Have Guns Will Travel

A file picture of the M109A5

SHAH ALAM: Have Guns Will Travel. The Army has signed for 29 M109A5 155mm self-propelled howitzers (SPH) under the US excess defense articles (EDA) program. The Letter of Agreement (LOA) for the 29 M109SPH was signed on Aug. 24. 2016. This must be in pursuant to the LOI signed at DSA 2016.

DSA 2016 Day 2

US Government for the supply of M109A5 Self-Propelled Howitzer

Taiwan Army M109A5 SPH. Wikipedia.

Twenty-nine was the number I had alluded to in my exclusive post on the offer by the US to Malaysia for the SPH.

UNITED States has offered Malaysia up to 30 M109A5 Self Propelled Howitzer (SPH) under the Excess Defence Articles (EDA) programme. The M109s would be upgraded to the latest A5 standard before entering service with the Army, if the offer is taken up.

The EDA list stated that the 29 M109SPH originally costs US$26.7 million (RM104 million) but the vehicles were offered to Malaysia for US$1.38 million (RM5.39 million) only. It is likely that if we upgraded 24 vehicles to the A5+ standard it will cost around RM100 million only (based on how much Chile upgrade theirs).

A M109-A5 howitzer is offloaded and craned onto a trailer at the port in Punta Arenas, Chile, in December, 2014. The self-propelled howitzer was one of 12 purchased by the Chilean army through the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command’s foreign military sales program.

However if we forego the upgrades and instead just got them reactivated for service, it will likely cost us around RM10 million or so, including the cost of freight to Malaysia.

Last week during the Army Day interview, Gen. Zulkiple Kassim confirmed that

procurement of the M109SPH was on schedule and these were currently being upgraded in the US. Asked whether the Army will raise a new regiment to operate the SPH, Zulkiple says not as an existing unit will be taking over the vehicles. He did not identify the unit however.

The photo is a magazine compartment of a Paladin but it will be very similar to the A5 version of the M109. US Army photo

I had reported previously around 24 M109SPH would be taken into service by the Army with the rest reserved as spares, though it is still unclear how many will be issued to the regiment taking over the vehicles. I am guessing that the regiment will have 16 SPH with another two with Armour/Artillery training schools in Port Dickson.

Deftech AV4 in digital camo.

As for the other six, there was the plan to have a number of the M109SPHs at ESSCOM as reported previously. For the record, Army has stationed a company from the 19th RMR (Mechanised) equipped with Gempita in ESSCOM since two years ago.

Gempita AVS, the signal variant. It is armed with the Reutech Rogue RWS fitted with a 12.7mm machine gun. The vehicle took part in Eks Satria Perkasa in October, 2016.

A number of AV4s are also in the ESSCOM AOR since that time though it is unclear which unit are operating them. Some have been seen operated by the GGK and even Paskau troopers. I am guessing the SF troopers are glad they’re in a vehicle which is more easily to get in and out off compared to the Condors.

— Malaysian Defence

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  1. Weired,

    Thought It was 30 M109s but why 29 ?. Cause it was Suppose 6 M109 for Spare Parts only right.

    By the way, Is Any news about CAESAR 8×8. If The goverment Signed an LOI Or MOU For 20 New CAESAR SPH, Might be Station at Sabah if for ESSCOM.

    Whatever it is, The Army Might be Create a new Regiment if those Howitzers delivered.

  2. Yes the approval was made in 2016, but no one picked the news up unlike the later brazilian M109 EDA contract.

    The next question would be, is the M992 Field Artillery Ammunition Supply Vehicle to be requested as EDA too?

    Complete systems are not the only EDA that can be sought. Even spare parts and components can also be requested. For example Thailand and Indonesia has sought spare parts for their F-16, hercules and Seahawks from EDA.

    As for the gun allocation, it is said that 24 will go to a regiment, and the balance of 5 to be used for training and spares/reserve.

    I have been looking for the confirmation from the EDA website since 2016. But the database was never accessible when I checked last year. On the Ammunition Resupply vehicle, my sources said no

  3. Well at least something has come to fruition. Almost 20 years after a wheeled SPH was first trialed here, followed by trials of a tracked SPH several years later; we’re finally getting SPHs. Some things we should buy pre-owned and some we shouldn’t. In the case of the M-109s, as long as we constantly source spares, there shouldn’t be any major issues.

    The not so easy part now [which takes time] will be to formulate a doctrine as to how to employ the M-109s in line with our specific conditions and how to employ it in conjunction with existing assets.

  4. I think it’s would be better if the army get the sph as is (with minimal restoration) and let local companies to upgrade them to better suit our needs

    Which local company has the experience upgrading SPH?

  5. If we go on the basis that what the army previously said still stands, a regiment in the Peninsular and a battery under Task Force 450 in eastern Sabah; then we can make a rough estimate, taking into account that our batteries have 4 guns. On top of that at least 2 will be retained at the Artillery School and [?] will be stripped for spares. Maybe a regiment of 20 guns [5 batteries], a battery [of 4 guns] under Task Force 450, with the remaining 5 split for training and spares. For some reason I never expected us to buy any ammo resupply vehicles.

  6. If that Happens, The Whealed SPH Should be Operated in West Malaysia if Any Signs of MOU. Also, Before the M109 deliveries. The Army should create the Simmulator of M109 cockpit recently. Secondly, The M992 FAASV (Artillery Resupply Vehicle) maybe We Can Buy EDA From US or in the Futrue.


    I think non of can Upgrade These M109s unless The DefTech can Upgrade since they can Work on the AV8s.

  7. Alex – ”let local companies to upgrade them to better suit our needs”

    What possible modifications can be done on the M-109 by local companies ”to better suit our needs”? I can’t think of any. Even if there were modifications, what would we gain from doing it here rather than doing it there by a company who has been doing it for a long time?

    Safran – ”The Army should create the Simmulator of M109 cockpit recently.”

    Before that’s done it would make more sense to get the Ruag
    PT-91 simulator that we were supposed to have bought years and years ago.

  8. If we planned to get 24 guns into services, why not we put up 2 regiment of 12 guns each. It can be for each regiment a combination of 3 battery with 4 guns per battery or 4 battery with 3 guns per battery. Raise than from among the 105mm Oto Melara RAD regiments. Let the Wataniah regiments take up the old guns.

    On another note, rather than buying Caesar wheeled SPH, I would rather we put our funds into AV8 120MM mortar or ADNAN 120MM mortar variants. AV8 got wheels also albeit more shorter range. After putting M109s n LG1 into services, introducing more new platforms will strain our artillery logistics. Standardisation really can help save a lot of operating funds.

  9. Deftech will be involved in the upgrade project. Hopefully when the next upgrade comes (which will inevitably includes digital fcs), deftech could do it in house

  10. Hazwan – ” I would rather we put our funds into AV8 120MM mortar or ADNAN 120MM mortar variants”

    There can never be harm in getting more mortars but mortars will never be able to fully replicate what a howitzer can do.

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