RMAF Third Atlas Returned From Sevilla

RMAF crew and Airbus posed for a group photograph with M54-03 at Sevilla, Spain. The aircraft likely arrived here on February 23. Airbus

SHAH ALAM: One of the four Airbus A400M Atlas airlifter has returned from Seville, Spain after undergoing an upgrade for its capabilities. Although the Airbus release did not identify the aircraft, from the picture it provided, it is the third Atlas – M54-03. Malaysian Defence did a story on its delivery and arrival in 2016.

M54-03 on finals at Subang following its ferry flight on June 13. 2016. Malaysian Defence

The Airbus release:

Seville, 24 February 2022 – The first Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) A400M upgraded with tactical capabilities has returned to Malaysia. The upgrades were implemented by Airbus in Seville, enabling the aircraft to perform new missions such as aerial delivery, full paratrooper deployment or low level flight.

In operation with the RMAF since 2015, the A400M has already changed the customer’s airlift operative, playing a key role in all mission types, including cargo and personnel transport, humanitarian and disaster relief missions, transport of heavy equipment, support to the national strategy in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, medical transport, as well as air-to-air refuelling operations. The RMAF became the programme’s first export customer and is the first A400M operator in the Asia-Pacific region.

With more than 10,000 flight hours achieved by its fleet, the RMAF is also the A400M fleet leader, having the aircraft with more flight hours and flight cycles accumulated among the A400M customers. As fleet leader, the RMAF fleet provides a valuable reference for all existing A400M customers and Airbus.

The successful dispatch of 80 paratroopers, to date the largest simultaneous deployment from an A400M on a single pass in 2019.

The release also noted that the RMAF A400M fleet has the highest flight hours compared to the other operators, much like its Airbus EC725 fleet.
RMAF A400Ms in a four aircraft formation at the Merdeka Parade rehearsal in 2018.

As mentioned in the release, tail number 03 is now cleared for tactical missions from aerial delivery, full paratrooper deployment and low level flight. It is likely that the other three A400M will also be upgraded with the same capabilities though it is unclear whether it will be done here or in Seville.

— Malaysian Defence

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40 Comments

  1. Yeah additional grizzly would be nice..but the priority now are LCA,UAS,MPA,MRCA,Nuri replacement in that order..UAS before MPA cuz that CN235 being converted to MSA

  2. This is the future that we will be living in, and a world we are going to leave to future generations.

    If nation state like Russia no longer honour any international laws, it can be a precedent to other countries to do the same too, and the world will become a place where weak countries can be attacked for no apparent reasons. Like what happened more than 100 years ago.

    We cannot assume that nobody will attack us and let our military, our coast guard to be weak.

    We cannot assume allies will fight alongside us or even fight for us while we sit on the sides.

    We have to defend our country ourselves, on our own.

    Politicians must stop thinking only about themselves, but to think how to leave a secure homeland for our future generations.

  3. Looks like the current PTU is going to retire without anything being bought under his tenure.

    TUDM priority for me:

    RMK12 (now)
    1) LCA/FLIT – minumum 36, ideal at least 48
    2) Air defence radars
    3) MALE UAV for both land and maritime surveillance. Please just buy the cheap TB2.
    4) convert all 6 CN-235 into MSA/MPA
    5) Hornet add on

    RMK13 (5 years from now)
    1) AWACS
    2) EC725 add on
    3) A400M add on
    4) MALE UAV add on

    RMK14 (10 years from now)
    1) New MRCA – ideal F-35A, if not KF-21 block 2

    Non priority
    – MERAD air defence missiles. This should be kept under the army like currently.

  4. gonggok – If nation state like Russia no longer honour any international laws

    Russia is a permanent Security Council member and a nuclear power, it can get away with things others can’t.

    gonggok – We have to defend our country ourselves

    I’m sure everyone appreciates the nationalistic chest thumping and the obvious but even if we depend on ourselves only, in the long run we’re still reliant on external diplomatic and material support. Very few countries in this day and age can go it alone if confronted by a much larger or more powerful opponent. We have a population of 30 million, a medium size economy dependent on external trade and no significant tech heavy industrial base and a medium sized under resourced military.

