Buying Second Hand Arms…

PETALING JAYA: I know many people are against buying second hand weapons for the Armed Forces – we dont want Malaysia to be the dumping grounds for lemons – but I argue its the best option for us.

Instead of spending RM8 billion to develop, test and manufacture a new 8X8 AFV and a few billions more on other important things, we should just asked the US to donate a few hundred Strykers which they are withdrawing from Iraq. The DRB plant in Pekan could be use to refurbish these vehicles with all things Malaysian which may cost us more money but the total bill may not be as high as RM8 billion.

If do not want to go with American things, there are other options of course, every one in Europe are retiring everything from frigates, tanks and APCs. Yes, I remember the Skyhawk debacle but if the programme managers are honest people and the deal are ran handled through the exporting countries defence procurement agencies, we may be able to recapitalise our armed forces with good stuff which could last another 20 years in a shorter time than buying new ones at half the price….

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2201 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Hey even our wealthy neighbour singapore bought 2nd hand items, like the Leo2 MBT and all of its submarines, so why not Malaysia?

    Last time Malaysia bought 2nd hand item is for the laksamana corvettes, and it is truly money well spent.

    So why not buy (not getting it donated) some APC\’s from US/NATO (either the stryker or the M113\’s) and get our local companys refurbish them.

    As for the navy and airforce, we could buy 2ndhand frigates from UK and buy the Nakoda ragam\’s from Brunei; the airforce the MB339CK from New Zealand, and in 5 years time hornets from kuwait/australia/canada

    Marhalim: why must we buy we can get it for free/lease with us only paying for the refurbishment of the weapons. Of ocurse when we really need to – in the case of ATGM or SAMs, missiles etc.. we can purchase them new …

  2. I am not sure the US Military want to part with their 8 x8 Stryker following the Iraqi withdrawal.Don’t they want keep their Stryker for Afghanistan?

    Let’s do the rough figures.A new Stryker without the add-ons in 2002 was USD3 million per piece.So probably for a second hand Stryker today the cost would be around USD 1 million. Add another USD 1 miilion for refurbishment and armament, so for 4 x Cavalry Regiments the conservative cost would be about USD 800 million – USD1 billion.

    A potentially big saving, but who wants to make the decision?

    Marhalim: The US are building new Strykers with V-shaped hulls for Afghanistan, the cost of excess defence articles is cheaper lot less than what you guess-estimate. Even your guess-estimate is cheaper than the AV8 project!

  3. I doubt the Strykers should be considered as a replacement for our wheeled IFV fleet, even as 2nd-hand refurbs. Criticisms of their performance, from a mechanised infantry perspective, (as opposed to the current units which are actually upgrades from non-mechanised formations) should be worth considering.

    Whatever the case, the question relies on whether local expertise, both technical and management-wise, can shoulder the task.

  4. Nakhoda ragam no longer available, Algeria already bought them. make more sense to get the excess type 23 frigate that Uk will retire. can get it cheap but the refurbishment cost will be a bomb as these ships have been put through extensive use by the royal navy..thus the money might as well be spend on upgrading the combat system and armament for the first 6 NGPV. two sea rams at USd50 mil, more exocet 40 block 2 and eurotop torpedo (with sonar first lah).

    AFAIk new zealand is selling 1/3 of its LAV 25 bought in 1995/96. That could be an option…just my two cents

  5. Brother, need to change the whole mind set in the Armed Forces leadership. They need to engage in a real intellectual discourse on military and security issues rather than behaving like warlords walking around look important but fail miserably in ensuring the real need to develop Malaysian Armed Forces and as it is now all “cha cha marba”
    Selamat Hari Raya…..we don’t really need to look for second hand items if ‘they’ are sincere and see the bigger picture and the over aching principles and above all the national interests. Good luck brother…

    Marhalim: Selamat Hari Raya….you should know better, you were once…..

  6. The Laksamana’s were never delivered to Iraq so are technically not ‘2nd hand’. What we should have got years ago were surplus German or Dutch Leopards 2’s.

