Down to Four

Royal Malaysian Navy Super Lynx and Royal Australian Navy MH-60R helicopters conduct deck landing exercises on board HMAS Canberra as part of Malaysia-Australia Training Exercise (MASTEX) and Indo-Pacific Endeavour 21.

SHAH ALAM: IT appears that the RMN Super Lynx fleet is down to four helicopters only. They are being used for operational and training duties. The other two are being kept in long term storage due to lack of maintenance funds, it was reported by Utusan Malaysia for the service’s anniversary question and answer session. The Q&A was answered by RMN chief Admiral Rahman Ayob.

On RMN’s future-plan for an ASW helicopter, Rahman said the service may lease new helicopters as a stop-gap measure when the Super Lynx are retired progressively, though he did not say when exactly their out-of-service dates.

RMN aviation wing’s woes is the same of the surface fleet predicament. With limited funding, it cannot move forward with the acquisition of new aircraft suited for the intended role. RMN had wanted to purchase the new ASW helicopters for the last 15 years-or-so and like the surface fleet it has been thwarted by the lack of funding.

The lack of money also prevented any upgrades of the Super Lynx fleet. Malaysian Defence had previously reported that RMN was offered an upgrade solution by Leonardo – the OEM – but it was declined due to cost (though I was not purview to the actual quote).

Brazilian Navy Super Lynx Mk21B. Leonardo

It must be noted that Brazilian Navy which operated nine older version of the Lynx – had in 2015 signed off on a US$160 million (RM713 million) upgrade programme for eight of the aircraft. By 2021, at least four Lynx had been upgraded to the Mk21B standard by Leonardo. Work with the other four will be completed in Brazil.
A Super Lynx hovering above Tunda Satu, a tug boat operated by RMN as part of a demonstration at the open day on December 29, 2022. RMN

The upgrade for the Brazilian Lynx includes new engines, new NVG-compatible cockpits upgraded tactical and navigation system; and new ESM equipment.
The FN Herstal 12.7mm heavy machine gun as fitted on the RMN Super Lynx..

It must be noted that Norway was recently approved for the purchase of six Sikorsky Seahawk ASW helicopters for US$1.1 billion (RM4.4 billion) which is much more expensive than the upgrades for the six Brazilian Lynx.
A RMN Super Lynx firing a Sea Skua missile. RMN

It must be pointed out that other customers for the Seahawk have been offered low prices for their helicopters though it must be said that the Norway ones must be as near standard to the US Navy ones hence their price.
The two Wildcats landing at the RMN Air Wing landing zone at Lumut Naval Base on April. 12, 2017. UK Defence Section photo via Twitter

RMN has also been offered the Leonardo Wildcat, the latest version of the Lynx but it was not taken up. Instead of buying the Wildcat, the government decided to approve the purchase of three AW13 maritime operations helicopter (MOH) for the RMN. Three more are expected to purchase in the near future. Even with six MOH in service, RMN requirement for ASW helicopters remains. One has to wonder when it will be funded.

— Malaysian Defence

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45 Comments

  1. Personally they should had retired some of the laksamana & FAC rather than retiring 2 of the super lynx.

    But they can’t let go of these smaller ship not until MACC get up to speed while TDM able to operate as OZ defense strategic review called it ‘in a littoral setting’. TDM meanwhile are currently a bit obsessed with armour & anti armour rather than costal battery, NLOS, himars & long range precision strike that OZ army would be transitioning into.

  2. Marhalim, the head of the RMN said ASW helicopters will come in 2026 just yesterday in the NST or Star.

  3. So the Super Lynx is down to four, what about the fennec fleet?

    Any upgrades + ASW conversions of RMN super lynx fleet will be at a lower cost than the Brazilian Lynx upgrade. Brazilian Lynx upgrade entails the conversion of an older Lynx spec into the Super Lynx configuration. RMN Super Lynx will not need engine + powertrain upgrades as it is already at the latest super lynx spec. What is needed is to upgrade the avionics + cockpit displays to the latest EFIS-type like the brazilian upgrade and add on ASW systems.

    For the latest SH-60R Romeo, that is the ballpark cost for all new customers, around a billion dollars for half a dozen Romeos. Lower costs are mostly buys of US EDA older seahawks by Israel and Spain.

    Yes the ideal time for RMN to have its ASW Helicopters is 2026.

    So how can the RMN get its needed ASW helicopters? What level of ASW capability should RMN have? All of this needs to be tied with the completion of the ASW capable Gowind Frigates with its towed variable depth sonars, which is why the 2026 date is put out. It has been widely discussed that the LMS Batch 2 will not have ASW capability. Is it the correct way forward? Or should we get a LMS that could work as a team with the Gowind LCS Frigates to perform ASW taskings?

  4. It’s the same as the LMS Batch 2 that’s supposed to be delivered in 2026. To me it is foolish to say the delivery date when the helicopter or ship when either has been selected nor contract signed.

  5. … – ”and add on ASW systems.”

    The RMN has no such intention and as has been discussed to death the Lynx has very little weight/lift capacity or internal space to carry torps, sonobuoys and a dipping sonar. ASW is time extensive and a helo may have to fly some distance to where the contact is – it can carry a single torp and a dipping sonar or a pair of torps and a dipping sonar or one may have to resort to the impratical means of having a helo armed with a pair of torps and another with a dipping sonar.

