Pendekar On The Range

SHAH ALAM: Pendekar on the range. 11 Kor Armor Di Raja (KAD) conducted a live firing exercise at Kem Sirajuddin, Gemas on Nov. 13 in honour of the official visit from Army chief General Zamrose Mohd Zain. Berita Tentera Darat Malaysia reported the visit was part of Zamrose tour of the Western Field Command. 11 KAD live firing exercise was overseen by its CO Lt Kol Suresh Subramaniam.

On the way. BTDM

The pictures posted here were taken by BTDM photographers – Sjn Saiful Fazley Rusli and Pbt Mohamad Fadzil Akirul – were the main reason I am posting them on Malaysian Defence. The BTDM post could be accessed here.
11 KAD PT-91M Pendekar on the firing range

NEGERI SEMBILAN: Panglima Tentera Darat (PTD), Jen Tan Sri Datuk Zamrose Mohd Zain telah menyaksikan Latihan Tembakan PT-91M PENDEKAR oleh Rejimen Ke-11 Kor Armor Diraja (11 KAD) di Lapang Sasar Gemas pada 13 Nov 2020.

Terdahulu sebaik ketibaan PTD, beliau diberi taklimat berkenaan latihan dan juga tahap kesiagaan 11 KAD oleh Pegawai Memerintah 11 KAD, Lt Kol Suresh Subramaniam.

Latihan ini berlanjutan daripada Lawatan Ulung PTD ke Markas Pemerintahan Medan Barat Tentera Darat (MK PMBTD) pada 12 Nov 2020 serta untuk melihat kesiagaan dan keupayaan tempur Tentera Darat (TD) mampu di aturgerak pada sebilang masa dengan mengamalkan taktik, teknik dan prosedur yang betul.

Mengimbas sejarah kereta kebal yang dimilik oleh TD ini, ianya adalah buatan negara Poland serta mula diterima oleh 11 KAD pada 4 Sep 2007 dan pada 5 Apr 2008, Panglima Tentera Darat (PTD) Ke-22 telah melancarkan penamaan Kereta Kebal PT-91M kepada nama PENDEKAR.

Kereta kebal ini dinamakan PENDEKAR, sesuai dengan peranannya sebagai mata dan hujung tombak ketumbukan TD sama ada ketika melakukan operasi ofensif mahupun semasa bertahan.

PENDEKAR mempunyai kemampuan mobiliti, kuasa tembak dan perlindungan armor yang sesuai dengan persekitaran muka bumi negara dan paling menggerunkan, kuasa tembak daripada meriam Smoothbore 2A46MS berkaliber 125 milimeter buatan Slovakia dengan peningkatan ketepatan tembakan sehingga 23 peratus berbanding meriam asal.

Ia juga mampu memusnahkan semua jenis kereta kebal mahupun kereta perisai di jarak empat kilometer dan kemampuan itu sudah pasti menjadi igauan ngeri kepada pihak yang berniat untuk mengganggu-gugat kedaulatan negara.

Sistem kawalan tembakan PENDEKAR menggunakan teknologi dari Perancis yang turut dipakai oleh kereta kebal moden Perancis, AMX-56 Leclerc serta di kawal sepenuhnya oleh komputer kawalan tembakan (FCC) bagi menjamin ketepatan tembakan yang dilaksanakan.

PENDEKAR juga terbukti keberkesanan dan kegagahannya apabila ianya dibuktikan di dalam latihan peringkat TD pada setiap tahun iaitu Latihan Kuasa Tembakan (LKT) yang mana rata-rata hadirin yang hadir menunggu PENDEKAR beraksi dengan keupayaan manouver dan kuasa tembakan.

Antara segmen yang dipertontonkan kepada PTD adalah aturgerak Skuadron Kereta Kebal serta tembakan untuk memusnahkan musuh menggunakan persenjataan utama aset berkenaan iaitu 125 mm smooth bore serta senjata bantuan HMG 12.7 mm.

The crew of the Pendekars posed for a picture with Zamrose. Note the recovery Pendekar on the left. BTDM

Hopefully when the pandemic is under the control and I am invited to Gemas next time around, I will able to report on the next live firing exercise.
On the way, firing the 12.7mm machine gun. BTDM

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Shah Alam

49 Comments

  1. It would be great if they can upgrade it say from manual 12.7 mm to RWS based and with active kill protection system. More tanks would be great but no necessary new chassis, the upgrade t72 modernise to pt91 standard from Poland 320 stocks would be a dream but there is no requirement for additional chassis I believe

  2. Kamal – “It would be great if they can upgrade it say from manual 12.7 mm to RWS based and with active kill protection system”

    A RWS would require improving the power supply and realigning various things on the turret. Like a APS it would make sense to have it though but then there are various other improvements which should also be performed if it’s felt to be a sound long term increment.

    Kamal – “the upgrade t72 modernise to pt91 standard from Poland ”

    Any MBT buy is years away. By that time doesn’t make sense to further invest in a 1960’s design with no growth potential, reliance on ERAs to compensate for a low baseline protection level and a serious flaw (the placement of rounds/charges to feed the auto loader).

    Yes we can go for an improved design with a bustle loader and better ERA; as well as other improvements but when the time comes; just like how we eventually need to replace Adnan with a new generation IFV; we’d be better off investing in a contemporary design with better survivability and growth potential.

