PMX Embarrassed At LIMA 2023

As KD Terengganu was the latest RMN ship to undergone a refit, she was tasked as the ship to carry PMX for the LIMA 2023 fleet review. RMN

SHAH ALAM: Prime Minister DS Anwar Ibrahim on June 17 said he was embarrassed to see RMN ships from the 70 and 80s taking part in LIMA 2023. Anwar was the guest of honour for the fleet review at LIMA 2023 where fourty ships – half of them Malaysian – took part.

From Free Malaysia Today:

Anwar said he had been astonished to see a navy frigate dating from the 1970s on display at the recent LIMA maritime and aerospace expo in Langkawi.

“I want to salute these ships but I don’t know where to put my face. The last frigate (on display at LIMA) was from 1998,” he said, adding that the government had approved allocations when Lim Guan Eng was finance minister (from 2018-2020).

Anwar, I believe, misspoke about the frigate from the 1970s as KD Lekir which took part in LIMA 2023 was launched in 1983. As for the frigate from 1998, again he misspoke as KD Lekiu and KD Jebat, were commissioned in 1999. There were FACs procured in the 1970s that took part in LIMA 2023, of course.

Anwar was speaking at RMAF Butterworth airbase as part of his visit to Penang in the run-up to the state polls. He told the airmen that he:

Had given orders to the service chiefs of the army, navy and air force that purchasing decisions should be made on professional grounds by the respective units.

“Politicians need not meddle. Same for external agents. When it is decided, we discuss with the Treasury on costs and we negotiate directly with the relevant governments,”

Anwar said the direct-deal method employed by the government in military purchases would prevent the occurrence of corrupt commissions.

He recalled a time when some parties pocketed 100 million euros in commissions to acquire a submarine.

“I am prime minister and finance minister, power is in my hands, but what do I know about jet fighters? So best to leave it to the experts who can compare with other types of aircraft,” he said.

PMX also misspoke when he commented on the submarine deal. It was for two new submarines and a training sub. It is unclear however whether the embarrassment will get Anwar to boost the defence budget up to two per cent of the GDP, at least, to allow the procurement of long delayed stuff.

Together with a clear plan to ensure the funds are not whittle away by wastages as he mentioned above. The first clear clue will be answered on how his administration deal with the LMS Batch 2 project.

— Malaysian Defence

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52 Comments

  1. We’ll see if what he said is just cosmetics. We’ve been doing things a certain way for so long that it’s become ingrained in the system.

    He knows fully well how things are given he’s been in the gene for so long. As a matter of interest; he was at the signing ceremony for the Fulcrums almost 30 years ago.

  2. Since he himself admitted he knew jack about military how about he keep his opinion to himself rather han airing dirty sheets in the public and not only embarrassed himself but also the whole malaysia?

  3. Off topic. Have you seen the news that Indonesia planning to place their ballistic missile near our border

  4. Nope, of course, everything they have is near our borders. It’s the tyranny of geography. Do you expect them to put most of their stuff next to PNG or Timur Leste?

  5. Haiqal – “Have you seen the news that Indonesia planning to place their ballistic missile near our border”?

    What “ballistic missiles”? In the 1990’s after all the euphoria about Scuds and the Gulf war they toyed with the idea of getting Scuds. If they do get ballistic missiles or cruise missiles [i.e. Brahmos] it will be a deterrent against China but the country which will get uptight is Singapore which already has a anti ballistic/cruise missile capability.

    One also can’t change geography; if say Indonesia got S-400s they can place it in Palembang but it would still overlap into our airspace. Anyway what’s the issue; Anwar mentions his special relationship with them.

  6. ‘Direct deal method in itself a form of political meddling Mr PM-x’ .. Zaft, direct deal means ATM invites manufacturers to tender direct .. sans any agent in MY. No political meddling there

  7. ” What “ballistic missiles”? ”

    At the end of 2022, Indonesia signed a contract for the Roketsan KHAN tactical ballistic missile system. The KHAN ballistic missile is based on the Chinese BP-12A ballistic missile, which is exported to Qatar and Myanmar.

    It is bought through a a quite convoluted way, with Czech Excalibur Army being the main contractor, with Roketsan a subcontractor to Excalibur Army, and the whole contract funded by loan from Czech Eximbank.

    The KHAN tactical ballistic missile does not have the range to hit China from Indonesia, the only possible target would be Malaysia, Singapore or Papua New Guinea.

  8. Mat Bon,

    Anwar can say all he wants but ultimately local companies will play a part; it’s ingrained in the system; sacrosanct. Want to sell something as a foreign company; the system requires you to work with a local outfit.

    As intended by Mahathir local [read Bumi] companies would gain revenue [the idea being that revenue is generated locally] and [so goes the theory] be able to contribute. As it stands the bulk of local companies – with a few key issues exceptions – act as a forwarding agent or middle man without offering any tangible benefits.