    … – ”What level of ASW capability should RMN have? ”

    Quite obviously the answer is what it has long been seeking : a ship armed with triple torp tubes [more as a self defence weapon] and a ASW suite; plus a helo configured for ASW and with the range and endurance which is needed for ASW.

    … – ”Is it the correct way forward?”

    Obviously not; just like nobody would want a hole in their head but in this case the only ”way forward” when funds are limited and trade offs have to be made…

    Zaft – ”Personally they should had retired some of the laksamana & FAC ”

    If you haven’t noticed the RMN is not in the business of retiring anything unless it really has to or can [i.e. Hang Tuah] because it has a shortage of hulls to meet its operational commitments.

    Zaft – ”TDM meanwhile are currently a bit obsessed with armour & anti armour rather than costal battery, NLOS, himars & long range precision strike that OZ army would be transitioning into.”

    Nonsense. It’s not ”obsessed” with anything; it has long wanted an improved ATGW capability. Also, understand that buying a shore based ASM is merely part of the equation. One also needs to acquire the ability to detect, ID and fix targets which are moving and trying their best not to be found and one needs to synchronise their use with other assets an services; i.e. if a RMAF MPA detects a target how fast and under what mechanism can it share the data witha shore based ASM operated by another service?

    Ideally such systems would be RMN operated. Also, ATGW weapons and shore based ASMS are two profoundly different things for profoundly different requirements and should not be conflated.

    On another matter as I’ve long pointed out [the case with the Lynxs being a case in point]; having adequate sustainment funds has long been a challenge for us and unless the RMAF is assured that it will received adequate funds to sustain pre owned 30 odd year old Hornets which will get more maintenance intensive to sustain as the age further; it will not be enthusiastic… It’ also for this reason that the RMN is very selective and hesistant to receive ”cheap” pre owned hulls.

  6. if the fund is not there.. and now seeing the way is leasing..this is not the correct way to equipped the forces.. but rather, the way to enrich the cronies, specifically leasing company. might as well the tanks will be leased too in the future.

  7. @ Azlan

    We just can’t keep hoping that the gov would increase funding. Realistically Our low taxes per GDP ratio plus the upcoming financial responsibility act put a damper on the gov abilities to spend. They had even embarked on the extremely unpopular subsidies rationalisation. Let just say an increase in defense spending aren’t coming anytime soon and even if it did, it would likely pays for localisation & thus the extra money is to pay for jobs & economics not really purely for defensive purposes.

    Abilities to make hard choice is precisely why OZ army would sacrificed a lot of their armour to pay for littoral capabilities & some of the reasons to focus on missiles is because OZ want to create a missiles production industry.

    On RMN, it’s a bit problematic when we retired our combat capabilities like the super lynx but not peacetime operations asset like patrol vessels. Patrol duties are mostly the works of MMEA and sacrificing your own mainjob to help others did their jobs is never ideal.

    Ideally RMN should be in charge of a lot of things from coastal battery to MPA. But as we seen with this rather perplexing decisions, it is often seen as a weak organisation & thus what should had been naturally under their jobscope is done & would be done by other services.

    As for RMAF, A 30 years old hornet can be upgraded & services live extended rather cheaply then the younger MKM. Obviously with the money we had we just can’t expect to have both.

  8. Marhalim, the article was in NST dated 28/4. My fault, should have been more specific. He did say the Lynx will be retired in stages and the ASW heli process will start in 2026.

  9. Realistically, it will be stuck between the Wildcat(lower end) and Seahawk(high end), so really what options do we have; NH90 is out for obvious reasons, the Merlin could be just as pricy as the MH60, Caracal/Cougar is too big to fit into LCS hangar (no folding option), maybe Kaman Seasprite if still want to go USA.

  10. @hulubalang
    “Yes the ideal time for RMN to have its ASW Helicopters is 2026.”
    Indeed but we just don’t have the money. Prior to 2026, all DE funds will go into completing the 5 LCS and the LMS2 batch. That is their priority right now. As I see it the reason why TLDM couldn’t upgrade the Lynx fleet is because they used the DE fund for the OP rehulling project or they seen the limitations of that type and prefer to use the money for a proper ASW chopper. Perhaps once the OP is done maybe they will reallocate budget for the upgrading. As it is, the LCS will likely launch without onboard ASW choppers unless TLDM rebase the Lynx onto each boat.

    Whichever the case, TLDM will need up to 11 ASW choppers, one for each LCS plus the 6 replacing the Lynx, an all too expensive proposition when each cost RM 700mil or 2x F35 5th gen jet.

    “So how can the RMN get its needed ASW helicopters?”
    TLDM will have to be realistic with their choices. The chopper they wanted we could not afford, the chopper we could afford they don’t want. Somethings gotta give.

  11. The RMN is long reconciled to the fact that it might end up with Wildcat; great platform but simply lacks the attributes needed for the time extensive business that is ASW; plus the needed internal space. Wildcat though is a great platform and is way more than just an upgraded Lynx as “…” suggested years ago.

    Merlin is not only too pricey but can’t fit in any hangar. Kaman has long ceased production of Seasprite although it was Lynx’s main challenger years ago and to sweeten the deal we were offered a pair of Kamaxs for free.

    Ideally we would have 6 upgraded Lynxs and 6 new generation helos configured for ASW. The reality is that the Lynxs will be replaced by whatever we end up buying as the RMN simply does not have the sustainment needed funds for Lynxs, 6 new helos and AW139s.

