Half of SPH Will Be in Sabah

19th RMR 19th RMR soldiers and their vehicles formed up for the 47th anniversary parade at their camp in Sungai Petani, Kedah, on December 12 2023. It is likely that the unit's 50th anniversary will be held at Kota Belud. 19th RMR picture.

SHAH ALAM: IT appears half of the 18 Self Propelled Howitzer (SPH) – once they are procured and delivered to the Army – will be based at Camp Paradise in Kota Belud, Sabah. The SPH will be operated by the 22 Rejimen Artileri DiRaja (22 RAD) – a unit which has yet to be stood up.

This was revealed by Defence Minister DSU Mohamad Hasan in Dewan Negara on December 11, which turned out to be his last in Parliament for the ministry. (This was supposed to be posted yesterday but other things were more important.)

KNDS Caesar 155mm SPH. Picture used for illustration only. Malaysian Defence picture.

“Your excellency, the (22) Rejimen is mechanised. The procurement of the SPH, which will be truck mounted – half of it will be deployed to Sabah to boost the capability of the Army,” he said without revealing the development of the SPH procurement itself.

This means 22 RAD will have two batteries of four SPH each with one gun with the headquarters unit. The unit will also have around 25 to 30 support vehicles as the plan was to get also around 50 to 60 of them with the SPH procurement.

5 Briged crest.

Apart from 22 RAD, according to Mohamad, the Paradise Camp will also accommodate the 5 Briged headquarters and 19th Mechanised Royal Malay Regiment. The redevelopment of the Paradise camp will see the construction of new facilities to accommodate the 5 Briged, 19th RMR and 22 RAD. The project costing RM584 million will also include the building of 632 family quarters.

He said construction work for the 5 Briged and 19 RMR camps will start in early 2024 and expected to be completed by 2027. As for 22 RAD camp its funding has been approved and the tender is expected to be called in September 2024. The 22 RAD camp is expected to be completed in 36 months.

19 RMR, according to Mohamad will be relocated from its current camp at Sungai Petani, Kedah. Mohamad also told Dewan Negara that 5 Briged will relocate to Paradise Camp from the Lok Kawi Camp in Kota Kinabalu, though this is incorrect as the unit had moved to Kota Belud, several years ago. Only the brigade headquarters moved there though as its subordinate units remained at Lok Kawi Camp.

Malaysian Defence understands the plan to move 19 RMR to Paradise Camp has been in the works since 2013/2014 but it was never completed as the work to construct new facilities at Kota Belud had not been funded. 19 RMR has a squadron of its Gempita APC stationed at the 22 RMR camp in Sandakan.

Eastern Field Command CO Lt Jen Sopi Lepi being shown the 19 RAMD Gempita at Kem Kinabatangan, Sandakan. Tentera Darat picture.

Two units are currently operating at the Paradise Camp, 5 Briged and 5 Kor Armor Di Raja. 5 Briged was previously located at Lok Kawi Camp in Kota Kinabalu but moved to Kota Belud when 5 Divisyen was stood up. 5 Briged was part of 1 Divisyen previously.
Soldiers from 5 KAD preparing for a training run from their forward operating base in Tawau. Picture taken in March 2020. 5 KAD picture

It is unclear where 5 KAD will go once 19 RMR moved to Paradise camp, but it is likely to Lahad Datu where a new camp is also being built as told by Mohamad in Dewan Negara.

He said the new camp located in the vicinity of Felda Sahabat in Lahad Datu, was the most important project for the ministry in Sabah. The tender process for the RM547 million project has been completed and the contractor has entered the site.

Fifth Divisyen commander Mej Jen Malek Razak Sulaiman posed for a picture in front of 13 Briged headquarters with Brigadier Hashim Osman on November 17, 2023. 13 Briged picture.

The new camp will house the headquarters of 13 Briged and its subordinate units. 13 Briged is currently located at Kem Cenderawasih, at Felda Cenderawasih near Felda Sahabat in Lahad Datu.

13 Briged was formed as part of the expansion of Army units in Sabah following the Lahad Datu incident culminated in the standing up of the 5 Div in September 2019. The third brigade of 5 Div – 32 Briged – which is supposed to be formed at Kalabakan, Tawau, has yet to be stood up. Other units announced to be set up previously -27 RMR and 11 RRD – has not been stood up.
19th RMR soldiers and their vehicles formed up for the 47th anniversary parade on December 12 2023. The unit mustered 47 Gempita for the anniversary gig.

Both 13 and 32 brigades are also supposed to have their own artillery regiments each, but they have also not been stood up. It is likely that their funding has not been approved by the treasury. With two new camps in Sabah costing more than RM1 billion it is understandable. The Army stood up two RAD units – ad hoc – 8th RAD (Kuching) and 23 RAD (Taiping) in 2021 and this year, respectively.