  3. just a proposal from me.

    we can do some R&D to increase the comfort level of the Pendekar crews in our blistering tropical heat.

    racing drivers have used fireproof nomex shirts sewn with small capillary pipes that pumps cool water to lower body temperature.

    http://www.rallynuts.com/user/products/large/IAA752CN-1.jpg

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CDxr0UBWgAEx7Nv.jpg

    We could try out the same system for our tankers.

    Also to check out latest design racing suits are much more ergonomically cut and sewn, with “floating” arms and stretch panels for more comfortable movements. Same designs could be incorporated into the tanker overalls.

  4. … – “with the full multispectral netting by Lubawa SA”

    The IR paint (by one of the few local companies which actually innovates and gives added value) reduces the IR signature so when viewed from a thermal device the object stands out less.

    What does this net do? I’m assuming it reduces/eliminates the IR signatures of surfaces/areas it covers?

  5. @ azlan

    Yes this net reduces the IR signature of the area it covers (up to 85% reduction). The steel of the tank is also heated up by the sun, the heat of the engine and the heat from the gun barrel could be covered by the net better than just paint on hot surfaces. The net also reduces the radar reflection of the vehicle.
    ________________________

    ” we’d be better off investing in a contemporary design with better survivability and growth potential ”

    Frankly?

    Because of other more important priorities, we would not have the budget to get a brand new MBT by 2040. Even if the PT-91M is supposed to be inferior to latest tanks, it is much more better armed and protected compared to any new medium tanks. For the army new capabilities, these are some of the things i feel that is much more important than a new MBT.
    1) cyber warfare
    2) electronic warfare/electronic attack/jamming
    3) counter UAS
    4) UAS
    5) ground based air defence recapitalisation (by 2030)
    6) anti tank missile recapitalisation (by 2030)
    7) shore based anti ship missile system (by 2030)
    8) having 1 fully gempita mechanised brigade (by 2025)
    9) medium lift helicopter (urgent)
    10) mifv/adnan replacement future IFV (after 2035)

  6. … – “racing drivers have used fireproof nomex shirts sewn with small capillary pipes that pumps cool water to lower body temperature.”

    Has to be very lightweight in case they have to rapidly exit. In the best of times getting out of a turret is tricky; one has to take off one’s helmet, climb through a very narrow hatch and leap off a vehicle. Harder when one is under fire and has literally seconds before the vehicle erupts in flames.

    I would think the most practical solution would be for high performing ACs in addition to as lightweight as possible fire resistant one piece overalls.

    Apart from the cramp conditions and heat; what tires crews out is the din. We bought Thales helmets with noise reduction features. Rarely seen though.

    The RMN has the “Action Working Dress”; one piece fire resistant overalls worn by selected crews when in Action Stations. Wearing it along with a flash hood and gloves is like being in an oven. On Merdeka Day some are unlucky enough to have to wear them.

  7. @ azlan

    You cannot put aircon on a vehicle that operates most of the time with the hatch open.

    Racing equipment is designed for rapid extraction of the driver from the racing cars. It is one of the most important criteria actually. FIA has strict requirements for that. and all driving equipments (suits, gloves, shoes, helmets even underwear) must be homologated and pass FIA requirements. the cooling suit has rapid disconnect system for quick rescue.

  8. … – “Because of other more important priorities, we would not have the budget to get a brand new MBT by 2040”

    The discussion was a hypothetical one on MBTs. It wasn’t about whether it should be a priority or on the immediate shopping list (itself highly subjective).

    … – “Even if the PT-91M is supposed to be inferior to latest tanks, it is much more better armed and protected compared to any new medium tanks”

    It’s a dated design which has reached the end of its growth potential and when the time for us comes to buy a new tank; we’d be better off investing in a contemporary design; one with growth potential and one with a host of other improvements.

    Whether it’s indeed “much more better armed and protected compared to any new medium tanks” is not the issue as it has to be a certain level of protection against a variety of threats (medium tanks are not the main threat). For this a tank with a higher level baseline protection is needed (not one largely dependent on ERAs and the Soviet era concept of “hit avoidance”) together with the obligatory APS and other features.

  9. We would need much much more regular exercises such as these and to expend even more ammo each time, if we were to make any sense of local ammo production rather than buying overseas. At the very least, we would have the volume needed to sustain yearly production.

    Reply
    We have always bought the ammo for the Pendekar main gun from overseas, we need around 1000 of them to make it worth while to invest in local production.

  10. ” hypothetical one on MBTs ”

    without any relativity to the real situation?

    okay i am out. feel free to discuss that with others here.

  11. … – “without any relativity to the real situation”

    The “real situation” as you personally see it or do you decide what discussions should be discussed based on “relatively to the real situation”? Just because I don’t jump on your bandwagon by detailing what I feel should be priorities: my discussion is “without any relativity to the real situation”?

    … – “okay i am out. feel free to discuss that with others here”

    Rest assured; I will.

  12. What happen to the tripartite JV involving Malaysia, Turkey & Germany to produce tanks for international market few years back? Still on the card or is it a gone case?

    Reply
    There was no GtG thing on that, it was a thing pushed by Syed Mokhtar. Of course it went nowhere we had no requirements for more MBTs.

  13. Chua – “ATM being more than a border security force frankly”

    To put it accurately: the army: despite having various units equipped and structured for extended threats; is still largely suited for medium to low intensity threats in a low tempo environment for limited durations.

    Even though the army adopts a lb overall strategic defensive posture; it has the ability (albeit limited) to perform tactical and operational level offensive actions: in line with its strategic defence posture.