    Helos are alocated on an ad hoc basis and are not organic to ships. We buying 6 new helos does not mean each LCS will have an organic helo embarked.

  12. We will need money if we don’t have enough spare parts in stock and we need to overhaul the little amount of airframes that we have.

    In regards to the legacy hornet, and our expected use up till 2035, money will not be a major hurdle when
    1) we can hoarde all the spareparts that we need from free transfers of retired hornet fleets enough for 15 years of use from now till 2035. Australia already retired theirs and transferred quite a few load of parts to RMAF. Canada EOL would be 2032. Finland EOL 2030. Kuwaiti hornets will also come with their extensive spare parts stock.

    2) we acquire more used airframes than we operationally need. Any airplanes in need of a major overhaul will just be retired and used as Christmas tree while another unused airframe with available remaining hours is used in its place. For 15 years of use, this can be done.

    Any other air forces that did the same?

    Pakistan air force with their mirage III/5 fleet. They acquired almost all retired mirage III/5 and spareparts in the world, almost all of RAAF fleet, arab and african fleets, and even as far as south america.

    @ joe,

    Yes, for less than the price of 1 Romeo Seahawk, RMN could upgrade all 6 of its Super Lynx for ASW mission, that would be as capable as the wildcats of the Philippines navy.

    Another option, that i heard being pushed by a former lynx CO, is the Bell 412EPX fitted with ASW suite (similar to recently sold to Royal Moroccan Navy). But buying something totally new surely would cost more than to convert existing Super Lynxes.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FDwWQVYWEAAr4xg.jpg

    Future needs of RMN does not necessarily need 11-12 ASW helicopters. 6 is a good number (as not all 6 Gowinds will go out to sea at the same time), and many other missions of the super lynx can be done by the AW139 MOH and/or UAVs such as the Scaneagle. I would be happy to have 6 ASW capable Super Lynx plus 6-8 AW139 MOH (original plan is just for 5) in the fleet for the next 10-15 years.

    If RMN wants Seahawks no matter what, then US EDA DSCA route could be the way.
    https://www.dsca.mil/press-media/major-arms-sales/tunisia-refurbishment-twelve-sh-60f-multi-mission-helicopters
    There is also those of the japanese navy seahawks that is going to be retired (replaced by UAVs) that can be looked into. But those have unique japanese made ASW equipments.

  13. … – ” money will not be a major hurdle when”

    On paper everything looks sound. In actual reality things can be different.

    You will continue [as you’ve done under a different guise in the past] to highlight all the plus points. In actual reality however the RMAF is very wary and it has ample experience dealing with a tight fisted government who can shift priorities and can fail to deliver. The RMAF does not want to be put – yet again in a position where it has 30 odd year old airframes which are getting older and more maintenance extensive but has insufficient sustainment funds.

  14. “The RMN is long reconciled to the fact that it might end up with Wildcat”
    TLDM are at least down to earth and have more realistic expectations, perhaps why they got things moving as compared to TDM’s on-off SPH.

    “Helos are alocated on an ad hoc basis”
    If the LCS are expected to be multirole, it has to embark a ASW chopper during operations/patrol, regardless if its peacetime or not. A strategic shift is needed.

    @hulubalang
    “we acquire more used airframes than we operationally need.”
    Alas the only soon to be available legacy D models would be needed to setup a 2nd squadron. Any leftover from Kuwait would be single seater C models airframes, which might not be what we want (as we used twin seaters). Useful for parts but not the airframe.

    We could acquire as much spareparts we could buy but still we eventually we will need Boeing’s technician help for deep SLEPs, and Im not sure they will be willing to provide the service past the end of service period. It is likely Pakistan are doing theirs independent from Dassault support of any kind. Unlike Pakistan we are not able to perform major servicing without the principal (which is why the Hornets still needs to go Aus).

    “RMN could upgrade all 6 of its Super Lynx for ASW mission”
    They could but will be worth the money? 30 yo airframes that has been at sea often would not be operational for much longer in tandem with the new LCS soon to come. Albeit they might still do it if they don’t foresee getting ASW choppers anytime soon.

    “actual reality however the RMAF is very wary”
    On the contrary it would see the TUDM is enthusiastic to get the Kuwaiti Hornets.

  15. … – ”On the contrary it would see the TUDM is enthusiastic to get the Kuwaiti Hornets.”

    They have never been and it’s a fallacy to think so just because certain public statements have been made. They have a lot of concerns; justified ones. The sudden interest came on the part of the government but even that is waning.

  16. @ joe,

    “not be what we want”

    17 Skuadron is being reformed in Butterworth to fly the F/A-18C Hornets of the Kuwaiti Air Force.

    “30 yo airframes”

    Next year (2024) will be the 20th anniversary of super lynx service in RMN.

    Brazilian Lynx that was upgraded is 27 years old this year (2023)

  17. … – ”But buying something totally new surely would cost more than to convert existing Super Lynxes.”

    And spending a specified amount to upgrade 20 off years old platforms also raises the question if it’s a cost effective or sound return of investment as opposed to spending more but getting new – a situation the RMN has faced multiple times.

    … – ”I would be happy to have 6 ASW capable Super Lynx plus 6-8 AW139 MOH (original plan is just for 5) in the fleet for the next 10-15 years.”

