SHAH ALAM: Remember the rare Iveco Daily MCRS (Multi Channel Radio System) vehicle featured in Malaysian Defence back in March 2021, at the height of the Covid 19 pandemic? It appears that the MCRS fitted on them are procured from Kongsberg, the Norway based defence and security company.
I am basing this on a Facebook posting by the Army on the visit of its chief, General Zamrose Mohd Zain to the company in Asker, Norway.
LAWATAN KERJA PANGLIMA TENTERA DARAT KE KONGSBERG DEFENCE & AEROSPACE
NORWAY, 18 Jun 2022 – Panglima Tentera Darat (PTD), Jeneral Tan Sri Zamrose bin Mohd Zain telah menghadiri mesyuarat dan lawatan kerja ke syarikat Konsberg Defence & Aerospace di Asker, Norway hari ini.
Ketibaan Tan Sri PTD telah disambut oleh wakil syarikat, Pengarah Pasaran dan Jualan, Mr. Viggo Westbye, Pengurus Projek, Mr. Brynjuif Pedersen dan Pengurus Pembangunan Perniagaan, Mr. Bjorn Eversen.
Semasa sesi mesyuarat tersebut, Tan Sri PTD telah diberikan taklimat latar belakang syarikat dan produk-produk serta kepakaran syarikat berhubung sistem bagi pertahanan, aero angkasa dan maritim. Sistem pertahanan tersebut meliputi sistem komunikasi, sistem pertahanan udara dan persenjataan misil serta ‘space and satelite capability’ terutama untuk keselamatan perairan contohnya perairan Selat Melaka dan perairan Sabah.
Tan Sri PTD juga telah mengutarakan beberapa isu seperti pembekalan ‘Multi Channel Radio System’ (MCRS) yang akan datang perlu mematuhi segala terma yang termaktub di dalam kontrak, setiap peralatan yang dibekalkan hendaklah memenuhi keperluan operasi dan teknikal terkini untuk Tentera Darat, masa pembekalan (lead time) terutamanya alat ganti perlu dikurangkan dan sekiranya wujud keperluan untuk kemaskini sistem pada masa akan datang perlulah berada pada tahap yang optimum tanpa melibatkan banyak birokrasi antara agensi tempatan dengan OEM serta tiada bebanan kewangan yang melampau.
Sesungguhnya lawatan kerja sebegini adalah selaras dengan Tonggak Pertama Perintah Ulung Panglima Tentera Darat Ke-28, “Kelangsungan Misi dan Kesiagaan” dengan memberi penumpuan kepada peningkatan tahap kesiagaan, kompetensi dan aset TDM.
It must be said that the posting is ambiguous on the status of MCRS as it stated that “pembekalan MCRS – future supply of MCRS – which could mean that Kongsberg is supplying new MCRS in the near future. This could also mean that they are supplying a new batch of MCRS. Anyhow, this still could mean that the Army Signals unit will be using a Kongsberg supplied MCRS so my guess is still correct.
A check on the Kongsberg webpage revealed likely MCRS system supplied is the UM600 tactical brand radio or the MRR Tactical VHF IP Radio System, both of which belongs to the Kongsberg K-Tacs On-The-Move, the company suite of products supporting military units on the move with robust, secure and reliable radio communication, both in the VHF and in the UHF band.
What is interesting the MRR is the standard tactical radio in NASAMS Air Defence Systems. With the Army planning to buy a MRAD system during this, wouldn’t it be the de facto air defence system of choice already?
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I assume RMAF would be jumping in joy if TDM do indeed acquired the NASAMs.
Thought it would put into question to what SAM RMN would choose for the LCS & LMS2. Can’t really choose any other missiles if one still want to tick the asset rationalisation objective boxes.
5zaft- “RMN would choose for the LCS & LMS2. Can’t really choose any other missiles if one still want to tick the asset rationalisation objective boxes”
The pertinent question is ask is if indeed Mica is not selected; what other missile can be fitted [integration and certification needed] to the LCS.
5zaft – “really choose any other missiles if one still want to tick the asset rationalisation objective boxes”
Commonality is essential and desired but the armed services understand and accept that it can’t always be a achieved and are willing to compromise; especially with stuff that night not require a large logistical.footprint to sustain.
Here’s my take on the MRSAM
-If the army is getting NASAMS or MICA VL, they could practically replace Jernas as well as both are practically a SHORADS but with far enough reach to be considered as a MRSAM. Bonus for NASAMS as it could also launch short range missile as an option.
-If the army is getting the KM-SAM or Aster 30(which are basically medium to long range SAM) they still need something to replace Jernas down the line. Something like Martlet or Mistral 3 could be considered as they’re lighter yet has comparable range to Jernasand could be installed on much more mobile platform
Probably NASAMS for the GAPU unit of royal artillery ?
Dundun- “could practically replace Jernas”
That is indeed the plan.
Dundun -“If the army is getting the KM-SAM or Aster 30”
ASTER 30 is unlikely as the requirement is for a shorter range system and ASTER’s high price tag. We’ve come full circle; from looking at Buk in the early 2000’s to being offered Crotale NG and attempts by influential businessmen to sell a Chinese made system about a decade ago.
Whilst the requirement for a medium range system is vital and long standing [since the early 2000’s] there is also an urgent need to create an effective counter UAS capability for which a turret mounted auto cannon, V-SHORADs and radar is essential. It will be a GAPU asset naturally but should be an organic asset of a maneuver unit; just like how Battery 361 is a GAPU asset but organically part of 10 Para. A lesson reinforced from the Ukraine is that AD systems must be localised rather than held by a holding entity such as GAPU and distributed/attached on an ad hoc basis.
Interesting but I don’t think it has anything to do with Nasams. It seems TDM have wanted to divorce themselves from the long standing policy of getting Sapura Thales radios by default and from the latest tenders for secure radios they have clearly indicated they are fishing out globally
Good & bad, as Kongsberg is not new to us having selected their NSM for LCS. Good also to pay Norway a visit as it comes toward end of Spring and into Summer, weather there is Cameron/Genting-like on a cloudy day. Bad for Sapura though for obvious reasons.
Honestly don’t understand the logic. 1) The buying a little bit of something which collectively dont add anything strategic to the overall strategy.
2) Still focusing on V\SHORAD only defenses in an era of precision guided standoff weapons and mobile warfare. They see a V\SHORAD heavy static defense position and the enemy will flatten the facility with cruise missiles, and high altitude heavy bombers. Even if the adversary doesn’t have those assets they’ll just bypass those static points. Since the numbers are not a lot, in reality very few bases have such defenses.
3) V/SHORAD is like the last line of defence. Without medium and long range anti air, these static emplacements won’t survive first engagement. It might have made sense in WW2 up to the Vietnam War. But things have changed since the Gulf War that such thinking is…Old and outdated.
And its redundant to say “it depends who the adversary is”. Anyone that has the intention and the ability to engage the V/SHORAD batteries is one with a modern armed forces. If they intent to engage those weaponry, they intent to take land.
If insurgents, pirates, require the country to use V/SHORAD assets, then the country has bigger problems.
kel – ”Honestly don’t understand the logic. ”
Understand that right or wrong; our threat calculus is based on the premise that we won’t be faced with a protracted state on state war. This drives everything we do.
kel – ”Still focusing on V\SHORAD”
Well one has to start from somewhere.. The idea is to have a medium range system to complement out V-SHORADS to form an element of a layered defence networked.