— Malaysian Defence

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59 Comments

  1. 19 RAMD to move permanently to Sabah? That is news to me. Then 4 Briged Mekanize will transform into a fully tracked armored brigade? Previously the plan is to transform 1 Briged Infantri (Negeri Sembilan) into armored brigade.

    32 briged should be a rejimen sempadan brigade, so i don’t think there will be a RAD howitzer regiment attached to it.

    As for 22 RAD deployment to Sabah. It has been a normal procedure in the past for a battery of semenanjung-based artillery regiment to have a somewhat permanent detachment to sabah or sarawak. Usually an artillery regiment will consist of 3 batteries, with 1 deployed to sabah/sarawak. For a regiment with 18 guns, it is usually divided into 3 batteries of 6 guns each. Personnel from all 3 batteries will regularly rotate to the deployment.

  2. @ hasnan

    8 RAD is a close support regiment (Regimen Bantuan Rapat). This is usually equipped with 105mm howitzers.

    Recently tentera darat did a survey and maintenance of all the L5 Pack Howitzers in its inventory. The number of serviceable L5 is 127 guns.

    20 series regiments (designated as Rejimen Bantuan Am) are the one equipped with 155mm howitzers. Currently 23 RAD has 1 battery of Denel G5. The rest of the G5 is with 21 RAD and PUSARTI.

  3. In this picture:
    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/47A.jpg

    The location is on the grass runway of the old Sungai Petani airstrip (length of about 500m, now inside Kem Lapangan Terbang), although no longer actively used by fixed wing aircrafts (and no longer included in CAAM airfield database), the runway markers are still maintained up to this day.

    Actually there is only 42 AV8 Gempita in the picture. Another 3 is the new Volvo Recovery truck with armored cab and dozer blade, all the way back of the picture.

    Interestingly at the both end of the first row of vehicle, is the LCT30 Ingwe ATGM variant.

  4. There were other Gempita in the field but not placed with the others. One is the command version fitted to carry the VIP, in this case the CO.

  5. Hopefully we can see another SPH regiment to be raised such that there’s 1 full strength SPH regiment in Peninsula and another in S&S

  6. The fact that RAD is reforming 22 RAD for SPH (the original 22 RAD was transformed into 52 RAD with ASTROS MLRS in 2009) and creating the new 23 RAD for G5 howitzers means that both the towed G5 howitzers and the new SPH will be operated concurrently for considerable time into the future.

    I am hoping that the government could contact Qatar and buy off their recently retired G5 howitzers (12 units in total). That would exactly fit into 23 RAD to have 3 batteries of G5 howitzers, same as 21 RAD.

    But just thinking of getting SPH and additional towed 155mm howitzer is not the end of it.

    RAD needs :

    1) embedded RAD ISTAR UAV capability. long endurance and able to be launched and recovered from small spaces. It would be fine if it is attached to each Division Artillery HQ
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/F6DJ6M1a0AAPqDE.jpg

    2) Precision artillery strike. To do this with low cost, we need precision artillery fuse similar to US M1156 Precision Guidance Kit (PGK). A few companies in Turkiye already manufactures these. We can also try those from China, just to test them out.

    3) App-based artillery request system. Functions just like Grab or Foodpanda app to buy food. But this is to request fire on target. Has been used with success in Ukraine. Can run on tablets or even mobile phones.
    https://themoloch.com/conflict/uber-for-artillery-what-is-ukraines-gis-arta-system/

  7. Just putting the numbers out here
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/F-YUi0jbEAAWaST.jpg

    For complex systems, we need to make sure the opex is adequate annually. Not having enough opex will mean low operational readiness. Just look at the appalling readiness percentage of the complex artillery systems. An advantage of simple systems like towed howitzers is that it does not need a lot of opex to be operationally ready.

  8. Go for caesar 6×6 mark 2 (NG), but if the allocation for sph remain the same and capped at 900 million well then..can only get mk1 caesar

  9. Bad thing being France is ordering more Ceasars for itself – replacing and probably future donations to Ukraine. Hopefully, Nexter can fulfil non-French orders in a timely manner. Good thing is, Nexter is increasing its production capacity, shortening delivery times by nearly half – if they can fulfil non-French orders, deliveries might be quicker than normal.

    https://defence-industry.eu/france-replaces-artillery-donated-to-ukraine-with-new-caesar-howitzers/

    Will it be a 1 for 1 replacement of the G5s or 18 SPH for all G5s?

  10. Caesar mk1 weighs around 18tons, mk2 about 22tons. Mk2 is overweight to fit C-130H, but can be carried by A400M.

    Cost?

    Belgium bought 9 units of mk2 for 62 million euro. So for 18 units it would be 122 million euro (RM620 million), way much less than the supposedly RM854 million contract for 18 Yavuz SPH.