    Years ago a former Deputy Defence Minster spoke of a needed revamp in the vendor system. He was spot on. Let’s see if Anwar means what he says or is just indulging in window dressing. To totally revamp the system will take time and a lot of will.

  9. If so then he should approve some budget or to retired those FAC from 70’s back when he was at MOF in 90’s .

    If you really are embarrassed with our current Navy ( Ahem RMAF & MAF ) then proceed stuff that our armed forces needed not just talking but no action at all.

  10. He cannot retire them in the 90s as the boats were still needed then as there was no coast guard then. The plan in the 90s was to replace all of the PC with the NGPV but then it was hijacked by his MOF successor.

  11. … – “The KHAN tactical ballistic missile does not have the range to hit China from Indonesia”

    Who said mainland China? There are a large number of Chinese reefs/artificial islands well within range. Indonesia’s not getting into the ballistic missile game with us or Singapore in mind; anymore than the Philippines got Brahmos to counter us.
    Placed on Natuna the missile might even have enough legs to hit Hainan. It’s a deterrent; a political move.

    Just like how the airspace intrusion and Luconia Shoals has incident has changed our perception of China; events around and on the periphery of Natuna has rattled the Indonesians.

    … – “Papua New Guinea”

    For what? So they can monopolise the bakso trade on the Kokoda trail? The PNG is not a major calculus in Indonesian strategic appraisal irrespective of any support to PNG’s co ethnic brethren across the border.

  12. How many launcher and missile d Indonesia bought?

    D way I see it d Khan would only b good at stationary target.even then d Khan r very old system.

  13. Ujang – “D way I see it d Khan would only b good at stationary target.even then d Khan r very old system.”

    Can you give me an example of a ballistic missile which is good at hitting moving targets and please don’t give as an example China’s much hyped anti carrier ballistic missiles.

    Even if it’s only good at hitting stationery targets damage can be caused; modem missiles have a lower CEP. On moving targets one needs a strike/recce complex which actually is also needed for stationary targets. The HIMARS is a good example. The Ukrainians achieved the results they did because they had a strike/recce complex which the Americans contributed immensely.

  14. “Placed on Natuna the missile might even have enough legs to hit Hainan”

    Distance Natuna to Hainan = 1,795km

    Distance Natuna to Pulau Layang-layang Malaysia = 722km

    0 chinese artificial island or reefs that can be hit by KHAN ballistic missile from Indonesian territory.

    “Could also hit parts of Thailand and Philippines”

    Distance Sabang to Koh Lanta = 455km
    .
    .
    .
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    KHAN ballistic missile range = 280km with ≤10 m CEP

    On the other hand

    Distance Pontianak to Kuching = 209km

    “even then d Khan r very old system”

    Roketsan KHAN, or the turkish domestic derivative the Bora entered service in 2017. Is 7 years very old??

  15. Well as thanks for being ever diligent with facts and numbers [I’d expect nothing less] but highly unlikely they’ve acquired it to deal with us and Singapore; doesn’t hold. Let’s not even mention PNG again. As far as the strategic calculus goes; both countries are looking at China differently in light of certain events/incidents.

    Everything points to the fact that it’s to provide some level of deterrence against China [targets in the South China Sea]; same with Brahmos and all the Philippines.

  16. ID khan even if it’s procured is made with technology from china and thus are unlikely to be used against a Chinese target which are well aware of the system capabilities & limitations.

    Its Also unlikely to be used against neighboring states as it’s against the national interest of ID who wish to maintain the defacto leader of ASEAN position.

    If I had to guess, it’s procured mostly to satisfied domestic audience rather than as a deterrent for any outside parties.

  17. … ,

    Indonesia is not a MTCR member and could probably “tweak “ the range [has been done] if the strategic situation called for it. If Indonesia wanted to acquire something with more utility; better off going for Brahmos which has a maritime utility. Whether Indonesia acquires a trike recce complex to detect and fix targets as well as perform BDA is the question.

    Zaft – “ china and thus are unlikely to be used against a Chinese target which are well aware of the system capabilities & limitations”

    Does this make sense? Just like silly comments in the past that we should not get LMSs from China because they’ll be deliver kites in the Spratlys. Or the equally preposterous comment made some time ago that the CNs at Bandung run the risk of having bugs or devices placed in them.

    The Chinese can be “aware of the systems capabilities & limitations” but a missile fired will still head towards its target and it’s not as if were talking about a ICBM being used and intended to evade China’s ABM defences.

    Zaft -“Its Also unlikely to be used against neighboring states”

    It’s likely to be used against anyone; whether Malaysia, Tonga or the Martians; who pose a threat but as it stands I find it hard to believe that Indonesia acquired it specifically to courier a neighbouring country let alone the PNG which “…” suggested.

    We know for a fact that recent events have significantly changed how Indonesia views China.