Kel – ”But things have changed since the Gulf War that such thinking is… Old and outdated.”
May surprise you buy GAPU is well aware of this and is why it has been seeking a medium range system since the early 2000’s and why even before that the army included Rapier in the 1988 MOU with Britain. Also despite being a last line of defence V-SHORADS are the most effective means of dealing with certain types of threats. If you’ve noticed; Nargano Karabakh; Syria, Iraq and other places have clearly shown how ineffective longer range systems are; they are not designed to deal with low flying targets with a minimal RCS and IR signature. Your longer range and higher altitude Pantsir, Sypder, MICA and NASAMs are not configured to take out low flying UASs; which is why [if you’ve noticed] Rheinmetall have come up with Skyranger 30; the Yanks with Initial Maneuver Short-Range Air Defence, etc.
Kel – ”And its redundant to say “it depends who the adversary is”.
No it’s clearly not eventhough you think so. In the real world militaries are equipped and structured to take on thje threats they they will face. Show me a military’s TOE and I’ll tell you what war it sees itself being engaged in. It depends on not only who the adversary is but specific opeational circumstances of the conflict.
kel – ”If they intent to engage those weaponry, they intent to take land.”
Sorry but this is pure assumptive nonsense. If things have reached a stage where an opponent faces V-SHORADS; then he has made it past the other layers. You also may have noticed that in the Ukraine; where both sides in the air have reached a stalemate and are unable to achieve air superiority; V-SHORADS have accounted for quite a number of th aircraft losses.
Lets learn the lessons of Ukraine.
1. Lots of anti tank missiles. Need not be ultra expensive top attack missiles. But require lots of them.
2. Artillery, the Queen of the battlefield. We need lots of them. And range matters.
3. Great ISR. First class intelligence n both Humin n Sigint.
We should equip accordingly
The quickest that we can do is to upgrade our ISR
For the army
– scaneagle-class UAV
– DJI Mavic 3 class drone, for small unit operations
– getting manpack ESM systems
– refitting the VINGTAQS II of gempita into a more smaller, maneuverable vehicle.
For the Navy
– more Scaneagles, or FOC Blackjack UAVs
– vtol UAVs like the Camcopter
For the air force
– more maritime patrol aircrafts
– low cost MALE UAVs that can be bought in big numbers that can do multi-role. TB2 is the perfect candidate
– converting the single CN-235 ex VIP plane into SIGINT/ESM platform?
Artillery. Not just range, but we need to have deep ammo stocks that could last us at least a month or so.
Anti tank missiles, cheap means not missiles but rockets/recoiless rifles. That means more RPG-7 and Carl Gustaf ammo. There are affordable top attack missiles, like the korean raybolt. or we can stock up on our baktar shikan and ingwe reloads.
Lee – ” learn the lessons of Ukraine.”
Sorry but a lot of the ”lessons” in the Ukraine are actually reminders of what we already knew from previous conflicts.
Lee – ”We should equip accordingly”
We should draw the right lessons but also not assume that any future war will be like the Ukraine.
Vader – ”Artillery. Not just range”
Fully networked; and the ability to rapidly shift fire; to coordinate the use of arty with MLRSs; to hit unobserved and obseerved targets accuratly and with minimum delay.
The point (s) for both SHORADS and even VSHORADS are point defence and as organic elements to protect ground forces from attack helos and drones that mainly prey upon target of opportunity. They’re easier to deploy, cheaper, more mobile and could even become a harassing unit to disrupt eny aerial movement
Darth – “rockets/recoiless rifles. That means more RPG-7 and Carl Gustaf ammo”
Yes but those are only good in close and restricted terrain. In close and restricted terrain engagement ranges will be short and enemy AFVs will play a supporting role to infantry but the advantage is that engagements can take place from any quarter. We need also need systems with a slightly longer range for areas which permit longer range engagements.
Vader – There are affordable top attack missiles, like the korean raybolt. or we can stock up on our baktar shikan and ingwe reloads.
What we need to do is to have ATGWs and shoulder fired weapons as widely distributed as possible and for infantry units to operate as part of combined arms formations with sound infantry/AFV cooperation tactics and well supported by arty and UASs. We also need to figure out what to do if the opponent operates unlike the Russians in the Ukraine.
Azlan – “Yes but those are only good in close and restricted terrain”
There is no open plains or deserts anywhere in Malaysia. Malaysia is the epitome of close and restricted terrain.
Azlan – “well supported by arty and UAS”
Things that our army is both lacking. We have not even mentioned about loitering munitions. In our jungle terrain, armored vehicles will be mostly confined to existing roads and tracks. There will not be a lot of places where armored vehicles can operate widely dispersed like in europe. It will still be a place where soldiers on foot with ATGMs will easily be much more superior than MBTs or IFVs. Light tanks will not be something that will change the battlefield much. It will just be fodders for even 30mm auto cannons mounted on Gempita.
Vader – There is no open plains or deserts anywhere in Malaysia
Really? By restricted and unrestricted terrain I mean urban areas and say along an open stretch of a highway. In unrestricted terrain infantry will take a back seAt to AFVs.
Vader – There will not be a lot of places where armored vehicles can operate widely dispersed like in europe
Which is what I meant by restricted terrain which to a large extent can be mitigated with effective combined arms and engineering support. There is also the matter of the country being increasingly urbanized; the landscape changing.
Lessons learned from Ukraine.
From Colin Kahl, the US undersecretary for defense for policy.
On lessons of how a superior military can be stymied in an offensive operation. “The Russians on paper looked like the second-best military in the world the day that they invaded Ukraine,” he said. “And yet, you know, the logistical difficulties, the difficulties with morale, the difficulties with training, the difficulties with planning, the difficulties with doctrine, and the tenacity and creativity of the Ukrainians to leverage advanced asymmetric capabilities” all worked to counter that.
vader – ”Malaysia is the epitome of close and restricted terrain.”
Along stretches of highways; in industrial zones where the vegetation has been cleared; etc. If indeed there was no unrestricted terrain the army would be contend with the likes of MBT LAW [a maximum effective range of about 300 metres] and not have a requirement for a longer range system in areas where longer range engagements are possible. Note that increased urbanisation has changed the landscape a lot; made it more conduicive for th effective employment of armour compared tp previous decades.
vader – ” In our jungle terrain, armored vehicles will be mostly confined to existing roads and tracks”
Armour will be deployed in oil/rubber palm estates rather than ”jungle terrain’. Even then the ability of aemour to deploy in restricted terrain will be helped by having effective engineering support and having effective infantry support [as we have seen time and again in various conflicts].
vader – ”ATGMs will easily be much more superior than MBTs or IFVs.”
I won’t go as far as saying they will ”be much more superior’ but rather they will have certain advantages; namely the ability to initiate engagements from various angles [rather than mainly frontal as would be the case with unrestricted terrain] and even from above [in urban areas].
vader – ”Light tanks will not be something that will change the battlefield much.”
As has been discussed here previously; I fully understand why some armies have such a requirement but given we have MBTS, IFVs configured in various ways and various types of shoulder fired weapons and ATGWs; I can’t see why we would need a light tank.
Vader – ”Things that our army is both lacking.”
Indeed but if we were to restrict conversations/discussions to things we had then the scope of the conversation/discussion would be somewhat limited..
Azlan – “along an open stretch of a highway”
It that really an open terrain? Most of our highways are at most 100m wide, with plenty of places to hide for an attacker on both sides of the highway.