  14. “we need around 1000 of them to make it worth while”
    From your experience, how many main rounds do you think would be expended per exercise?

    Also I am guessing at current, we only have 2-3 such live fire exercises per year?

  15. The repainted digital camo with smaller rectangles is much better suited compared to the earlier version with larger one. Good job.

  16. @Chua
    “more than a border security force frankly”
    Well what did you expect from a peacetime Armed Forces with no serious threats to its sovereignty and that we don’t harbour any wish to spread our sphere of influence thru military might?

  17. Our PT-91M is probably one of the most advanced of the T-72/T-90/PT-91 tank family.

    1) renk ESM350 transmission + S1000 1000hp engine.

    2) SAGEM SIGMA30 Laser gyro INS (can navigate in GPS denied environment)

    3) SAGEM SAVAN 15 targeting system

    4) SAGEM Vigy 15 commander sight

    5) OBRA-3 laser warning system

    6) ERAWA-2 explosive reactive armour

    7) ZTS-Special 2A46MS upgraded 125mm gun.

    8) Diehl Type 570p tracks

    9) Lubawa SA multispectral camouflage netting.

    10) air conditioning system

    A few more upgrades would make the PT-91M better

    1) Upgraded commander panoramic sight. Sagem MPS LR would be ideal

    2) surround camera system for situational awareness. this is the SOD system on top of the OBRA-3 laser warning system.
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-qGR5zHsa-08/WbBPMSgIYaI/AAAAAAAAA6I/IWOLLEkDJnALlnbpZPzAaq3WpEDglk4hwCLcBGAs/s1600/MSPO%2BPT-91M2%2Bmit%2BSOD.png

    3) slat armour
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-h1O7WvJCtwA/WbBGFH9tKiI/AAAAAAAAA5c/IOW74MDgXzQBoUyafN4GQLHNdVpV-nkIgCLcBGAs/s1600/74k2xfR.jpg

    4) Auxiliary Power Unit for powering up systems in static positions.
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-6mPBqrz2xWs/WbBPSgnzqGI/AAAAAAAAA6Q/zloCXseUEl4BnExaVr5ePtoZ9jRckVLtgCLcBGAs/s1600/MSPO%2BPT-91M2%2Bmit%2BAPU.png

    5) gunshot locator system
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-VCTqDMzcyec/Wx5BIOhZIzI/AAAAAAAASxw/s9bDLJfXPSgIX3LhZNaMHscWw_JQ84RnQCLcBGAs/s1600/Metravib_at_eurosatory_2018.jpg

    6) satcom small antenna system like the spectra slingshot.
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-PUZu72U_QwY/XGkyFokHsOI/AAAAAAAAAlQ/ZtxBbaM64wQevEmIbqoYoq6Ayc97bQX2ACLcBGAs/s1600/IDEX%2B2019%2B-%2BSpectra%2BGroup%2Bunveiled%2BSlingShot%2Bsystem.jpg

    7) crew undershirt water cooling system.

    8) new improved APFSDS rounds. joint buy with poland to leverage the quantity needed to lower the acquisition cost.
    http://www.defence24.com/poland-seeks-new-ammo-for-t-72-tanks-five-potential-bidders

  18. @Azlan
    I meant from a budgetary perspective, there’s nearly no reason for us to equip and train for “the ability (albeit limited) to perform tactical and operational level offensive actions”

    If we focus our effort 100% on border security we can do a good job there. If we split our effort we will be neither here nor there in both areas.

    @joe
    It would mean forgoing our sovereign defensive posture. Or, as you have said before, “rolling over and letting the country be conquered”.

    Basically I see it this way; there are four or five “levels” of military strength and objectives. They are:

    Level 1 – border security and internal security against lightly-armed non-state actors

    Level 2 – sovereignty defence against regional nations

    Level 3 – limited offensive power projection within the region

    Level 4 – limited but meaningful global power projection

    Level 5 – superpower games

    I see us as struggling to achieve Level 1 and Level 2 simultaneously. I begin to wonder if we should focus solely on Level 1 alone and ignoring Level 2 for the time being.

    @…
    >”Our PT-91M is probably one of the most advanced of the T-72/T-90/PT-91 tank family”

    Yes, but that is of limited value, same like saying “Our tank is the most advanced of T-64 family” or “Our tank is the most advanced of Sherman family”

  19. Cost considerations prevented some other modifications the army wanted. It also led to the cancellation of the Ruag gunnery simulator which is badly needed.
    For some reason we didn’t get a better performing ERA and stuck to Erawa which was designed to deal with chemical energy rounds. The late selection of the Slovakian gun was because the Polish one wasn’t accurate enough when paired with Savan.

    Unless things have changed (at present stagnant) there were paper plans by the Armour Directorate to conduct some minor changes but nothing major as it was undecided whether the cash would be put good use on a dated design with has reached the end of its growth potential.
    There is a point reached when one asks oneself as to how much should one spend upgrading something and whether it’s a good long term return of investment.

    At minimum we’d have to add appliqué to the turret rear and sides (unprotected except for storage racks); slats on the engine compartment, a full 24 hour hunter killer capability and a new ERA. Adding other stuff will result in the need for increased power supply and finding space for its controls/components in an already very cramped turret with almost zero free space.

