SHAH ALAM: Have guns will travel. The 1st Royal Artillery Regiment, part of the 10th Parachute Brigade, is likely to start training and testing the Nexter 105mm LG1 howitzers within the next two or three months. This is due to the fact that Advanced Defence Systems Sdn Bhd (ADS) has taken delivery six of the 18 LG1 guns ordered from Nexter in 2018.
The six guns, delivered in kit form, are being assembled at ADS facility in Jementah, Johor after delivery in early February. I wrote about the delivery in Jane’s here.
Malaysian Defence has also written on the issues surrounding the LG1 contract previously.The Strange Case of the 105mm Guns
With the contracts of the MD Helicopters MD530G light scout attack helicopter and M109SPH being cancelled, now I can post about the other contract that I have been asked about. It’s the Nexter 105LG1 contract. I can confirmed that it is still valid and deliveries are expected late this year, though it also had went through the wringer
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I mentioned in the story that contract came under review during the Mahathir administration and came through in early 2019 after the cost of the contract was reduced. I have no idea how much really but it seemed that many contracts signed during the Najib administration were greenlighted after a review by the Mahathir administration but with the cost reduced by 5 to 10 per cent so we could assumed that LG1 contract cost was reduced by the same amount.
One has to wonder whether the long delay in getting equipment or infrastructure completed is justified with just reduction of 10 per cent of contract cost. Anyhow apart from the Mk III version of the LG1, the contract signed in 2018 is also inclusive of the Bacara ballistic computer and an initial batch of Nexter long range ERG3 ammunition. With the ERG3 ammunition, the LG1 guns have a range of 17km compared to the 10km maximum range of the in service Oto Melara Mod 56 pack howitzers with 1st RA and its six other sister regiments.
— Malaysian Defence
The next question is, how about the rest of the Rejimen Bantuan Rapat pack howitzers?
On the 10 PARA. How many SUPACATs are still in service? Are we going to recapitalise or do a major overhauls to the current ones? The SUPACATs are the ideal gun towers in paradrop situations.
I would hazard a guess that 5-10% savings is chalked up to improvements in currency exchange and some form of discounts for allowing other customers to ‘potong Q’. I don’t think its something to say it was an achievement by the previous Government. 5-10% discount, worse that Malaysia Megasale promo.
It’s safe to say the Model 56s will be operated until they fall apart. If we’re going keep on with 105mms I’d prefer if it was mounted on something. Easier to transport and easier to lay and relocate.
For me; priority is improved/effective FCS and whether we need to make organisational changes: plus the glaring lack of a UAS that should be organic for target acquisition and observation.
Currently there is no other LG1 customer. Pending order by Indonesia to replace their Yugoslavian mountain guns have gone cold.
This is what norinco did to their copied model 56s
But i dont think we should spend money on something that is at the end of their useful lives.
I would like for us to have some of this, if the cost is not far from the LG1
But in the bigger scheme of things, i dont think we have the money to spare for the hawkeye 105mm SPH.
I think we are getting/already having FCS for our howitzer batteries. having more UAS under RAD should be the next priority. Low cost system like the MMEA Fulmar X should be ideal.
We’re prolly seeing a gradual replacement of the oto melaras. this time but 18. Next time buy another 18, another time another 18, so on and so forth There’s no pressing need to replace the Oto melaras except that the gun is nearing obsolescence issues where even OEM is phasing the parts out to a point where maintaining the gun is economically unviable It’s like the old 25 pdr gun in other countries, it saw service in WW2 and gradually being replaced in 70s and 70s as spares/munitions dried up
We have FCS no doubt but I’m talking about taking things to a new level. Whether it’s fire direction centres at battery level and fully integrated or more integration changes in organisation; we need to keep up with the times. The Royal Artillery Corps hasn’t received the same level of attention as the army’s other combat arms.
Doesn’t matter what UAS we get whether Fulmar or something else : it must be cheap enough to be bought and distributed in numbers and we must have the capability to fully utilise it. No point having real time coverage if we can’t act on it and if it’s hogged by higher level command set ups rather than made available at a tactical level to those who need it.