    Not the RMN for the pertinent reason that a ASW configured helo is needed for the LCS. All fine that there is CAPTAS to detect contacts but a helo with the needed range and loiter time is needed to engage contacts from some distance from the ship which has been detected by CAPTAS. As such it’s a suitable helo and CAPTAS which enable an effective ASW capability; not CAPTAS with a helo with neither the range, endurance and lift capacity to have a pair of torps; sonobuoys and dipping sonar.
    The triple tubes being more for self defence.

    Short of being able to buy anything else I expect the RMN to end up with Wildcat which is a very sound platform but unsuitable for ASW which is time extensive and requires a helo loaded with crew, fuel and other things; to fly to some distance; loiter in the area to search until a firm enough contact is established and fly back. At minimum a pair pf torps is needed because it will be a bummer if only a single torp is carried and the helo has to fly back.

  18. ”If the LCS are expected to be multirole, it has to embark a ASW chopper during operations/patrol, regardless if its peacetime or not. A strategic shift is needed.”

    It has to do with the fact that there are so few airframes and that at any one time only ‘X’ are ready. Not what’s ideal but what’s practical – airframes are allocated on an ad hoc basis [same with many navies] rather than integral.

    ” perhaps why they got things moving as compared to TDM’s on-off SPH.”

    Not really. The Artillery Directorate for quite some time now has decided it wants a wheeled platform because that’s what comes the closest to meeting it’s needs. At one point it contemplated a tracked platform and looked at the K-9 which underwent mobility [which I witnessed briefly near PD] and live fire trials but priorities shifted and funding which was allocated went somewhere else. Also note that we had been offered M-109s at least twice before; the first time as far back as the late 1990’s.

    The RMN also has it’s share of ”on-offs” caused by the government.

    … – ”17 Skuadron is being reformed in Butterworth to fly the F/A-18C Hornets of the Kuwaiti Air Force.”

    Hip hip hooray but we have a history of raising units or the nucleus of units to operate things which were planned to be ordered but never were; back in 1988/89 we actually came close to raising a new squadron and selected the people that were to have been sent to Britain to train for the 8 ex RAF IDRs which were planned under the 1988 MOU with Britain.

    I have no faith [more importantly neither does the RMAF] that the government will do what’s right. We have a long history of getting kit but failing to ensure the end user had adequate sustainment funds; i.e. the Lynxs being a case in point; we got new AW139s but had ro store a pair of Lynxs.

  19. Wildcat is just a rebranded super lynx with a squared-off tailboom to make it look as if it is a new type of helicopter.

    There is virtually zero performance differences between an up to date upgraded super lynx, and a brand new wildcat.

  20. Yes that’s what you said years ago. I was under the distinct impression it was a bit more than a “squared-off tailboom to make it look as if it is a new type of helicopter”.

  21. “They are not enthusiastic with the Kuwaiti Hornets”
    Certain sources with insider info claimed that it is TUDM which are pushing the ministers to get them.

    @hulubalang
    “17 Skuadron is being reformed in Butterworth to fly the F/A-18C”
    If its true thats certainly a big shift back to single seater after close to a decade with twin seaters Hornets & MKM. It would open up to a lot more options since there are more legacy Cs than Ds.

    “we had been offered M-109s at least twice before”
    There are reasons we rejected the offer before and there are reasons we took the offer back then. Now with Yavuz cancelled, everything is back to the drawing board… again. So what did TDM gained from this on-off?

    “The RMN also has it’s share of ”on-offs” caused by the government.”
    Which could be why TLDM would have been more open to whatever is given instead of making demands. Which is why the Govt are open to giving them more resources.

  22. ”Certain sources”

    Certain sources [both serving and former]; as well as industry people indicated that the sudden push came from the government [previous one] and that the RMAF is extremely wary for the reasons I’ve alluded to.

    ”There are reasons we rejected the offer before and there are reasons we took the offer back then.”

    This issue has been dealt with in depth. Like the miniguns and other things it was a political decision.

    ”So what did TDM gained from this on-off?”

    As explained before it was not an army decision to get it; neither was the decision to cancel. Also; as explained before; the army would rather wait rather than being straddled or encumbered with something ill suited for its needs. As it stands the army [the one who actually has to operate the kit] has ample experience of being straddled or encumbered with kit due to outside interference. Ultimately the army will get a wheeled based platform which is what it specifies as coming the closest to meeting its requirements and if you ask people in the Artillery Directorate [as I have]; it was worth the wait.

    ”Which could be why TLDM would have been more open to whatever is given instead of making demands. ”

    The army did not make ”demands” but specified [as is its right and duty] to lay out what it needs based on its preferences and requirements; as has its sister services The RMN too has rejected stuff in the past and made clear its preferences.

    ”Which is why the Govt are open to giving them more resources.”

    As explained to ‘…’ many years ago the fact that the government acknowledges that the maritime domain is the modt challenged also plays and part.

  23. Hulubalang “In regards to the legacy hornet, and our expected use up till 2035, money will not be a major hurdle”

    Any available hornet would be already 30 years old. If we get it in 2025 & only intend for MRCA to enter the service by 2035 with 10 years needed for the order to be completed then we would used the hornets all the way to 2045. Keeping an already 30 years old airframe to fly 20 more years is not technically impossible but the problem is opportunity cost & ROI. would it yield a good ROI compared to buying more LCA or expedited the MRCA acquisition?.