Even in townships, industrial areas, those are still considered restricted terrain as both the armored vehicle and those who are hunting them can hide in, beside or between the many buildings. The usage of cheap modified civilian drones to drop mortar rounds or grenades is a new way forward.
We cannot assume China PLA will have the same malaise as the Russian armed forces did. But evidently their modernisation program is going up a higher pace than Russia. Just last week they launched their 3rd carrier, this one a CTOL 80,000ton version. Imagine within just 10 years they went from STOVL Liaoning to a carrier that could rival QEs, their rate is breakneck speed. Perhaps another 10 years they might have fleets of GRF sized carriers that could take on USN.
Vader – “It that really an open terrain?”
Compared to urban areas and palm oil/rubber estates it is clearly much more unrestricted; making it somewhat easier for maneuver/employment. If you’ve noticed along some parts of the North/South highway you have many stretches which enable you to take shots at 2-4km away; impossible in an urban setting or an estate. Also we’ve seen successful examples of armour deployed in far more restricted terrain – American and Australian M-48s,M-47s and Centurions in Vietnam; American Shermans and Stuarts in the Pacific, Chinese/Vietnamese MBTs in the 1979 border war; the use of Shermans to liberate Borneo – all in areas much more restricted and with a poorer road network compared to present day Malaysia.
Vader – usage of cheap modified civilian drones to drop mortar rounds or grenades is a new way forward.
Because of what you’ve seen in the Ukraine, footage of a rare or one off event posted on pro Ukrainian Twitter feed? Ultimately, the main cause of IFV kills has been ATGWs. Air dropped grenades and armed UASs have actually accounted a for a small number of kills. No I’m not suggesting armed UASs have no role to play but I’ll be more hesistant to apply statements like “new way forward” yet. What happens if the said AFVs are covered by a layered counter UAS capability? A lot of what we’re seeing in the Ukraine is not new per see, reminders of what we’ve seen in the previous Donbas campaign; Libya, Syria, Iraq and Nargano Karabakh.
Vader – Even in townships, industrial areas
Some are more spread out than others. Ultimately if there were no areas in the country which were more open and allowed longer range systems to be employed we wouldn’t have a requirement for something with more legs than MBT LAW and shoulder fired weapons and the SAF [which trains to operate on our terrain] wouldn’t have 2 Spikes variants; one with longer range.
cheekuchai – “creativity of the Ukrainians to leverage advanced asymmetric capabilities”
That is one of the big takeouts for now from Ukraine. How can we adjust our armed forces to make use of these advanced asymmetric capabilities?
joe – “evidently their modernisation program is going up a higher pace than Russia”
Of which something we cannot ever afford to challenge in a conventional way. So what can we do then? How can we stand our ground and say that these EEZ are ours according to international law? Can we learn something from the past, such as from the iceland-UK cod wars? What do we need to stand our ground?
Joe – “We cannot assume China PLA will have the same malaise as the Russian armed forces did.”
For the past few years Russian planners acted on the assumption that the Russian military would fight short low intensity wars; such as encountered in Georgia, Syria and the Donbas. They never expected that they would have to conduct a multi axis strategic offensive in the 2nd largest country in Europe; one which had a fairly large sized army and a large pool of manpower it could call upon. The Russians have a lot of problems: one is manpower. Unless a war or state of emergency is declared conscripts can’t be deployed. A lot of units entered the Ukraine far below their authorised strength.
Whilst the Ukraine certainly offers us a lot of lessons it also offers us a lot of reminders of what we already knew from other conflicts; whether the need for a layered and networked AD; sound combined arms tactics; sound logistics; UASs in numbers and integrated into the battle plan; secure tactical comms, operational reserves and the ability to regenerate; the need for deconfliction; standard conventional tactics blended with asymmetry; etc. Like in other wars the majority of casualties are caused by arty; not the well publicised UAS strikes [we hear much less about UAS losses] or missiles.
Azlan – “Also we’ve seen successful examples of armour deployed in far more restricted terrain”
In the past, there is no proliferation of ATGMs, advanced or otherwise. American and Australian M-48s,M-47s and Centurions in Vietnam did not make any big impact to the course of the war in Vietnam. Chinese/Vietnamese MBTs in the 1979 border war takes a minor role, where the main battle is done by waves of infantry. Liberation of Borneo is basically just to accept the japanese surrender. The ukranian conflict (which has wide open wheat fields) is probably the biggest ever deployment of tanks in anger since WW2, with now over multiple thousands of russian tanks being moved into Ukraine, with Ukraine itself fighting the tank surge mainly with ATGMs. From the Oryx blog, russia has lost nearly 800 tanks since the start of the conflict, so asymmetrically having ATGMs (instead of tanks to kill other tanks) plus other things like precision artillery and CUAVs is a credible response for other countries to emulate.
Small UAVs attacking IFVs are currently just a nascent capability, but i would not bet against it, and instead would do more research on it. This is something that STIDE should study, buy available off the shelf stuff, modify and operate it, and study its effectiveness and lethality.
spike-SR is a disposable ATGM similar to NLAW, while spike-LR is similar to the Javelin. Having the longest range ATGM that you can afford is of course good (of which the SAF can surely more than afford), but still it does not change the fact that malaysia terrain consists mostly of restricted terrain. Currently tentera darat do have a long range ATGM in the shape of the Ingwe (5km range), but it does not have a top attack mode.
What I can say is that we both agree that tentera darat needs more ATGMs, with top attack and longer range that could be used by all of the infantry formations. The question is which items in the pipeline that tentera darat need to sacrifice in order to get more ATGMs?
[we hear much less about UAS losses]
I would rather lost 30 Combat UAVs instead of 30 attack helicopters in hunting down enemy tanks.
The long endurance of UAVs also gives much more meaningful ISR (Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) resources, when compared to helicopters like A109LOH or MD530G
A lot are gaga about the innovations and adaptiveness of the Ukrainians [just ike how they went gaga and made presumptuous claims with the Azeris] which is worthy of study and admirable but it’s really nothing we haven’t seen others perform in Nargano Karabakh, Syria, Libya and others places.
As the cliche goes “armies prepare to fight the last war” – we must never assume a war we fight in will be type we want or are prepared to fight or that operational conditions will be similar to the Ukraine. Armies adapt and opponents get a vote. Another issue is that unlike others who can focus attention and resources as well as developing institutionalised skill sets and doctrine on specific threats [e.g the Azeris and Armenians and Greeks and Turks]; we can’t. We don’t have a specific threat [i won’t go into the China delusion] and a lot of what we do is capability, not threat driven]. I will also add that our planners may not be graduates of the Frunze War Academy or disciples of Moltke or Clausewitz but they aren’t daft enough to play to a potential opponents strengths. Way before a lot of people even knew what “asymmetric” tactics were; we already incorporated them to some extent in our planning.
vader “Of which something we cannot ever afford to challenge in a conventional way. So what can we do then? How can we stand our ground and say that these EEZ are ours according to international law? Can we learn something from the past, such as from the iceland-UK cod wars? What do we need to stand our ground?”
Iceland ultimately won the cod war not just because of it military power but diplomacy as they have the backing of the international community as their withdrawal from NATO would cut NATO access to the strategic GIUK gap. China has the same concern in the form of malacca dilemma.
Historically speaking after the death of stalin, soviet ultimately choose peaceful coexistence. western europe manage to persuade the soviet not just through cooperating with one another through NATO & European Union but germany willingly give soviet a economic livelines and self blackmail tools in the form of soviet then russia O&G dependency.