  7. If i’m not mistaken the Stryker armor is a close guarded secret. I doubt that Uncle Sam will sell it to us.

    Marhalim: They are building new Strykers with V-shaped hulls, so perhaps we can the first gen Strykers…

  8. Yes Marhalim, I may agree with you about this matter. But does the US will really give us their Stryker and for what reason? But for aircraft, I don’t think buying something 2nd hand would be useful. I still believe for aircraft, more MKMs or procure the Super Hornet or the Gripen is the best choice. No way for 2nd hand aircraft because we already had the experience with the purchase of Skyhawk.

    For the next Malaysian Plan, although only RM 8 Billion is allocated for defense, but I am quite not sure because the wishlist of the armed forces is too long. I guess, unpredictable thing will happen like those procurement of the Scorpene, Sukhoi, PT-91 all are off original budget which are allocated for the then defense budget.

    With the Navy emerging needs of more NGPV a.k.a LCS a.k.a SGPV, 3 LHD platform, more frigate and etc while the air force really need more fighter aircraft to replace the aging MIGs fleets, AEWC platform, transport aircraft and etc and not to forget the army, new APC, more artillery, mid-range SAMs and so-on, the budget is just not enough at all. Maybe we will see unpredictable procurement in the next 5 years. Let say the miniature Dokdo platform, or Super Hornet, who knows?

  9. I agree with the purchase of 2nd hand arms and asset.. BUT I think it\’s time for us to study, do more research and try to develop if not all, part of our present and purchased defence asset. Without research, we could go forward..we can\’t advance if we keep on being a user instead of technology provider, inventor and supplier. We have a lot of brains, i.e. (potential researchers turn out from 1000 of univ graduates who r also commissioned ROTU young officers in the field of science , technology and engineering) and research institutes (STRIDE), univ dedicated for defence (UPNM) other local and private univ and with the collaboration of the local defence industry and the armed forces, I believe we can have a very well dedicated and large scale defence research programme. It might take 20-30 years before we can even produced a wholly working weapon or system.

    Marhalim: Yes I agree that we do a lot of soul thinking and study first before embarking on a procurement drive. My suggestions is for the up-coming RMK10, I know its wishful thinking what I am suggesting is the next best thing of course, we should first do a careful defence review which lay the strategic outlook for the next 30 years which would be the blue print for our defence needs and guide our procurement policies, At the moment, it is more like your normal monthly sundry purchases….

  10. Salam 1Malaysia…

    The first batch of subs bought by Singapore were second hand, but their latest batch of subs are brand new..same thing goes to our Laksamana class corvettes..we bought them brand new. Even though those ships were originally built for the Iraqi Navy.

    Marhalim: All of the Singapore subs were second hand ones…

  11. Syameer,the Grippen is no go.Super Hornet F18 is a better option, as it a two-engine aircraft.

  12. Are we in a rush to acquire large quantities of defence equipment? Although our MAF is not as potent as Singapore, we are building up quite nicely. Although I agree we should get something second hand for the Army just like SAf acquire their Leopard tanks. As for the air force and navy just stick to the second batch MRCA and 27 NGPV program.

    But I understand the urgency, China is sending fishery fleets(ex Navy vessels) into the Spratlys(our side that is), hostility with neighbours over border issues(Indonesia,Brunei,Singapore and Phillipines)and unrest in neighbouring countries(Thailand) may necessitate the MAF to build up its asset quickyly before it is too late.

  13. Agreed with Guan. Several days/weeks ago, if I’m not mistaken from what I’ve read in the newspaper, someone from MINDEF stated that, our govt will change their policy from being an end-user of defense product to a manufacturer/hub for defense product which mean the tech transfer, locally developed tech, defense hubs and etc. I’m not sure of this…does anyone remember this news as I am already forgot about this.

    Dear Loreng, of course the Super Hornet is better than the Gripen but one must remember that the Gripen is the best and most economic for our air force to operate. We can get more Gripen than the Super Hornet and we can form 2 or 3 squadron with the more economic Gripen than the Super Hornet. But both of them have the cons and pros. Personally, I do think that more MKMs is the best thing to do but as I already mentioned in my previous comment, the Super Hornet or Gripen would be the best choice.

    But, before that, our air force MUST get at least 3-4 AEW&C platforms first. That must be our main priority after the Cougar’s deal and Nuri upgrade program have been sealed for the next MP for the air force.

