of 7.62 and the accuracy of 5.56 and it gains my interests. Yet we still do not know the performance of this new ammo since no known services in the world have used this caliber.

  11. 6.8SPC has been extensive trialled and tested in the US and is being deployed for combat by at least one SF unit in NATO. In addition to having substantially better terminal effects than practically any other round in the class from 0-300m, 6.8SPC has also proven to be very accurate and has a pressure curve highly suitable to shorter barrels.

    What will surprise you is that 6.8SPC was proposed to the Army in 2006 to remedy the long standing dissatisfaction with 5.56×45 terminal effects but there was no response. The platform was the one shown in Future Weapons.

    Malaysia doesn’t lead. It follows.

  12. Marhalim…why didn’t you ask about the Metis-M and their success rate? Probably so he would be invited back next year…heh.

  13. It was not the lack of trying but since I am no wiser now (on the Metis-M issue) after talking with the army people at Gemas is the reason I have not written anything on the matter. Well there is always DSA next week.

    The 6.8mm cartridge is a non-starter, I believe despite the various loadings now available in the US. Personally, I would prefer to adapt the 7.62 Russian cartridge to Western designed AR like the SIG, FN or even the HK, preferably adapted for left-handed shooting of course. A left-handed Steyr AUG3 adapted to fire the same 7.62 cartridge would also be wonderful.

    Many firearm historians and analysts however stated that the most perfect cartridge for an automatic assault rifle would be the 7.62x 33mm which was developed for the STg-44, though. If I am running the MINDEF I would put both 7.62 Russian and the 7.62 STG for testing and evaluation and the best would be adopted by all services. Of course since the 7.62 Russian remained in widespread service it would probably be the favourite.

  14. Mr Marhalim,

    The Russian 7.62 AK round is a World War 2 design. It has poor long range performance and poor wounding capability.

  15. Yes, its an old cartridge but you are misinformed on its wounding capability. It will go through many barriers (including humans) that will defeat the 5.56mm. Indeed it does not have long range performance, it was never design to be LR cartridge. For that the older 7.62x54R is just as good as the 7.62 Nato even better.

    Anyway the 7.62 Russian is more than adequate for our jungle and urban conditions, it will go through any mature rubber or palm oil tree at any time without losing much of its velocity. A 5.56mm fired through the 16 inch barrel of an M4 carbine will probably be making dents on the same trees. The 5.56mm was designed to be fired through much longer barrel like the m16 to achieve its full potential and although like the AK round it will lose much of its potential after 300 metres, so even if the Russian round is older is still much better than the 556mm.

    The Russian cartridge is a 30 caliber round while the American is a 20 caliber round. Which one will make a bigger hole? The Russian cartridge case being shorter than the 7.62 Nato means it does not have as much propellant to push the projectile (bullet) accurately at longer distances, ie more than 300 metres.

    The new 6.8mm cartridge was designed to mimic the 7.62 Nato/Russian in a smaller package and better aerodynamics o reduce carry weight and increase accuracy potential. The weight issue is a big concern, as most infantry soldiers are expected to carry 300 rounds into battle. But many veterans of firefights from WWII to Iraq would tell you that they will carry as many rounds as humanly possible so reducing the weight of the cartridges is an important factor.

    Much of the poor review of the 7.62 Russian is due to the AK platform, a wonderful reliable gun which was never designed to be fired semi-auto like a sniper rifle. Put it in a platform with a higher accuracy potential, one will realised that its a wonderful all purpose cartridge.

    That said, I will go into battle tomorrow with a 7.62 AK rather than an M16/M4. Of course, if there is a Western designed AR chambered for the 7.62 Russian like the MGI Hydra, I would take it together with the AK.

    The only problem I foresee with me using the AK is that I have never seen one set-up for left-handed shooting although I do believe VALMET can do one for me.