    No before you go on, I’m not suggesting we totally depend on others or sit back and let others trample on us.

    gonggok – We cannot assume

    Our defence planners don’t ”asumme” anything, which is why in parallel with our desire for some level of deterrence [in line with our resources] we have bilateral defence ties with a number of countries, engage in various exchanges/consultations at a regional and international level and are a FPDA member.

    gonggok – Politicians must stop thinking only about themselves

    In theory but must as well wish for Pegasus to fly over Tawau.. The very definition of politics is to gain power and keep it. That’s the core nature of politics. The type of politicians we have is a reflection of the state of the country.

    gongok – secure homeland for our future generations

    Someone else use to keep saying the same thing. Uncanny similarity/coincidence.

  5. @Gonggok
    The takeaway from this latest development.
    1. Superpowers can & will take aggressive actions that suited their own objectives. Perhaps unsurprising but we have to remember that USA invaded & ‘tried liberating’ more nations since the Cold War ended than Eastern Bloc did.

    2. Western Powers have failed Ukraine despite all the talks, promises, & assurances. Months of talking during the buildup instead of shoring up defences with NATO troops if they truly intend to defend Ukraine. In our neck of woods, we have less of such ‘verbal backing’ from the West so don’t expect USA to even come running & taking on China if they decide to be decisive. As I always asserted, we’re on our own.

    3. Don’t hope for conventional forces to stop a superpower might. At best, countries like Ukraine and us could prolong into an attritional war thru guerilla, and hit & run tactics while the legitimate Govt will have to rule-in-exile and getting international support akin to Free French Republic.

    4. We need to strengthen or economy firstly. Way before this, after Crimea annexation Russia all the years had been putting economic & resource pressure onto Ukraine economy despite being propped up by the West. Russia took action because it still haven’t yet collapsed despite being on deathbed and Putin could not wait to happen.

    5. What happened in Ukraine are due to East-West powerplay and each had influenced its socio-political & economic arena. We should be wary on such influences onto ours masked as social liberties & democracies, or economic growth & friendship. Our society should not just blindly follow, instead to be independent, nonpartisan and chart our neutral path forward.

  6. “Western Powers have failed Ukraine despite all the talks, promises, & assurances. Months of talking during the buildup instead of shoring up defences with NATO troops if they truly intend to defend Ukraine. ”

    NATO has never promised to fight Russia on Ukraine’s behalf and this has always been made clear to Ukraine. But NATO has been training and equipping Ukrainian forces for years on account of Russian involvement in the Donbass and occupation of Crimea.

    Any engagement of Russian units by NATO is certain to prompt Russian retaliation and carries the risk of escalation into general war.

    Given the resources available to Russia to respond to any NATO involvement, if NATO is expected to fight Russia directly, it will have to commit very large forces. The scale of losses on both sides will carry a very dangerous risk of escalation.

    “Don’t hope for conventional forces to stop a superpower might. At best, countries like Ukraine and us could prolong into an attritional war thru guerilla, and hit & run tactics while the legitimate Govt will have to rule-in-exile and getting international support akin to Free French Republic”

    In World War Two, the Germans faced very high demands on other fronts and could only commit an economy of resources to suppress the French resistance. If you’re talking about a superpower that is occupying another country’s homeland and not while being engaged in war with other major states, the process and outcome will be very different. At best, this hypothetical occupied country will face a much longer wait than the French resistance faced in WW2, all while the country is under effective control of the occupier by way of controlling the strategic areas.

    “What happened in Ukraine are due to East-West powerplay and each had influenced its socio-political & economic arena. We should be wary on such influences onto ours masked as social liberties & democracies, or economic growth & friendship.”

    No country is threatened or provoked by whatever system we choose to practice, whether democratic or not. Taiwan is in a different situation because China has to justify the communist party’s authoritarianism to its people as the only possible system for China, and cannot tolerate Taiwan because it is a counterexample in being an ethnically Chinese society that practices democracy and manages to prosper.