  11. Ah so if the army indeed finally choose the caesar,they will get the mk2/NG then? Good to know..

  12. Why does it taking so long for this SPH procurement…aint the army want the caesar? Just sign it already

  13. @ Kel

    “Will it be a 1 for 1 replacement of the G5s or 18 SPH for all G5s?”

    Look at my reply here
    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/half-of-sph-will-be-in-sabah/#comment-885323

    You don’t create new artillery units if you are planning to replace existing artillery pieces.

    The SPH is to add to the G5, not to replace it.

    So moving forward, RAD Rejimen Bantuan Am units will consist of :

    21 RAD (Gemas) – Denel G5 155mm howitzer
    22 RAD (??) – 155mm SPH (Nexter Caesar Mk2 ??)
    23 RAD (Taiping) – Denel G5 155mm howitzer

    Which will still be one of the smallest number of 155mm artillery pieces among main South East Asian Countries.

    Indonesia Army
    – 18x KH-179
    – 36x M109 SPH
    – 56x Caesar SPH

    Singapore Army
    – 48x SSPH-1 Primus SPH
    – 60x SLWH Pegasus
    – 17x FH-2000

    Royal Thai Army / Marines
    – 20x M109 SPH
    – 24x ATMOS 2000 SPH
    – 6x Caesar SPH
    – 32x Soltam M71
    – 116x M198
    – 110x GHN-45 (same design as G5, 18 for marines)
    – 12x M758 ATMG SPH (for marines)

    Philippines Army / Marines
    – 12x M114
    – 24x Soltam M71 (6 for marines)
    – 12x ATMOS 2000 SPH

  14. The Army wants to replace the G5. However they realised they dont have enough funds to replace them. It is the same with 105mm pack howitzers. Now that the argument which is better 155mm or 105mm, mechanised or towed has been settled, the Army will want more in the future.

  15. @ marhalim

    Yes maybe in the future, TD RAD will want a replacement for the G5, maybe with more SPH. But the current SPH procurement is not intended to replace, but to add to the current G5 howitzer fleet. A small nuance, but still very different in context.

    RAD raising yet another Rejimen Bantuan Rapat in the form of 8 RAD means that tehy still wants 105mm howitzers. Ideally all 8 would be equipped with new LG1, but IMO the L5 Pack Howitzer still has a lot of life left in them. I would like RAD to study the possibility of replacing half of the Rejimen Bantuan Rapat howitzers with short range loitering munitions, so when the time comes, the pack howitzers will be replaced not by another howitzer, but with a new system completely.

  16. So, the Army will do a 1 for 1 replacement of the G5s (replacing 18 G5s) and wait for a 2nd batch of SPHs to replace the remainder G5s? Or aim to maintain the number of 155mm guns at current levels (will keep enough G5s operational)? Regardless, Army wants to replace all 105mm with 155mm (except for those with the para unit) but it has no money to do so. Army wants SPH rather than towed 155mm but has no money to replace all towed. So between the 2 problems of wanting more 155mm and wanting SPH, Army has elected to get SPH instead of more 155mm. 1 Ceasar SPH goes for around US$8m while 1 M177 goes for around US$4m, meaning 18 Ceasar gets 36 M177. Make what you will of the Army’s thinking, but yes, decision has been made, up to Army to figure out where to find the money for batch 2.

  17. In Army 4Next G, only 1 item for field artillery specifically – the need for precision strike. No specific mention of replacing 105mm with 155mm or what not.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Fo0EOPDaIAAWmyu.jpg

    This is what the army is doing for 155mm howitzers

    21 RAD – 21st Regimen Artileri DiRaja
    – remain with G5
    – future to replace G5 with something else. If SPH it wants then SPH it is.
    – no approved replacement plan so far

    22 RAD
    – to be stood up. Original 22 RAD was converted into 52 RAD replacing 155mm FH-70 with ASTROS MLRS.
    – To be equipped with 18x new SPH.
    – Plan and budget for 18x new SPH approved, but to retender due to previous hanky panky.

    23 RAD
    – recently stood up currently as AD HOC (not at full strength)
    – equipped with G5
    – needs more G5 to be full strength
    – no approved plan of budget for anything else so far

    As i said, if the plan is really to replace G5 with SPH, no need to stand up a new unit in the form of 22 RAD (that will need 200-300 new personnel). Just give the brand new SPH to 21 RAD to replace the G5 and be done with it.

    Also our 155mm artillery pieces are so few compared to neighbours that we need to add more and more to the fleet, not replacing existing ones.

    As for the requirement in Army 4 Next G (artillery precision strike), that cannot happen just by adding more howitzers. Precision Strike needs :
    1) long range observation and targeting capability
    2) system to enable call for fire to precise coordinates and time
    3) the artillery shell that can be precisely put at the intended target. The cheapest way to achieve this is by using precision fuse kits.

