The Jernas on Show during the Merdeka Parade

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…

–Malaysian Defence

If you like this post, buy me an espresso. Paypal Payment

About Marhalim Abas 2149 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. If the MAF is experiencing such problems with Western stuff imagine what will happen if certain ‘quarters’ get their way and go for BIK-1M or the KSH-1. As mester t pointed out, the AAMs used by the RMAF have a shelf life. Which leaves one to wonder what will be the status of our AAMs in the future, plus the air to ground ordnance already bought or planned for the 18 MKMs. Like the Hawk 100/200 fleet, the Super Lynxs and now the Jernas, the RMAF was the launch customer.

    Some mention was made of the R-77 in a previous post. I think the recent entry of the R-77 into RMAF service was not due to to Russian reluctance to sell to Malaysia. Whats important to realise is that the manufacturer, Vympel, was facing severe financial problems which led to a long delay in developing the R-77. What saved Vympel was a large order placed by China, followed by a smaller order from India. A lack of cash and to a lesser extent, technical problems, have led to a very long delay in producing the ramjet version of the R-77.

  2. Its fashionable to blame politicans for the state of MAF. However, I think the Generals should take a large part of the blame too. Some of their “plans” sound like pure fantasy. For example, recently a very senior Malaysian General said Malaysia plans to have 8 Awacs. I nearly choked when I read that! Does the General know how many countries in the world is rich enough to own EIGHT Awacs aircraft? Then there is this obsession with Combat SAR helicopters. Even basic SAR still cant do right, they dream of CSAR!

  3. Yes, and the problem is many of the senior officers in the MAF are too busy thinking about post retirements plans [directorships and as chairmans of large companies] and playing golf to want to rattle any feathers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that all senior officers are the same. On the surface, most officers in the MAF look like perfect gentleman but being a gentleman doesn’t make one a warrior. Then again, to large extent, the MAF is a product of the environment we live in.
    Apart from territorial disputes, and threats from pirates and extremists, Malaysia does not face an external aggressor. As a result we can’t expect our men in uniform to have a ‘warrior’ mentaity. Plus, and we have to be thankful for it, Malaysia has never been in a major war.

    I believe this post on the ‘western made SAM’ is just the tip of an iceberg. I fear that a number of other weapon systems are also not operational due to a lack of product support and the reluctance to invest funds in training and maintanance. Another problem facing Malaysia and many other other developing countries, is a lack of trained technical personnel. Often when a person leaves the service or reitires, he is often one of few who specialises in a certain system. Thus, his leaving the service has an impact on the operational status of the given system.

    Marhalim: I would have liked to name each of the system that was not working but as I mentioned in the post, no one would confirmed it on officially but the list goes on….

  4. It’s easier to name what is fully operational.

    BR90 tactical bridge…..:)

    marhalim: thats one way to tackle the issue….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.