Nuri Replacement Tender Saga Part III and Medium Range ATGM

KUALA LUMPUR: On Tuesday, the Nuri Replacement Tender expired officially, one month longer than the original deadline reportedly due to requests from helicopter manufacturers.

When and who will win the tender for 12 utility helicopters with SAR capabilities is up to the gods now (how and why remains men’s decision, of course). Anyway the winner will surely get a contract for 12 more helicopters once the initial batch is delivered. As I said before, the budget is RM2.4 billion or around USD600 million) so there is enough money for 24 helicopters even if they are priced at USD25 million each. If its more than USD25 million, we may have 18 examples only. Anything less than 18 will make us a laughing stock of the world.

As I said before, I expect the two shortlisted candidates to be announced by DSA and the winner announced by June or July (unless something from the left side happened during the general election). I was told that 20 companies had officially purchased the tender documents, with the usual well known manufacturers duly represented (four) while the rest are probably Malaysian companies acting as agents for other companies (probably Russian?

Anyway, after buying the Metis M and the Baktar Shikan as it medium range guided missiles, the Army has floated another tender for the same weapon system again. Who knows maybe this time, we buy the original weapon instead of the copy of a copy. Sheesh…

From the MOD website
KP(PERO 1)B/T 426/2006

04.04.08

100.00

For The Supply and Delivery Of Anti Tank Guided Weapon – Medium Range (ATGW-MK) To The Government Of Malaysia

(International Tender)

Malaysian Defence

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23 Comments

  1. This tender is happening because the Metis-Ms are garbage. You should ask your sources what % of correct function the Army has recorded in live firings to date.

    Javelin has been approved for this.

  2. Interesting developments. Haven’t been following the Nuri-replacement closely but I hope that the new units will be purchased in sufficient quantity. I would be good if the same helicopter can be used to fulfill the RMAF’s CSAR helo requirements (of course kitted out with the necessary equipment) as this would mean lower cost (more units in the purchase) and save MAF the hassle of maintaining even more types of a/c. I’m realistic enough to think that the EH101 is probably priced out of our reach but the NH-90 or EC725 do look like capable candidates. The Mi-17 will probably be the cheapest option out. Personally, I’m rooting for either the NH-90 or EC725 as they have proven CSAR variants unlike the Mi-17 which comes across as being too unwieldy for CSAR duties.

    For ATGMs, as much as I would prefer original or more capable missiles, I think commonality is an important factor as well. As it is, we already have quite a few ATGMs in the inventory. Perhaps something new can be acquired to replace the Eryx, which is already showing its age.

  3. MeesterT,
    I will surely try to find out more about this especially the reason why. BTW, I do believe the Javelin is a short range ATGM. The TOW is the American medium range ATGM.

    Weng,
    Thanks for the comment. I do believe the EC725 and AW101 will be the shortlisted candidates for the tender. Who will win? I am not putting any money on either of them, its that tight! As above, I do believe the Eryx is a short-range ATGM. Pf course the AT4 is a better fire and throw away ATGM.

  4. Javelin has a max range of 2.5km, which is more than Metis M1 (2km). The original tender IIRC requires a max range of at least 2km.

    ANyway, interesting info, didn’t know that Metis is crappy. Its a simple low tech weapon. Usually Russian low tech stuff are quite good (eg AK-47 and Mi-17). Plus, it is supposed to be one of the “feared” ATGM system of Lebanon 2006 war (the other being the Kornet).

    ATGM stands for anti-tank guided missile, which AT-4 is clearly not.

  5. Is the ATGM procurement made simply because their current ammo stocks are used up or do they want to replace a certain weapon system? Both weapon system (Baktar Shikan and Metis-M) are not that old. But Eryx is getting pretty old as time goes by.

    The Javelin has an effective range of about 2,5 Km, which is about the same league as the Metis-M.

  6. Oops my mistake, the Javelin is also in the medium class ATGM but meant to be carried by soldiers while the TOW is for vehicle application. You guys are right it is in the same class range-wise with Metis M.
    I will try to find out why the tender is floated. Is it really because of the Metis M failures in field firings or they are just stocking up on new weapons or the other option : to help their friends in the ATGM companies!

    Anyway in the past, I have not heard anything bad about the Metis M and the Baktar Shikan. But as a foot note, one must remember that we usually buy weapon systems without the full training fit ie test weapons for training and testing purposes. I wonder if indeed the Metis M failures were caused by the weapon’s failure or the operators?