    “Future needs of RMN does not necessarily need 11-12 ASW helicopters”

    At the navy booths at DCA, they displayed their desires for 16 ASW helo. 1 each in each LCS + 5 helo in each MRSS.

    Wildcat & superlynx are a multirole. It’s not as good as Seahawks for ASW, not as good as viper at maritime strike, not as good as Blackhawks for transportation, not as good as FARA for land recon. But we just don’t have money to buy every specialized platform out there in high enough numbers to make it worthwhile. We are better off with 12 wildcat for example then 6 Seahawks + 6 vipers.

    Joe “There are reasons we rejected the offer before and there are reasons we took the offer back then. Now with Yavuz cancelled, everything is back to the drawing board… again. So what did TDM gained from this on-off?”

    Likely TDM understand that their % share of funding would be indecline yoy as threats perception change which would mean more money for RMN & RMAF.

    Tracked vehicle are expensive to sustain & maintain and we don’t operate in the desert or artic circle to make tracked vehicle a necessity.

    SPH is nice and all and in the DWP TDM try to sell it as coastal battery but it has much lesser range then MLRS or land based NSM.

    At the end it about the ROI.

  24. ”There are reasons we rejected the offer before and there are reasons we took the offer back then.”

    I’ll tell you why….

    The first time around the priority was something else and the army was undecided on whether to go for wheeled or tracked; that’s why… To give some context a requirement first arose for a SPH following the raising on the first mechanised brigade and the expectation that MBTs were to be ordered. For reasons due to the footprint and sustainment issues the Artillery Directorate expressed a preference for a wheeled platform; enter Caesar which first came here in 1999.

    Fast forward to a few years later a tracked option was considered; enter K-9 which like Caesar underwent mobility and fire trials. In addition to sustainment costs [tracked platforms are inherently more expensive to sustain and they also necessitate the need for low loaders which the army doesn’t have enough of to begin with] another factor which coloured our preference for wheeled was the need to air lift the SPH; eventually the Artillery Directorate decided to go for wheeled; cheaper to buy and sustain and able to be air lifted.

    The 2nd [or 3rd] time M-109s were offered; like everything else offered via EDA it went via the DA’s Office at the embassy. It was passed through regular channels [the staff was an ex army guy whom I met] and was expected to go nowhere but as it stands it attracted political attention [as many things in the past] and political decision [at a time when Najib was positioning himself closely with Uncle Sam] was made to get it. Same situation with the mini guns [ask Marhalim about the Discovery Channel angle] and the Little Birds and with regards to China same situation with the LMS Batch 1s. Politically expedient …

  25. If the end point is to have an armoured brigade in the peninsula and a mechanised brigade in the east, then the requirement for the sph to be air transportable should not exist. As for low loaders, the need for more accordingly to support the armoured and mechanised brigades. We can get good used support equipment on the cheap from Japan.

    Since we use our assets for quite a long time, the engineering support must be super duper good to maintain them across 30 years or more…able to modify and keep them going even after end of support/service by the principal.

  26. Hasnan – “If the end point is to have an armoured brigade in the peninsula and a mechanised brigade in the east, then the requirement for the sph to be air transportable should not exist”

    Yes but we’re unlikely to have a mechanised brigade or a SPH regiment in Sabah anytime soon; thus the longstanding aim to have various things air portable will remain.

    Hasnan – “Since we use our assets for quite a long time, the engineering support must be super duper good”

    You mean repair/maintenance or support services.. Engineering support is for for something else.

    Hasnan – “able to modify and keep them going even after end of support/service by the principal”

    Which we have and ample experience of with various things out of necessity

  27. Our threats perception is not the same as SK or poland. The risks of another country trying to invade us ala Ukraine is very low but the risk of another country trying to use their military, political & economics might to subjugated us through coersion is high.

    Money doesn’t grow on tree. For any capabilities we acquire there are opportunity cost as it is acquired by forgoing other capabilities. Too many armoured aren’t going to do much against coersion attempt. when you have a hammer everything looks like nails. Some officers in TDM might falls for the same trapping but the likelihood of them getting their way is very low. So the assumption that the end game is 1 armoured brigade in the west & 1 mechanised brigade in the east may not comes to fruition.

    The most likely thing to happen is the amount of armour gov going to approve would be low, probably like OZ even lower than they had currently. thus it need to be air transportable, cheap to operate & move on it own without the use of low loader. This would allow TDM to safe money to acquire other capabilities particularly one they didn’t have today but important to respond to current & near future threats perception.

  28. Zaft – ”Our threats perception is not the same as SK or poland.”

    Did anyone say otherwise? Who even mentioned those countries?

    Zaft – ”Money doesn’t grow on tree.”

    There are no polar bears in Taman Negara; leprechauns in Niger and Elvis is not breathing despite the rumours. So?

    Zaft – ”For any capabilities we acquire there are opportunity cost as it is acquired by forgoing other capabilities. ”

    ”Opportunity costs”? Whatever are you on about and who are you preaching to?

    Whatever we buy must come as close as possible to meeting operational requirements; must be within the allocated budget; must be in line with strategic policy a set by the politicians and a clear appraisal must be made as to how much something will cost throughout its projected period of service. Not only that but trade off have to be made.