  14. And yes, the AV8 project must be continued. No matter what happen this project must be continue as this is the important milestone in our local defense industry to start researching and manufacturing our own defense product although with the tech transfer from Turkey. This project will benefit the people as well because when the manufacturing plant is open, more workers are needed to work in the assembly plant and will give more jobs opportunity to the local.

  15. For me we should think for our on doctrin, we need study first, the equipmnt should match with our man power suitetable, knowleadge, climate and other may take in account to.

  16. Loreng, if the RMAF does get it longstanding wish of Super Hornets it will probly be single seaters. Doubt if we have enough aircrews to man both the MKMs and 2 seater Super Hornets. I would think that the Gripen is still a strong contender, especially if the Swedes add in a couple of Erieye’s as part of the overall package.

    fedhab, the RSN subs are former Swedish navy Gotland class boats.

    Marhalim, it’s ”not only like your normal monthly sundry purchases…”, it’s a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. We nedd a Defence White Paper. My feeling is that the latest tiff with our ”saudara from seberang” will cause the the folks at MINDEF to reassess the possibility of Indonesia posing a future threat.

  17. to make a rifle in this age is like making a spear in rock age. at least try 1st for god sake! how hard can it be? today we make rifle…in future maybe tanks, warships etc..

  18. “to make a rifle in this age is like making a spear in rock age.”

    So, you’re saying it is revolutionary for our nation to create a small arms industry (thus, hard)?

    We can huff about, but without the political and industrial will to venture into R&D, we DO end up as end-users. At least our FN-6 MANPAD acquisition is in a right step to acquire small rocket motor technology, if that too was too much for our local defence establishment!

  19. Typos amended in this double post:

    “RSN subs are former Swedish navy Gotland class boats”

    Azlan, that’s factually wrong. RSN’s two Archer class submarines are 2nd hand upgraded Västergötland class submarines with an AIP plug inserted. In Swedish service, the Västergötland class, when upgraded are called the Södermanland class (they are not to be mistaken for the Gotland class).

    The Swedish Navy has five submarines in the service: three of Gotland class and two of Södermanland class.

  20. Amazing. Does anyone actually believe that we are going to be able to compete with the AV8 in the world market when we cannot even sell the rather cute and ever so affordable AV4? What is the point in license producing a less than stellar 8×8 at exorbitant prices? It’s only to line the pockets of SM. Malaysian taxpayer foots the bill, he makes the money. I feel stupid even with rendang and lemang in me for the feel good factor.
    The old refrain of ‘buat kerja’ is so much rubbish. The amount of money that actually winds up downstream is pathetically small.
    We are where we are because we have allowed ourselves to accept ‘national interest’ as an overriding.

  21. SME is tied to Colt for the M4 in a rerun of the AUG boondoggle. Making rifles is easy. making half decent ones….not so much. Making them in Batu Arang…. RM800 million lah.

  22. Maybe we could look to South korea for 2nd hand ships to boost the RMN and MMEA fleet. RoK navy is building lots of new frigates, and corvettes to replace its current ships, that even the oldest, was made during the 80’s. Maybe we could get 4 of the Pohang class corvettes for the navy and a dozen or more of the Chamsuri PKM patrol crafts for the MMEA. As for newbuilds, the Gomdoksuri PK-X is a nice ship to replace some of the FAC’s

    We should look at some top notch navies around the world that have no problems buying good 2ndhand ships. Just google the navies of Chile, Brazil, Greece, Turkey to name a few…

  23. It cost the aussie USD4.8 billion or AUD6 billion for 24 Super hornets with half of it will be the growler version. Thats AUD250 million a pop. For that 1 SH we can get 3-4 MKM although the SH would be far more capable in terms of EW and weaponry.

    Though not confirmed, the Typhoon and the Rafale cost 2/3 of the SH while Gripen about 1/2 of the SH (gripen based on quotes done by SAAB to Norway 48 gripen at USD4.8 billion).