  18. kel – ”Army wants to replace all 105mm with 155mm (except for those with the para unit) but it has no money to do so.”

    You know this for sure or is it an assumption? 105mm guns are cheaper; fire cheaper ammo; have a lighter footprint; etc but simply do not offer the same level of operational flexibility as a 155m gun. As far as I know – based on what I’ve heard [I won’t and have never claimed to have excellent contacts with the MAF as one obnoxiously claimed] but as it stands the view in the Artillery Directorate is that the 105mm gun still has a role to play; in units other than 10 Para.

    kel – ”1 Ceasar SPH goes for around US$8m while 1 M177 goes for around US$4m, meaning 18 Ceasar gets 36 M177. ”

    One get what one pay for … A SPH has offers more operational flexibility than a towed gun and it is far more survivable. One only has to look at recent examples in the Ukraine and Nargano Karabakh; as well as going further if one wishes to.

    kel – ”Make what you will of the Army’s thinking, but yes, decision has been made”

    The ”decision” was made about a decade ago.

    On another matter; the decision to place half the SPHs in Sabah is a flawed one; penny packets as opposed to mass but there really is no choice given our lack of numbers and the fact is that we’re unlikely to have the needed numbers anytime soon.

  19. hasnan – ‘RM600m for the Caesar ‘

    The downside is Caesar has an overly complex FCS and being French; expensive spares.
    Another issue is that we won’t be getting any radars soon or ISR assets to work alongside our arty.

    kel – ”Hopefully, Nexter can fulfil non-French orders in a timely manner. ”

    Was mentioned somewhere that existing capacity is a pair of guns per month.

    … – ”Which will still be one of the smallest number of 155mm artillery pieces among main South East Asian Countries.”

    And it goes without being said that the only army able to operate arty as it should – as part of a recce/strike complex – is Singapore. The Thais got in the 155mm business in a big way due to fears the Vietnamese would go west after the invasion of Kampuchea in 1979 and after Thai arty was outgunned by Laotian 130mms in the 1987 border clash.

    … – ”It would be fine if it is attached to each Division Artillery HQ”

    ”It would be fine” if that was the only choice because of a lack of assets; like distributing arty in penny packets but ideally UASs should be organic to arty regiments; decentralised rather than being hogged by Divisional HQ with the danger that it might not get to where it’s needed when it needs to.

    … – ”An advantage of simple systems like towed howitzers is that it does not need a lot of opex to be operationally ready.”

    They still need ‘X’ number of rounds to be fired per annum and spares. Not to mention prime movers.

    … – ” App-based artillery request system”

    Hand held ballistic computers with the ability to ”request” fire are already operated. Having said that this is only a single part of the overall equation; first the need to detect targets [whether observed or otherwise]; then comes the intricate part of requesting and coordinating fire in a timely manner. Not to mention things like being able to rapidly shift fire; for batteries to be able simultaneously handle different targets and the ability to have mass fire without having a mass of guns.

    … – ”110x GHN-45 (same design as G5]

    ”Same design” as by the same designer but with minor differences. In the 1980’s the GHN-45 was the gold standard. The regional rep was based in Bangkok and made quite a few trips here.

    … – ”Also our 155mm artillery pieces are so few compared to neighbours that we need to add more and more to the fleet, ”

    ”Adding” is the relatively easy part, requiring only money. They harder part is increasing the frequency of live fire [not only at the range but also in coordination with units]; synchronising the use of arty with MLRSs and the actual system; the A-Z so to speak; as alluded to here and elsewhere over the years.

    A problem in the army is that the artillery ”mafia” doesn’t carry a lot of influence and of all the army’s combat arms has benefited from the least investment/attention over the decades.

  20. Yet another putting the cart before the horse. Without an inkling when or which SPH were going to get, that has been pending for decades, we already setup base and even phantom regiments in order to receive them. It may be 5 months or 5 years from now, possibly never, but that is not important. Whats important is that we have the manpower & parking space for them when the decisionmakers finally wahayukan these SPH. Meanwhile their staffers can tweedle their thumbs waiting for the SPH to finally come…

    We went from Caesar to M109 to Caesar again to Yavuz now godknows whats next.

  21. “You know this for sure or is it an assumption?”
    This was mentioned by Marhalim above and in a previous article posted.

    “view in the Artillery Directorate is that the 105mm gun”
    Perhaps in their view was that something (105mm) is better than nothing unless their need for 155mm arty gets fulfilled then I guess their views would change.