  7. azlan, “Uncanny similarity/coincidence”

    I have been in Singapore for many years, and their leaders always have the future generations in their minds, especially in terms of defence. Even for the latest developments for land reclaimations, the current Singaporean leaders left a large space in strategic locations for future Singaporean to do what they want with the space.

    I have not seen any such aspirations from current malaysian leaders.

    Joe,

    1. I don’t see Germany, Japan, South Korea, etc. complaining about USA. Most of ex soviet countries themselves want to be in the western fold. Just look at Poland, Romania, Czech, Estonia, Latvia etc.

    2. USA has failed Ukraine. They disposed off all their nuclear weapons as US say they will guarantee Ukraine’s security. Now seems that they are left high and dry.

    3. That is a given. A small country like malaysia could never fight on the same playing field as superpowers. But we need to prepare to fight in other ways. Lessons from Finland, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Yemen need to be taken in context of our own defence.

    4. As a defender, economically does not matter much. You just need not to lose. Saving your own country, your own family is a strong enough motivation to continue to fight. As the aggressor, yes need a strong economy to sustain the war.

    5. What happened to Ukraine is unfortunate. Malaysia, to be a non-aligned country, need to have a military with a strong defensive capability to back its swagger. Like a porcupine, we need to ensure that anyone attacking malaysia will need to incur very high costs for their actions.

  8. @AM
    It was Nato’s enticement of Ukraine that led to this situation today. With the number of assertions by the West, they have an obligation to help defend Ukraine. Again, this was clearly a political tug of war and this invasion was caused by Nato knocking on Russia’s doorstep. We should take cognisance that if Asean gets influenced by USA to an extend of an alliance, it might lead a paranoid China into taking such similar aggressive moves to assert its position in SCS.

    “threatened or provoked by whatever system we choose to practice”
    Quite. History would have been different if we had fallen to Communism. As I mentioned, as long we remained neutral and nonpartisan we’re okay. But if we & rest of Asean falls to US sphere of influence, China might take a more belligerent stance in SCS to assert its hold. China does not view Taiwan the same way as SCS, to them it belongs to China but as long the US does not change the equilibrium (ie basing carrier fleets there), China will bide their time plus capturing an island state is far more difficult than a land region bordering them.

  9. @gonggok
    1. Germany, Japan, South Korea, etc, don’t have oil or others that would interest USA. Most of them wanted to join due to economic reasons, not cultural or socio-political. To the West, even moderate Russian friendlies need to be “encouraged” to turn West thru social engineering and political influence. When it happened in Ukraine, that freaked out Russia to take action.

    2. Ukraine was never a nuke nation nor possess nukes, other than that leftover wasteland called Chernobyl. When Russia pulled back, they took their nukes with them.

    3. What I said was in reply to certain comments confident that we could uparm ourselves to deter a superpower. In reality, nothing we do could stop them. They choose to stay or leave at their whim, not ours.

    4. If they put economic pressure & social engineered the mindset of the rakyat, they already won the 1st round even before any shots fired. To be truly independent and nonpartisan, we must not be entrapped by the wealth of the West nor East.

    5. Defensive capability is only ONE facet of a many to be nonaligned. We have to be strong economically so as not to be indebted to either sides, the rakyat must have independent & maturity in thought so as not to be influenced thru social engineering, the politics must be free of lobby influence, our neighbours relationship must be good and of equal nonaligned of thought, and our diplomatic channels & back channels must be strong & influential. What happened to Ukraine is a series geopolitics powerplay; from Lebanon, to Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Syria, to Yemen, now them. Next who?

  10. Knowing full well we wil lose control over air and sea, the merad is a priority.

    Just look at Ukraine now, hammered all over with enemy helos flying overhead without fear. Our TUDM and TLDM will never be sufficiently funded unless a miracle happens and our economy suddenly tripled in size.

  11. @gonggok
    Unfortunately RMAF RMK13 priority is not be same as yours as they do not need any further A400M in the near future as much as LCA batch 2. Remember for RMK12 they have decided on only 18 LCA/FLIT with further 18 in RMK13, it’s well documented already. With that it’s near impossible to get extra A400M in RMK13.