    One of the major weaknesses of the T-72 is the carousel loader; not because of the loader itself but because of the placement of rounds/charges on the turret floor and sides. The rounds actually in the loader are protected from spalling by a metal plate. With the Armata the Russians have adopted a bustle loader and have also done away with the decades long practice of relying almost totally on ERAs against KE penetrators.

    Whilst the PT-91 was/is indeed the most capable T-72 variant in operational service; this is really a moot point as it remains a 1960’s design based on Soviet operational philosophies; which the Russians have discarded with Armata; with inherent deficiencies/vulnerabilities.

    A MBT buy realistically is years and years away but when the time comes: just like how we’ll eventually have to replace Adnan with a new gen design; we’ll have to go for a contemporary design:
    things don’t operate in a vacuum. How a future IFV will perform is dependent on the type of MBT it’s paired with and vice versa. Doing anything else will be a very regressive move especially given that the tank and IFV (with supporting elements) are the army’s main means of delivering mobile firepower and constitute its manoeuvre element: which in turn enables the army to conduct offensive ops on a tactical/operational level which maintaining a strategic level posture/stance.

  20. @ chua

    ” Yes, but that is of limited value, same like saying “Our tank is the most advanced of T-64 family” or “Our tank is the most advanced of Sherman family” ”

    Its because you don’t understand what the individual components in the PT-91M does. There is not many tanks in our region that even has individual laser ring gyro INS system installed in each tank for example. Or laser warning sensors to detect that the tank is being targeted by laser designators. Or a top speed of more than 70kph with the renk transmission and 1000hp engine.

  21. Chua – “I see us as struggling to achieve Level 1 and Level 2 simultaneously”

    Not only us but others as well. The focus on counter insurgency (albeit a high threat one – Iraq and Afghanistan) has an affect on the U.S. and U.K’s conventional abilities; less do in force development but in resources and attention.

    An optimist can say that Lahad Dato led to us devoting resources to deal with.non state threats in Sabah; resources which were diverted from other areas. Someone else could say that a lot of the resources we poured into
    ESSCOM also have a utility against non state threats and that Lahad Dato also has the effect of us improving our conventional posture there anyway.

    Ultimately; even if the budget was much larger than it was; the focus on non state threats (even low threat ones) will have an effect on our ability to devote resources to state ones.

    Ultimately due to defence not being a priority; we can’t afford to equip the MAF the way they should be; i.e. even units like Gerak Khas, 10 Para and others (our strategic reserves and elite) lack many things they’ve been long seeking.

    Our policy of fitting what we have to a high spec (i.e. PT-91s and MKMs) are intended to offset our lack of numbers and bring certain things close to meeting our requirements but unfortunately it’s overall capabilities, rather than individual components/capabilities which produce the results.

  22. Chua – “If we focus our effort 100% on border security we can do a good job there. If we split our effort we will be neither here nor there in both areas”

    Focusing 100 percent in border security is not the task of the MAF; the threats to our border security does not justify us concentrating 100 percent of our efforts there and even if we did; we’d still have the need to perform certain offensive type actions in line with our border security strategic defensive approach.

  23. @ chua

    ” I see us as struggling to achieve Level 1 and Level 2 simultaneously ”

    For now yes. We could only manage to do only level 1 effectively for now. Ultimately we should only aspire to do only up to level 2 competently. Including able to strike back any adversary trying to claim our EEZ and force everyone to the discussion table following strictly applicable international laws.

    Starting from RMK13 2026-2030 we need to think about our level 2 capabilities seriously. For RMK12 2021-2025, we need to strengthen our level 1 capability, including our maritime security by PV, MPA; and also our basic airspace security with more ground based radar and LCAs.

  24. @Chua
    Now with Ops Benteng we are, for the moment, really accomplishing Level 1 as well as possible but at the huge burden of manpower cost of the Armed Forces, police, and on Civil Defence. This can’t last forever however, as the toll on man and equipment will be felt eventually.

    So which route should we choose? At the moment all resources for securing Level 1 to prevent incoming Covid bringers is the urgent one, so perhaps we could only look at Level 2 when Covid is over. As you said, we don’t have the money for both and doing half-half of each brings neither benefits.

  25. @…
    What I don’t understand is the role of a tank that cannot tank.

    @joe
    From an economic point of view what is in my mind is that we haven’t been able to do Level 2 even before covid 19.

    Just a random thought, nothing serious.

    @Azlan
    the threats to our border security does not justify us concentrating 100 percent of our efforts there

  26. Chua – “the threats to our border security does not justify us concentrating 100 percent of our efforts there”

    Yes that was by me and it’s really self explanatory. We face serious “border” threats in the form of illegal immigrants and fishing; smugglers, kidnap gangs, intrusions into our waters by state actors, etc, but it doesn’t mean the MAF has to devote all its resources and attention to “border security”.

    There are other agencies which are also responsible for the role and the MAF, on top of its other roles, has to also focus or have some ability to deal with external state threats.

    Chua – “What I don’t understand is the role of a tank that cannot tank”

    The whole purpose of having a tank is to deliver shock, mobile firepower as part of a combined arms formation. This is the primary purpose of a tank (not infantry support or firepower per see) and which even a non upgraded M-60 or a T-54/55 can do.

    The question really is about the ability of a 1960’s designed tank based on operating/design philosophies which no longer apply (irrespective of whether it has a laser warning system or a high end FCS) when overall capabilities are taken into account.

