DSA 2008: No More Funds for The Needy

KUALA LUMPUR: First of all I would like to apologise for rushing to run the story on the DSA contracts which appeared on Sunday night. I made a grave error for not checking my facts first. In the post I stated that they are buying the Santana Anibal to augment the G-Wagens.

I was wrong of course, it was the Uro Vamtac, the Spanish Humvee that they are buying and the local company is MasterDef, which is owned by former DRB-Hicom exec chairman, Tan Sri Salleh Sulong. Salleh beat his old company to get the contract, good for him but not for the armed forces, saddled with another dubious purchase.

Anyhow the rest of my DSA story was correct of course, the Adnans and SME Ordnance getting munitions contract, probably a bit pricey as MeesterT would like to say but of course, we need the expertise and capabilities to produce such weapons.

But the contracts signed at DSA 2008, is basically the same as done during the Mahathir years, pricey, direct nego and with little regard to the armed forces real need. For example, they bought 200 Ssangyong Rexton IIs as staff cars for some RM26 million when the money would be better utilised for other needs of the armed forces especially when funds already limited will be further squeeze for to overcome the rising inflation. To make matters worse, it was purchased through another small company which will of course sourced it from the local dealer. They could halved the price (if it was really needed) by purchasing it direct from Ssanyong of course.

There wont be any money left to purchase new assets within the next two years as Najib indicated during the PC after the contract signing.. He said due to the pressing needs of the nation, the 9MP defence budget is under the review and the only asset that will be procured “no matter what happens with the review” is the new helicopters to replace the Nuris. The rest will come in 10MP including the new LPD and Batch 2 Lekiu.

Since they bought the Adnans this time around, 56 of them, the wheeled APC requirement will probably get bummed into the next Malaysian Plan also.

Of course, maintenance contracts and operational expenditure will continue although if the economy turned really bad like the 1997-1999 era, even those will be reduced to the bare minimum. Lets hope we do not go through those hard times again.

It appears that the old bad times are still with us. No wonder they got hammered….

–Malaysian Defence

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  1. Okay, thanks for the answer!
    I also read today that among the 56 new Adnans there are 8 mortar carriers with a 120 mm mortar in the stretched hull (ACV-S). I assume this new mortar system is the Swiss Ruag Bighorn mortar which was tested 2 years ago.
    It’s a pretty advanced mortar system, and I think it’s a fine move to go with the 120mm system instead of sticking with the less powerful 81mm systems they already have in service, even if this means a little more money to be spent.

  2. Typezero, thanks for noticing.

    DavudDCM, it was a Letter of Intent, not a contract yet, probably they have not sorted out the intergration issue and the FCS. They did buy 81mm mortars from Denel and the morfire FCS from New Zealand.

    Tajudin, I will post the pictures this weekend as the Maxis broadband I am subscribing is not as good as the company claims….

  3. Yeah,the world economics are uncertain and the budgets are shrinking. More difficult with increasing food prices. Its understandable if we will not see any major deal will be signed this year. Well, I agree with you that we should not expect the armed forces to make any major spending till the end of RMK9 which mean we will have to wait another 2 years before RMK10 take place, another 2 or 3 years before our economics recover.

    Right now, we should focus on the increasing food prices which is not a domestic problem but every part of the world starts to feel the pressure. Let’s pray we will not experiencing the economics difficulties like 97 recession. Honestly,at the moment the government has taken decent steps to ease the problems but it is a matter of time before the impacts are fully felt since our economic cycle has reached the peak.

  4. Yet I’m still hopeful that they’ll choose the Bighorn.
    They obviously were satisfied with the results brought by the Bighorn in ’06 (if not than they would not want a 120mm now, or?). And as the Bighorn is already fully integrated into the ACV-S there would be no need to invest into further Research & Development to evaluate what other competitors might be suited, which would only boost the price. Choosing the Bighorn would in my eyes be the only sensible decision.

    I hope I’m not too confident here.

    Is it the 81mm mortar in the Adnan which is from Denel with the Morfire FCS?

  5. The decision to procure an unarmoured weapons carrier reinforces my view that the Army is not a serious about generating real combat capability but merely the appearance thereof. We may have forgotten the lessons of Bokhara Market but surely they cannot have missed out on the last 5 years in Iraq and Afghanistan where soft skins have completely disappeared from combat units.

    Make no mistake. These are weapons carriers intended to give mobility to the heavy weapons in a Light Infantry Bn, not a runabout or utility.They should have a very least B6 level of ballistic protection and some IED/mine protection. Experience has shown that applique armour kits are invariably a poor substitute as they provide less comprehensive protection and overload the vehicle. The lack of a gun tub and shield will result in our gunners becoming rapidly incapacitated in any engagement, even when facing half-trained militiamen whacked out on khat.

    And when did they tender for a 120mm mortar? MINDEF is unable and unwilling to be open and transparent in the way it does business, using the fig leaf of National Security as an excuse to perpetrate (marhalim ediit) with the taxpayers money. Just because RUAG have mounted the Bighorn onto an ACV-S doesn’t make it a done deal. It’s dumb to assume that it is the most cost effective solution.

    In many ways the Bighorn is archaic when compared to solutions like the Patria AMOS and NEMO that offer full under armour operation.