    “Non priority
    – MERAD air defence missiles. This should be kept under the army like currently.”
    Sorry but I think MERAD has more priority than getting extra A400M. Also it does not matter much whether Army or RMAF control it as long as MERAD is well integrated with our radar command and control center.

  12. @Azlan
    “now them. Next who?”
    Moldova……

    @Hasnan
    “the merad is a priority.”
    Priority or not it is in plan that we will get them later on.

  13. Stinger & Javelin look like play a crucial defensive role at Kiev fighting. I think we have a small budget n small size of main equipment. We should pay more attention on this local development. Not big vessels, fighter jet or MBT. For global business, i think it will much easy to sell if compare those big equipments.

  14. Stinger & Javelin look like play a crucial defensive role at Kiev fighting. I think we have a small budget n small size of main equipment. We should pay more attention on this local development. Not big vessels, fighter jet or MBT. For global business, i think it will much easy to sell if compare those big equipments.

  15. “With the number of assertions by the West, they have an obligation to help defend Ukraine.”

    No, this is not a playground conversation. Ukraine would have been very clear what the West would have been willing to offer (sanctions over the occupation of Crimea, involvement in Donbass and training and equipment) and what it was not (fighting on Ukraine’s behalf.)

    “It was Nato’s enticement of Ukraine that led to this situation today.”

    Long before that, it was Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea and arming of separatists on Ukrainian territory, both of which took place within two months of each other in 2014. All of this drove Ukraine to seek safety in engagement with NATO.

    Russia likes to claim that it is entitled to a buffer of safety against invasion from the west. By that token, Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic states, Finland, Hungary and the former Czechoslovakia have an equal right to seek safety from Russia as they were invaded by it within the last century. Not to mention the other communist bloc states that had Russian-installed governments during the Cold War.

    The invasion of Ukraine has just led Finland, which was previously happy to be non-aligned, to announce that it may seek NATO membership to deter Russia from invading it.

  16. Michael,

    As a defender, all the want for Malaysian Army to become a “conventional force” army is not going to matter much as seen with what happening in Ukraine. Things that will matter would be enough ammo for at least months, not days; superior intel, RPG and ATGMs, loitering minitions and UVAVs.

    While talking about that, the fact is our primary security concern now is actually our peacetime maritime security, something that is still does not really seriously addressed.

  17. Hasnan – ”Knowing full well we wil lose control over air and sea, the merad is a priority.”

    First of all before gong into what may or may not happen ask yourself what threats are we expected to face and under what circumstances. Secondly a GBAD is no substitute for a strong air force. Without a strong air force GBADs will be slowly degraded – we saw this in Iraq and Kosovo.

    Michael – ”We should pay more attention on this local development.”

    This is not ”new” and is fully realised by us. What you however ”should pay more attention” is that ATGWs are intended to be in used with different assets; not in a vacuum. There are also not a panacea.

    gonggok – ”need to have a military with a strong defensive capability to back its swagger. Like a porcupine, we need to ensure”

    Sorry but this sound like a motivational talk or something out of MLM brief. Many things we should do but depending on the circumstance and context; easy to say we should do this and that.

    gonggok – ”Lessons from Finland, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Yemen need to be taken in context of our own defence.”

    Let’s look at the context. I’m fond of saying we should look at the context given the tendency by some to make sweeping generalised statements.

    – Finland. Did well the first round then joined Germany in the War of Continuation. Ultimately it had to sue for peace and gave up land to the Soviets.
    – Vietnam and Afghanistan. Both had tremendous external support and both had a friendly country on its border. In the case of Vietnam the insurgency was crippled and it was the NVA which entered Saigon.
    – Yemen has the full support of Iran and even before the war was washed with small arms.

  18. It has been said that many russian ambassadors has threatened to cut all support for Russian military equipment to countries that explicitly supports Ukraine.

    So much for no strings attached of arms from Russia.

    Could be why India, Indonesia and even Malaysia is quiet about Ukraine.

  19. Azlan, “I’m fond of saying we should look at the context given the tendency by some to make sweeping generalised statements”

    I usually write mostly in context of Malaysia, but there will be replies to me with views of western-biased general theories.