    Despite whatever deficiencies it has inherent with its design the PT-91/T-72 is still a “tank” but whether it can indeed “tank” is wholly dependent on the level of opposition : a less protected medium tank (unlikely); a similarly equipped tank of the same generation (operated by neighbours) or a tank with superior features in the form of survivability, SA, ergonomics.,etc (also operated by neighbours).

    Also; in this day and age the efficacy of any tank, IFV, arty piece, fighter, helicopter or ship is measured not only by its individual strengths but also it’s ability to operate seamlessly with other assets.

  27. @ azlan

    ” a tank with superior features in the form of survivability, SA, ergonomics.,etc (also operated by neighbours). ”

    Probably the only one that is much more advanced than the PT-91M in our region is the Leo 2SG, still not a big gap in overall capability (compromised thin armour behind the optics and also no APS for example). Leo 2RI has additional applique armour but not upgrades of its SA sensors.
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-E-zeKGh_qPY/WXKvawpdd1I/AAAAAAAAAwg/Kkvlq_B9ZZE76I47bDseRska0k0InVHJgCLcBGAs/s1600/012.jpg

    Now the big gap in armour capability is our tracked IFV, with our neighbours future Hunter IFV is a huge leap in capability (protection, firepower, SA, mobility with optional unmanned capability) when compared to our MIFV/Adnans.

    We need to have armoured formations that can be deployed at a brigade level. Singapore for example have multiple armoured brigades. We need to be able to at least deploy at least 1 fully wheeled mechanised brigade and 1 fully tracked armoured brigade. To achieve that, we need to get 2nd batch of Gempita IFV25 variants, enabling all MIFV/Adnan to be passed to equip a new tracked armoured brigade. MIFV/Adnan replacement with a next generation tracked IFV should be the next priority around 2035.

  28. @Chua
    Even pre-Covid, we haven’t been doing a good job at Level 1, so what’s the point to aspire to reach Level 2? At least now we finally meant business to excel at Level 1 (securing our borders).

  29. @joe
    Yes but that’s quite a controversial thought I believe

    @Azlan
    Sorry I deleted my reply accidentally. I was going to say that border security has more relevance to the nation’s daily activities and also looking at our dwindling defence capability, I wonder if we are just plain unable to achieve anything more.

    @…
    What sets a tank apart is its survivability over anything else on the ground. I don’t see our upgraded T-72s matching well against… anything else in the region.

  30. Chua – “going to say that border security has more relevance to the nation’s daily activities and ”

    You’re able to say this because we don’t face a serious external state threat. Whilst militaries tend to focus on present threats; they also maintain some level of capability to deal with possible threats; they don’t have the luxury of doing otherwise.

    Everything’s a gamble; making the needed decisions and trade offs and hoping one doesn’t regret it. It’s relative. Focusing on LCAs is great unless they don’t meet MRCAs; then we’d regret neglecting our MRCA needs.
    Subs are effective as long as used in scenarios where we’ve achieved total surprise or against an opponent who has no subs and no strong surface and air ASW assets deployed. Relative.

    Similarly; suggesting we focus “100 percent” on border security because we struggle to do various things simultaneously (which better funded Tier 1 militaries also do) is sound as long as things stay the way we hope.

  31. Chua – “I don’t see our upgraded T-72s matching well against… anything else in the region

    A somewhat simplistic assessment.

    Things are rarely on a one to one basis. Before the PT-91 even got into firing range of a enemy tank it could be engaged by air power or infantry – works both ways.

    If you want to focus on things on a platform level; the PT-91 would ideally have the element of surprise; attacking from an advantageous position and constantly manoeuvring for advantage. It’s ability to actually penetrate a better protected tank frontally (assuming a flank shot was not possible) would be determined by having the right type and quality of ammo; as well as factors such as the quality of crews.

    It’s ability to survive being engaged would depend on the type of munitions used; whether a high end KE penetrator or a ATGW; as well as where it was hit.

  32. Chua – “What sets a tank apart is its survivability over anything else”

    A combination of factors : firepower, protection and mobility. Others include quality of infantry support, combined arms tactics and air cover. Individual points like Its top speed; a high end FCS or other things are great but it’s overall factors which determine things.

    On a platform basis it has to have a acceptable level of protection against present threats and those likely to be faced; have growth potential and by doing so offering a good return of investment over a certain period and must be capable of dealing with current and likely threats.

    One can point out that the PT-91 can be upgraded; improving the power supply to enable a APS and OWS (space inside for the controls in issue); new ERAs (Erawa is of 1980’s vintage intended for chemical rounds), cameras to improve the drivers SA (these like other things on the vehicle however are easily damaged), a bustle loader (new turret needed), 24 hour hunts/killer capability (space has been left for this) and high end KE rounds (the Russians still make the best ones).

    One has to decide however whether spending “x” amount on a dated design is a good return of investment or whether the cash would be better spent on a contemporary design.

    If we were ever attacked on land; our armoured/mechanised units would be our main means of manoeuvre; to repel an opponent; this holds true even though we may not be an “armoured heavy or centric” army or one with an offensive posture. The main means of delivering shock, mobile firepower is the MBT and given that we won’t enjoy a numerical superiority; it would be crucial to have some level of quality..

  33. @ azlan

    I would prefer to use the term calculated risk, rather than gamble.

    For example, we need to focus on LCA, because we now dont have the fighter numbers required and having a relatively affordable platform to do our peacetime commitments in both east and west malaysia. Many still forget that we do have MRCAs, that is what our 18 Su-30MKM and 8 F/A-18D is.

