KUALA LUMPUR: In conversations with some people over the last week, it appears that most of arms procurement in the last five years have done nothing to increase our armed forces capabilities. Most of the systems purchased have serious deficiency issues mostly related to integration issues (western and eastern system incompatibility) and lack of spares and support equipment.
Most of these have been alluded to by comments by our regular visitors and Malaysian Defence would like to confirm that most of it are true. As it would be impossible for Malaysian Defence to get an official confirmation on this important issue, please read our previous postings and visitor comments for whole picture.
Some of the arms will be officially inducted into service, although their operational capabilities will not be as advertised previously. How bad is the problem? Well it depend on the platform itself, for example, for one particular air defence system it will not be declared operational soon due to several issues. One of the major issues are the lack of trained personnel and soon, the lack of spares and support equipment for which the supplier will make a killing if they want to put the system into operational service. And it will be as expensive as the cost of purchasing the damn system in the first place. Even the warranty period have ended before the system have been declared ready and capable for operational service
Integrating Western and Eastern avionics have been vexing the armed forces since the decision to please both sides were introduced in the 90s by the previous administration. It remained a major problem and has become even worse with the army experiencing the same difficulties as with the air force.
The lack of spares and support equipment is also another worrying trend. Keen to procure arms, the armed forces had sacrifice the funds to pay for spares, support and maintenance in order for the treasury to approve the purchase. This lack of foresight is a clear example on how chaotic and misguided is our defence policy. It is also a clear indication that the life-cycle cost of equipment while in service were not factored in the procurement decision making or even worse, deliberately left out to ensure that the initial procurement cost seemed reasonable especially with the outrageous mark-ups for the local agent.
Thats one of the reason we have purchased 20-odd missiles when other countries purchased them by the dozens. The conundrum is expected to remain into the near future as funds had dried up.
In the meantime, we can only pray…
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