  7. If it were up to me, the Javelin would be an ideal candidate. But I’m not sure if it’s a cost-effective solution considering high per-unit prices. It’d be nice to have a fire-and-forget MR-ATGM solution. Considering that the only other alternative to the Javelin is the Spike, it appears that there isn’t much choice (apart from the Trigat 3, which is still in development). Choices for SACLOS missiles abound though. In that case, I still think the ATM should stick to its inventory and just purchase more unless there are some serious deficiencies with the current stock.

  8. Im wondering, does the Malaysian army need medium-range ATGMs? Our geography are mainly urban areas, plantations and jungles. Will 2km+ range weapons be much use in our environment?

    Isn’t it better for Malaysian army to focus on getting more light weight, multi-purpose AT weapons for its infantry battalions? Something like RPGs but more modern, like the German Panzerfaust 3 or the Spanish ALCOTAN. These weapons have effective range of 600 meters and can be fired from enclosed spaces, an important capability nowadays.

  9. Based on conversations in Singapore, the tender is just a restocking exercise for the Army’s ATGM inventories although they might just purchase a different system than those already iin service.

    Apparently the same tender was open last year but it lapsed due to red tape and lack of funds! They are not buying that many but….

    Ree, the MR ATGM are supposed to be use together with the Adnans and other AFVs. It will be like the Heavy Weapons Company or Platoon in the US marines. For short range purposes, they got the RPGs, Eryx and Carl Gustaf. At last DSA, the Alcotan agent was very confident that they will get a contract soon but I have neard nothing so far!

  10. Spike is no go as it is from Zionistan ™. You’ll be surprised just how affordable the Javelin is today. I was…..

    Metis-M is an embarrassment. There is zero chance of a rebuy.

    Marhalim, go and dig out the tender value. You’ll be kinda surprised at the amount budgeted for 18 launchers and ammo.

    The Army has more RPGs than it knows what to do with. It is literally saturated with RPG-7s.

  11. The amount of launchers and missiles are large enough for at least three heavy weapon companies. My sources are saying that the first batch of missiles are destined for our troops in Lebanon, so this may well sound good for the Javelin. which is said to cost USD170,00 for a launcher and missile.

  12. One AT platoon’s worth maybe. The rest will probably be given to the blue-eyed children of the Army, the PAC.

  13. I don’t understand why some of you would say that the Metis – M. Its not that bad of a ATGM. If they wanted a smart buy, go with more Russian systems. Combat tested and proven various times in the Chechnya War and recent Israeli conflict with Lebanon.

    Did you not see what Hizbollah did when they were armed with Russian Anti-tank systems in Lebanon, Metis – M, Kornet – E? My God, they made lovely pancakes out of those Super Merkava tanks, now just think for a second what it would do to any other tank.

  14. This is what MeesterT claims. What happened in Lebanon is another issue altogether. Weapons are like stocks, one cannot based what will happened in the future just based on past performance.

    To be fair to the Metis M, I am still trying to find other sources to confirm MeesterT claims but none so far. Over to you MeesterT…

  15. Metis-M? God no, Hezbollah wouldn’t bother with garbage like that. Toophans (Iranian TOW clones), old school Konkurs (AT-5 Spandrels) and a small number of Kornet-Es operated by well trained forces in prepared positions that have been improved for years against reservist units. The bulk of IDF tank losses causing casualties were to 1st Lebanon War vintage Merkava 2s as the Merkava 4s were up in the Golan and the Merk 3 Batash with the flying saucer armor was issued to units operating in the West Bank and Negev. Only in the later stages were Merk 4s moved up to Lebanon and while some were hit and damaged, none were written off. There were photos of some damaged ones showing the damaged armor modules and later some without the modules in a field workshop.

    The Merk 2 only has plain steel armor and their deployment was heavily criticized in the Winograd report. Many of the hits were flank key hole shots as Hezbollah used mutually supporting positions.

    Hezbollah lost more ATGMs captured than Malaysia has in total. The strongpoints were typically provided with 2-3 launchers each and plenty of RPGs (including the big -29 Vampir) to boot. Hezbollah is also better equipped than the Malaysian Army, with body armor and NVGs almost universally issued to the front-line units.

    Hit rates with ATGMs were approximately 15% as a whole. The bulk of these were SACLOS wire-guided types.

    Hezbollah has a ‘Merkava’ on display in the Bekaa. It is a Centurion S’hot that was abandoned in 82 that has had a new superstructure built onto it. One has to take al-Manar with a large dose of salt or you risk being a fanboy.