“So what can we do then?”
Diplomacy is our best tool. Our nonalign stance is the 2nd best. Unlike Ukraine, keeping ourselves neutral and not antagonising them or escalating the situation, goes a lot with keeping them at bay. Realistically we can’t stop their intrusions but we can deter them by ensuring we constantly monitor the air & seas and will swiftly act to escort them back out in the open, and if need be reprimanding thru diplomatic backchannels. We should not have delusions we can take them on whether it be peactime or thru conventional or asymmetrical ways. Peaceful coexistence is the best option we have for now and perhaps forever.
vader – ‘there is no proliferation of ATGMs’
Saggers were first used in the late 1960’s by Egypt and later in 1973 – in their hundreds if not more. TOW was first used in Vietnam in 1971 and the NVA also had Saggers. No proliferation you say?
Vader – ”American and Australian M-48s,M-47s and Centurions in Vietnam did not make any big impact to the course of the war in Vietnam. Chinese/Vietnamese MBTs in the 1979 border war takes a minor role, where the main battle is done by waves of infantry.”
You’re missing the point which was MBTs can be used in restricted terrain as has been historically demonstrated time and time again. The idea that MBTS can only be employed in wide open areas is a fallacy. As for the 1979 border war those ”waves of infantry” were well supported by MBTs which led the way. Oh and the Thais also deployed M-48s in unrestricted terrain with a very road network during the border clash with Myanmar.
In the 1972 Easter Offensive and in 1975 MBTs infiltrated through areas much more restricted than ours played a major role – they did play ”an impact”; contrary to your claim.
Vader – ”asymmetrically having ATGMs (instead of tanks to kill other tanks) plus other things like precision artillery and CUAVs is a credible response for other countries to emulate.”
So you and others keep dogmatically insisting but in reality will those countries be in a conflict with similar circumstances as seen in the Ukraine. Pray tell how will UASs be able to even fly [let alone do their job] if one side has a layered and networked AD which includes the ability to neutralise UASs via both a hard and soft kill option? Also if it has escaped you; UASs have not proved decisive in the Ukraine and despite all the media coverage and gaga fanboys; ultimately it was heavy armour and infantry which took and held ground in Nargano Karabakh. Caveat- no I’m not saying UASs shouldn’t be bought; merely they don’t dominate and aren’t a panacea; it’s how they are deployed; in conjunction with what and the operational context.
Vader – ”ukranian conflict (which has wide open wheat fields) is probably the biggest ever deployment of tanks”
No – the battles around the Chinese Farm in 1973 and the numbers deployed when the Syrians were moving towards the Sea of Galilee.
Vader ”UAVs attacking IFVs are currently just a nascent capability, but i would not bet against it, and instead would do more research on it.”
It’s not a ”nascent capability” but one made possible by operational circumstances; an opponent which did not have the means to counter them and MBTs which did not have APSs.
Vader – ”still it does not change the fact that malaysia terrain consists mostly of restricted terrain.”
Anyone say otherwise? It also has a landscape which is unrestricted in many areas and a landscape which is becoming more suitable for the employment of armour because of urbanisation.
Vader – ”we both agree that tentera darat needs more ATGMs”
I’ll go further – ATGWs deployed more widely and integrated as part of combined arms formations. Ideally ATGW teams would also have the support of arty and UASs but nonetheless will have issues if faced with armoured columns well protected by infantry; with screens up front and aircraft on overwatch. We haven’t even gone into the issue of APSs and NG ERA to deal with tandem warheads.
vader – ”question is which items in the pipeline”
The right ”question” is how high up in the list are ATGWs in order of priority. The army needs various things and has to decide which to get first. No doubt some have voices in their head telling them they know better but army has to make the decision and its decision will be based on various factors. Also; I doubt that the procurement of ATGWs will impact anything else; not as if we’re buying them in the hundreds.
joe – “Realistically we can’t stop their intrusions but we can deter them by ensuring we constantly monitor the air & seas and will swiftly act to escort them back out in the open, and if need be reprimanding thru diplomatic backchannels”
So how do you translate that from theory to the real world? how?
How does escorting out chinese ships using RM833 million per ship LMS Batch II differ than instead using Coast Guard OPVs that cost RM246 million each?
Deterring and defending our EEZ on day to day basis does not need missile armed corvettes, while those same missile corvettes are not going to cut it when the real shit hits the fan.
Alzan – “You’re missing the point which was MBTs can be used in restricted terrain”
You are missing the point of the malaysian army not owning hundreds of MBTs, and we need to kill other MBTs using means other than relying on MBTs of our own. Your POV is of a main MBT user, which malaysian army is not. My POV is of a mainly how can an infantry-centric army going to counter an armored-heavy adversary.
Azlan – “Also; I doubt that the procurement of ATGWs will impact anything else; not as if we’re buying them in the hundreds”
At one time you mention that tentera darat needs many ATGMs so it can equip various infantry units. Now you say buying ATGM does not impact other procurement because we just need to buy small amounts of ATGM? What is your stand actually?
Joe “Our nonalign stance is the 2nd best. Unlike Ukraine, keeping ourselves neutral and not antagonising them or escalating the situation, goes a lot with keeping them at bay”
The current situation with China is not that far off from what we experience with sukarno’s Indonesia. And the same strategy of containment & multilateral ism would still works now as it did then.
Peaceful coexistence can only happen when you have strength & friends. It’s true for SG in regard to MY & ID, it’s true for us in regards to sukarno ID, it’s true for Eastern Europe against Russia, western Europe against soviet, and its also true for China.
Neutrality & non alignment is basically what Ukrainians did. They choose non alignment thus their economy is in the drain. without any money nor friends that make them an easy meat to the russian compared that to the baltics states & Poland who not only gain defence partners but wealth too through institution like EU & NATO.
Stopping them alone even with the best asymmetric means can works but only for a short while. unlike the early part of the Ukrainians war. Nothing much asymmetrical is going on there right now. Russian can and did change it tactics & objectives which put previous asymmetric tactics irrelevant. It currently a pretty conventional heavy artillery fight And Ukrainians ability to able to pull a punch is because they have the international community backing.
This there’s nothing wrong with our defense strategy, it’s the implementation that the problem
vader -”You are missing the point of the malaysian army not owning hundreds of MBTs, and we need to kill other MBTs using means other than relying on MBTs of our own. ”
Touchy, touchy. I did not say that we ”have, should or want” ”hundreds of MBTs”. Yet you’ll confidently said I ‘missed the point”. BTW why go off tangent when I was clearly talking about the utility of MBTs in restricted terrain? You claimed that MBTs in certain conflicts were not decisive and that ATGWs decades ago were not proliferated – I pointed out why you were wrong with both claims.
Vader – ”Your POV is of a main MBT user, which malaysian army is not.”
Singing a similar flawed tune to… You want to claim something; chose something relevant or something someone else said; not something which was never implied or something you claim simply because you have nothing else to. Also what about your ”point of view” – simplistic assumptions; that just because certain things went a certain way in other conflicts that it will be the same in others…. I have made my ”point of view” clear in previous posts : that a mix of several things is needed in the right balance; that nothing operates in a vacuum; nothing dominates; there is no ”better” and that wars we expect or hope to fight might be different to ones we are actually faced with.
I never [eventhough you think so] said that the army was a MBT centric army. I did say in the past say though that MBTs are the most effective means of delivering mobile protected firepower as part of combined arms formations; that they can operate in restricted terrain; that not all of the local landscape is restricted and that we need to take a sobered not fevered approach in making conclusions with regards to conflicts – this is vey different to what you’re claiming I’m saying.