    “SPH has offers more operational flexibility than a towed gun”
    Tactically SPH can be operated differently than towed, it can be used in situations where counter battery fire is expected, which it can avoid due to its higher mobility and less time to setup (shoot & scoot). It can also function as a “walking” arty to mobile armoured movement by keeping pace with mechanised units assault. Perhaps that is why TDM wanted a paradigm shift from towed to SPH. Seeing how long it takes a crew to setup (10-15mins) before firing a shot during their live fire demos, I can see why this shift is needed.

    “the decision to place half the SPHs in Sabah is a flawed one”
    Flawed but necessary, as TNI is transferring more of their SPH assets to Kalimantan in anticipation their new capital will take off, and as part of TDM plan to mirror Eastern assets with Western Command so they got split half-half. Yes its not enough, and looking at how long drawn out this SPH procurement is, its likely we will never get more. Similar to the Gempita fleet getting hocked off to East MY despite their insufficient numbers. It is what it is.

    “Caesar has an overly complex FCS and being French; expensive spares.”
    If thats what TDM wanted then…

  22. kel – ”Before shooting from the hip, not spending enough time observing and orientating and before deciding and acting…”

    Referring to yourself? If not; explain yourself better.

    ”Perhaps that is why TDM wanted a paradigm shift from towed to SPH.”

    Because it offers more operational flexibility; that’s the main reason. Also, when a decision was made to acquire SPHs; the intent was to operate a mix towed/SPH force structure.

    ”If thats what TDM wanted then…”

    The question was not what the army wanted or didn’t. I made a statement about Caesar. A penalty is that a SPH costs more to sustain and current gen ones require a higher level of manpower; quality wise; on account of how complex FCSs and other things are.

    ”Tactically SPH can be operated differently than towed, ”

    Meant to be operated differently.

    ”It is what it is.”

    As I said: ‘there really is no choice given our lack of numbers and the fact is that we’re unlikely to have the needed numbers anytime soon.” Same reason why 2 Cougars are in Sabah and 10 are in West Malaysia; same logic with where the A-109s are based.

  23. ”Without an inkling when or which SPH were going to get, that has been pending for decades, we already setup base and even phantom regiments in order to receive them.”

    That actually is the way to go about things; instead of starting from scratch [to use an Americanism] when the hardware is actually ordered. Take the subs; we started sending people to Australia, Holland and turkey for training way before we actually ordered subs. In the case of the SPHs; when they are ordered there will actually be a cadre available; makes it easier for the tonnes of admin and other preparation needed.

  24. When one realises Peninsular Malaysia is only part of the federation, prefer an acquisition strategy based on a bit of everything not enough of anything, splitting assets between 2 theatres would be required – just enough to claim “we have the capability”. Personally, when the strategy was about mobility – we will be able to move assets quickly between 2 theatres – it made sense that a smaller number of SPHs could achieve the same effect of large fixed assets. But 20 years later, everyone has gotten bigger and better, able to pre-position more assets everywhere, splitting already limited numbers just reduces effectiveness. Not to mention, Navy hasn’t gotten bigger transport ships to support increasingly heavier Army equipment. Still decision has been made, Army will need to find the money hopefully in the next RMK instead of 3 RMK later for Batch 2.

  25. Simpler maths. 1 Ceasar SPH equals 2 M177 towed howitzers. Maybe there is a cheaper towed 155mm. Meaning for the cost of 18 SPH, the Army could have gotten 36 towed howitzers. It could put 18 155mm guns in West Malaysia and 18 155mm guns in East Malaysia. Does that change the strategy and tactics? Yes. One then considers how 8 SPH plus whatever number of G5s they choose to maintain (if they are maintained) will be different from 18 towed howitzers in strategy and tactics, whether that difference impacts effectiveness, and whether the difference is acceptable. But to that one needs to consider doctrine – the employment of Artillery / Indirect Fire, Army’s overall warfighting doctrine, etc.

  26. “the intent was to operate a mix towed/SPH force structure”
    As explained by Marhalim the intention was for SPH to fully replace the G5s. And the 155mm to replace all the 105mm. Basically should be an all 155mm SPH force.

    “A penalty is that a SPH costs”
    Some other types of SPH might be cheaper to operate & less complex than Caesar.

    “there really is no choice given”
    So really a decision forced cannot be blamed as flawed since there is no choice.

    “That actually is the way to go about things;”
    I followed the SPH fiasco saga and Im skeptical about its developments. Thru the decades, the only time TDM got a real sniff at getting SPH was the cancelled M109 and that was by PM Najib 5 years ago, so imagine if we had started setting up 1 year before, the staffers would have been sitting around til today 6 years later doing nothing. Some might even have moved on, so how beneficial is starting up so early before we even confirm which SPH to get, as compared to starting from scratch. Mind you there is also a leadtime for the SPH production, moreso if we insist for them to be locally assembled.