The main problem with the Model 56 – apart from its limited range – is its lack of robustness. Prone to
damage when towed over rough terrain. Spares are not the issue – yet – but the guns are getting older. It’s not “nearing obsolescence“ issues; it became obsolescent a long time ago. It’s just happened that for a long time; we had no pressing urgency to replace it – plans were made as far back as the mid 1990’s – and that many are still in service and supportable.
…. – “ i dont think we have the money to spare for the hawkeye 105mm SPH””
We don’t have cash for a lot of things do we? Unsurprising given how long the MAF has been underfunded and how long the shopping lift it. It only keeps growing and by the time we get around to funding things; other things have to be replaced. Making things worst is us buying things in small numbers.
Whether it’s a 105 or 155mn piece it makes sense for it to be motorised. In this day and age; unless it’s for specific benign conditions: with the exception of units like 10 Para; I don’t see how towed systems have a place in the force structure. The downside of course is another piece of equipment that needs fuel/lubricants and has to be maintained; adding to the logistical tail.
Well our LG1s are to be assembled locally so no question these guns are for us but what I meant was Nexter’s supply chain could be reprioritised to produce arties for other existing weapons (Caesar?) faster, bumping our order down the chain with some agreeable discounts.
At least they have “meaningful numbers.”
Indeed they do.
To me; it helps that the generals there have far more say in things (they actually make and drive policy) and that the average Thai has a more positive outlook on defence compared to the average Malaysia. One area the Thais seem to be in no hurry in addressing is commonality; there are still buying various things from various sources and have a very large logistics trail.
Ultimately of course; like most regional countries; whilst wanting to have an ability to deal with possible external threats; Thailand’s main focus is internal security. As far as state threats go; they foresee the possibility of limited border clashes (like the ones with Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar) as a much more likely to occur: rather than a full blown conflict. It’s also sometimes forgotten that Thailand is designated a U.S. non NATO ally (like the Philippines) so it has some level of comfort and assurance it can rely on.
“..helps that the generals there have far more say in things”. Those who heard them out are fellow generals. I think the best defence procument policy/execution as far as i know in the neighbourhood is SG.
No doubt. They’ve got it right and they got the focus.
Over here not only is defence not a priority; there are vested interests at play. The needs of the industry come first rather than ensuring the MAF gets the desired capability. Making things worse is a lack of leadership and a failure to formulate a coherent and holistic defence policy.
Singapore leaders realised that if they dont have the best, newest equipment for their conscripted soldiers, there will be fierce resistance to it. Our politicians think that our soldiers volunteered to join they can make do with what ever they buy
All PAP leaders also have experience of serving in the military; that help. The government also has to make adequate investments in the SAF as it’s constantly been drummed into the head of Singaporeans that defence is vital: that neglecting the needs of the SAF will lead to Singapore’s larger neighbours “misbehaving”.
It’s ingrained in their collective national psyche and it helps the narrative that Singapore is a very small country,; with no strategic depth and dependent on sea lanes which are vulnerable (on paper) to interdiction/disruption. The fact that neighbouring countries have no desire or even a reason to maintain parity with Singapore also makes it easier to maintain the policy of always having an edge over Malaysia and Indonesia.
“Singapore leaders realised that if they dont have the best, newest equipment for their conscripted soldiers, there will be fierce resistance to it. Our politicians think that our soldiers volunteered to join they can make do with what ever they buy”
“Resistance” is not the reason for the SAF having the “best, newest equipment”. Until recently, the SAF simply did not. For most of the SAF’s history it relied on second hand and sometimes obsolescent equipment for its major platforms. Today, the SAF is very well funded and well equipped, but it relies heavily on locally developed platforms that are hardly the “best” compared to the options available to the SAF.
Despite this, there has never been “fierce resistance” to the SAF’s equipment and to NS. Most Singaporeans are supportive of NS and dismissive of criticism as the natural complaints of those who are forced to serve. It is not as if Singaporeans are particularly interested or well informed as to military affairs or the SAF’s equipment choices. Half of all native Singaporeans don’t serve and couldn’t be less interested as long as they aren’t subject to conscription.
It is more accurate to say that the SAF has acquired what it has due to its threat perceptions, resources and constraints. Low birth rates mean the SAF has to rely more on integration and networking than before, and there has to be more emphasis on protection and survivability.