    – Finland. Historically they were hit hard a lot of times by Russia/soviet. But what can we take from their experience? Dedicate resources for viable defence of the country, not just token efforts. Take the latest Finland fighter jet acquisition. It is clearly in their plan to halt a Russian air attack on their country. Would malaysia clearly put out a plan to counter Chinese air attack on sarawak or labuan? If you want to be seen as non-aligned (like finland in the 70s 80s) it won’t hurt to get weapons from Russia (in our context, China). Simple things like guns, howitzers that you can still operate even without the manufacturer support.

    – Vietnam. Support is one thing (we have support from UK, Australia too). But what are their strategy? What are vietnam’s strategy to hold off china? Vietnam too depend a lot on Chinese trade and economy, but that does not distract them from planning for Chinese hostility. What kind of navy they are building? What kind of coast guard? Maritime militia? Air defence? Coastal anti ship missiles?

    – Yemen. How do they fight a force with all the latest Western weapons? What lessons can we take from their weaponisation of consumer UAVs? What tactics did they use? Right now there is basically no foreign troops anymore in Yemen, in a way they have succeeded to puah all foreign forces out of Yemen. Now the fight has turned into purely civil war on the ground, with saudi and uae attacks only from the air.

    We need to stop planning for a force to undertake a conventional war, as we will not have the big resources like those countries that write all that stuff. Conventional wars plan to advance to a target. We need to plan on how to defend a target. Just like what Leftenen Adnan and his colleagues did at battle of bukit chandu.

  20. gonggok – Could be why India, Indonesia and even Malaysia is quiet about Ukraine

    A much more plausible reason is us not wanting to bee seen as too pro or anti anyone in line with our so called non aligned policy. BTW we import quite a big if wheat and chemicals from Russia and we export some palm oil.

  21. gonggok – ”What are vietnam’s strategy to hold off china?”

    As I told someone else some time back who was also gung ho about Vietnam; first of all Vietnam is much closer physically than us to China. Secondly; it has centuries of strife with China; including invasions; a border war in 1979 and 2 clashes at sea in which Vietnam didn’t fare well. As such how they view China differs greatly compared to us and others. Thirdly; what Vietnam is doing is based on what it feels suits its requirements.

    gonggok – ”Vietnam too depend a lot on Chinese trade and economy, but that does not distract them from planning for Chinese hostility.”

    Why even bring this up? It’s as obvious as saying we should watch our health and not smoke and consume certain substances… Did anyone suggest we should sit back; have a wank and let others trample on us because of economic ties we have?

  22. gonggok – ”to me with views of western-biased general theories”

    Are you suggesting that ”Western theories” have no place at all in our threat calculations or planning? If so is that an actual fact?

    gonggok – Conventional wars plan to advance to a target

    There is something fundamentally wrong with that statement. One can be in an unconventional war and still be required to ”advance to a target”… Also, one can adopt a defensive or positionalist strategy but still have a maneuverist approach.

    gonggok – ”We need to plan on how to defend a target”

    I fully realise you [like …] have a penchant for saying we should plan for this and that and do this and that [makes me feel like I’m attending a motivational talk] but you really suggest our defence planners don’t ”plan”? Also, every single conflict waged; from antiquity to the Roman era to the start of industrial based warfare has involved planning…

    Also; it’s great to talk on an on about planning but it also depends : what type of conflict are we likely to face and under what operational context? Now that there’s war in the Ukraine [still ongoing] everyone is gun ho about lessons learnt and what’s applicable or not; just like they were with Nargano Karabakh but first we have to determine what threats we actually face and the likelihood of them materialising.

    gonggok – ” Leftenen Adnan and his colleagues did at battle of bukit chandu.”

    1st Malaya Brigade was tasked with defending Pasir Panjang Ridge which was the western most flank of the final defence perimetre. Adnan’s C Company was wiped out; only about 4 survived.

  23. @AM
    “this is not a playground conversation”
    https://www.dw.com/en/biden-promises-ukraine-decisive-response-if-russia-invades/a-60313730
    Indeed, otherwise Biden would just be a big blowhard but no guts in the playground when the bully comes in.