  16. Marhalim….the poor review of 7.62×39 M43 has entirely to do with the compromises demanded of the round as a result of WWII production exigencies. The M43 has an extremely taper to the case that is designed to allow for easier extraction. This is because the Russians use a steel cartridge case and not brass, which was considered too valuable a strategic material for small arms ammunition. The taper limits the cartridge internal volume/capacity and reduces the ability of the case to take higher pressures. Typical Sovbloc M43 runs at around 45KPsi, which is even lower than SAAMI specs. 5.56 NATO runs at 60KPsi. Mk262 is almost 68KPsi.

    Steel doesn’t obturate as well and overpressuring steel cases tends to blow them up. I have seen steel case 5.56 ammo destroy rifles when they go.

    6.8SPC was not designed to mimic M43. It performs at a far higher level, exceeding even 7.62×51 ball in terms of lethality due to the short neck and violent fragging. It has a much better B.C. for the 115gr cartridge and starts at a much higher Mv (2,700fps) comapred to the M43. You can hod rod M43 using premium brass like Lapua but then you’re paying the same $$, running lower pressures, not shooting as flat and with significantly inferior lethality. During the development of 6.8SPC, the developers actually ran veryehting from .223 to .30cal variants.

    All a southpaw needs is training to work a standard AK. :).

  17. Nicely put Simon, but it remained that we need to look further than the current follow the money, a terrible affliction which continue to beset our national interest. Perhaps I am wrong to prefer the 7.62 Russian round against the new exotic rounds, but I believe we need to look deeper into our needs instead of being led through the nose.

    Aaah, Luke pass me the laser blaster……

    The only problem with an AK to me is the right-handed extraction of the spent cases… I can always fire it from the hip for the Chicks Dig It factor! But if I put it on my left shoulder all the spent rounds will hit me just like the rounds from the Minimi at Gemas, oouch…I am still carrying the scars…

    BTW, I checked my records for DSA 2004 and a certain 105mm shell contract seemed to be the only one which might have been the one you refer to in an earlier comment.

  18. Ah…young jedi, the secret to that is to tweak the ejector to eject to 2 o’clock (easy) or jury rig a case deflector to the receiver cover (hard).

    Arg….Deep Throat never had to be this explicit. Think Steyr…….

    105mm contract was kosher AFAIK. A little pricey but kosher……

  19. Wow,this topic sparks hot discussion and views. I m glad that there are others who concern and care about our national interest i.e. national defence.

    Recently, I heard that our government planned to continue sending our second so call astronaut to the space but yet to get funding. So,how can we send our second astronaut if there is no fund? Could this be included in our future defence procurement just like the sukhoi deal?

    Hmmm..what will those people be thinking, I wonder… 🙂

  20. Core Joque,

    Of course the space tourist thing is on the table. Its already in the Nuri Replacement Tender for the Mi-17 and if that does not work, it will be offered for the Army Air Wing medium lift helicopter programme.

    And if both is not forthcoming it will be included for the SAM deal which I am told the Pantsyr is also almost a sure deal. More on this during DSA next week…

  21. Yeah, I cant wait to know the new toys for our armed forces. Are you sure Mi-17 was selected for the Nuri Replacement Tender?

    Thanks Marhalim.

  22. Sorry if I confused you but I have yet to get any firm word on the Nuri replacement. What I meant from the above is that the Russians offered a seat with the ISS as part of the offset if we select the Mi-17s. And they will dangle the same carrot for everything else we want to procure.

    Anyway what ever my personal feelings about the space tourist gig, at least its an almost perfect off-set deal, we got to sent our guy in space and the Russians got the big contract. It is a far better deal than the rest of the off-sets in the past. Remember MD-3 aerotiga, the Steyr and others that have gone down the drain? CTRM maybe is a small success but at what price?

  23. I don’t want another stupid angkasawan. We’ve been there, done that and got the T-shirt. Enough of these publicity stunts and ‘shiok sendiri’ specials. They are so yesterday.