Vader – ”What is your stand actually?”
Let me rephrase it as simple as possible in a way you can understand. ATGWs should be widely distributed as possible; organic to as most units as possible but we are not the BAOR who had 25-30 MILANs organic to each mech battalion or a Russian rifle platoon which has a organic ATGW platoon; thus the numbers will be smaller. I also said – in simple English – that the ATGW buy will not necessarily impact other programmes because it’s not as if we’re buying them in large numbers. Self explanatory.
“we can deter them by ensuring we constantly monitor the air & seas and will swiftly act to escort them back out in the open,”
point 1 – constantly monitor the air & seas.
Need a constant 24H surveillance of every single square inch of our EEZ. Subscribe to high resolution real time satellite geoimaging technology and allocate manpower to track and monitor all arguable vessels. Full coverage of coastal surveillance radars. AEW for gap filling and surveillance of events with high importance. Have more maritime patrol aircrafts. Have more MALE UAV that can do maritime surveillance. Have OPVs at all times at locations that have high probability of incursions.
point 2 – swiftly act to escort them back out in the open.
OPVs that can match the size of the ships they are to escort. around 100m length and more than 2000 tons displacement. must be strong enough to endure ramming. equipped with multiple water cannons. EW transmit systems that can do psyops to the opposing crew handphones, radio.
5zaft – “The current situation with China is not that far off from what we experience with sukarno’s Indonesia”
What a load of sh””t. We faced an undeclared war; seaborne incursions; cross border raids; clashes at sea; airborne drop, subversion, etc. People died and you come up with such a nonsense claim? What we face with China is entirely different.
5zaft – “Ukrainians ability to able to pull a punch is because they have the international community backing”
Bullocks. It’s because they benefited from years of Western training; learnt lessons from the Donbas campaign;are more motivated and are operating on their own soil. The fact that the country is the 2nd largest in Europe and that they have a large pool of manpower also plays a big part.
5zaft – “Stopping them alone even with the best asymmetric”
There is no “best”; only what works and what one,can do in line with ones strengths and limitations; the operational context and what the enemy does. Also asymmetric tactics have to be blended in with other types/forms of tactics.
5zaft – “Russian can and did change it tactics & objectives which put previous asymmetric tactics irrelevant”
No it does not make ” asymmetric tactics irrelevant” because they are still being applied and with regards to changed Russian tactics you will have noticed that they are still making slow progress. Their means regenerate, maneuver and inflict a decisive blow is somewhat limited. Also you mentioned previously “winter tactics”. Nonsense, they struggled because of various factors, an army not suited for a large strategic offensive on 3 fronts in such a large country [planning was centered on short wars like in Syria and the Donbas]; lack of operational reserves, flawed assumptions made at a political level; poor combined arms tactics; etc. Not because of “winter tactics”‘
Azlan – “I pointed out why you were wrong with both claims”
I am wrong with both claims? Pretty bold statement you have there.
1. Tanks did not play any decisive role in the fate of the Vietnam conflict. You can say yes to Huey helicopters, M-16 rifles, even A-4 Skyhawks out of Da Nang and multiple carriers in Tongkin Gulf. But tanks? Hell no.
2. saggers and tows are around in middle east conflicts in the 60s and 70s. Proliferate? As i said those are nothing when compared to the numbers in Ukraine. Also most tank kills are by other tanks in massive tank on tank fight, unlike mostly ATGM ambushes on russian tanks in Ukraine.
Azlan – “Singing a similar flawed tune to… ”
So when many people saying the same thing they are flawed, and you are the only one here is singing the perfect tune?
Azlan – “Self explanatory”
So a conflicting point of needing ATGWs that should be widely distributed as possible; organic to as most units as possible but not buying them in large numbers is self explanatory? How do you distribute ATGM to every infantry battalion but still buying them in small numbers? We have 37 infantry battalions, not including commando and border battalions. If each battalion is to be given a platoon of 12 top attack ATGM launchers, that in itself is at least 444 launchers. That is if you consider an infantry battalion with 12 ATGM could successfully face a mechanised battalion of 100 armored vehicles.
Lets say just half of the infantry battalions will get ATGMs (is half still be considered widely distributed and meaningful in numbers?), that will still be 222 launchers. Lithuania bought 30 Javelin launchers + missiles for $125 million, 222 launchers it would come out to $925 million. Is the $925 million amount small and would not impact other programs? How much budget do we have for the 6×6 IFV project?
Azlan -“we are not the BAOR who had 25-30 MILANs organic to each mech battalion or a Russian rifle platoon which has a organic ATGW platoon”
All of the above armies in cold war are heavily armor-centric army formations. That amount of ATGM is just as a complementary element to the main and larger MBT force, of which they are expected to fight head on in a conventional war. Malaysian army on the other hand, has only 48 tanks, that is available only on 1 part of the 2 part territory of Malaysia, and will need to depend on ATGMs instead of tanks to counter enemy tanks and armored vehicles.
“point 2 – swiftly act to escort them back out in the open”
This mission clearly does not need to use a heavily armed corvette like the specs that RMN wants for its LMS Batch II. Which is why I question the need for them.
“So how do you translate that from theory to the real world? how?”
Before we react we firstly need to know what’s out there, we need to “see” so firstly we need sufficient long range radar coverage, thru land and ships. Then for air we need AWACS/AEW or in liew of that, heavy fighters like our MKMs could act as pseudoAWACS. The point is constant vigilance so they know we are always watching and will react swiftly, and for that we have various agencies and types of ships depending on the situation whether it be RHIBs, fast boats, OPV, LMS or even LCS. The point is using only the appropriate force necessary and not overdo it in order not to escalate things. The MMEA & TLDM has their respective roles for the OPV and LMS, while it may appear to overlap much, the point is; LMS has peacetime role and a wartime role, OPV has peacetime role but limited wartime role. The MMEA could focus on purely being constabulary and a bit player during war but TLDM has to have resources and ships they could use both during peacetime & war. You can uparm Kedah LMS, you can’t uparm OPV1800. And no, throwing all that money into subs does not make it “better”, as subs has very limited deterrence presence and overkill in most roles inc peacetime, neither can we afford to buy and operate enough subs to be a significant threat to any superpower.
What we have now to defeat and eliminate a non-state actor, its an overkill.
To fight border disputes and skirmishes against a neighbour, still an overkill.
To fight against a regional bully, surely we will lose and lose territory after negotiations.
So our biggest threat is the regional bully who already claimed nearly all of our EEZ. We can only complement by taking sides with another superpower if we are to reclaim those territories. We do not have the capability to fight a maritime war on our own. So we need infra and assets to complement our allies.
I don’t think Xi Jinping is going to back down on Taiwan and the Nine Dash Line.
“Neutrality & non alignment is basically what Ukrainians did.”
Erm not really. They were Russian aligned until Orange Revolution & Euromaidan shifted them to Western leaning. Post-Soviet they had a reliance economy hence they were susceptible to economic & thus political influence from either bloc. This is an important lesson for us moreso than their war tactics. If we do not engage China’s paranoia they won’t to do us as Russia did in Ukraine. We aren’t at war with China, officially or unofficially, so let’s keep it that way.