    Zaft – “If I had to guess, it’s procured mostly to satisfied domestic audience rather than as a deterrent for any outside parties.”

    “If I had to guess” it’s a bit of both. Prestige …

  18. Why do people think ASEAN-5 members just want to kill each other in 2023? Is it because certain political narratives are magnifying the recent discussions on border issues? There really isn’t a lot of border disputes left among the ASEAN-5 members and ASEAN-5 have grown a lot since the 1970s/80s, such that diplomacy and win-win solutions is the preferred approach. Today the main border issue for ASEAN-5 (maybe ASEAN-4 + Vietnam) is the 9-dash line.

  19. Zaft:
    “ID khan even if it’s procured is made with technology from china and thus are unlikely to be used against a Chinese target”

    Why not? As long as China has no self-destruction button.

    “If I had to guess, it’s procured mostly to satisfied domestic audience rather than as a deterrent for any outside parties”

    If I had to guess, it”s procured mostly for 2 reasons which are defence and ToT.
    ID had pursue rocket know how for ages and the only succesful they can get is the production of their Rhan MLRS rocket which can reach 30km. MTCR regime has limited the export missile only to 300km.
    ID is not buying Khan against her neighbours. All Asean must stick together to defend peace in SCS. No one in Asean can face China head to head alone.
    Is it useless to buy Khan? You never know how crazy China can be in the future, maybe Natuna will fall and occupied. Maybe ID can develop 500-1000km missile from ToT as deterence factor before China start to go crazy.

  20. Kel – “Why do people think ASEAN-5 members just want to kill each other in 2023?”

    You’re being simplistic. It isn’t about “killing each other” or anything dramatic like that but the fact that a lot of mutual distrust still lingers within ASEAN : would you like a list of borders wars/clashes which have occurred or how many times things nearly went hot? Do you need to be reminded that until very recently arms procurement within ASEAN was to an extent driven at other ASEAN members? Would you like a list of when senior officials openly publicly said that they were doing things in response to others? On another post I pointed out that it was often overlooked that we had signed an agreement to resolve some longstanding overlapping disputes in the maritime boundary with Indonesia; often overlooked.

    “…” was right in pointing out that Indonesia’s ballistic missile has a limited range and on paper would seem to be directed at us; although I disagree. The fact remains that despite all the concerns about China; there is still a lot of mutual distrust within ASEAN on issues unresolved.

    ASEAN is not the EU; it comprises various countries with much shorter histories as sovereign states; has not gone through the shared experience of two devastating world wars as sovereign states and EU member states not only share a common threat [since 1945] but also are way ahead in terms of economic development and other areas.

    – “There really isn’t a lot of border disputes left among the ASEAN-5 members”

    There actually are… It’s just that you’re unaware or because it doesn’t make the news much.

    The use of paragraphs makes it easier for others to read ones posts; rather than a large blob. It also shows consideration.

    Romeo – “MTCR regime has limited the export missile only to 300km”

    Indonesia is not a member.

    Romeo – “Is it useless to buy Khan?”

    Depends on what purpose it serves and whether one has a recce strike complex in order to detect, fix and hit targets. The question also remains as to what happens if like anything else; an opponent has the means to counter one’s ballistic missiles or if they fail to achieve their purpose. Measure of efficiency measure against measure of success.

    Romeo – “Maybe ID can develop 500-1000km missile from ToT as deterence factor before China start to go crazy”

    What happens if one is not deterred by another’s deterrence? What happens if China responds with 200 missile strikes long after Indonesia has run out of missiles? Deterrence [just like asymmetric tactics] is great but only if it actually deters or achieves the intended results.

  21. Romeo – “Is it useless to buy Khan?”

    No, it is not.

    Having a ballistic missile in your inventory gives you a really potent ” I have something I don’t want to use against you, so please settle this in my favor” option in any diplomatic situation to settle the issue to your favor, especially with your immediate neighbours.

    its the “big stick” to carry when you are negotiating about something with other countries.

    Looks like Indonesia really want to have that option available.

    And if in 2024 the current Indonesian Defence Minister, Prabowo Subianto succeeds to become the President of Indonesia, he might want to have the ballistic missile option in his diplomatic toolbox, the one that he initiated to buy in the first place.

    At this point, malaysia really has no answer militarily if someone threatens to use ballistic missile against us.

  22. Hulubalang ” I have something I don’t want to use against you, so please settle this in my favor”

    Its an option when you have no intentions of being friendly & cooperative with your next doors neighbours just like Russia is to EU.

    ID meanwhile desired to be both the French & Germany of ASEAN. An ‘abang kawasan’ wont in their best self interest threatened their smaller next door neighbours with forces ala PRC but rather they would in their best interests be a partner & guarantor to their neighbours to maintain their de facto leader status.