    “Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea and arming of separatists”
    And before that, the US-engineered Orange Revolution overthrew the Russia-friendly Ukrainian Govt which prompted Russia to act. In each event, it was Western action that ratcheted Russian paranoia and triggered a retaliation. I’m not justifying Russia’s actions but just stating we must see this invasion in an overall context, and this is echoed by others; you can read last Sunday Star’s Bunn Nagara article “Checkmated over Ukraine”.

    We cannot fathom the psyche nor what Russia really wants. Putin have been in power since 1999 and his first external war is south Georgia in 2008 so if he was merely warmongering, why it took him nearly 10 years? There must be something deeper and that is what the West have been struggling to know & understand even today.

    This also goes with China. Actions are never rash. It might appear illogical or irrational to outsiders but surely there is a certain logic within. We & many others just cannot fathom that. What we can do is continuously stay & act nonaligned and keeping all diplomatic channels free flowing. The ‘act’ part is important as the West have shown all their talk does not make them trustworthy, neither to Ukraine nor Russia.

  24. @gonggok
    “cut off countries that explicitly supports Ukraine”
    Why are you surprised? China have all along threatened diplomatic & economic blackout for countries that still have official ties with Taiwan. USA sanctions countries that has explicit relationship with DPRK & Iran.

    Which is why our economy, diplomacy & people’s mindset have to be neutral & nonaligned to survive in this world’s powerplays.

  25. Azlan, “As I told someone else some”

    I don’t care about what you told to someone else. Tell me, do you think what we are planning and preparing for defence will not make china trample on us?

    Azlan, “Why even bring this up?”

    Why do you ask? Because minister after minister publicly make self defeatist and china kowtowing statements that make me wonder do we really believe that we can defend our country?

    Azlan, “Are you suggesting that ”Western theories” have no place at all in our threat calculations or planning?”

    I would say largely yes. Our army always practice “conventional war” maneuvers that mimic US, Aussie or UK tactics. We are the one maneuvering, attacking an objective. We have never done large scale “defensive” exercises where we hunker down and be the defender to repel an assault. Practicing anti-amphibious operations (what we always practice is amphibious landings), practicing urban warfare from the viewpoint of the defender (building roadblocks, traps, IEDS, sniper nests, hiding from building to building killing MBTs, moving through underground tunnels), not as the attacker clearing room by room.

    Azlan, “first we have to determine what threats we actually face and the likelihood of them materialising”

    There is something fundamentally wrong if we as a country does not know or care to set what is the main threats to our country.

  26. “https://www.dw.com/en/biden-promises-ukraine-decisive-response-if-russia-invades/a-60313730”

    You’ve still not shown where Biden or NATO have promised to fight on Ukraine’s behalf. Biden and Zelensky used terms like “decisive response” and “unwavering support of Ukraine” to mean supporting Ukraine or punishing Russia. But both of them have been clear as to the expectations.

    “And before that, the US-engineered Orange Revolution overthrew the Russia-friendly Ukrainian Govt which prompted Russia to act. In each event, it was Western action that ratcheted Russian paranoia and triggered a retaliation”

    It may be convenient for you to claim “US-engineered” without any support, but Ukrainians on their own had enough reason to be angry with electoral fraud by the Russian-friendly incumbent and the poisoning of the opposition candidate in that election. They only had reason to fear the Russian domination of Tsarist and Soviet times and the famine from grain being shipped off to Russia, after all.

    And as I’ve stated and as you’ve not responded to, Ukraine is far from alone among European states in having a valid reason to seek safety from Russia.

  27. “Sorry but I think MERAD has more priority than getting extra A400M. ”

    You’re not alone in thinking so. Even buying the existing A400M was something the RMAF neither wanted nor needed, when there were so many other pressing priorities. Like so many others, it was a political decision.

  28. @gonggok
    “battle of bukit chandu.”
    And so what was the outcome? Did we achieve a glorious victory against a far superior enemy? In battle/war, outcome is all that matters. While we humans do glorify victories, in due time we also tend to romanticise failures; Bukit Candu, Bukit Kepong, Battle of Thermopylae, Custers Last Stand, the Alamo, etc desperate attempts but ultimately failed to hold their line. This unlike the successful but horrific defence & breaking of the siege of Stalingrad and siege of Nagashino. We need a better plan than to romaticise failures.