OPV of 100mtr and 2000tons are overkill and only cause them (CCG) to build even bigger ships. We don’t need to confront them aggressively til the point of ramming but we need to show presence whenever they appear. A 83mtr 1800ton OPV can do just as well. A Kedah LMS could also work if its in the area but its more sensitive to use a naval vessel unless there are no other options.
I believe my comment below yours (tho not replying to you) have answered your question. If it was PLAN vessel intruded rather than typical CCG, then the right response is to send LMS or rather NGPV to intercept. As I mentioned, only sufficient appropriate force necessary, not underdoing or overdoing too much.
What we have is overkill to deter nonstate actors, in case they want to do Lahad Datu 2.
But it is puny against superpowers so we should not have delusions we can take them on conventionally or asymmetrically even if we massively upgrade and rearm.
What we do have, and this reflected in our longstanding policy, is to keep up with our regional neighbours and to align our force composition with the ever changing modern era demands.
Vader – “Tanks did not play any decisive role in the fate of the Vietnam”
They played a very important role. They provided a very effective means of fire support to Australian and U.S. units and they actually proved decisive in the Easter Offensive and the 1975 Offensive as a means and to deliver firepower and unhinge South Vietnamese defences.
To use your logic UASs did not play a decisive play in Nargano Karabakh armour and infantry took and held ground] and haven’t in the Ukraine. Also, pray tell but with the exception of the atom bomb in 1945 what single weapon played a decisive role in eventual outcome of any conflict?
Vader – “will need to depend on ATGMs instead of tanks to counter enemy tanks and armored vehicles”
Correction, “will need” to rely on various means to counter enemy armour – MBTs merely form part of the equation, not the only one. Since you didn’t get it the first few times around : various things are needed in the right balance; all complementing each other with none “better” or dominating.
Vader – “How do you distribute ATGM to every infantry battalion but still buying them in small numbers”
Profound difference with distributing them to “as many as possible” and your “every infantry battalion” We start off with a selected brigade or a couple most likely to encounter armour in the event of a conflict – “asright many as possible; in line with resources. If you want to drive a point at least get some facts right; respond to the correct thing” what other actually said/implied.
Vader – “you are the only one here is singing the perfect tune?”
I’m sorry; you mean the tune of not making generalised assumptive statements; claiming certain things are “better”; putting certain things on a pedestal under the impression they are a one size fits all solution; looking at things from a narrow perspective driven by ones personable preference; assuming certain.conflicyd Will similar to one we might face; falling under the illusion that asymmetric warfare is the answer and e actually stand a chance against China; insinuating that one knows better than those whose job is actually to do for real what we discuss in the cyber world; not realising that armour can and has been deployed effectively in restricted terrain; etc?
Indeed, I don’t sing that tune.
Vader -“those are nothing when compared to the numbers in Ukraine”
I wasn’t comparing it to the Ukraine; merely rubbishing your claim that ATGWs were not proliferated widely in the era in question [by the 1960s/70s they had already been widely proliferated. Stick to the script.
There’s really no point (IMO) presenting hypotheticals, expanding capabilities, and having visions of a complex, sophisticated, capable armed forces when these are the following 2 big problems plaguing the armed forces.
1) Old (some borderline relic), and near derelict assets. Getting pieces of equipment and capability to develop some competency (or show to have some competency) will kill the budget in the long run. No economies of scale. Too many platforms to maintain. Too many capabilities to sustain. Over time, leaders have hundreds of acquisition priorities just to sustain all sorts of capabilities.
2) If the bank account is big, fat and growing, it isn’t a problem to spend all over the place. But with a shrinking, or not growing, prone to wastage bank account, it becomes a big problem to spread resources thin.
Hasnan – “What we have now to defeat and eliminate a non-state actor, its an overkill.”
Hasnan – “To fight border disputes and skirmishes against a neighbour, still an overkill”
Sorry but its not an “overkill” as it depends on the circumstances. If we are faced with an opponent who has overmatch – a qualitative and numerical advantage – then what we have is not an “overkill” it’s “inadequate”‘
Hasnan – “I don’t think Xi Jinping is going to back down on Taiwan and the Nine Dash Line”
No shit. He won’t back down but neither will he resort to military action unless he feels he has no alternative and has to react to the actions of others. China too doesn’t desire war if it can be avoided.
vader -”Deterring and defending our EEZ on day to day basis does not need missile armed corvettes, while those same missile corvettes are not going to cut it when the real shit hits the fan.”
So you keep inisting but in reality ”deterring and defending our EEZ on day to day basis” is not the primary role of the LMS; anymore than it is of the Lekius and Kasturis which also from time to time deploy in the area. The main role of safeguarding [I won’t use ”deter” because we don’t] is the job of the Kedahs but time to time they are augmented by other assets; doesn’t mean it’s their main role. Until such a time when the MMEA has sufficient assets it’s the RMN which can fill the void and only the RMN; if there’s another entity I’m unware of please do share.
Vader- ”missile corvettes are not going to cut it when the real shit hits the fan.”
What on earth does ”when the real shit hits the fan” even means [I’m assuming you actually know]. In the right operational context even a Arleigh Burke would struggle. It [again] depends on the operational context and like everything else the LMSs are not intended to punch above their weight category; in other words a LMS [like everything, not just ”corvettes”] is not intended to be placed in a position where it’s at a huge disadvantage. It will have a modest weapons load out but then again it’s not a primary combatant; not intended for it to go off alone against a PLAN taskforce and it’s intended for specific operational conditions. My hope is that it will have a high level of networking and will at a later date have embarked UASs to augment its onboard sensors.
MMEA OPVs are for a different role; RMN LMSs [like all RMN assets] have both a peacetime and wartime utility; the primary purpose of the LMS is not peacetime constabulary duties. Unlike RMN LMSs; MMEA [a non military entity] OPVs will only be armed with guns and have a limited sensor capability [shorter range radar, no ESM, etc] which is to be expected given that they are MMEA assets not intended for combat and whose main purpose is peacetime constabulary duties.
As such the LMS Batch 2s and MMEA OPVS are intended for different things; not to be conflated; even it it fits into one’s personal narrative/preference. And yes in the real world the MMEA would be able to handle all its responsibilities but alas we don’t live in a perfect world. Until things change the only entity able to support the MMEA is the RMN [unless of course you know of another entity]; all this is well known and understood; discussed previously.
Another issue is that the LMSs are needed in order to finally replace the FACs and Laksamanas which BTW don’t become ”as good as new” after the so called SMART refit; both also have seakeeping issues; especially the FACs; do ask around then you’ll know. Not only that but the 2035 date is the maximum these aged ships can be operated; doesn’t mean the intention is to operate them until then. Like the RMAF’s low/high end MRCA/LCA mix; the RMN also needs a mix because not all operational scenarios will call for a LCS. Also the plan for LMSs was made years before the LCSs went ratshit not because it did; contrary to your claim.
kel – ”There’s really no point (IMO) presenting hypotheticals, expanding capabilities, and having visions of a complex, sophisticated”
 Can’t speak for others but what I write about is not ”hypothetical” and I don’t have ”visions” of anything.
 It’s not as if we are discussing raising a combined arms Army [comprising several corps]; fighter wings [comprising several squadrons] or about getting IRBMs, laser weapons; cruisers; dozens of SSKs and such.
kel – ”it becomes a big problem to spread resources thin.”
Thanks for the heads up but I’m sure everyone here realises that.
