Just Like Two Balloons

A 12.7mm HMG on Adnan. Picture taken in 2018 by BTDM

SHAH ALAM: Just like two balloons. Earlier this year, both the Defence Minister and the Army chief said that the Tentera Darat (TD) will be getting more firepower capabilities though they were rather parsimonious on the details, as usual. Anyhow TD is getting more firepower for its infantry units, a tender was called for the supply 12.7mm heavy machine gun was published on May 17 and closes on June 10.

Its not a lot of firepower however as only 13 units – yes its thirteen units. Due to its weight, most of these weapons in service are mounted on vehicles or fixed positions.

Army 12.7mm HMG mounted on Vamtac weapon vehicles of 10th Para Brigade. Both are likely manufactured by Manroy or FN Herstal.

From the tender notice:

There is a requirement to equip the Infantry unit with heavy support weapon 12.7 mm calibre. The Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) 12.7calibre shall be used to provide infantry units with direct fire support and limited low-level air defence in all types of operations. The weapon shall be used either mounted or dismounted role depending on situation in the operation and mission

I have no idea why they are buying only 13 units of the HMGs when basically all of the combat units of the TD make use of the weapon. Even combat support units could make use of them for self protection. And the fact that it is also meant to be used as as a limited low level air defence makes it one of the versatile weapons in its inventory.

On the way, firing the 12.7mm machine gun. BTDM

I am assuming that it is likely that the small purchase is dictated by a budget squeeze. It is also likely that the Browning M2 HMGs in service – of various makes – remained serviceable despite its age so there is no need to buy 500 of them. The latest version of the M2 (the US designation) – M2A1 – has a fixed head space which allows for faster change of the barrel.

From US Army web page:

The M2A1 with a quick-change barrel is an enhancement to the M2 .50-caliber machine gun. It offers Soldiers increased performance as well as new features and design improvements that make it easier and safer to use. The M2A1 features a fixed headspace and timing configuration, flash hider and removable carrying handle to increase the performance of the battle-proven M2.

S&T Motiv K6 12.7mm HMG.

It will be interesting to see which make of the 12.7mm HMG which will be selected for this tender. Previously the RMN chose the Korean made one.
S&T Motiv K6 HMG.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2200 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Marhalim – “when basically all of the combat units of the TD make use of the weapon”

    I’m not sure if this is the case. Does every infantry motorised unit have them in the ‘Support Companies”? For many years not all units had 12.7mms; no idea how it is at present.

  2. Could be these 13 pcs are for the remaining Gempita units delivered to TDM.

    Anyhow, the M2 is such a vintage weapon that whatever patents Browning has should have lapse so anyone could make the M2 without paying royalty fees.

    The tender said for infantry units

  3. “The tender said for infantry units”
    It didn’t say if its for mounted infantry units which would primarily use the M2s on their vehicles prior to dismounting. The sentence is “The weapon shall be used either mounted or dismounted role”. I don’t expect modern day infantry squads to be lugging the M2s anymore since lighter SAWs

  4. Ramrod,

    This topic has been done to death here …. We simply do not have the economics of scale to do it locally. Same with ammo. Cheaper and faster to source abroad rather than get SME to produce a small amount.

  5. Given that our first 12.7mms were acquired in the 1970’s and they were made to last [not that we fire tens of thousands of rounds per year] they should have lots of life life. In the 1990’s/early 2000’s we also bought quite a few from Manroy. I would understand why the RMN would want to get South Korean HMGs but for the army it makes sense to get additional M2s for parts commonality. These 13 are probably to fulfil a new requirement or are attritional replacements.

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