  23. @ zaft

    nope

    Having your neighbour as a boogeyman to deflect internal issues has always been a tactic of most countries in ASEAN, Malaysia included. For example Dr. M always uses Singapore as a boogeyman when he needs to deflect issues.

    Indonesia has done it many times before and by buying something like a ballistic missile, we should not rule out the possibility of them doing it again in the future.

  24. … – “For example Dr. M always uses Singapore as a boogeyman when he needs to deflect issues”

    “Always”? Kindly provide some examples.

    Take 2018 and events which occurred off Tuas? Was this an attempt to deflect attention? What was occurring in Malaysia at that period that needed Malaysians to be distracted and were they distracted?

  25. – The “potent” cliche aside you missed the part when another country can acquire the same capability. What then? As reminded before; the enemy has a vote and what do you do when your “deterrent” doesn’t deter” but emboldens?
    – As a side note did Probowo really acquire it for its “big stick” value as you dramatically mentioned/stated or for self serving nefarious reasons?
    – “Big stick”. Dramatic. We’re not talking about cruise missiles here with s range of 700-100km; we’re talking about a ballistic missile which Indonesia won’t have a lot of and which you’ve pointed out has a limited range : measure of efficiency measured against measure of success.
    – A bigger stick” and one which has more utility is an effective airforce [I won’t use cliches like “credible” or “potent”] able to carry out deep strikes and generate “X” of sorties in conjunction with ISR assets; read an air force with tertiary capabilities..
    – “Options”. A page out of the North Korean playbook and
    launching a missile minus its warhead into the sea off Pontian or Changi? Such actions will change the security architecture which has long kept the peace in the region.
    – “At this point “ no one except Singapore “really has no answer militarily”… No one. When I mention answer” I’m referring not only to a anti missile capability but also the means to inflict significant damage in return. The pertinent question for anyone firing ballistic missiles is what they intend to achieve and in what context.
    – Also, what’s new? The whole of South East Asia has long been well within range of a whole plethora of Chinese air, land and sea based weapons for decades …

  26. Everything is dramatic to you when it is just a statement.

    ” While some Singaporeans optimistically celebrated the victory of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition during Malaysia’s general election in May, commentators warned of rocky times ahead with Mahathir at the helm. Bilateral relations between Malaysia and Singapore have indeed been tense since, as Mahathir resurfaced several issues that he had raised during his previous term in office. The principal disputes over the past few months include the price of water being imported by Singapore, the management of airspace over southern Johor, and a territorial dispute over waters off the coast of Tuas after Malaysia extended the limits of the Johor Bahru port. The disputes also serve to distract the Malaysian population from the fact that PH is struggling to fulfill its campaign promises. Mahathir admitted in August that the PH did not expect to win the elections in May, and had made far too many promises during the campaign. Emphasizing bilateral disputes is likely motivated in part by the prime minister’s domestic agenda to appeal to the interests of the Malaysian collective during a period where the electorate’s most cited concern is the rising cost of living and the need for faster economic growth. ”
    .
    .
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    ” one which has more utility is an effective airforce ”
    An effective airforce that is not just capable of defending, but capable of striking another country is expensive to build and sustain. Ballistic missiles are a relatively cheap blackmail option.
    .
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    ” The pertinent question for anyone firing ballistic missiles is what they intend to achieve and in what context ”
    Successful blackmailing does not resort to really using the ballistic missiles (or anything else really, in Malaysia’s case the threat of cutting off water supply to Singapore). If just a threat of using them makes you have an upper hand in settling a dispute, that in itself is already a success. It is a game of high stakes poker.

  27. @hulubalang

    At some point’ I do understand what you are trying to say. No body is opposing that military might has power to intimidate. The problem is you are out of context when apply it to ID ballistic missile capability.

    China, US and Russia indeed have military power that can intimidate others but ID is still far away to have that luxury.
    Intimidation un negotiation is not always in military might but also in economy power. Rich nations can dictate and push their interest to be agreed.

  28. … – “Everything is dramatic to you when it is just a statement”

    Really now? “Potent”? “Credible”? Dramatic …. Left out is “game changer” …

    ..:: “” While some Singaporeans optimistically ”

    Asked you a question which you skirted. Not a cut and paste job.

    If we look at all the known incidents; the joint MAF/TNI para drop; tensions around Pulau Batu Putih [partly due to the Singapore Marine Police’s handling of fisherman; airspace intrusion] and events in 2018; there were no major political events here or crisis which required Malaysians to be distracted and they also weren’t.

    … – “An effective airforce that is not just capable of defending, but capable of striking another country is expensive to build and sustain”

    Expensive but one which has more range, flexibility, options, precision and other things compared to ballistic missiles… Also, one is likely to run out of ballistic missiles sooner than aircraft …
    In short that more expensive air arm is a much more effective deterrent than a few ballistic missiles.