The invasion of Ukraine is part Russia concerns on security and part internal politics as the ruling elite need both an external enemies & popularity to hold on to power. Russia like China and Even us are in the middle income trap a situation difficult to escape unless one do neocolonialism, foreign patron backers or painful internal reforms which usually riles up the public and end up with the falls of dictatorial regime.
Dictatorial regime be it Putin’s Russia, erdagon’s turkeye and Sukarno’s ID with domestic problem usually end up selling pride of the former empire success and foreign bogeyman and end up getting their citizens in a hyper nationalism & irrendetaism mode to maintain popularity at home which put them at direct conflict with their neighbors. And nothing much the neighbours can do as no matter how much they accommodate they can’t really help solve the aggressor domestic challenges.
Azlan “What a load of sh””t. We faced an undeclared war”
A war is a war regardless if it’s follows the book or not, be it declared or not. And the circumstances that once befall Sukarno is also currently befall on the CCP. Same motivation by potential aggressor, different tactics to countered them but mostly the same strategy of acquiring strengths & friends.
If one looking for a historical precedent needed to counter a rouge behemoth. It is already there in our own history textbooks.
China are not here just to fight off the right to fish some seafoods & get few drop of oils in our EEZ. They have plenty of it back at home and they are rich enough to buy it from others without ever resorting to military action. China biggest problems is that their sea lanes of communication can easily be blockade in the 1st island chain, SCS,SOM & Indian ocean. Thus they have More operational need for ships and the industrial & manpower to do so.
Nor they want to invade our homeland. The cost, human sacrifice, difficulty & complexity to invaded a maritime state is enormous. That’s why Taiwan is still free but Tibet is not
. Even if they want to riles up their domestic audience to maintain grip on power with military misadventures they would likely start with Taiwan, Philippines or Vietnam rather than go straight to us.
Which carries with it an entirely different can of worms. While we want to invite & retain them here to bring balance to the force, they themselves are wee bit too triggered happy which escalate the risk of war even further.
Azlan – I sense you feel you have been challenged or tercabar. So if it is, I apologise. Also I see you like to paraphrase others, sometimes cutting off the phrase and changing the meaning / intent. Recommend full quotes. In terms of whether ideas are hypotheticals, perhaps you can present your ideas and we can compare notes. I think my position has been consistent and clear.
This is a genuine invite to have an open discussion. I look forward to your ideas.
Acquisition strategy: Threat based. Because capability based was relevant when the armed forces was transitioning from an inward looking low intensity to an outward looking modern fighting force (1990s, 2000s). It made sense to develop skillsets by trying everything, having a little bit of everything to see learn and then develop our own strategy – what works for us. 20 years later, we should have all the information (or most) we need to be able to focus our effort and resources – be able to identify the external threat(s).
Threat: Next 20 years, the threat is maritime in nature. It will come from SCS. At the moment is is China, but it could be someone else. But it doesn’t change the fact that the next 20 years, the threat will be come from the seas. Even if it comes from the Indian Ocean, it will be maritime in nature. We need to push back threats, out of our EEZ, away from our shores.
Alliances: The days where ASEAN neighbours are the enemies are long over. Yes, politicians will rock the boat for their own gains but ASEAN neighburs are allies. Strengthen interoperability trainings, improve trust, drop the idea we cannot use the same assets. Be neutral but have more tea breaks with FPDA, Japan, NATO, and Singapore.
Army: I like what the USMC is doing. They plan their future force structure on mobility and precision weapons. Malaysia should do the same thing since the army is not big nor heavily armed – limited MBT, limited 155mm howitzers. Prioritise the Nuri replacements and more MLRS. Retire all 48 MBTs to free up money. Consider an air defense version of the Gempita (like the Stryker A1 IM-SHORAD) in lieu of more fixed SHORADS – keep what we have but use mobile platforms for flexibility. Mobility, mobility, mobility.
Navy: Consistently, scrap the LCS – pay what we have to and write-off the loss. If it was me, I’ll not pay at all and sue the shipyard, break the company and keep afloat the maintenance business. But such is the case to protect “SMEs” during election year. From a project risk perspective, there is no certainty the LCS will be completed. There is a material chance if the ships are completed, they will be stripped of a lot of capabilities (like the NGPV). Prioritise LMS Batch 2 (all 8 in a single RMK built by a foreign shipyard) – because I prefer to scrap the LCS, I would upgun the LMS Batch 2, but not to the point of becoming a LCS.
If there is still money in the kitty, 1 or 2 multi-purpose support ship. Can be a LPD, helicopter carrier, etc – Navy to decide. The purpose of the ships are support allies, participate in humanitarian missions (domestic and external), and own dedicated ship to move resources between East and West Malaysia. Maintain presence and push back.
Airforce: Get the Kuwait Hornets (because there is no other option available). But LCA (all 18 in batch 1 in this RMK) should be prioritised above all else. Buy Western, never buy Russian or Chinese. Start the MRCA replacement in the next RMK (for SU-30 and F-18). If not negotiate with MOF and ensure 2nd batch of 18 (or more) LCA gets the green light – even if it means retiring the F-18 and SU-30 (to free up monies). I know I’m one of those Light and Heavy fighters have different roles person, but I will take 24 new single engine light fighters any day (assuming 12 will be LIFT versions) . If we buy Koreans, we might squeeze in some KAF-21 in Batch 2. 36 fighters from a single manufacturer. Deny control and push back.
Anti-Ship: Both land based and ship based. It would seem at this point, land based is the safer bet. Again I like to refer back to the USMC’s force structure and platforms such as NMESIS, which are mobile, suits a smaller but mobile army force structure. Mobility means able to redeploy to where its needed. More efficient for a small budget armed forces. See and deny.
Air Defense: Long range is top on the list. Short range fixed SHORADS are last on the list. The goal is to have platforms that can look deep into SCS from Peninsular Malaysia. Best if the radars can see the China bases and the weapons can engage assets in those bases. See and deny.
Drones: Since the main threat is maritime in nature, navalised MALE drones would be ideal – but since we don’t have the experience operating such expensive platforms, let’s start with something simpler. It would seem a TB2 class, or type, or priced drone would be ideal from a capability development perspective. Inexpensive, no issues with production and widely used. I would even say Kratos Defense type of drones (runway independent) might be an inexpensive option – they made the XQ-58A Valkyrie but they do have for sale platforms such as the UTAP-22 Mako. Not the best but cheap enough to learn the ropes.
Looking forward to your version, or anyone. It would be great to share notes and understand what Malaysians are assessing are the biggest security threat and how it should be dealt with.
Kel – “Azlan – I sense you feel you have been challenged or tercabar”
Hardly. It just felt;by your comment; that we were discussing things like buying cruisers, raising combined arms Armies and fighter wings.
Kel – “biggest security threat”
The biggest threat is our politicians. Look at the political divide; race relations; standard of education; level of English; the economy; etc. The MAF is a reflection of society as a whole. A defence policy; politically driven with emphasis not on the armed services or the taxpayer but on national interests – the result is what we have now; a MAF whose capabilities don’t reflect what we’ve spent on it; one severely under resourced and one which struggles to meet peacetime operational commitments.
Have we learnt? There is no political will; no urgency and a voter base indifferent to defence. Yet some still insist the policy is sound and buy into the self sufficiency; offsets and ToT myth which have led to almost zero tangible benefits but consumed scarce resources. What self sufficiency when it’s cheaper to buy ammo from abroad rather than from SME [which has no economics of scale and has to import all the raw materials]? What cost effectiveness when we buy stuff from local agents who gain revenue for – mostly – providing no added value.