    Subs are our best hope for a survivable deterrence and second strike capability, when compared to Frigates or corvettes. Now anyone with a commercial satellite geospatial account can search for a ship visually from space at the comfort of their home. What more militaries with high resolution geospatial satellites. Finding subs need multiple resources even for strong military forces. Not to say we dont need frigates, but we need to have a credible fleet of submarines. As we dont have the luxury of big budgets, our peacetime patrol ships should be just that, patrol ships (not corvettes), preferably operated by MMEA and priced accordingly.

    As for the PT-91M, the erawa ERA is more tuned to protect against HEAT projectiles, so it is more survivable against ATGM and such rather than KE penetrators. It also have more SA of laser from EO from tanks, aircrafts and ATGMs, from the OBRA-3 laser warning system (why singapore did not fit their tanks with laser warning is a mystery, we fit them to everything, even our adnans and gempitas). It could also hit targets as good as if not better than say Leo 2, with the SAVAN15 system. So against other tanks in our region, I would say the PT-91M is comparable, and not a big gap in capabilities to other tanks. So is our Gempita when compared to Terrex, VN1, Strykers and Pandurs (I would say it is the best operational 8×8 IFV in SEA right now). But we will have a big capability gap with our tracked IFV when the Hunter AFV is rolled out in numbers.
    _________________________________________________

    ” If we were ever attacked on land; our armoured/mechanised units would be our main means of manoeuvre; to repel an opponent; this holds true even though we may not be an “armoured heavy or centric” army or one with an offensive posture ”

    As it is right now, our armoured/mechanised units is very small comparatively to regional countries, we have just 1 mixed mechanised brigade with 1 wheeled cavalry, 1 wheeled mechanised infantry battalion and 3 tracked mechanised infantry battalions.

    In the near future, we should look at expanding our mechanised forces first, rather than improving our current armoured capabilities. Improving our armour such as better MBT and tracked IFVs can wait. In RMK12, adding around 160 more Gempitas will afford us to create 2 armoured/mechanised brigades, from just 1 right now. We should also look at having a few battalions in east malaysia to be a motorised infantry battalion with APCs, with the KLTV-APC looking good cost wise (around than USD120-140k each)

  34. … – ” Many still forget that we do have MRCAs, that is what our 18 Su-30MKM and 8 F/A-18D is.”

    That’s what they are yes [doubt anyone forgets] but in a state on state conflict involving enemy MRCAs; our 8 Hornets and 18 MKMs [even assuming all were operational] would suffer from a major numerical inferiority. We do need LCAs but as I pointed out; its great if things turn out the way we hope. If they don’t then we’ll regret underesourcing our MRCA needs.

    The discussion was not based on the premise that we don’t need LCAs but on the need to make the right choices and hoping those choices turn out right …. Again : if threat perceptions as we perceive them remain unchanged; then LCAs would suffice. If however things take an unexpected change then things will get really dicey ….

    … – ”I would say the PT-91M is comparable”

    It is comparable in firepower; the ability to lay down accurate fire. What it’s not comparable when viewed in totality is its survivability [low baseline protection level and a 1980’s vintage ERA intended for chemical energy rounds – it has other issues which I won’t mention here]. What also makes it highly vulnerable is the placement of unprotected rounds needed to feed the loader. No tanks are invunerable but some are better protected than others ….

    … – ”As it is right now, our armoured/mechanised units is very small comparatively”

    Which is exactly why in the future we need to achieve some level of quality rather than buying more of a 1960’s designed tank based on Soviet operational requirements which the Russians have discarded; with Armata. Buying more PTs in a few years time would be a highly regressive move and I doubt very much the Armoured Directorate in a few years time would do so; focus would be on improving on what we have by investing in a contemporary design offering a various improvements over what we currently have …

    …. – ”Not to say we dont need frigates, but we need to have a credible fleet of submarines.”

    Again I have no idea with what your personal definition is of ”credible” because for me what makes an effective sub fleet is not the numbers by itself but also having the various other assets which subs would need to work with to really utilise the capabilities they offer …. You keep pointing out that subs enjoy various advantages over other assets. I agree but I also keep pointing out [in many discussions we’ve had on the topic, spanning thousands of words] is that I don’t take for granted that things might neccesarily play out they they should on paper.

    The circumstances in which they were deployed; i.e. other subs present; surprise achieved. strong surface and air ASW units deployed by the enemy; a sub having enough battery supply when needed; an enemy who fully understands the strengths and limitations of SSKs; etc, would determine things.

    … – ”the erawa ERA is more tuned to protect against HEAT projectiles, so it is more survivable against ATGM”

    Depends on the quality of the round and whether the ATGW has a tandem warhead. It is a 1980’s design intended to deal with threats from that era. The Poles couldn’t offer us anything better. Given that Erawa is designed for chemical energy rounds; makes the tank very vulnerable to KE penetrators as ERA constitutes the main form of protection overall.

    … – ” Finding subs need multiple resources even for strong military forces.”

    By and large yes but it would depend ….. A sub in the midst of snorkeling would be easier to detect; as would a sub in certain acoustic conditions – just 2 examples. We keep hearing about the numerous instances when subs were hard to detect but much least of the occasions when they were detected without much effort; i.e. on many occasions the USN has detected PLAN subs from a distance, in 1999 a RNZN Leander with vintage sonar easily detected a TNI-AL Type 209 and in numerous NATO exercises conducted subs in littoral conditions were detected by assets which were there; not in large numbers or requiring vast resources.