    @Kel
    “Navy hasn’t gotten bigger transport ships to support”
    Which is why TLDM is also looking for MRSS. IMHO the idea is to preposition a certain numbers and will be supported by more units coming from the other side moved by TLDM transporters MPSS & MRSS + any charted commerce ships.

    @Hasnan
    “RAD is being “anak-tirikan”?”
    Like all families there will be those favourites and there will be those less loved. Its human nature.

    @Kel
    “But to that one needs to consider doctrine”
    By now after nearly 2 decades of working the G5s, I believe TDM has a good idea what they want from the arties and which is why their preference for 155mm SPH.

  27. ”As explained by Marhalim the intention was for SPH to fully replace the G5s. And the 155mm to replace all the 105mm. Basically should be an all 155mm SPH force.”

    As I understand what Marhalim said and this is the 2nd time you’ve brought it up. What I’m saying is I heard that for various reasons the army still sees a need for some units other than 10 Para to have 105mm guns. That’s what I heard; right or wrong.

    ”So really a decision forced cannot be blamed as flawed since there is no choice.”

    A ”flawed” decision is still ‘flawed” irrespective of whether ”forced” or not.

    ”Some other types of SPH might be cheaper to operate & less complex than Caesar.”

    Maybe. I have no idea but I do know that French kit is generally not cheap.

    ”I followed the SPH fiasco saga and Im skeptical about its developments. ”

    No doubt you did but I was talking about the fact that it’s common for units to be set up or preparations made; before the actual kit is delivered or even ordered.

    Hasnan – ”Can somebody explain to me why RAD is being “anak-tirikan” in the scheme of things?”

    Same goes for many other armies actually and it’s not only artillery but other arms/services; i.e. how high can a Signals officer go in the army? In the RMN if one specilaises say in MCM or survey; one only goes so high.

    kel – ”When one realises Peninsular Malaysia is only part of the federation”

    Who is the ”one”; you?

    kel – ”Simpler maths. 1 Ceasar SPH equals 2 M177 towed howitzers. Maybe there is a cheaper towed 155mm. Meaning for the cost of 18 SPH, the Army could have gotten 36 towed howitzers. ”

    Well thanks for the maths but aren’t talking about a graph or a P/L sheet here? As explained; since you missed it; one gets what one pays for. A towed gun is cheaper to buy and has a lower footprint but it offers much less operational flexibility and that’s why armies are wiling to pay more for SPHs. In short – minis the obfuscation – the penalty is seen as well worth incurring.

    kel – ”whether that difference impacts effectiveness, and whether the difference is acceptable”

    Thanks Professor but in this case after having years to mull about it the Artillery Directorate’s preference is for a 15mm gun which is self propelled; unlike the case in previous years.

  28. Whatever man, today is consultant, tomorrow is professor. If the Army’s warfighting doctrine (which apparently is not important to have) states less big guns is acceptable based on how they intend to fight, then sure having a net loss in 155mm guns is acceptable – no impact on effectiveness based on how the Army intends to fight. As usual, I’ll just play out the few steps of the discussion.

    It appears the Army’s main fighting force is the mechanised brigade where the core consists of mechanised infantry (done), tanks (done), and SPH (soon to be done) – with other units attached (e.g., GGK, GBAD elements, MLRS, drones, aviation, etc).

    One has to assume that is how the Army intends to fight or engage in offensive operations – mobile brigade sized. Which may also explain why between choosing more 155mm towed guns and 155mm SPH, the preference is still SPH – willing to wait for the SPH instead of gradually replacing the 105mm.

    Of course, it all depends on how the Army plans to fight, their warfighting doctrine (which is not important or essential it seems). But we also have the lighter and more mobile 10th Para Brigade. Which suggests the Army’s strategy consists of a 2 stage or step where the 10th Para will deploy first and hold the line supported by pre-deployed forces, long enough for the Mechanised Brigade to mobilise.

    Perhaps this is the reason why no new MBTs or Gempita like vehicles have been prioritised because the priority is to fully equip 1 mechanised brigade before work on setting up the second brigade, allowing for 1 mech brigade (the main fighting force) each in EM and WM. Maybe I’m wrong, but its ok.

  29. “right or wrong.”
    Well its a he says, she says kinda thing. But I trust Marhalims journalistic integrity.

    “it’s common for units to be set up or preparations made; before ordered.”
    I doubt the units were setup and trained to operate wheeled APC before we bought the Gempitas.
    Even if its common doesnt mean its acceptable, like you said on another just because its forced doesnt make it less flawed. Its a waste of taxpayer monies for units to setup and only getting operational years later.

  30. In a short border war, what is the point of having arties that can’t reach the neighboring forces? They just stay out of range of our guns and lob shells all day on our guys. Thats what the Laotian did to the Thais on their border war. With drones, they can pick off all our IFVs and APCs like shooting wild boars.