    … – “Successful blackmailing”

    “Blackmailing”? I’d use another term but alright.

    Again – “the enemy has a vote and what do you do when your “deterrent” doesn’t deter” but emboldens?”

    Whether the V1/V2 campaign in WW2 or the “War of the Cities” in the 1980’s can you name any use of ballistic missiles which have achieved their intended political/military purpose?

    “A page out of the North Korean playbook and
    launching a missile minus its warhead into the sea off Pontian or Changi? Such actions will change the security architecture which has long kept the peace in the region”.

    I have to question if this exercise is for prestige or for Prabowo’s interests because a few short range missiles which others can respond to does not constitute a “big stick” or enable a “blackmail” factor …

  29. @ romeo

    Tell me what what do you rekon is the “in context” of ID acquiring the ballistic missile capability?

    For sure it is not to deter China.

    Or to deter Australia.

    So what is it for? Why is Prabowo buying them?

  30. … – “So what is it for? Why is Prabowo buying them?”

    Why does Indonesia do many of the things it does? Why does it have 2 different types of attack helicopters? Why does it see a need for F-16s, Su-27s/Su-30s and Rafales? Why several types of subs? You’ll also note that Indonesia has long toyed with the idea of rocket/missile technology; for civil and military application.

    Prabowo as you know has high political ambitions and arms procurement is highly political in nature. The TNI occupies a much deeper entrenched position in society there compared to the MAF here due to historical and other reasons and by and large the majorly of Indonesians desire a strong TNI. Splurging on defence hardly harms Probowo’s political image.

    In reality there’s a combination of reasons at play but suggesting that its’s purely for its “big stick” effect is carrying things a bit too far and simplistic … Others can also get ballistic missiles; others can respond in ways that Indonesia may not be able to respond and some already have an anti missile capability. As for the on paper advantages : measure of efficiency against measure of success…

  31. Romeo “China, US and Russia indeed have military power that can intimidate others, ID is still far away to have that luxury.”

    ID had intimidated others (namely us) before, but that’s episodes doesn’t end well for them.

    Hulubalang
    “Successful blackmailing does not resort to really using the ballistic missiles (or anything else really, in Malaysia’s case the threat of cutting off water supply to Singapore). If just a threat of using them makes you have an upper hand in settling a dispute, that in itself is already a success. It is a game of high stakes poker”

    After the konfrontasi, ID being the founding members of ASEAN signals their then desires & personal restraint for multilateralism & cooperation rather than unilateralism despite them being a big (geographically, militarily & economically) country.

    And over the decades being the de facto leader of ASEAN had proven to be hugely beneficial for ID. Its give more weight towards ID standing while at the same time established mechanism of communication & cooperation & thus ID doesn’t have to resort to ‘blackmailing’ their neighbours like PRC nor Russia.

    Do take note that despite what MY politicians previously said about cutting water supplies, SG never actually took their ‘threat’ seriously & mostly seen it as being targeted at domestic audience consumption rather than for them.

  32. Zaft – “ID had intimidated others (namely us) before, but that’s episodes doesn’t end well for them”

    You’re referring to the Confrontation. The TNI also invaded what was called West Papua and East Timor. Throughout the 1950s/60’s it was also heavily engaged against various secessionist groups throughout the archipelago. Read Conboy’s book “Kopasuss” if interested. Like his other books; highly recommended.

    Zaft – “SG never actually took their ‘threat’ seriously”

    Think … They don’t have the luxury of assuming; as small island with a small population surrounded by much larger neighbours; no strategic depth and sea lanes of communication which can be interdicted. They can’t assume and don’t; which is why the SAF as policy trains to deal with the MAF and TNI and why policy calls for them to always have an edge.

    Just like how we are used as a “bogeyman” to by the PAP to remind ever compliant Singaporeans of the need for a strong defence [certain statements in the past by our politicians vans didn’t help] we at times have used Singapore; although this is often much exaggerated. Naturally they will always claim we use them as a “bogeyman” to divert attention [a common claim] but then most of them have little to no understanding of the political dynamics across the causeway.

  33. Zaft & Hulubalang

    I will not answer directly to your question or reply your statement but i will take you to think further.

    If you read several article wrote by Marhalim, there are a lot of TNI modernization which has been done such as long range radar, heavy frigate, Rafale..etc. Is that all? The answer is no.
    ID still has many modernization plan that they want to materialize soon such as subs with AIP, F15EX, KFX, and 300 km coastal defence missile…etc.

    Then I want to remind you again that last years ID has revealed a long term aquistios plan to 2045 involving about $125 billion which many think it is ambitious plan which will not be attained.
    If you calculate all the Rafale, F15EX, Subs with AIP, Brahmos coastal, Khan ballistic missile..etc will not consume $25 billion. Can you imagine what ID will have when they have finished spending the other $100 billion?

    Do they want to buy all those assets so they can intimidate the neighbours?

