Say No to The AV8

Malaysian Defence
The AV8Buster Logo

KUALA LUMPUR: It is plain obvious isnt it? I am against the AV8, the national 8X8 Armoured Combat Vehicle project.

Why? Its not that there are cheaper solutions, which there are of course. The main reason? Its the money of course, or the lack of it.

There are other valid reasons for going against the AV8 project. The past failures of national interest programmes were to first things that come to mind.

The latest failure is the Aludra UAV project which had not benefited the armed forces at all in terms of capability and capacity. It is such failure that Mindef do not even have the stomach to sign a production contract nor the instinct to kill it off for good measure.

As usual the thing will drag on for a few years more before it will die natural death, leaving the armed forces so behind the technology curve when it comes to UAV even when other nations in the region are contemplating UCAVs!

Furthermore, the Army, as we all know, has other numerous project which are as important as the 8X8 but the lack of funds has caused these projects to be shelved.

Of course we could argue until the moon turned blue which projects are more important and necessary to the Army but one cannot deny the fact that we cannot afford the AV8 project as it stands now.

I would even argue we cannot even afford to purchase 200++ 8X8 ACV off-the shelf now as it would also cost us at least RM3 billion to get the whole lot with another RM2 billion thrown in to maintain them for the next 20 years or so.

Yes, the Menhan had said that the project may or may not cost RM8 billion but certainly we dont have the luxury to spend even half of that amount. And we are supposed to spend RM1 billion annually to develop the AV8?

Yes the unit price could go much lower if we replace the Sibmas and Condor on one to one basis. But how do we know whether the unit price will go down even if we add another 200 vehicles to the original order?

So what next? Do we really need to replace the Condors and Sibmas? Of course we do and at the same time we must also helped our defence industry. How are we going to do it then? My solution is for us to embark an upgrade programme for the KIFV fleet bought for the Bosnian mission to the Adnan ACV standard. Done by Deftech in Pekan of course.

Since the UN paid for the KIFV, we already save almost RM1 billion in procurement costs and perhaps we need to spent only RM1 billion to upgrade these Korean imports and another RM1 billion to keep them working for at least another 15 years. I know the estimates above could be wrong but I believe this is a far fairer and cheaper solution to our needs considering our defence budget and ambitions.

Is there a way to keep the AV8 project and the other projects in the Armed Forces wish list? Of course there is. More money of course. Show me money!

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2205 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Cost wise there are a few that are damn cheap. Even the Thai bought 96 BTR 3 from Ukraine for around USD110 million. May be we can do the same, buy about 100 for USD 100 mil+ and provide another USD100 mil + for parts and maintenance for another. But dont know about the quality…

    Marhalim: The problem with us, Kamal, we end up specifying Mercedes engines for the same vehicles and god other what stuff and the deal suddenly goes from RM300 million plus to RM3 billion plus and zilch for maintenance….Just look at the PT91M…they havent got around securing the support contract, yet they only signed an LOI for it with Deftech at DSA 2010…

  2. The only cost saving solution as I see it would be to put the interest of the country and army first above that of Deftech and procure something off the shelf. Something that comes the closest to meeting the army\’s requirements, whether the Piranha, Rosomak or Pars. All the vehicles that were trialed in 2006 can easily be configured into different variants.

    As for the KIFV/MIFV it already has received a new engine and transmission. Adding an OWS and applique/bar armour to provide protection to up to 12.7mm would be the next logical move and will not cost an arm and leg if the project is handled properly. The key word is ”IF” handled properly

  3. I have to disagree with you this time Marhalim. For me, it is the time for us to change our way of thinking. We should give the local the chance for them to show what their got. In this case, let the DEFTECH develop the 8×8 on their own and although it is based on the Turk’s PARS, we should take this as the first step for more advanced things in future.

    I largely believe that this project will not going to be scrapped off like the UAV project. Trust me.

    Marhalim: I will also not say that the AV8 project will be scrapped…far from it, we will end up spending RM10 billion for a vehicle that will be retired before it is even past 10 years….