    It’s the government’s duty of care to adequately fund the armed services and it’s not as if the armed services are asking for the moon and sky; for the budget to be increased to 10 percent of the GDP of for the country to go on a long term war footing so we can launch a Army Group level armoured thrust to the gates of Shanghai.

    zaft – ”Some officers in TDM might falls for the same trapping ”

    Just like the RMN officers who you in your wisdom you claim see ”tunnel vision”? Do you have ample experience interacting with officers?

    Zaft – ”So the assumption that the end game is 1 armoured brigade in the west & 1 mechanised brigade in the east may not comes to fruition.”

    It is a plan… A lot of things may not ”come to fruition” and nobody suggested plans are holy writ or carved in stone.

  29. “RMAF is extremely wary for the reasons”
    Anyone would be wary of used stuff, but if new is not forthcoming anytime soon…

    “not an army decision to get it; neither was the decision to cancel.”
    Yes Im aware and as I have mentioned the SPH has became a political football, the program being on & off depending on which Govt were in power… but that doesn’t mean TDM should play along whichever direction the political sentiments blew. As I asked before, what good did this endeavour bring to TDM. They still not get the SPH and likely don’t know when. They could wait, yes, but waiting is a game. How long can they wait until its too late? And if they could want for so long, does it imply its not important enough to be a priority?

    “the government acknowledges that the maritime domain”
    Perhaps quite so, but Govt purchases have pivoted from one service to another for big buys so far; Fulcrum & Hornets for TUDM, tanks, G5 & Astros for TDM, subs for TLDM, MKM for TUDM, Gempitas & Lipanbaras for TDM, LCS & LMS for TLDM…

    “but as it stands it attracted political attention and political decision”
    Well we certainly don’t buy things from USA because they are cheap or value for money or Uncle Sam offered super friendly prices. Which is why I said there were valid reasons we refused such an offer before and there were also valid reasons we took up their offer at that time.

    “Same situation with the mini guns”
    The miniguns could be transferred over to the Blackhawks as door gunner support. Not something unheard off.

    @Zaft
    “allow TDM to safe money to acquire other capabilities particularly one they didn’t have today”
    Or to recoup capabilities lost such as heliborne transport support after the Nuri retirement, once they could get enough Blackhawks in the PUTD fleet. But more likely they will reinvest for new 6×6/4×4 APC as it is stands a higher chance to get the beancounters approval (with the likelihood of TOT & local assembly, job creation, etc).

  30. “Anyone would be wary of used stuff”

    As has been explained the issue is not whether “new” or “old” but whether it’s tracked or wheeled. Even if the army was offered a “new” tracked SPH; would and has declined.

    In addition to sustainment costs [tracked platforms are inherently more expensive to sustain and they also necessitate the need for low loaders which the army doesn’t have enough of to begin with] another factor which coloured our preference for wheeled was the need to air lift the SPH; eventually the Artillery Directorate decided to go for wheeled; cheaper to buy and sustain and able to be air lifted.

    “Same situation with the mini guns”

    I was referring to the decision which led to us buying them and giving some context in reference to the M-109s; not their actual utility…

    … – “How long can they wait until its too late?”

    Define what’s “too late”‘… If actual hostilities break out the lack of SPHs might be the least of our concerns.

    “And if they could want for so long, does it imply its not important enough to be a priority”

    The list is long and at different periods priorities can evolve; whether out of sheer necessity; a change of leadership or a political decision. SPHs aren’t the only thing the army has long waited long for. The army got wheeled IFVsw before SPHsw but issued a requirement for SPHs years prior; the government decides what’s a priority.

    Like its sister services does not want to be placed in a position where it’s straddled with something ill suited for its requirements something that in the long run might cause issues; it has ample experience of both.

    “. Which is why I said there were valid reasons we refused such an offer before and there were also valid reasons we took up their offer at that time”

    Valid reasons for everything including why you get out of bed when you do. You mentioned reasons: I gave the reasons why the offer for M-109s was declined in the past and why a few a few years ago it was accepted; at a political level.

    Zaft – “As I asked before, what good did this endeavour bring to TDM”

    A rhetorical question. “As I said before”: it was more than willing to wait a little longer as the penalty for getting something it saw as meeting its requirements.”What good” will it be if it’s straddled with something it deemed unsuitable for its needs.

    ” but that doesn’t mean TDM should play along whichever direction the political sentiments blew”

    Who said it does? It has voiced its objections over various things over the years but untimely the decision on what to get and when are political decisions.

    Ultimately the army will get its SPHs and it will be a wheeled one in line with preferences/concerns over sustainment and operational issues. From its perspective the wait was well worth a penalty incurring.

  31. @Zaft
    “Tracked vehicle are expensive to sustain & maintain and we don’t operate in the desert or artic circle”
    If using & maintaining 18 tracked SPH can bring so much grief and a huge sink on resources, we shouldn’t be in the business to be owning & running 48 Pendekars.

    “At the end it about the ROI.”
    The ROI which the beancounters sees fit to bring in the most benefits; TOT, local participation, job creation, etc.

  32. “If using & maintaining 18 tracked SPH can bring so much grief and a huge sink on resources, we shouldn’t be in the business to be owning & running 48 Pendekars.”

    The difference is that there is no substitute for a MBT when it comes to delivering mobile, protected firepower but there is a substitute for a tracked SPH.

    As it stands tracked vehicles are inherently more expensive to operate and maintain and they have a larger footprint compared to wheeled ones.