    Meanwhile…ID gdp is about 40% of total Asean gdp. Their economy still expanding, huge market and growing, abundant natural resources. Cant they just use economy to intimidate in negotiation with their smaller neighbour?

  34. Indonesia is playing catch up after years of underfunding the TNI and years of focus on internal security. Ultimately despite all the recent buys I’ll hesitate to claim that the TNI is being transformed so to speak; it’s a large entity and the country is a sprawling archipelago. A lot will depend on sustained level of funding over the years and for the TNI to acquire the needed tertiary capabilities. Another issue often overlooked is that whilst other militaries are looking at reducing their logistical/support footprint; the TNI as a result of politics is going the other direction.

    Aside from the political aspects [i.e. Prabowo’s agenda; the role arms procurement plays in internal politics; the country’s yearning to be a regional power; etc] the Indonesian strategic calculus has also changed vis a vis China.

  35. @Romeo
    “Cant they just use economy to intimidate”
    Unlikely. The Big 5 Asean nations arent the biggest trading partners of each other so there is little weight to use economic intimidation. This unlike China or USA which are top 2 trading partners and whom could exert economic & political pressure/threats. At the worst they could blockade another nations maritime trade routes but that is just about an act of war.

  36. Azlan “Another issue often overlooked is that whilst other militaries are looking at reducing their logistical/support footprint; the TNI as a result of politics is going the other direction.”

    In my opinion, TNI had always focused on quantitative in the quantitative Vs qualitative dynamic and it’s leads them a bit vulnerable to high end, high intensity warfare. Which is something they see as a likely to happen & something they seem keen to adress with some of the recent purchases.

    But at the same time, they are unwilling to let go of the quantitative advantage be it because of their preference towards neutrality in foreign policy, domestic politics consideration & slew of other factors.

    Focusing on the qualitative quality (like as you mentioned b4, something that a lot of NATO members states do) means said country is highly reliance on foreign countries support. Something that against ID owned national interest. TNI exist to work for the benefits of RI not the other way around.

  37. @ Romeo

    ” Cant they just use economy to intimidate in negotiation with their smaller neighbour? ”

    As joe said, they cannot.

    Other Asian countries does not buy or depend on anything major economically from Indonesia. Major exports of Indonesia, like wood or palm oil, is also a produce of Malaysia, so we don’t need to import them from Indonesia. Maybe we used to depend on Indonesian labour, but nowadays we have diversified with Myanmar, Vietnam, Nepal labour in the picture.

    So Indonesia cannot use economy to intimidate other asian countries. Which in a way partially answers why Prabowo wants ballistic missiles in his arsenal.

  38. Zaft – “In my opinion, TNI had always focused on quantitative in the quantitative Vs qualitative dynamic and it’s leads them a bit vulnerable to high end, high intensity warfare”

    Indonesia only got into the external security business in a major way fairly recently; after us. The size of the TNI is dictated by the size of the archipelago and threats faced. Like us the TNI-AD comprised mainly light infantry units suited for the threat faced. Unlike us however they have a large number of airborne units as a strategic reserve; such units were very useful if the past when confronted with threats all across the archipelago which required troops to be rapidly deployed. Read Conboy’s “Kopassus”.

    In short like most of its neighbours bar the perennially
    paranoid [with good reason] Singaporeans on their island; Indonesia had no need to focus on external security.

    Fast forward to 2023 all the recent buys [which mesmorise fan boys] still hasn’t transformed the TNI into one with tertiary capabilities enabling it to operate jointly in a high intensity multi domain fight. The decision to get ballistic missiles is driven by various factors and not with the specific intention of deterring
    anyone with a “big stick” or as a “potent” [to quote someone] means of blackmail. They make a big boom but ballistic missiles by themselves are fairly limited when seen from a measure of success perspective. Ask the Iraqis, Iranians, Germans. Egyptians, Azeris and others.

  39. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Indonesia buying lots of military equipment is not actually in relation to regional power plays or security. Indonesia is among the top 20 largest economy in the world and is the 4th most populous country in the world. It has more population than the next 3 populous countries in ASEAN and its economy is 66% the size of Russia, 70% the size of Brazil and more than 2.5x bigger than South Africa. It’s economy is on track to surpass Russia and Brazil, and match UK and Germany. Yet it hasn’t been recognised like the BRICS has. Indonesia has bigger aspirations beyond ASEAN. However, having a big economy and population does not guarantee a seat on the table. Military power is also required. The military spending blitz is part modernisation part declaring to major powers it wants a seat on the table. Add on to a diplomacy and PR blitz that looks outwards beyond the region (what Saudi Arabia is currently doing and what Singapore has been doing for decades) and you have all four elements of national power (DIME) being harnessed to advance Indonesia’s national agenda. Military power is not just for war, for 80% or 90% of the time, it is a tool to advance national interests not fight. After all, what good is a big economy if the country has no means of protecting it (e.g., protecting the interests of foreign investors).