    Funnily enough the same flank shots would certainly have turned our much vaunted PT-91Ms into 3-man funeral pyres.

    Marhalim….you’re the news hound. Just find out how many successful live firings have occured with the Metis. I’m hoping they’ve done the same thing as they did with the Skuas.

  16. You and I know that those in Mindef and the services are allergic to bad news especialy when an expensive weapon system failed to work right! The Sea Skua failure to fire was reported widely by the press in many thanks to my report on the failed Aspide firing some years back. I took a lot of hit from that and the Navy PR was transferred because of the incident.

    On my part, I was not around when the PR went around asking everybody (on the instructions of the FOC, who I might add who never became the chief) not to write about the failed firing but they remained sore about it! Several years ago, another general told reporters at a gathering that the Malaysian media should refrained from writing bad news/failure stories of which I promptly replied to the negative, of course.

    As for the Metis M failures, I admit I have yet to get anyone from the Army to even admit it that it had happened and none of my colleagues have also no inklings abiout the failed Metis M firings.

    I spoke to some offficials in Singapore about the ATGM tender and while they said the Army likes the Javelin the tender did not exclude wire guided missiles to be entered into the bid. The specs in general says a missile with more than 1,000 metre range, man portable and the ability to defeat all current MBTs even those with exotic reactive armour.

    On tank kills, one must remember that even a damaged track is considered a kill. But as a tank is never alone, not those operated by those who actually knows combat tactics, such an attack should be considered as a suicidal. A good army does not need such heroes!

  17. One has two separate in tank terms between mobility kills, mission kills and complete losses. The first one occurs when the tank is hit immobile or stuck in the mud or similar unbill. He cannot drive on, but the crew is okay and the tank is still generally able to fire it’s guns and observe the battlefield and therefore is still a danger. Mission kills are damages that affect the vehicle’s fighting capabilities but still allow it to be returned to safe places (therefore don’t affect it’s mobility). This occurs when the vehicles systems are damaged, the crew is wounded or partially killed. In both cases, it is possible to recover the tank and after overhauling it returning it into service. And finally, there is the complete loss, when the tank is totally destroyed, burnt out, it’s overall structure demolished and it is nothing more than scrap metal. What the Israeli Army faced in Lebonon ’06 were mainly mobility and mission kills.

    ATGM’s are not there to be used in a face-to-face direct confrontation with tanks. They are made to give your troops limited anti-armour capabilities in special situations, mainly ambushes. That is, lying in your position, observing the environment, and then when the enemy approaches shoot him in the flank and than take to your heels and get away from there. If the ATGM-crew remains in their position after the first shot they’ll get mauled. It is almost impossible to stop a enemy offensive tank operation via ATGM’s. Look at Lebanon. Yes, the Hisbollah destroyed or damaged several Israeli vehicles but that did not prevent the Israeli Army from advancing as far into Lebanon as they wanted. The ATGM’s from the Hisbollah caused losses, but were unable to even slow the operation down, let alone stopping it.
    ATGMs are special weapons for special situations, not the universal tank-stopper that many people consider it to be.

    Well, what has all this to do with the topic? I dunno, I guess I got carried away while writing…

    Generally Russian equipment is said to be robust and reliable, I would really wonder if this should not be the case with the Metis-M. But as long as I don’t hear anything different I will not contradict to what MeesterT said.

  18. If the Nuris aren’t safe enough for zoomies to fly, why are they safe enough for the PUTD? Unless they zero the frames, get a full avionics upgrade and the same improved blades that Marine 1 is getting, they should not be cascaded to the Army.

    That does the RMN want medium lift helos for? Are these going to be SAR or ASW birds?

    How the hell is RMAF going to be able to provide organic SAR cover to their own assets with only 8 birds. 2 Butterworth/2 Kuantan/2 Labuan/2 Subang? No training birds and no spares…..

  19. I think you also heard the same news on Bernama TV about a defence anaylst saying that four helos have been selected by the RMAF, namely, the AW101, Cougar, S92 and the M-171. It was not reported by Bernama.

    Also the story mentioned that the Nuris will be operated by the Army Air Wing after they are retired from the air force.

    The whole story sounds fishy of course, although I have yet to get any confirmation from any one on this yet. But it does sound nonsensical isnt it. If its isnt safe for the air force how is it going to be good with the army pilots who have less experienced on this 60s aircraft when they are flying FADEC helos?