    This s not to say that subs won’t have the upper hand; are not more survivable [as you keep mentioning]
    and are mostly not hard to detect; merely that it depends on the operational conditions and luck …

  35. … – ”In the near future, we should look at expanding our mechanised forces first, rather than improving our current armoured capabilities. ”

    The ability of mechanised units to perform could depend on the MBT support they receive – they go hand in hand. Against combined arms opponents equipped with MBTs; mechanised units with a high end IFV would not be able to perform to their best if working alongside a MBT which has serious deficiencies. I would be fine if mechnised units meet opponents who have no organic support.

    … – ”(I would say it is the best operational 8×8 IFV in SEA right now).”

    Paper specs aside; on a platform basis, I have no idea.

    Even if it were the ”best’ [what constitutes the ‘best’ varies] the problem is that although quality of the actual platform plays a big part; various other factors will come into play.

  36. @ azlan

    ” MBT which has serious deficiencies ”
    I dont see the PT-91M as a tank with serious deficiencies compared to other tanks in the region. If the T-72/T-90/PT-91 family has serious deficiencies, Russia would not keep building new and remanufactured T-72/T-90. Even the Thai VT4 can find its origins in reverse engineered T-72. In the end, all tanks have their own vulnerability, its up to the user to mitigate it. The platform that we are going to have a big gap of performance and capability in the near future is not our PT-91M. It is our MIFV/Adnan.

    ” problem is that although quality of the actual platform plays a big part; various other factors will come into play ”
    The same thing you say about the Gempita, can also be said about Leo2s.

  37. … – “The same thing you say about the Gempita, can also be said about Leo2s”

    Very true (mentioned this to Chua( but the AV-8s are used in different circumstances, i.e. they are – unlike the PTs – are not necessarily intended to go up against other IFVs. They are armed to defend themselves in the event they meet other IFVs and to provide direct and indirect support to dismounted troops.

    This is unlike the case with MBTs which which are intended to deal with MBTs and by doing so stand a very high chance of being directly engaged by those MBTs.

  38. P.S.

    You’re very diligent and thorough when it comes to researching things. Why don’t you compare the number of T-72s which have suffered catastrophic explosions (turrets flying as high as 50-60 feet and crews blown to bits) in places such as Sri Lanka, Georgia, Iraq, Syria, Chechnya, Tajikistan and other places;.

    Compare that to the number of Western tanks which have suffered the same fate …. Yes in case you mention it no tank is indestructible but some tanks have a much better survival rate than others because of certain factors. Look at the number of Israeli tanks in Lebanon and U.S. and Brit tanks “knocked out” in Iraq and notice the death rate of crews as well as how many were actually “write offs” and how many were placed backed into service.

    No I’m not suggesting we buy Leos, Challengers or M-1s or that MBTs become a priority at the expense of other things or that the army becomes a ‘tank heavy’ force (I have to mention these things as caveats because they tend to prop up despite me not implying them).

  39. @ azlan

    most of the losses are of T-72 of old vintage, no laser warning, no ERA. fighting not against other tanks but insurgents with ATGM missiles. Westen forces does not usually deploy tanks in such situation.

    But when someone deploys western tanks in such situation, the losses are alot too. Plenty of M1 Abrams destroyed by metis-m, kornet and such.

    http://www.foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/houthi-rebels-destroy-m1-abrams-tanks-with-basic-irania-1726478735/

    ” No I’m not suggesting we buy Leos, Challengers or M-1s or that MBTs become a priority at the expense of other things ”
    If that is so, lets talk about MIFV/ADNAN deficiencies then. All the things you talk about the PT-91 can only be solved by buying expensive western tanks. If we dont buy those tanks to replace our PT-91, what can we do then? What is the solution to solve the perceived deficiencies without buying new western tanks?
    __________________________

    interesting news. seems that the Altay is in big trouble.

    http://www.defensenews.com/industry/2020/11/19/turkey-in-talks-with-south-korea-to-salvage-altay-tank-program/

  40. … – ”most of the losses are of T-72 of old vintage, no laser warning, no ERA”

    A lot of them were destroyed because of their low baseline protection value. A lot of them suffered catastrophic explosions because they were penetrated in the turret area and spalling or direct hits ignited the unprotected ammo/charges stored on the turret floor and sides …. As for old vintage; not all of them were …

    You keep mentioning ”laser warning”. It provides fore warning when a tank is ”lased” [either by a FCS or a laser guided weapon’]; warning is great but the actual tank also has the have the ability to physically defeat the threat. As for ERA its about having the ”right” ERA and hoping that exposed areas of the tank are not hit again; high chance of it happening at close quarters in a restricted environment.

    …. – ”Plenty of M1 Abrams destroyed by metis-m, kornet and such”

    define ”plenty” … As mentioned in a previous post : most of them were not ”destroyed’ in the literal sense; they may have suffered serous damaged to the extent of putting them out of action but not to the extent they were total ”write offs’ like the numerous Russian tanks in Iraq,Syria, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Yemen and other places. Crews also had a much better survival rate and the percentage of tanks which were placed back into service is high – can’t do that if the hull of a tank has suffered serious damage as a result of igniting ammo.

    Issues inherent with the T-72 [and otherSoviet era designs] are because they were intended for Soviet operational requirements and philosophies as they existed then. Things have changed however and the Russians have ditched decades old practices with Armata. The problem for the Russians is that they can’t afford the numbers of Armata they’s like in the medium term and they still have lots of T-90/72’s. Also for the time being; if not the T-90 or older
    T-72s; what else can they offer for the export market?