  33. “no substitute for a MBT… substitute for a tracked SPH.”
    We survived without MBTs for so long, we always have substitutes. Our best substitute for SPH… is having no SPH!

  34. ”We survived without MBTs for so long, we always have substitutes. Our best substitute for SPH… is having no SPH!”

    Have no idea what that means [irrespective of the dramatic exclamation marks] but in more pertinently we ”survived without” many things ”for so long” because we were never in a conflict and yes despite all the advances in tech ; more than a 100 years after the tank first saw combat there remains no substitute for it; unlike with various other things. It’s also noteworthy that various armies which long had no need for tracked SPHs are getting them.

  35. If you really think about it, we have more skilled professionals maintaining tracked vehicles in the country as compared to complicated 6×6 or 8×8 powertrain system. I am also sure we have all the CnC and machine tools to churn out spare parts to repair the tracked vehicles. Our main hurdle is the rent seekers.

    Just look how at many capable yards was used to rehulled and repowered our FACs.

  36. “not whether “new” or “old” but whether it’s tracked or wheeled.”
    That discussion was not related at all. TUDM has no preference whether its tracked or wheeled.

    “If actual hostilities break out the lack of SPHs might be the least of our concerns.”
    If actual hostilities break out the lack of anything is the most of our concerns.

    “it was more than willing to wait a little longer”
    Define that “little longer”… should we get the SPH when actual hostilities breaks out?

    “Ultimately the army will get its SPH”
    Define “ultimately” as you seem so sure they will get the SPH. This has been kicked for so long that I am not “ultimately” sure they will get anything they demanded.

  37. TDM has no preference whether its tracked or wheeled.”

    The “army” has long expressed a preference for a wheeled SPH. BTW there is no substitute for a MBT but there is for a tracked SPH : a wheeled SPH which is cheaper to buy; less maintenance extensive and has a lighter/smaller footprint. The conversation was centered on SPHs was it not?

    “If actual hostilities break out the lack of anything is the most of our concerns”

    I don’t generalise or ask hypothetical questions for which there is no basis
    but depending on the scope of the conflict[duration, intensity, etc] our lack various things will be a concern. Also, if war had broken out; would the operational circumstance have been such that 24 M-109s would have made a difference?

    “Define that “little longer”… should we get the SPH when actual hostilities breaks out”

    A “little longer” is subjective but are we acting on the basis that we should rush to get anything and everything due to the eventuality that war might break out at any time?

    The decision to cancel the M-109s was a political decision not an army one overthought it didn’t select; as such your perennial questions about “too late” and other rhetorical stuff should be best directed at the politicians who made the decision.

    “Ultimately” the army [again] does not want to be placed in a situation where it’s straddled with something ill suited for its requirements; a situation its been placed in before with various things it recommend against but was forced to get.

    “Define “ultimately” as you seem so sure they will get the SPH”

    Asking for the definition of things now for the sheer sake; things that are easily understood? When you say “define” you mean personal definition or otherwise?

    Yes I’m sure the army will “ultimately” [within this Malaysia Plan or the next at latest] will get the SPHs because this time around there actually political preference. Another point is that the army “Ultimately” gets what it specifies for; eventually with a couple of exceptions. Look at its wish list since the 1980’s.

    “I am not “ultimately” sure they will get anything they demanded”

    Want to make a bet [I’ll put my money on it] that the army won’t “ultimately” get its SPHs? Also no service “demands” anything [need the definition] of “demand”. What they do is lay out their requirements as is their job and indicate their preferences and “Ultimately” its the government which decides what to “ultimately” get.

    Hasnan,

    Doesn’t change the fact that tracked platforms are inherently more expensive and maintenance extensive and have a larger footprint

  38. Joe “If using & maintaining 18 tracked SPH can bring so much grief and a huge sink on resources, we shouldn’t be in the business to be owning & running 48 Pendekars.”

    France & Canadian army which had converted to a full wheel platforms still have a tracked MBT because no one build a wheel MBT I guess.

    The interest in the SPH current is mostly likely because US army is innovating the doctrine & technology needed so the SPH can be use into the maritime domains. Anything that has the words maritime in it are likely going to be funded.

    @hasnan
    Tracked are great and if money if no problems then most army would wanted both but In our case tracked vehicle are unlikely to get funded because it’s too expensive & not so useful from Both the bean counters & TDM perspective.

    As said before the threats of all out invasion where superior armour is useful is low but being the target of coercions is happening almost
    daily. So spending want little money we have to buy the heaviest of armour doesn’t sound very bright isn’t it?

    We also don’t have a dispute with any of our nearest neighbours and one distance neighbors we have a dispute with is really far away & has a dispute with almost everyone. When a group of countries have problems with a single country then no working together & deal with them unilateral is very dumb. When we are faced with konfrontasi & communist insurgency we did not do it unilaterally but it was a multilateral endeavour.

    Add In the logistics to sealift & airlift their military here is a challenge but they can’t secure their logistical supplies chain if a 3rd party which currently operates out of 8 bases in the PH decided to intervene. So if they wanted to invade us they can’t do so not until they invade our neighbours. If they did invade our neighbours then us having an airlifted capable IFV to send to that neighboring countries to ‘help them’ sounds like a bright idea rather than having unmovable heavy armour let our neighbours falls & wait for the enemies to come to our shore and devastate our country onto ruins.