    I hazard to guess the story was “planted” by someone eager to befriend a reporter who did not know the full story of course….

  20. Anyway, another tender which closed without a winner, the basically the new pistol for the navy was re tendered again. Again the same description was used waterborne semi-automatic pistol 9mm high powered was used in the advertisement, I dont know about u but I have yet to find such a handgun. My thoughts on this? Why bother,? If I was in charge I buy more MP5s than any pistols although the P226 really look cool.

  21. Marhalim…can you point me to the tender requirement? Although it sounds very strange, I happen to know that it’s not only the Navy that has a requirement for such an item. I do not however understand what it is all about. The Navy is Glock country.

    PUTD has plenty of 60s tech Alouettes to transition their Nuri pilots from. These make up the bulk of the Army choppers and more importantly their entire training fleet. I actually feel that it is better to train our pilots on ‘steam’ avionics so that they learn to fly by feel and not by button pushing. They do this not out of choice but necessity however.

    The Nuris can be kept flying since the MRO infrastructure is all in place BUT the same issues that caused RMAF losses will plague the PUTD unless they are addressed. Upgrading the S-61 is not a bad investment since glass cockpits etc. have all be implemented and type certified.

  22. I do not have the tender documents yet, perhaps some of my contacts can photocopied it for me. Otherwise I will get someone to purchase it for me. Since its now classified as an international tender, one could purchased it without having to be registered with the Finance Ministry.

  23. Vaporhawk strikes again!!!

    Ottawa withholding Sikorsky payments
    Helicopter maker has failed to meet milestones to collect $200-million, official says

    DANIEL LEBLANC

    From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail

    May 14, 2008 at 4:34 AM EDT

    OTTAWA — Ottawa is holding on to more than $200-million in planned payments to Sikorsky Inc., as tensions grow between the Harper government and the U.S.-based company that is running late in replacing the 40-year-old Sea Kings, sources say.

    A senior official said federal payments to Sikorsky have so far totalled $700-million, but the helicopter maker has failed to meet milestones that would have allowed it to collect another $200-million.

    Industry officials said the problem has trickled down into the private sector, with a number of subcontractors on the $5-billion project awaiting payments from Sikorsky for finished work.

    “Have they fallen behind? Absolutely,” a high-level industry source said.
    Related Articles

    From the archives

    * Ottawa refuses to pay extra for helicopters
    * Cost overruns endanger copter deal

    The Globe and Mail

    Sikorsky announced earlier this year that it is months late in providing 28 new Cyclone aircraft, which were originally scheduled for delivery early next year to replace the Sea Kings.

    Last month, The Globe and Mail revealed that Sikorsky is asking for $250-million to $500-million in extra federal funding to deliver a more powerful helicopter than the original proposal.

    But Public Works Minister Michael Fortier closed the door on the request for additional money, saying the 2004 contract stood and had to be respected.

    “Where I come from, a price is not an approximation, it’s not an estimate. … In this case, the price was set at contract signing,” Mr. Fortier said in an interview.

    He added he asked his officials to look at “alternative solutions if we can’t come to an agreement with the supplier,” making a thinly veiled threat to cancel the project if Sikorsky tried to play hardball.

    Government and industry sources said the minister’s comments quickly reverberated across Ottawa, and that the various players in the project sought legal advice to brace themselves for the possible outcomes.

    In addition, a senior Defence source said that officials have been quietly looking at the market to see whether other aircraft could fill the need for helicopters used on the Canadian navy’s vessels.

    Officials from at least three federal departments met yesterday to plan their next steps on the file, which include a meeting today in Ottawa with Sikorsky president Jeff Pino.

    Sikorsky officials have been saying little on the dispute publicly, although they acknowledge they are in negotiations with the government and hope to reach a deal by the end of the month.

    “Our discussions with the government continue to be productive and co-operative,” company spokesman Paul Jackson told The Globe and Mail.

    Mr. Jackson added that work continues on the production of the helicopters, and that the federal payments will flow when targets are met.

    “There are many milestones left and Sikorsky expects the Crown will make payment upon completion of those milestones, as it has done in the past,” he said.

    The Conservative government of Brian Mulroney had ordered new helicopters to replace the Sea Kings in 1992, but former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien cancelled the purchase as soon as he came to office in 1993.

    “If the previous government had respected the contract that had been signed, we wouldn’t be here,” Mr. Fortier said.

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