    If we are going the second hand route, why not go for the UK 2 existing carriers and convert them into LHD or LPD. we can entice the brit to give us free in return we may be order 2 new frigates from them in RMK11 heheheheheh.

    for army get the us ex M109 155mm SPH or surplus FH70 from germany. If lucky, some surplus Rapier FCS that were retired in 2005 by UK

  24. Kamal, why do you need to buy the the UK carriers and convert them to LPD’s (which is if possible at all, will be almost a new ship as the rear hull need to be totally cut out) when in 4-5 years time Italy will be retiring their 2 San Giorgio LPD’s? They are replacing those with new larger LHD’s. It is about the same size as singapore’s LPD’s but with full length flight deck, looking like a mini aircraft carrier. Buy those 2, and build 1 more similar ship brand new back here in Malaysia and we can have our 3 multi-purpose ships.

  25. kamal, Saudi offered us some surplus FH70s years ago. The problem with getting FH70s is that they are of a different calibre than the G5s. Ark Royal and Illustrious will only be retired in a few years, assuming the Queen Elizabeth class is not canceled or delayed. Buying these ships might be cheap but converting them will cost a lot.

    OPSSG, thanks for pointing out the mistake.
    I frequently get confused between the Gotland and Vastergotland, both are which are excellent boats for littoral work.

  26. Iraq’s formal request to buy 440 refurbished M113A2 tracked Armored Personnel Carriers, which would be transferred from American stocks as Excess Defense Articles. The total contract value could be up to $131 million, and would also include 440 M2 .50 caliber machine guns mounted up top, 607 AN/VRC-90E Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radios Systems (SINCGARS), plus M259 Smoke Grenade Launchers, Combat Vehicle Crewmember Helmets, publications and technical documentation, tools and test equipment, spare and repair parts, support equipment, site survey, construction, personnel training and training equipment, and U.S. Government and contractor support

  27. Buying second hand makes sense. Firstly, the item can be procured immediately and its immediately available. One source which we can look for urgent procurement would be the UK.They are due to retire either this year or the next year all their old frigates, old destroyers, not so old self propelled howitzers and also one of the not old landing ship docks. The landing ship dock is a good buy as compared to the helicopter carriers that they would be retiring.This is because the Brits are going to retire the less capable of the two units they are having now pending the arrival of their Elizabeth class carrier. The retired heli carrier are also of age. Compared to the Dock class LSD which they are retiring early, its only about 10 years old or even less.So to replace the logistic ship which was burnt is a quick fix. No need to wait for ears for a new build and cheap too .
    They Brits are also retiring about 40 u nits of their self propelled howitzers. they are good buys and we can actually replace the gun with South African guns too to increase the range even though the propelling chrges failed the UK safety test but adopted by Poland anyway.
    What plaves does Malaysia needs? Wwe need fighters which we have now.What is missing? We need close support planes and attack helicopters. Ever heard of Jaguars? They are old planes but extremely useful during the Iraq wars and a proven design.The RAF ahs retired this plane. But the Indians had bought over the license to produce this plane and production is still ongoing.Moreover being made in India is cheaper too. Thus the Jaguars would make good interdiction and close support planes. Otherwise retired A10 Warthogs may do or even the Russian SU close support plnaes may do. As proven in Iraq and now afghanistan, such close support plnaes are very important to support a combating army. No point using the sukhoisMKM to do ground bombing. Its like using a beef knife to kill a chicken.

  28. Dear Ym Lee,
    Yes you are correct about the Close-Support Aircraft matter. But, currently I believe that we already have the Hornet and the Hawk to do the job. Although the number of aircraft for this role is small, and taken into the consideration, our Hornet is not a dedicated Attack aircraft as the A-10 does, but looking at our current available budget, procuring MRCA aircraft like the Super Hornet does make a lot of sense rather then procuring a single type of dedicated aircraft like for ground attack.

    Yes, the Army does show intention to develop a squadron of attack helicopter but due to the tight budget, this cannot be realize in the near future. Well, in my opinion, I believe that this project will most probably be put in the 10th MP wishlist for the army.

  29. PEOPLE,

    Today the Austrian Government had announced that they would be cutting 50% of their armoured/tank forces.They have some pretty new medium tanks which may be interesting for us to look at. How about also considering their tanks too. It would be a cheap buy as they are even willing to scrap them. Thus if we are willing to pay scrap price for working tanks why not?

    The FH 70 of the UK would also be coming on stream but the cannon can be replaced by the south african guns.There are prototypes in place and I believe Turkey or Poland is looking at acquiring such modified systems

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