Now More Than Ever

The up-armoured Sherpa 5 cab of the Nexter Systems Caesar 155m/52 SPH

SHAH ALAM: Now more than ever. A day before Merdeka this year, I posted a story on talk of a SPH tender. And now it appears that I had found out further on the requirements and why the tender has not been published. What I wrote:

It appears that the local defence industry and wannabes are gearing up for an Army tender for the 155mm SPH. The tender was supposed to be open for bidding last June and earlier this month but were never published. I was told that the RFB will be published soon though no one could be certain of the exact date. Coming soon or next change…as they say. Anyhow even though there is no general specifications being bandied about, it is likely involved up to 36 truck-mounted 155mm SPH, which have been the numbers talked about for the last 10 years or so. We would have gotten 29 M109 tracked SPH already but it was cancelled by the government in 2019.

The latest version of the Yugoimport Nora B-52 M21 SPH. The The SPH is based on MAN TGS 8×8. Internet

I was told that the numbers of truck mounted SPH being sought is half of the number I posted above. And it appears that the Army has no specific requirement for it to be a 6X6 or an 8X8 though it will be part of the Army’s mechanised units.

The Nexter Systems Caesar 155mm/52 SPH displayed at DSA 2016.

I was told that the tender was delayed as some companies pushing their products, have been lobbying the government to buy the SPH directly from them – through direct negotiations. These companies are claiming their products met the Army requirements following trials overseas (apart from the Caesar of course) so there was no need for an open competition.

A model of the Norinco SH-15 155m SPH howitzer (right),

Another source however told Malaysian Defence that one of the contenders had not been trialled as the planned event, was cancelled due to the pandemic. It must be noted that the delay in the tender process or even direct award may well meant that project will be deferred due to the current economic conditions, even funds for the project has been allocated for RMK12.

MKEK Yavuz 155mm SPH. Internet

Two of the contenders, the Turkish MKE Yavuz 155mm SPH and the Denel T5 155M SPH – are the only ones that had yet to enter service, even with the country’s own military. The black horse in the competition I was told will be the China SH-15 155mm truck mounted SPH, the export version the PLA’s PCL-181 SPH.

Archer 155mm SPH.

From the contenders, only two are being offered by local defence companies and one from an international one. The others, are basically agents as they have yet to sell anything to the Malaysian military. One of them is a subsidiary of a public listed firm. This is a different company to the one involved in the Nuri replacement tender, however.

ZUZANA 2 155mm Self Propelled Gun Howitzer

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2141 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Long overdue, we have been putting focus on the army’s mechanised units and infantry, with the artillery being neglected.

    If we desire a certain mobility level it has to be a 8×8 or at minimum a 6×6. The current poltical climate doesn’t make a Chinese buy likely, althought the Chinese have made great advances in arty. Whether or not Western FCSs can be used with Chinese arty is the question. For me the actual gun is secondary. Of far more importance is the “enablers” to go along with the guns.

  2. Off topic.

    Marhalim, something I’m very curious about.

    1. In 2015 at DSA Petronas signed agreement for Camcopters for the army. Did this involve Camcopters which were formerly used by Petronas or was it for new Camcopters?

    2. In January last year Camcopters ”supported” by the Three Tis Group [Schiebel’s partner] was deployed to assist in a river pollution op. The report also mentioned the Camcopter was ‘deployed” by the MAF. Are these the same Petronas Camcopters or were others acquired via a leasing arrangement with the Three Tis Group?

    3. In the 2008-2009 period a former general lent me a book published by the army. In the section of the Army’s intel battalion; there was a photo of a UAV [which looked like a Camcopter]. This however was in 2008-2009 and the book was published a few years earlier. Did the army have Camcopters before the 2015 deal with Petronas?

  3. Yes they are the same ones. AFAIK new. As for the picture, Scheibel has been promoting the Camcopter since 1999. It is likely they may have one on promotion during the time period you mentioned. Probably that’s the reason the Camcopter was chosen quickly for the Petronas deal

  4. Disgraceful, how our politicians handle defence. UAVs have become vital, something which has to be fully integrated in all lecel of ops. Conceptual studies are being done on how UAVs can elvolve, from operating with MBTs to provide SA and to protect against threats, to using them alongside gunships, to having loitering UAVs being integrated with indirect fire weapons, etc. Yet we are belatedly getting MALEs and only a mere 3.

    Instead of pushing for its 6x6s the army would be better off using the resources to get tactical UAVs in numbers for mech and arty units and to acquire a capability for GAPU to deal with UAVs, which the bulk of traditional AD systems designed to deal with manned aircraft can’t.

  5. Since we are going to acquire 18 plus 18 LCAs, they should be good enough to provide long range fire support to the combined arms…right?

  6. “lobbying the government to buy the SPH directly from them – through direct negotiations”
    Wonderful, back to the same ol shenanigan again.

  7. Hasnan – ”they should be good enough to provide long range fire support to the combined arms”

    Long range fire support is the job of artillery and MLRS. LCAs – depending on the threat level – can perform roles such as interdiction and close air support in support of maneuver units; provided they are employed correctly and have the needed key enablers to work with.

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