KUALA LUMPUR: Since we are talking about planning for the future, Malaysian Defence would like to list a few items that perhaps could be included in the armed forces procurement plans once the economic crisis is over. We understand that no one knows when the economy will be back on track but instead of waiting for the day its better to start the planning now for the 10th Malaysian Plan and beyond. This is not an Orbat but it may well lead to one. Due to budget restrictions, not all of these items could be procured within the confines of the 10th MP. It will take at least two decades to recover from mistakes done within the last 20-odd years. The platforms listed here could be changed or upgraded based on the circumstances as long as the goals are fulfilled but it will take great financial and political discipline not be to be sidetracked as we had mistakenly did in the past.
Goal: To become a truly modern army, able to win local wars, and if needed, regionally. Able to participate in multi-lateral force, in the right circumstances.
Upgrading the army is the biggest headache of course since there are so many things to replace/upgraded due to the multitude of dubious procurements within the last two decades which unfortunately only offered a small upgrade in capability. As Malaysian Defence believes the current army set-up is archaic and ill-suited for open war and insurgency, the army needed a total revamp. The wish-list below might seemed weird but its basically a US Marine style MEU (brigade size) force. Left out are the soldier’s individual weapon system as it would take too much space. The list below is for one Malaysian Army Brigade with two infantry and one combat engineering battalions backed up by an air wing and logistical support.
Cost? Around RM7 billion
40 Light Strike Vehicle for utility, fire support (mortars, ATGM and machine guns)
10 EOD and route clearance vehicles
30 armoured 4×4/6X6 MRAP vehicles for troop transport, reconnaissance, C4I, ambulance, FV and patrol
20 engineering vehicles (bridging, movers and mine clearance)
6 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicles with a 105mm gun
4 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicles for reconnaissance and C4I
6 155m wheeled self propelled howitzers together with 4 fire control and re-supply trucks
15 logistics 6×6 trucks
4 VTOL UAVs for reconnaissance, sigint, elint, imint and fire control
6 light twin helicopters (AW139/149 class) for troop transport, ambulance, C4I and utility duties
2 heavy lift helicopters (Chinook class) for troop and cargo transport
6 light attack helicopters (Boeing ARH (MD500) class) for reconnaissance, fire support and utility roles.
Goal: A defensive force which is able to conduct offensive operations at will
Another revamp with most of the training asset eliminated to reduce costs, advanced flight training will be conducted overseas on pay-by-the hour deals with RMAF instructors. Only basic and intermediate flight training will be conducted locally, with private companies providing the platform with air force instructors.
Budget? RM15 to RM25 billion
3 MRCA squadron. One type of aircraft to be selected either the Su or F/A-18F. Selection will be based on the type 30-year operating cost.
6 multi-role tanker and transport (A320 class)
3 light twin helicopter sqdn for SAR, utility.
6 C-130J Hercules with the rest of the H-fleet upgraded to the same avionics package and engine package (if possible)
12 CN-235s for maritime patrol, VIP transport and utility duties
2 sqdn of MALE UAVs for elint, sigint, imint and reconnaissance duties.
2 VIP jets for the King and PM. Similar platform as the MRTT
4 AWACs. Similar platform as the MRTT.
Goal: Able to secure our borders and conduct offensive operations within the region.
All the current corvettes ( apart from the six Kedah-class) and FACs to be withdrawn from service as the newer vessels are commissioned. The amphibious fleet will be renewed with the addition of fast support vessels (at least four). As with the MMEA, the first two boats will be built and commissioned by foreign partners with the rest built locally. Additional submarines will only be procured once the rejuvenation of the surface fleet is completed.
Budget? RM15 to RM20 billion.
12 Kedah class type vessel with advanced ASW suite, ESSM and longer range SSM
16 fast missile boat, in the Stanflex class ( combat suite to be the same as the modified Kedah class,
4 fast-support vessels similar to the ones one proposed for the US Navy and Army.
Goal: Secure the coastal waters and augment the navy during crisis.
Since MMEA will be folded into the navy in wartime, it is imperative for its vessels and aircraft to be standardised as those in the other services,
Budget? RM10 billion.
14 Stanflex class patrol boats, with the same combat suite as the RMN boats, wired but not fitted with the SSM and SAMs.
24 CBH 90 combat boats for coastal patrols
40+ 26m inshore and harbour patrol boats
20 light twin helicopters (AW139/149 class) for SAR and utility duties.
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