    I do want gear that will work and work, unlike say the Sea Skua, Aspide, Metis-M and Igla (they never did explain why they were 0 for 2 at a GAPU live fire ex).

    Pantsyr? Why are we buying more SHORADS? There is no funding for a SHORAD regiment in 9MP. The requirement is for a MR-SAM and it has been approved. AFAIK, the Russian contender is Buk….but the interface with the GAPU C4I is going to cost as much as the TEL sets……

    We don’t need offsets. We need discounts. And lower commissions.

  24. The Pantsyr is supposedly for airfield air defence, nothing to do with GAPU. Word is that GAPU will handled VSHORAD only, while the air force will take over ground based MR-LR AD. There is also word running around spread by an industry player that it will be the chosen VSHORAD system replacing the Starbust and Igla with the Pakistani ANZA as the MANPADs, Until this is confirm I will not name the system but its European not Russian. No word on the BUK yet…

    To get discounts we need to pay cold hard cash. So the offsets and higher commissions will go on, to paraphrase Celine…

  25. No money for RMAF to buy SAM la. Any spare allocation has been sucked up by Nuri replacement.

    MINDEF sources are falling over themselves laughing that Army/GAPU is going to OK the RMAF rampas their turf. Allocation sudah ada for MR-SAM but Army was very, very opposed to KS-1A being pushed through back channel la…..


  26. Quite surprising if the chosen VSHORAD system will be replacing Igla and Anza. AFAIR,these two systems are quite new in our inventory. Is there any problem with these systems that require the government to seek for replacement? As for Igla I still remember the test conducted during induction where it failed to launch to the dummy target since the heat signature of the target were not recognized by the system. If the replacement is true, well I think those decision, to buy Igla and Anza, were not a wise decision.

    I think we need to be more transparent with the process of our military procurement. I strongly agree the matter of our defence procurement is brought to the discussion in the parliament or dewan rakyat or whatever it is because this is also a critical important national agenda for example the American Congress.

  27. Personally, I do not believe the Igla would be replaced soon but its the old Starbust they really want to retire. The funny thing about the Anza, which they want to keep at this moment in time at least, is that Mindef has tendered for a test equipment for the missile system.

    Perhaps this is the one of the reason we are having so much problems with our weapon systems. We simply do not have the equipment to test this weapons without actually firing them. So embarrassing thing happens all the time….the Navy when they bought the Sea Skua did not purchase the test equipment to save a few bucks….

  28. Yeap, pretty funny and embarrassing. Maybe that is what we will get with the offset programs on the table and another bucks under the table. Honestly I didn’t any significant development with our previous offsets with previous procurements. Do these so called offsets helped our local defence industry well? Hmmm…I doubt that. AFAIR, most of them went catastrophic. SME, PSC-ND is one good example of how the programs went when our taxes were paid to these companies. BTW, i solute those who have courage to take their own initiative to play their role in our defence industry such as System Consultancy together with CTRM and another partner for our own UAV. This is exemplary to other players in the industry. Maybe we should take example of our southern neighbour on how they develop their own equipments for their own requirement and recognized for exports potential. How many years to wait b4 we can be like them?

  29. One problem with that thought, is that every one in power seemed to be quite defensive when one try to compare us with our southern neighbour let alone to emulate.

    One thing for sure they develop their equipment with their requirements in mind and let the export potential to sort out for themselves instead of stating outright that they want to export since when it does not happen they wont have an egg in their face unlike our big mouth wannabes…

    We must be honest about the export potential, none actually unless we want the risk of being banned by United Nations for exporting to the so-called rogue nations like Serbia, Burma and others in the hot-list.

    That is why our privatisation policy of the defence industry fails miserably even after very expensive off-set programmes. These companies cannot simply survive without govt contracts and at the same time, they seek out and hire talented armed forces personnel to do same job these guys were doing with the services. These people to be honest are…. (please fill in your own honest thoughts )

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