SHAH ALAM: Like many items for the RMK11 wish-list, the Self Propelled Howitzer (SPH) requirement, had been in the book for some time already.
As it has not been fulfilled in the preceding years, one can surmised it will returned into the latest wish-list despite again I must point that this posting got nothing to do with the official one.
With the current economic situation, it may seemed ridiculous to list out the wish list but I believed it is more wrong to curl up and hope for the best.
Four years ago I had reported that the SPH requirement was for 18 guns. This time around I am not sure of the numbers being sought or whether they had chosen either a wheeled or tracked SPH or perhaps even both.
I believed a wheeled SPH is much simpler and cheaper to procure and operate (cheaper is still relative) but it appears that for the armoured brigade, a tracked SPH is required.
Back in 1997, Giat – the forerunner of Nexter – displayed the original prototype of the Caesar truck mounted gun at LIMA. The SPH even undertook an almost two weeks in country trials but three years later, we bought 22 Denel G5 towed 155mm guns and 18 Astros MLRS. As it is two of our neighbours, Thailand and Indonesia, procured the production variant of the Caesar recently.
And although we did end up buying another batch of MLRS since the original procurement in 2000 (with another regiment supposed to be on the books) the number of 155m tube artillery remained the same.
So what are the candidates for the SPH requirement if funds are made available then? Both the Caesar and the South Korean K9 Thunder comes to mind as both have been marketed and represented by local agents in Malaysia. The K9 as you all aware has also been exported to Turkey and recently Poland. There have also been reports that the K9 has undergone trials in Malaysia previously.
One SPH that will surely not be in the mix is ST Engineering Primus (below). Why? Simply because it is unlikely ST Engineering will enter the tender.
What about towed 155mm howitzers then? It could be in the wish list also as I only write things that I heard about (not much really). And before you ask, I have yet to hear anything about the replacement for the 105mm pack howitzers.
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