As to external concerns/challenges; China obviously tops the list but it’s not an actual or existential threat – not yet at least. Contrary to views some have; we simply can’t deter or hold back China even if we increased the defence budget by tenfold and adopt all the asymmetric tactics we can. It’s too powerful – the notion we can deter it or make it think twice is cloud cuckoo land delusion – for crying out loud even the likes of the U.S. and Japan are challenged. Take note that before things even go kinetic our radars, SATCOM, GPS, cell phone and internet grids can be targeted by cyber/EW attacks and there is little we can do as a counter; we simply lack the resources – China spends billions on cyber/EW. If things went bad the only chance we’d have is being part of a coalition; we playing a minor role on the periphery because of our lack of capabilities.
Contrary to your claim our neighbours are not “allies”; especially when we have unresolved maritime boundaries which at times were every tense and came close to getting hot [I won’t go further in a public forum but ask around about Ambalat and happenings with our island neighbour]. Despite all the talk about the ASEAN brotherhood and joint cooperation in various areas; there is still lingering distrust and rivalry. We don’t have a EU or NATO to bind/integrate us; we don’t have a long history as independent sovereign states or even a common policy.
Amidst all the talk about the MAF; being able to replicate what the Ukrainians have done and standing up to China; we can’t assume [many have in a fan boyish manner] that operational circumstances faced in the Ukraine or elsewhere will be replicated here [the enemy has a vote and the war we get might not be the one we planned for]. After Nargano Karabakh assumptions were made, same with the Ukraine [which offers more reminders of what we already knew rather than new lessons]. If another war somewhere else breaks out another set of assumptions will be made without looking into the context and nuances. Another factor is that the MAF simply does not have the resources or the manpower [how many people join the MAF annually; how many leave annually; what is the rifle strenght of a battalion, etc] to sustain itself in protected war. No large pool of trained manpower; no large stockpile of essential consumables: foreign reliance on almost everything and the economy and national machinery not structured to withstand a long conflict.
To change things will require the politicians to acknowledge we’ve gone badly wrong [they have no incentive to]. Will require the political will and change of mindset. The rut is so deep that it will require a total fundamental revamp in our defence policy and how we view defence as a whole.
Kel – ”Consider an air defense version of the Gempita”
If you look at previous discussions; I have stressed the need for a IFV fitted with a auto cannon; V-SHORADS and radar; primarily configured to deal with low to medium threats. Look at what Rheinmetall is doing with Skyranger 30 and what the Yanks have done with Stryker A1 Initial Maneuver Short-Range Air Defence – impressive. Armies are cognisant of the great threat posed by low flying small UASs with a minimal IR signature and RCS; the attack on ARAMCO in Saudi is a prime example.
Kel – ” land based is the safer bet.”
One needs a strike/recce capability; i.e. the means to acquire, track and hit targets in time sensitive scenarios and if required beyond radar range; OTHT needed. The hardware is only part of the equation. There is no ”safer bet” only what fits our requirements after we’ve made the needed trade offs.
Kel – ”more tea breaks with FPDA, Japan, NATO, and Singapore.”
We are part of the FPDA; have extensive and regular exercises with the U.S and Australia [MASTEX, Cope Taufan, Kris Mint, CARAT, SEACAT, etc]; participate in multilateral exercises [RIMPAC, MILAN , AMAN, Cobra Gold, Sub Rescue Exercise, etc] and have bilateral exercise with neighbours [MALAPURA, MALPHI, etc]. We also take part in dialogues/exchanges [Airman Talks with the USAF, Sub Rescue Talks with the USN and RAN; ASEAN Armies Rifle Meet, ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting; Shangri-La Dialogue, etc].
Kel – ”navalised MALE drones would be ideal”
– We need MALEs [doesn’t have to be ”navalised”’ per see] in numbers operated by a joint UAS Command to ensure that whoever needs the capability gets it with as little bureaucratic in service fighting as possible. Inter service centric infighting/rivalry/competition remains a major problem. We need more jointness and less bureaucratic turf wars.
-All naval combatants should have an organic UAS to augment onboard sensors.
-The army needs hundreds of UASs; commercial ones are not an issue; for distribution to combat, intel and arty units.
– A lot has been said about UASs and a lot of assumptions made. People overlook that to date they have been employed in permissive airspace [Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nargano Kaarabakh and to some extent even the Ukraine]. UASs are slow and defenceless; against an opponent with an effective counter UAS capability; they would struggle.
Kel – ” I would even say Kratos Defense”
Hardware in secondary. We need a proper C3 set up [intel must get to where it needs with minimum delay] and the right ROEs [no point having a armed UAS if it takes minutes to approve the strike].
kel – ”own dedicated ship to move resources between East and West Malaysia.”
The MPSS serves various needs; from amphib movement [not ”assault”] to tenders, HADR, etc. There is also less of a need to reinforce East Malaysia given that compared to previous years we have more men and equipment in East Malaysia.
People need to accept the political problems. This is the hand the country has been dealt. No point hoping it will change. It should change. It is the constraint we have so just need to work within the contraints. Sad and dissappointing operating environmen nut it is what we have.
What i am seeing being a problem since the 2000s (after the modernisation and transition to a modern fighting force) is, without articulating a threat, governments will attach no value to military spending since the money competes with better roads, ports, utilities, houses, education, etc., as the economy is one of the tools in creating national power (i.e.DIME). Governments and people can assign a value to national power if the economy is strong. But absent a threat, people cannot conceptualise what value a strong military has on natiomal power. Which leads to a dimension not yet asked, the strategy itself. If a war breaks out with a foreign state, how will Malaysia fight? Mine.
Since the biggest threat in the next 20 years comes from the SCS, from a state that is far bigger then ours, we can only delay long enough for allies to come to our aid. Since the enemy cant just place their forces on our land border and walk across (because they will come from the seas), assets wil need to keep them on the seas as long as possible. The added bonus being, if we can strike their SCS bases from land and sea, that will further delay or outright deter military action.
Since alliances will be key to beating back a giant, is thinking of neighbours as enemies the correct mindset? Doesnt matter what the neighbours think, since its not within our control. The only thing we can control are our own actions and decisions. If we want to rely on alliances, we need to build those alliances.
What i have yet to resolve in my mind is how does relying on alliances work in the context of non-alingment or neutrality. Is it the case of the entire alliance being non-aligned? Or just go it solo and hope the big powers respect that? I would like Malaysia to be non aligned and have the acceptance and cooperarion of big powers. For example China accepts our neutrality and will work with Malaysia on oil gas projects in SCS on equitable and fair terms. But i dont see that happening. We have Western powers seemingly accepting our neutrality but really expecting us to toe their line – like not using or limiting the use of China telecommunications equipment.
As for the air defence Gempita, they are not even considering a new normal Gempita, prefering to buy an armoured 4X4 instead. So it is very unlikely an unbuilt version (like an AD one) will be considered.
For maritime counter AD/A2, we urgently need the MPAs and MALEs..get top quality stuff. Then we need large used opv vessels to match the China coast guards in terms of endurance and head butting.
The LCS and LMS batch 2s are planned to be armed with NSMs…that should be adequate. Maritime strike capabilities for our LCAs. Nasams for MERAD. Maybe some stand off missiles for our Su30s or Hornets.
Other stuff we can defer.
Won’t do much but maybe defer the bully’s plan for a few more years. The moment they invade Taiwan we are in deep shit…indicating they have no fear of the US and its allies anymore.