  29. joe, “And so what was the outcome? Did we achieve a glorious victory against a far superior enemy?”

    We did not. That is something we need to take in as a lesson.

    But currently what our army is geared and practicing on, “Peperangan Konvensional” which is to be and to do what US Army is geared to do, is not going to contribute much into our military into being primarily a defending force repelling invaders.

    We need to look closer at what Sweden, Finland, Vietnam is doing. How they prepare to repel an invasion. How they condition all of their citizens to be ready.

    For example, have never done anti-amphibious landing exercise before.

    We have never done exercise where the aim is specifically to be the defender of an objective, it is always we attacking an objective.

    We have never done exercises to be the defender in urban warfare. creating sniper nests, blocking roads, creating ambush traps for MBTs, practicing fighting from inside buildings to shoot the enemy outside. Our urban warfare training is almost always we entering buildings to clear them from the enemy, when it should be the other way round.

    We have never done exercises where the main objective is not to fight the enemy head on, but to attack and destroy their logistical lifelines. Doing hit and run tactics against fuel and ammo convoys.

    We need to learn all the lessons of recent conflicts from the veiwpoint of the defender, not the attacker. The future is not about having our own armoured infantry brigade fighting head on with another nations armoured infantry brigade. The future is about us killing armor with atgms, UAVs destroying convoys, doing hit and run amongst our own population.

  30. gonggok – ”I don’t care about what you told to someone else. Tell me, do you think what we are planning and preparing for defence will not make china trample on us?”

    First of all; I couldn’t care less about what you care about. Secondly, you’re not the first to go on a China narrative […] did the same. Again; we can adopt all the asymmetric tactics [China understands too asymmetric tactics] we want and get all the ”hard to detect [to quote you] assets but it doesn’t change the fact nothing we do will deter China [even if it becomes initially costly for it] if it decides to go head to head against us. The only chanced we’d have if we were operating along side partners.. To think otherwise would be to indulge in fan boyish gaga land delusion….

    No, in case you go on; I’m not suggesting we sit back and do nothing except have a wank and let China have its way. There are things we can do and those we can’t.

    gonggok – ”There is something fundamentally wrong if we as a country does not know or care to set what is the main threats to our country.

    Who says we don’t know? In case you haven’t noticed the geo political environment is constantly shifting; in line with that our planners are always refining our plans and adjusting accordingly. What is ”fundamentally” wrong is your assertion that conventional warfare involves mainly ”advancing to a target”. This displays a lack of understanding as unconventional warfare also has an element of that; plus the fact that one can have a defensive strategy but also maintain a maneuverist approach.

    gonggok – Our army always practice “conventional war” maneuvers that mimic US, Aussie or UK tactics.

    Sorry but this statement is untrue and is yet another misplaced assumption. The army utilises various bits of doctrine and tactics obtained from various sources but does not [as you blissfully maintain] apply it literally. It’s done with various refinements to cope with our operating terrain, threat perception and other things.

    The idea that those in charge of formulating doctrine and tactics at TRADOC and the various Directorates merely copy things without any refinements/readjustment is an insult to them and wishful thinking on your part. You are very sure [like many things] that we focus on straight on head to head fights. This is untrue and shocking to hear from someone who has so much to say and is apparently so well acquainted. The tactics we employ depends – at times it will be conventional; at times conventional and asymmetric and at times asymmetric – depending on circumstances. Contrary to you’re repeated claims; planners spend a lot of time formulating tactics and doctrine in line with our needs, strengths and limitations…. There are not under any illusions we can meet a better equipped opponent on equal terms.

  31. gonggok – ”The future is about us killing armor with atgms, UAVs destroying convoys, doing hit and run amongst our own population.”

    Sounds great! That’s a generalised claim however..

