SHAH ALAM: Looking at some of the comments posted here and at the Malaysian Defence Facebook page, I sometimes feel uneasy about posting things like the failed Blackhawk deal. But I guess we cannot have sunshine without the storm.
And the sunshine in our case this time around is the M109s. We are getting the M109s SPH, which I had reported exclusively here late last year. Story here.
The M109s will be upgraded to the latest A5 standards though I have not been told the details of the refurbishment deal. It is likely that it will be minimal. And no, we are not supposed to get the Paladin version as touted by the various copy and paste guys.
Even though the SPH are ex-US Army National Guard stock, the order is finally coming through unlike the Blackhawks and the Mark V SOC. Mark V SOC story.
I was told that Malaysia will assumed ownership of the SPH in the next couple of weeks. The transfer of ownership is part of the Excess Defence Articles program before any work on the SPH can start or delivery can take place. Uncle Sam will not want to pay for items it had already retired and already offered to friendly countries hence the need for the transfer of ownership.
Its just like buying your uncle old bike or car, he wants to get the money first before you can modify the vehicle. And if you did modify the vehicle bright purple or fixed the loudest exhaust you can find, your uncle can tell everyone that he had sold it to you, so its your fault, not his. (I know I should find another analogy but I think this is the simplest one).
As I had posted previously, the number of the M109 SPHs we are getting is around 30 though the actual numbers to be refurbished is still unclear at the moment. The M109s will be assigned to a unit of the Royal Artillery Regiment.
At least one battery will be part of Task Force 450 stationed in the ESSCOM AOR. Malaysian Defence had reported the Army Chief as saying that the M109s will be based in ESSCOM as part of the soon to be set-up Combined Arms Brigade (it is now called Task Force 450).
Probably the whole regiment could be part of ESSCOM but a number will definitely be assigned to the Artillery school in Port Dickson for training and other tasks.
The M109s are expected to be delivered next year, after refurbishing and training are conducted, though I have yet to be told of the exact dates.
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