    There will never be enough money because of the institutionalized (Marhalim edit) within the system exemplified by the PSC-NDSB fiasco, the Steyr-Mannlincher Malaysia debacle and the Scorpene deal (edited) etc.

  6. Hi MeesterT,
    the Ruag Bighorn is pretty advanced when you compare it to the alternatives that Malaysia has. And those alternatives are neither AMOS nor NEMO, but only plain, basic muzzle-loaded mortars that will only offer a marginal advantage over the 81mm. Bighorn is at least a complete system, with fully integrated FCS, that doesn’t need to be shoehorned with something like Morfire and that has already proven to fit in the ACV-S. I’m not saying that they should stick with the Bighorn at all cost and not even look at anything else, I’m just saying that it seems to have performed satisfying enough for them to want such a system in the first place. If they hadn’t been satisfied with the Bighorn two years ago, then, my presumption, they would not be looking for it or something similar today.

    It is an illusion to think that the Malaysian Army can put everything they purchase into an armoured chassis. The Malaysian Army and it’s requirements can in no way be compared to those of the US and/or UK forces. The Malaysian Army’s main mission is still to defend the home territory, not to drive through IED-ridden countries at the end of the world and battle insurgents. So there’s absolutely no need to equip all their forces with stuff that would be adequate for such a scenario. There is really nothing wrong with the purchase of unarmoured vehicles, as long as they still have armoured vehicles for missions with a higher threat-level.

  7. David…..by that logic, why not just buy some Hiluxes and weld on a ring mount? Much more affordable, much more easily sustained and is just as survivable. You can get it done in a workshop in Salak South.

    More pertinently, who are we defending the nation against? An army of rabid soft toys? Even third rate militia forces will shoot the living daylights out of an unarmored gun truck , see Bokhara Market. If we choose to ignore state actors and focus on the bottom end of the threat spectrum, even non-state actors have access to small arms and IEDs.

    Even late period CPM insurgents were well armed and equipped. They could and did inflict severe losses to security forces but these were all suppressed in the media. You probably didn’t know it was SOP to escort convoys with armor as a result.

    Unfortunately a lot of people in MINDEF share your amnesia.

    I have no use for a show military unlike some. Nor do I accept the deterrent value of a paper tiger.

    Why are the only alternatives to Bighorn, ‘plain, basic, muzzle-loaded mortars? Why not AMOS, NEMO, 2R2M or even God forbid, the Singaporean 120mm? Are these not complete systems? Is it because they are not yet mounted onto a ACV-300? Fully integrated FCS, do these systems not have their own? Ahhhh, but in Malaysia we have no standard indirect artillery fire data system. We have unique solutions for each platform so we rely on the trusty voice radio……… Perhaps you mean that we should buy Bighorn becuase Deftech and RUAG wants Malaysia to?

  8. MeesterT, they got your Hilux already. But its the (Ford Ranger BTW as the rapid intervention vehicle for the Gerak Khas Counter Terrorist Team. A G-Wagen is the team’s heavy entry vehicle while the tacticool Rangers carry the CT team….

  9. Hello MeesterT,
    yes, exactly that is the reason (-> Bighorn done and tested). Malaysia has stated that they definitely want the ACV-S as base vehicle. And they stated that they will buy no more than 8 vehicles. Integrating the AMOS (or similar) system into the ACV-S would cost millions of dollars (mainly to be paid by Malaysia), that would never amortise if they only buy a mere eight vehicles. If they wanted to buy 30 or 40 vehicles, than yes, than it would be profitable to opt for a customized, individual solution. But 8? Buy something of the shelf or buy nothing at all. As so far Bighorn is the only more sophisticated system, it is the only affordable alternative to good ol’ muzzle-loaders.
    This, of course, is only my personal oppinion, which – as I want to clearly state – has nothing to do with what Deftech or Ruag or anyone else wishes. Personal point of view, nothing more, nothing less.

  10. >MeesterT, they got your Hilux already. But its the (Ford Ranger BTW as the rapid intervention vehicle >for the Gerak Khas Counter Terrorist Team. A G-Wagen is the team’s heavy entry vehicle while the >tacticool Rangers carry the CT team….


    Some korektion; The ‘heavy entry vehicle’ u saw during the ‘high noon action drama’ at Gemas was not a G-Wagen. It’s a Glover Webb Tactica 4×4. Yes, it’s one of those rare exotic procurement by the Army that not many knew it existed…. heck, I’ve not even seen it being used by any other army aside from the GGK. It’s so bloody rare and exotic that it’s heading for the scrapyard soon… so i heard.


  11. Again my lack of interest in theatrics proved to be embarrasing. GGK procurement is above and beyond the normal Army purchases, I have nothing against the souped up Land Rover (even if it was the KMW G-Wagen as used by the KSK) but come on Rangers???!!!! I thought we were better than to use these technicals……

  12. The Ford Ranger is not too bad actually compared to LR pickup used before that. It was tested and approved. Many nations opted for civilian/SUV type vehicle for this job; tactical assault. It has more acceleration, quieter, more comfort, doesn’t rock too much or squeak (unlike the Landy or vehicles designed for the military). Either that or someone should propose the Chevy Suburban which is popular amongst other SOF. Najib might just dig it….. ; )

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