    … – ”Westen forces does not usually deploy tanks in such situation”

    The bulk of Israeli, British, American [as well as Turkish tank losses in Syria] were against insurgents firing ATGWs and shoulder fired weapons at close to medium ranges – as such they were indeed deployed ”in such situation” …

    … – ”All the things you talk about the PT-91 can only be solved by buying expensive western tanks”

    Firstly; its your opinion that priority should be placed in a future IFV to eventually replace Adnan. Great but I’ve also pointed out that when operating as part of a combined arms formation; the IFV may struggle to do its job if not paired with a MBT which has a a certain level of survivability as well as other improvements.

    As for buying ‘expensive Western tanks” sorry but there’s no ”cheap” option if one is serious about having a design which offers a certain level of protection for crews and by doing so; for the actual tank. Anyhow; the ”West” in the literal sense of the word; is not the only one producing new generation tanks. For us, given a tank buy is years away, we’ll have a wider range of options when the actual time comes.

    … – ”What is the solution to solve the perceived deficiencies without buying new western tanks?”

    Not ”perceived” but actual ”deficiencies”… There is no total solution [not a PO or PowerPoint sheet here with things divide neatly in gray/white]; only doing what we best can in line with our finances and our actual requirements : whether its a ”Western” or a tank from anywhere else it has to have a certain level of baseline protection; not rely largely on ERAs [exposed gaps leave vulnerable areas]; has to have certain level of ergonomics and crews comfort [Soviet designed tanks are notoriously bad in this regard] and has to have the ability to be progressively upgraded over its period in service [in other words not a design that has little of no growth potential].

    … – ”If that is so, lets talk about MIFV/ADNAN deficiencies then”

    We can but what on earth has that to do with my statement that ”I’m not suggesting we buy Leos, Challengers or
    M-1s or that MBTs become a priority at the expense of other things ”.

  41. … – ”interesting news. seems that the Altay is in big trouble”.

    Unless the Turks get components they need; I don’t see a quick solution, even if funds are not the issue. It was a very ambitious undertaking on the part of the Turks; even taking into account the main tech partner was/is South Korea.

    The very interesting story of the M-1; how the French, Brits and Germans went their separate ways and how the Yanks went along with the M-1 plus the concerns ans issues faced is told in ”King of the Killing Zone” [Kelly].

    Another very interesting read is ”Jungle Tracks: Australian armour in Vietnam ” [McKay & Nicholas]. Like others before them the Australians deployed tanks in a jungle environment; proving skeptics wrong. Unfortunately very little has come out about the use of tanks in the Chinese invasion of Vietnam in 1979 and the Thai/Myanmar clash in 2001.

  42. @ azlan

    Your statement of ” I’m not suggesting we buy Leos, Challengers or M-1s or that MBTs become a priority at the expense of other things ” means the solution must be from not buying new tanks. So how to solve the problem? It there is no solution in malaysian context because it is not a priority so why even raise this issue again and again?

  43. – “means the solution must be from not buying new tanks”

    That’s the conclusion you’ve reached. Not the one I was presenting … I clearly laid out what I meant.

    .. – “ solution in malaysian context because it is not a priority so why even raise this issue again and again”

    You’ve reached that conclusion; not me. As for “raising the issue again and again”; up to me what I want to “raise”.

    If I conveniently happened to agree with you; would you complain about me “raising things again and again”? Don’t obfuscate things; stick to the argument or point of discussion.

    Also; what exactly am I “raising”: the issue of tanks in general including inherent issues with Soviet designed tanks (you claim that various issues are not “deficiencies”), the issue of IFVs and the fact that a new gen IFV should also have a new gen MBT to work alongside with (rather than a 1960’s gen tank based on discarded practices or the fact that because we don’t have a numerical superiority; we should try to have some level of quality?

    You wanted to talk about IFVs. We agreed that Adnan eventually
    has to be replaced (one of the few areas we share common ground). It needs a higher level of protection in line with its role of providing indirect and direct support to dismounted infantry and in the event it meets other IFVs but unlike MBTs its primary role is not to go directly head to head against other vehicles.

  44. ” Like others before them the Australians deployed tanks in a jungle environment ”

    Yes they deployed it in a jungle environment (centurion tanks). So what was its main function there? Would PT-91M able do the same function for malaysian army formation exactly as those tanks in vietnam?

  45. …. – “ Would PT-91M able do the same function for malaysian army formation exactly as those tanks in vietnam”

    Big difference between the Aussie employment of tanks in Vietnam and any possible employment of ours ….

    The Australians were operating in a primary jungle environment with tanks being used primarily as a infantry support element ; against other infantry in an area with no roads.

    In the event we deployed our tanks chances are it would in a conflict against state actors and unlike the Aussie experience would be close to economic area of importance and places with a high population density; places with a road network. Unlike the Aussie experience in which the opposition comprised lightly armed infantry; our opposition would be armoured combined arms formations.

    To directly answer your question about PTs in a jungle environment; assuming there was an operational need; obviously it’s possible (with any tank) but the restricted terrain and lack of roads would severely affect tempo and lead to the need for very effective engineering support.

    The Americans also deployed tanks but unlike the Aussies it wasn’t largely in a jungle environment but other more open places in South Vietnam.

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