AV8…What Others Are Saying…

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Defence’s position on the AV8 is clear. Just Say No! to the AV8. Many others says otherwise and well, lets just say we agree to disagree.

But others, like the people of Defense Industry Daily is also saying that the AV8 is simply too expensive. Here is what is they are saying about it. And by the way, by quoting their comments here, I am not endorsing what they are saying, but just putting across what the authors think of the programme.

From Defence Industry Daily.

“The Malaysian army had expected to take delivery of a prototype AV-8 APC for testing in 2011, followed by deliveries from 2012-1018, but they didn’t sign the contract until mid-2011.

That usually means project delays. One mitigating factor is that the AV-8 contract builds on past relationships. Malaysia’s air force and navy are significant BAE clients, and Malaysia was already an FNSS customer as well. A series of contracts signed over 2000-2008 led to orders for 268 Adnan tracked vehicles, which incorporate design elements from BAE’s M113 MTVL and FNSS’ ACV-300 variant. They serve in roles including APC, IFV, ambulance, command, mortar, anti-tank, and armored recovery variants.

Overall project budgets for Malaysia’s “AV-8 APC” sit at RM 7.55 billion (about $2.51 billion), well above the $559 million going to FNSS and BAE. The question is why.

Statements to date have tried to justify it by citing development costs, but beginning from a complete platform like FNSS/BAE’ Pars 8×8 should keep those low.

Some of the extra $2 billion comes from the fact that this is an industrial project that’s paying to enhance a local industry and make a regional statement, rather than a straight purchase aimed purely at meeting military needs. Setting up that industrial infrastructure, training workers, and ensuring technology transfer does cost some money.

Then there’s the fact that Malaysia is best described as a partly-free country, where corruption is not unknown. Setting up the local industrial and support infrastructure offers very convenient opportunities to enrich political figures tied to sub-contractors, a practice that’s extremely common in the Middle East as well. There are also credible reports of straight corruption and graft in Malaysia’s previous major defense buys, going all the way to the very top of its political structure.

The question is whether Malaysia’s current political arrangements offer much in the way of countervailing accountability. History suggests that they will not.”

Yes I know a lot of people will have their panties twisted with the second last paragraph. But its must be said it is the perception of the authors, mostly due to the Scorpene affair. Mind you it is not just limited to DID. You might not see it in respected trade journals but if you speak to anyone in the industry most would say the same thing.

As for me, I have yet to be convinced by lame explainations why we must spend close to RM8 billion for a wheeled AFV when an off-the-shelf vehicle would cost half of that amount. As whether or not, it is graft, I do not have the evidence to say so.

–Malaysian Defence

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