  31. Hopefully another follow up batch is being sought to an extent that we could have 3 regiments with 2:1 asset distribution between Peninsula and S&S. Any gap left unfulfilled in S&S could be plugged by transferring more G5

    Other than we should look into adding more counter battery radar and equip the entire artillery regiments (including those operating the pack howitzers) with UAVs

  32. No, the Army wants everything they envisioned under their various plans (right or wrong). They have to make do with what on hand, as the government though allowing them to present their plans, has continuously failed to provide the funds.

  33. kel – ”it all depends on how the Army plans to fight”

    Glad to hear because not too long ago you were complaining about me pointing out that what and how we do things ”depends” on the overall context. In this case the army – obviously – has existing contingency plans but unfortunately the wars one plans or hopes to fight may not be the actual ones faced and the enemy has a say or vote.

    kel – ”Perhaps this is the reason why no new MBTs or Gempita like vehicles have been prioritised”

    ”Perhaps” but note the pertinent fact that the politicians decide what gets registered and approved for funding; what becomes a priority.

    kel – ”with other units attached (e.g., GGK, GBAD elements, MLRS, drones, aviation, etc).”

    I’m of the view that they should be organic rather than be placed as holding assets by a higher HQ which has the final say as to where and when to ”attach” stuff; i.e. UASs organic to arty regiments rather than held by divisional arty HQ as ‘…’ proposed.

    kel – ”step where the 10th Para will deploy first and hold the line supported by pre-deployed forces, long enough for the Mechanised Brigade to mobilise.”

    That was indeed the rationale behind it; during that period the idea was 10 Para would rapidly reinforce Sabah until heavier more numerous units could arrive. That is/was also the rationale behind other para/RDF units. The problem is that such units; if forced to stay longer than anticipated; will be badly mauled or even decimated because they lack the needed firepower and logistics if confronted with heavier enemy units [e.g. Arnhem, Hostomel, etc]. The other issue is that they need ‘X’ amount of airlift to move them and keep them supplied.

  34. Just curious are the MBTs a part of the 4th Mechanised Brigade since the tanks parent unit is a regiment. Or what is the 4th Mechanised Brigade’s composition?

  35. 11 KAD the MBT unit is not under 4th Mechanised Brigade. 4th Mechanised Brigade main units are 19th RMR, 12 RMR, 14 RMR, 7 RRD and 1 Armor. They are other subordinate units like artillery, signals, engineering and others.

  36. ”Well its a he says, she says kinda thing.”

    The ‘he says, she says kinda thing” can yield accurate/interesting information if you know who to ask [and are able to] but it also depends when you ask; example; in the early 2000’s the army looked – briefly – at a lightweight 105mm gun as a supplement to the Model 56 but if you asked another officer at a different period; he would have indicated otherwise.

    ”But I trust Marhalims journalistic integrity.”

    Which nobody questioned and the fact that you even had to mention it raises questions. Also you may have missed it but it was never a question of me saying what Marhalim said was wrong but expressing surprise given that I had heard something different.

    ”I doubt the units were setup and trained to operate wheeled APC”

    We actually had wheeled APCs before we bought wheeled IFVs … Unless I’m mistaken we don’t currently have SPHs but since you ”followed” the SPH saga [as you said previously] you would now wouldn’t you.

    ”Even if its common doesnt mean its acceptable,”

    Lets keep to the same script if you feel you need to add further to it or to have the last say. I didn’t say it was ”acceptable”; what I did say was that it’s normal for certain units to be stood up to begin preparations for something to be inducted; this saves times and enables a host of admin and other issues to be sorted out and having a cadre which can be expanded on later makes it somewhat easier and faster. Examples are there if you desire a look … You spoke about wasting taxpayers money; well; having an existing cadre you can expand on and already having put in place the various saves time and money; rather than starting from scratch [to use an Americanism].

    kel – ”Whatever man, today is consultant, tomorrow is professor.”

    I’ll call you the grandmaster or Wather Mitty if you desire. ”Whatever man”…

    kel – ”It appears the Army’s main fighting force is the mechanised brigade ”

    It doesn’t ”appear” it is a ”fact” unless you’re totally out of touch. In the Malaysian army the largest primary unit of maneuver is the ”brigade”; not the division or the Corps. We rarely train to operate units at divisional level [a lot of resources at play here as well as practical issues like thousands of vehicles clogging roads and the size of exercise areas].

    kel – ” Which may also explain why between choosing more 155mm towed guns and 155mm SPH, the preference is still SPH –”

    As has been explained; a SPH offers far more operational flexibility and survivability whether an army is on the defensive or offense. That’s why SPHs were designed and why armies buy them.