  39. Hasnan,

    The main advantage of tracked SPHs is that they have better mobility and crews operate inside a protected vehicle. The downsides in comparison to tracked ones have been alluded to. The longstanding premise is that a SPH must be tracked in order to be able to keep pace with tracked maneuver in its which have to be supported; this was learnt in WW2.

    As it stands some armies which long have no need for a wheeled SPH are either considering or have acquired them [i.e. Britain and the U.S.]; some due to terrain only need wheeled SPHs [i.e. South Africa]; some although they have tracked ones require wheeled ones for expeditionary roles [i.e. France] and some who see wheeled SPHs as coming the closest to meeting requirements; including being able to provide mechanised units with indirect support eventhough on account of terrain and also being less maintenance extensive and having a lighter footprint [i e. us].

    You mentioned “more skilled professionals maintaining tracked vehicles” yes but those vehicles are not vehicles operated tactically and do not belong to an entity which already has a large number of vehicles but a shortage of trained support personnel; limited sustainment funds and insufficient numbers of low loaders. Also note that by virtue of having trackes and sprockets/roadwheels; tracked vehicles require more parts to be stored and also have higher operating costs.

  40. Zaft – ” have a tracked MBT because no one build a wheel MBT I guess”

    A “wheel MBT” wouldn’t be a “MBT” now would it…

    Zaft – “The interest in the SPH current is mostly likely because US army is innovating the doctrine & technology needed so the SPH can be use into the maritime domains;

    Incorrect. It’s because they have a need to airlift things and to operate things in areas with a poor road infrastructure. Same reason they want a “light tank”‘

    Zaft – “We also don’t have a dispute with any of our nearest neighbours”

    Incorrect. Not that there is a likely possibility of war but we have longstanding unresolved overlapping claims and unresolved maritime boundaries with Indonesia and Singapore. Not that it’s a major issue but we still have a little known unresolved land border issue with Thailand. I didn’t go into Brunei.

    Zaft – ” So spending want little money we have to buy the heaviest of armour doesn’t sound very bright isn’t it?”

    Depends what kind of armour. When it comes to protection there is no substitute to heavy armour and neither is there a substitute when it comes to delivering mobile, protected firepower whether on the offensive or on the active defence.

    Zaft – When we are faced with konfrontasi & communist insurgency we did not do it unilaterally but it was a multilateral endeavour”

    Ethiopia initially did well in the Ogaden War; casualties were relatively light in the Soccer War and Chechens fought in the Abkhazia War. So? How germane is it to the discussion?

  41. “but whether it’s tracked or wheeled”
    Nope. My statement was in reference to TUDM and the Kuwaiti Hornets. Look back again.

    “Artillery Directorate decided to go for wheeled”
    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/m109s-and-other-stuff/

    “the government decides what’s a priority.”
    In a nutshell then the SPH requirement is superfluous to what TDM really needs, they could make do with or without them.

    “why a few a few years ago it was accepted; at a political level.”
    If it has to be accepted then it has to be wholeheartedly when given, otherwise if it seeked to worm its way out, it ended up where it is today; no SPH for the current and foreseeable as the politicians play football with it.

    “Ultimately the army will get its SPHs”
    Ultimately the Sun will burn out and all life on Earth cease, we just don’t know when. The same as we don’t know when “Ultimately the army will get its SPHs”, only that it might take just as long time.

    “more than willing to wait a little longer”
    Well good luck with that. I hope we don’t end up in a situation scrambling for whatever is available and we have to pay thru the noses when we suddenly have a need. Then its no longer a matter of what is deemed suitable or unsuitable.

  42. ”Ultimately the Sun will burn out and all life on Earth cease, we just don’t know when”

    Yes. You might even implode; Santa Claus might arrive this Christmas or Chuck Berry might come back to life but as it stands we aren’t talking about something abstract or ambiguous as ”the the Sun will burn out and all life on Earth cease” but I do appreciate the attempt at sarcasm …. The reality is the SPH requirement has been approved and funding allocated and as has been reported in various places; it is expected to be concluded in the near future.

    Note that the politicians have no problem with buying from Nexter and the army has no issues with Caesar; unlike the case with the M-109s which you have a lot to say about. You might say nothing is certain until the guns actually arrive [true] and you might throw in other arguments to reinforce your narrative but things can’t b conflated with the M-108 saga and if you have an axe to grind and know better as to what the army should do or get; perhaps write to the Artillery Directorate or Army HQ [the addresses for both are easily found].

    ”in a nutshell then the SPH requirement is superfluous to what TDM really needs,”

    The SPH requirement has been around since the late 1990’s [when Caesar first arrived at LIMA 97] and when the K-9 arrived for firing a mobility trials a few years later so how in heaven’s roses did it become ”superfluous” and yes the government does decide what is a priority or not [that’s how the system works – the armed services make their recommendations and the civil servants/politicians approve things or not]. There have been various occasions when the government decides to downgrade things in order of priority; i.e. a good example would be the last minute cancellation to get the Kockums T-96s and get the Lekius instead; etc, etc.

    ”Well good luck with that. ”

    That applies to you but as far as the army is concerned is would rather wait than be straddled with something ill suited for its needs and something it might struggle sustaining [it has ample experience of both]; yes given that the army actually operates the thing; it would know what comes closest to suiting its requirements.

    ”I hope we don’t end up in a situation scrambling”

    If indeed we ended up in such a situation the question of SPHs would probably be the least of our concerns given that thwere would a host of other worries.

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