    Here’s a nuanced look… We can and should get UASs but their successful use will depend on how permissive/contested/restrictive the skies are. Against the better armed opponents you’re always on about; our UASs might be faced with a variety of hard and soft kill means. To date every single conflict; with the exception of the one in the Ukraine now, has seen UASs operate in largely permissive/contested/restrictive the skies – Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Tigray, Donbass, Nargano Karabakh, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, etc.

    In our terrain, unless it’s along highways or in some open areas typical ATGW engagement ranges will be 2-3 km or even less. Our infantry would have to be close and they might be faced with supporting infantry or screening/recce elements whose job it is to protected armoured formations from ATGW teams.

    Yes we should do many things and we actually have plans [one reason Metis is on a 4×4]
    for most of the things you keep harping about but there’ll be times when we can’t and times when we can. Things are not absolutes or in a vacuum; thus we have a wide range of plans to cater for the circumstances.

  32. gonggok – ”We have never done exercise where the aim is specifically to be the defender of an objective, it is always we attacking an objective.

    Are you actually sure or you think you are? ”Attacking an objective” could be part of a defensive plan; doesn’t mean attacking implies we don’t practice defending. As noted elsewhere, one can have a defensive approach but still incorporate offense and maneuver as part of the overall plan.

    gonggok – ”We have never done exercises where the main objective is not to fight the enemy head on, but to attack and destroy their logistical lifelines.

    As always you seem sure of many things; are you privy to all the exercises we conduct?
    ”Never” is a pretty strong word. Just because you may see coverage of 2 squadrons of Adnans on the move; don’t make the assumption that it’s part of a plan to attack the enemy head on.. By the way; the job of attacking rear columns/logistical convoys is not for armoured/mech units but for different types of units; can you say for certain that the 2 GK Commando regiments [which trains for this] don’t have such plans or that other units we have [with 4×4 and direct fire weapons] don’t either?

    gonggok – ”Our urban warfare training is almost always we entering buildings to clear them from the enemy, when it should be the other way round.

    Not ”always” as you’d have us believe. Numerous urban exercises we’ve done; as well as ones under the FDA and bilateral ones with Singapore and Australia have seen our units conduct both defensive and offensive urban ops ………

    gonggok ”For example, have never done anti-amphibious landing exercise before.”

    Have we done anti airborne exercises before? No. Do we practice how to cope with a large scale helicopter assault/ No. Doesn’t mean we see absolutely no need to; merely we practice for the threats we feel are likely to be faced. If you want to cherry pick then there’s a lot of things we don’t do because we see a bigger need to do other things and resources are limited.

  33. @gonggok
    We still need a certain level of “Conventional Warfare” capabilities to keep instep with our regional peers and to meet the challenges from others that willfully trespass during peace time situations. But there is no way we can raise a conventional force able to deter a superpower’s invasion. We must take cognisance, if we ever reached that stage we are well & truly f*cked, that’s why our diplomacy is the first line of defence so that we are never placed in such a situation.

  34. If we have to spell it out; a traditional concern has always been short but limited border wars with neighbours over overlapping claims. An actual state on state war with a neighbour in which all state resources are untilised; leading to an advance to K.L. or Kuching; was seen as unlikely and still is for a variety of reasons [irrespective of the fact that people are getting all gung ho and fevered minded now because of the Ukraine]. Other countries don’t have to invade us to control us; merely to control our maritime domain and our access to international shipping lanes.

    As it stands only a small portion of the army is geared for actual fast moving high intensity conventional ops [the PT-91s, Adnans, AV-8, G-5s and ASTROS are only one component of the army and a small one]. The rest of the army is still geared more for limited scale or defensive type ops; as the bulk of units neither have the needed armored mobility; sufficient organic arty assets or sufficient support assets.

    The very notion that the army focuses on conventional warfare training at the expense of defensive training; that it does not train on how to defend and copies Western doctrine blindly without refinements to suit local needs; is utter drivel and displays an acute lack of understanding of how the army operates, what it does and its threat perceptions.

    A defensive approach [with a maneuverist/mobile element]; along with asymmetric means; is a cornerstone of the army’s plans to defend the country against a state on state external threat. We don’t plan of meeting a better armed opponent on equal terms.

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