    ” their warfighting doctrine (which is not important or essential it seems). ”

    Stick to the script. I asked you a question; a simple one : are you really sure the army actually has a combined arms maneuver doctrine? Don’t assume so and as another reminder; armies might not have a doctrine for certain things but they still train for certain things. There was zero mention of ”not important or essential it seems” – unless you’re a troll; seeing things which are only visible to you or have a congenital issue.

  37. The 1st CO of 4th Mechanised Brigade [the same individual behind Berapi and the 1st MALBATT CO in Cambodia] use to joke about being the CO of a Mechanised unit without any IFVs [some would call this a ”he says, she says kinda thing”]. For a few months the unit did not have IFVs but when it did; things were a lot easier and cheaper because during those months the HQ had already made all the administrative and other preparations needed.

  38. Would the 4th Mechanised Brigade be assigned MBTs and Artillery when mobilised? Or 4th Mech Brigade structure doesnt include a tank or artillery unit / element. Artillery and tanks will remain under a separate command at all times. I’m assuming the 4th Mech Brigade is structured like their UK and Australia equivalent – core fighting force of 2 to 3 infantry, 1 tank, and 1 artillery unit.

  39. Yes they do, most of the exercises conducted by 4th Mek, a Pendekar platoon are always involved. An artillery unit is always involved as well as well combat engineers and other support units are also involved. The lack of a dedicated live fire range for large formation meant that the supporting units do so in theory only

    That is the reason SAF send down its troops to Oz and US for such training.

  40. Does the 4th Mech Brigade gets deployed to East Malaysia – training, execise, simulation, etc? Curious whether MAF has attempted to move 4th Mech Brigade including the attached MBT/tank element over SCS, which woupd require RMN and RMAF involvement.

  41. kel,

    The lack of training grounds of the needed size and the costs involved; as well as the various complexities means we rarely conduct brigade level exercises per see. Large exercises almost exclusively entail a Brigade HQ overseeing an exercise with elements of various units involved. Rarely do the actual Brigade deploy as a whole.

    After the 1991 Gulf War an American officer said that the war in the desert was really won at the National Training Center; in reference to the fact that all the coordination, maneuver, live fire and other things conducted in Iraq was practiced at the National Training Center. My wish list is more modest; for a start a range in East Malaysia which can accommodate live 155mm and MLRS fire.

  42. Not the whole brigade but its units are rotated there for deployment but mostly company sized so they fly there. Only in 2014 due to the Lahad Datu incident, MAF send many Adnans and MIFV to Sabah, but it was around two company strong, if I remember correctly.

  43. kamal – ”For bantuan rapat, which would be better, 105mm howitzer or 120mm mortar?”

    None is ”better” only ”’different”. A mortar round would have less penetration affect and a wee bit longer reaction time compared to an arty round.

    Hasnan – ”In a short border war, what is the point of having arties that can’t reach the neighboring forces?”

    In any war; not just a ”a short border war”. Talking about ”border war” SADF guns which were outranged led to the introduction of the G-5.

    Hasnan – ‘thats what the Laotian did to the Thais on their border war.”

    That’s why the GN-45 was bought and Laotian FOs had the advantage as they were on higher ground. International Defence Review did an excellent article on this many years ago.

  44. “We actually had wheeled APC”
    The capability & operational flexibility of Gempita far surpasses Condor & Sibmas and opens up new ways & ideas as to how wheeled APC are deployed, such a knowhow would only be learnt from training & on the job. So if we didnt see the need to setup a super early Gempita pretraining team, I see not such need for SPH. After all based on your logic, the 155mm towed is also mobile as an SPH. And without the actual equipment what are they going to do, more civil servant administrative busywork?

    “Examples are there if you desire a look …”
    My example speaks for itself, how does your example work in the context of our ongoing SPH saga? If we have no certainty to when will we acquire a weapon system (which can take months or years in SPH context) then its a waste. Plain & simple. Unless you got a crystal ball to tell us we will get them by next year?

    “For a few months the unit did not have IFVs”
    Few months meant just waiting for the IFV to be handed over or new batch production. Either ways the vehicle has already been bought. How is it similar to SPH context when we dont even know which model we will pursue? Will we get them in the next few months?

  45. As to your question, a journalist by profession has the nous to fact check what they put. An amatuer otoh…

  46. I’m assuming mechanised infantry battalions are those equipped with wheeled IFV/APC (i.e. Gempita), while standard or unmechanised infantry battalions are units that dont organically have their own IFV/APC. They rely on armoured vehicles provided by KAD (e.g. Adnan and KIFV). Is this how it works? It would provide context as to the importance of the 6×6 program – right now the KIFV and Adnan sits with KAD but the Gempita sits with Infantry.

  47. The KIFV and Adnan are with the mechanised infantry, while the Gempita is with Armour apart from 19th RMR. The Armour units used wheeled vehicles as one of their roles is cavalry. The non mechanised infantry is meant as light infantry.

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