  40. Zaft – “Focusing on the qualitative quality (like as you mentioned b4, something that a lot of NATO members states do”

    Something that “all” NATO members states do; whether the U.K. or Romania or Latvia: albeit at varying levels.

    Zaft – “means said country is highly reliance on foreign countries support”

    I have no idea what point you’re driving at but each and every member trains to operate alongside other members and practically every country; bar the U.S; is still reliant to some extent or the other to foreign suppliers/chains; i.e. the U.K. imports most if the raw materials needed for the production of ammo.

    Zaft – “But at the same time, they are unwilling to let go of the quantitative advantage be it because of their preference towards neutrality in foreign policy”

    No offence but some things you come up with amaze me. Why on earth would they “let go” of it when they need the manpower the have. The reason they have the manpower levels they have from the very beginning is due to the size of the country which in turn dictates the size of the TNI. It’s not what you claim.

    Also, Indonesia is not “neutral” in the strictest sense of the word and never was but “non aligned” – slight difference there.

    Zaft – “TNI exist to work for the benefits of RI not the other way around.”

    What ever are you on about? Whether it’s Belgium, the Central African Republic or Weimar Germany the armed forces exist to
    serve the interests of the state. You are coming up with bizarre statements/claims as you’re prone to do but perhaps some subject matter reading would be useful.

    May I suggest “The Armed Forces Of Indonesia” [Robert Lowry]
    It’s dated but still relevant and a good primer on the subject. I got it in the 1990’s at Changi.

  41. I think i should spell it out about TNI modernization why is so important to ID.

    1. Economy
    Why is it 2050 is so imoortant? If you look at credible forecast by internasional institution, by the year 2050 ID economy is one of 5 biggest in the world.
    As any other nation, ID need security protection from any interuption to their economy. One day of interuption worth billions $ .
    This is the primary reason why ID revealed their long term military modernization plan to 2045 involving $125 billion. It is very small really compare to ID gdp in the same year.
    TNI must face “the enemy” at the border and prevent them entering their teritory and interupting economy activities.
    If you look carefully, At present TNI modernization heavily in Naval and AF. As archipelago nation they need strong navy and AF to “meet” the enemy at the border which mainly water. This will also answer why TNI need more complex and quality military equipment.

    2. Defend policy and ToT
    ID,as India or China, see that they are too big to rely on any nation for security. Self reliance is a must. ToT is the shortest way in acquring techs needed. Their experience has thought them to have from many sources both in buying military equipments and gainning tech needed. Logistics nightmare is also the price TNI must take.

    3. China and South China sea
    ID see China as potential friend and foe. The rising China have potential conflict with US. US will not give their status as “world champion” to China. They will make sure it wont happen. History tells us that the fight to be number one is always bloody.

    TNI modernization is nothing to do with the neighbours. It cant be deny that TNI modernization will ring alarm to the neighbour at some point. ID maybe will see that as paranoia only as we see SG today.

  42. Kel – “Take a step back and look at the bigger picture”

    You left out the part where prestige and internal politics plays a part in line with Indonesia’s desire to be a regional power after decades of punching below its level and underfunding the TNI.

    Are you assuming that all they buy is part of a well thought out long term plan? Several types of fighters; more then one type of sub; 2 types of attack helicopters; ballistic missiles with little actual utility; etc. Why did they look at Scuds in the 1990’s? Why did it have the largest SSK fleet in the 1960’s? Why did it have Sverdlov class cruisers?

    Kel – “Military power is also required”

    Actually it’s not just “military power” but “military power” of a certain quality. Saddam had “military power”. With all the recent buys; is the TNI being transformed into an entity with tertiary capabilities able to operate jointly across a multi domain spectrum in a high intensity conflict? Ask yourself …

    Kel – “. It’s economy is on track to surpass Russia and Brazil, and match UK and Germany. Yet it hasn’t been recognised like the BRICS has. Indonesia has bigger aspirations beyond ASEAN”

    As has been alluded to; on paper yes but in reality? Ambitions have to match realities/capabilities. Look at Brazil and all the hype about BRICS.

    Paragraphs makes it easier for others to read and shows consideration for others.

    Romeo – “TNI modernization is nothing to do with the neighbours”

    “Nothing to do”? Still a part in the overall equation; especially in an ASEAN which still has unresolved issues [contrary to what kel erroneously claimed; quite a few maritime/land boundary disputes]; mutual distrust; etc and has not reached the level of maturity or cohesiveness as say the EU.

  43. Azlan:”“Nothing to do”? Still a part in the overall equation; especially in an ASEAN which still has unresolved issues”

    When you fishing for a big fish you will also get a small fish which is not aimed in the net.
    It is inevitable.
    Issue in asean mostly about borders, smuggling, and cross border crime and transactional.
    In the operasional level tension sometimes arise but the important is in the top level nobody want start an open war.

