SHAH ALAM: Rise of the Guardians. The Malaysian contingent for the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, Malbatt 850-5, is finally getting new vehicles after a long and fruitless search. The vehicle chosen is likely the Weststar-IAG Guardian armoured security vehicle.
I am saying likely as this is based on a report from Bernama.
BEIRUT: The Malaysian Peacekeeping Mission (Malbatt) in Lebanon will receive a reinforcement of nine units of Guardian armoured security vehicles (ASV) in mid December.
Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Johari Baharum said the assets which would be mobilised in January reflected the Malaysian government’s commitment to the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.
“Malbatt’s assets have been upgraded to suit current needs and circumstances,” he told Bernama and RTM on Thursday.
According to him, Malbatt presently has 46 RPZ Condor 4×4 armoured personnel carriers at its operation centre at Marakah Camp, located about 100km from Beirut.
He said members of the peacekeeping team had also been provided with digital camouflage uniforms made of good textile, bullet proof and although thick, is light and therefore comfortable to wear.
“The government is concerned for the problems and welfare of our team in Malbatt. My last visit to Lebanon was three years ago and since then there has been many changes including relations between Malbatt and the local community,” he said.
Mohd Johari said Malaysia was in the process of completing the ‘Malaysian bazaar’ which would provide a site and opportunity for local traders here to earn their livelihood.
“Malaysia’s endeavour to help improve the economy of the local community has gained the attention and support of the people in Lebanon,” he added. — Bernama
Of course there is also the Guardian ASV from Textron Systems but as they do not have a representative here, AFAIK, it’s likely the Weststar marketed vehicle that was chosen.
As you are aware, Weststar Defence has sold a number of vehicles and equipment to the Armed Forces and other government agencies. The vehicles include the GK-M1 of various variants and Jaws 4X4s to the police.
The other question here is whether or not, the Guardians will completely replaced the Condor as the primary armoured vehicles for Malbatt.
Perhaps the Guardians will only replaced the un-armoured Land Rovers also operated by Malbatt and not the Condors.
As for why current vehicles in the military like the LipanBara was not chosen for the same mission is beyond me at the moment and something to be followed up in another posting.
According to the IAG website the Guardian is armoured up to STANAG II level (up to AK47 rounds), powered by either an 6.7L V8 diesel engine or 6.8L petrol engine and seats 10. The vehicle is likely a heavily modified Ford F350 pickup truck.
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