AM – “locally developed platforms that are hardly the “best” compared to the options available”
You have a point. The equipment is quite good; being produced specifically to the SAF’s requirements (to operate on the Malaysian mainland) but it’s telling that with some key exceptions; to date most of the major items produced has not found an export market. Whether this is due to pricing or other reasons is unknown (to me at least) – it’s a known fact within the industry that some stuff (I’m not referring to Bionix, Terrex, etc) is prohibitively expensive.
Does anyone have any idea how much on R&D was spent on the likes of Bionix, Primus,,Terrex SRAAMs and other stuff? Not a rhetorical question BTW.
I would say that low birth rates result in the need for the SAF to acquire systems with a higher level of automation, as well as requiring lesser manning levels. Networking and integration are part and parcel of the SAF’s – or any military’s for that matter – natural progression; to keep up with the times and to do things with better efficacy and clarity; enabling platforms/systems to be utilised to their maximum or best capability.
“Does anyone have any idea how much on R&D was spent on the likes of Bionix, Primus,,Terrex SRAAMs and other stuff? Not a rhetorical question BTW.“
Not a question that you will receive an answer to anytime soon. The number of people with knowledge of the answer is small, and therefore even assuming they might want to tell you, they would be easily traced.
“ with some key exceptions; to date most of the major items produced has not found an export market.”
Just wondering aloud. The SAF could have asked for locally developed platforms that are as capable as foreign options, the local GLCs are certainly capable of integrating them. Why doesn’t it have them? It could be that deliberate decisions were made to economize. It could also be that the GLCs have been told to come in below foreign options in price (in absolute terms or according to some matrix that considers local content) failing which the SAF will buy those foreign options instead, which results in their products not being as high specced. This of course assumes the equipment is indeed cheaper despite being produced in lower numbers.
As to export success or the lack of it, they might not be coming in far enough under higher performing options, if they are at all.
Going by appearance alone, it appears the Terrex has found a small sale as the Thai Marine’s new APC. The Bronco is practically the only other land system that managed a sale and only because it fulfilled a relatively narrow niche, but ST Marine has managed to sell a LHD to the Thais and some small vessels.
One of the first [if not the first] exports of defence related stuff was to us : a million 7.62mm rounds in the early 1970’s. Followed later by some Alo 3s they didn’t have a use for.
On top of my head; they previously sold various stuff to Myanmmar, ammo to various countries and of course Ultimax to the former Yugoslavia; which a Chartered Industries Singapore chap I asked [naturally] knew nothing about.
CIS was granted a licence to produce the M-16 for the SAF’s use and was only allowed to export it with prior approval. Nonetheless they did export the M-16 to Thailand and the Philippines, and were caught doing it. They gave the excuse that they saw no reason would approval would not have been given and claimed they had already applied to Colt for permission.
This led to CIS developing the SAR-80 an economical rifle both for the SAF and to export without the need to obtain export licences. According to an official history released last year, the SAF was not impressed by it and acquired only a small number. CJ Chivers put the number at 20,000. These were used by logistics units, which used them into the early 2000s when combat units received SAR-21s and passed their M-16s to logistics units.
Singapore selected the AR-15 as its standard rifle in 1966. The SAF conscripted its first cohort of NSFs in 1967 and they knew three rifles- the SLR, the AR-15 and the SMLE for patrols during riots, which they termed internal security duties. I’m not aware if they actually operated on the SLR in the beginning or were simply introduced to it for contingency’s sake, but by the end of their two years the AR-15 was the standard rifle.
The same official history praised the SAF for the boldness of adopting the AR-15 before the US Army did, but glosses over the fact that it had been adopted by the USAF some years before.
Malaysia also tried to buy the M16s from Singapore but was not given the license. Thats why we ended up buying Berretta AR70, in small numbers and much bigger one, HK33. It was in the late 1970s, early 80s, the US allowed Malaysia to buy the M16A1s from Colt
“ST Marine has managed to sell a LHD to the Thais”
Sorry, meant to say LPD. Angthong is a modified Endurance class ship built for Thailand.