    “With all the recent buys; is the TNI being transformed into an entity with tertiary capabilities”

    Tertiary capabilities is a must. Even if TNI is making their path to have such capability it is not that special anymore. The future is not about platform. Even unmanned vehicles will have bigger role including AI. All weapon system should be integrated.
    The question is how fast we can implement that capability. It is solely our mistake if we are not building such capability.

  44. To add, what’s the point of talking about joint-ness, tertiary capabilities, when there is not enough of anything to make it work properly? Sure its nice telling others we have the capability to do something. But truthfully, its in such limited capacity, no one takes it seriously in their planning. Just as the Ukraine-Russia conflict illustrated, capability without numbers is pointless. And not having certain capabilities is not debilitating as long as strength in another aspect changes the adversaries plans. Of course one would likely give the example of Russia has large quantities of everything yet couldn’t win easily in Ukraine because the lack of joint-ness. Its true, but has Russia lost or has Ukraine won? The longer the fight goes on, assuming no political change either side, who is likely to win in an attrition fight? The side with more of everything.

    Indonesia is buying in large numbers because it needs the numbers to do anything properly and to signal to the rest of the world is ambitions. Just like RMN’s debilitating issue is not joint-ness or tertiary capabilities, but the lack of ships. Or the RMAF’s debilitating issue isn’t lack of joint-ness or tertiary capabilities, but the lack of fast combat jets and advanced trainers. Having a little bit of everything and not enough of anything does not equal effectiveness. Also I recommend reading up on National Power because it will allow a more strategic view of the military decisions made by neighbours (e.g. Singapore and Indonesia). The core concepts are old, but the modern iteration is largely codified during the Cold War and expanded since. There are explanations from a non-military perspective (which provides better clarity and understanding of why Singapore is doing what they do for decades, and what Indonesia is doing today). This is a shorter more modern description of the concept but from the military perspective – so it explains the other elements of national power as in support of the military objective. https://mwi.usma.edu/dropping-dimes-leveraging-elements-national-power-multi-domain-battlefield/

  45. Kel – “To add, what’s the point of talking about joint-ness, tertiary capabilities, when there is not enough of anything to make it work properly”

    Did it occur to you that jointness to an extent mitigates the lack of numbers and reduces redundancy? It’s not for fun. A lack of numbers is more the reason why jointness tertiary capabilities
    is needed. Think …

    The suggestion that one should only focus on jointness and network centric capabilities once mass is achieved is ludicrous and displays a lack of understanding.

    Kel “Just as the Ukraine-Russia conflict illustrated, capability without numbers is pointless”

    Note the distinction before adding “pointless” labels. Russia has manpower issues because it did not fully mobilised [some BTRs only had 4 people including dismounts] but it had a numerical superiority in AFVs.. arty, missiles, aircraft, etc.

    kel – “RMN’s debilitating issue is not joint-ness or tertiary capabilities, but the lack of ships”

    It has various “debilitating” [as you put it] issues and over the years it has taken steps to improved network centric capabilities and its ability to operate jointly. Better jointness and tertiary capabilities mitigate to an extent the lack of mass.

    Kel – “ Having a little bit of everything and not enough of anything does not equal effectiveness”

    Anybody said otherwise? You missed out the part where adopting certain measures mitigates the lack of numbers; increases effectiveness and reduces redundancy .. You realise that a figure can be exploited to its full capabilities without key enablers ..

    Kel – “ Its true, but has Russia lost or has Ukraine won”

    Still early days but as it stands Russia has failed to achieve its political and military aims and a defeat for Russia doesn’t necessarily mean a victory for Ukraine.

    Kel – “I recommend reading up on National Power”

    “I recommend” paragraphs instead of one big blob like a lump of turd as it it easier for others to digest …

  46. @kel
    “assuming no political change either side, who is likely to win in an attrition fight? The side with more of everything.”
    Thats also what the West is afraid off in Ukraine war, Putin can double down in this poker game but the West have finite resources and political favour to back the Ukrainians. Right now all they have is enough to fend of Russia into a stalemate and turning up the political ploy and Russian perception against Putin hoping they themselves will overthrow him before the West runs out of fight in them. Its working, with the mutiny of elements from Wagner, but not enough for a political change/ military coup/ Russia Spring/ a rogue assassin/ etc.

    Zelensky also knows this which is why he is going around the globe seeking for assistance than the West. He knows that this war, as with Vietnam, as with Somalia, as with Afghanistan, as it gets prolonged the public & political perception will sooner than later turn to apathy and turn against them and thats when support for Ukraine will dry up. If Putin isnt ousted by then its game over for Western alignment of Ukraine.

    But to back what kel said (and ironically Stalin too); quantity has a quality of its own.

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