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.
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.
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.
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.
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— Malaysian Defence