  4. Since the 8×8 will be inducted into the Cavalry Regiments whose primary roles are surveillance and screening operations,why not explore other options where the two functions can be carried out with less cost and manpower.For example using UAVs the Cavalry Regiment can easily easily surveill the battlefront 24/7.As for screening operations, in our environment is best done by anti-tank and sniper teams on motorcyles and scout vehicles.The 8×8 is okay for desert and open plains but not for our Malaysian terrain and vegetation.

    Marhalim: As the other national project, the Aludra UAV remained in-service, there is no immediate concern for the Armed Forces to get operational UAVs in service in the near future. I believe MMEA will beat the Armed Forces in introducing an operational UAV into service soon…

  5. A bit out of context, but if you realised past weeks some economic indicator came out. The country debts of RM362 billion(about 320 billion are local, mainly from our EPF) is now on par with its reserves and investment.

    Theoretically, unless we have a constant 7-8% growth next 10 years and a budget surplus or even budget, we may end up like greece.

    So hopefully those in EPU and MIndef who were planning these type of AV8 deal, to reconsider. Not that i am saying that we should cut deep any spending, but i am saying that with budgeted RM8 billion on the AV8, we could get more bang for our buck.

    Assuming (very big if) we look east for our procurement, the RM8 billion can give us the 257 8X8 that we wanted, new affordable personell weapon, maybe few dozen helicopters..

    Marhalim: Its a National Interest project, Kamal… it will be very difficult for them to re-consider…

  6. As an outsider view, i thought that the Govt is following the NGPV model, where we buy the blueprint and one day Malaysia could build our own Armour car and export ourselves. And i think this plan is good if the project is farm out to as many as possible and create several rounds of economic multipliers.
    Economic multiplier is an economic term talking about the effect when say, for every 1 million spent, 500 k goes to salary which returns to the economy as food and etc and etc. ‘Many rounds’ is when the said food vendor spent 50% of it as his own salaries, buy supplies and etc.
    Therefore, if the 8b project is able to generate say 12b economic value (sum of above) within 5 years of implementation, then it is a good project. The Army get the hardware, the country gets the industrialization and the citizen gets the economic pie expended.
    On the basis and assumptions above, i think the project is good for Malaysia.

    Marhalim: Ah…but the NGPV is over-budget and over-due. They cannot even deliver the ships on time and on spec. Didnt I say that we have a long list of national interest projects that failed miserably and never live up to the promises?

  7. Can this 8X8 run on rough road compare with the track cos our country most is terrain, any other choice? Do the MINDEF evaluated it in detailed? Cost? RM8 Billion is big for this project, can it be reduced to RM2 billion, the rest of budget still can be used for other, like get the AEWs and Medium SAMs for RMAF, ASW helos, PV and support ship for RMN and attack helos for the Army, beside the prices for AV8 still can be nego if the MINDEF still want it, be think wisely bro….

    Marhalim: Yes the AV8 will be able to go cross country. Personally, I would have preferred wheel AFVs for the army again due to our small budget. How many tank transporters we have? I dont have the exact numbers but I believed it is not more than 100 vehicles. We have more than 300 track vehicles nowdays……..

  8. Yes thats a good question Marhalim, how many low loaders do we have? If I’m not mistaken Defetech delivered only 25 Ivecos.

  9. Dear Zul, I do not have the detailed cost breakdown of the 8×8 but I believe most of the 8 billion will go to Thales France as the integrator of the Fire Control System, Denel of South Africa, the supplier of the turret and armament systems and FNSS of Turkey the builder of the 8×8 body.Very little of the 8 billion will go to local vendors!

  10. Rilek bro, the AV8 only costs US$2 million per piece. That’s the price the gomen gonna pay to deftech for a piece. The rest of the money that mount to 8 billion RM is for deftec to build the capacity to produce the so called 100% malaysian made 8×8 locally, together with the support n service for the next 20 years. The production numbers might not be stagnant at 257 pieces. Might be many more than that according to the ATM requirement for the next 20 years and beyond that 20 years.Remember also the export potential of the said vehicle among Asean members and to other friendly nations across the globe.

    Marhalim: what export potential? Singapore has the Bionix, the Indons has their Pindads? The rest would rather buy Russians or Ukrainians. The same argument has been made when other National Interest projects was made,ie MD3, Steyrs, NGPV and Aludra.
    How do we know in 20 years time when the requirement no longer call for 8X8? What then?

  11. Why not just build more ACV Adnans? Deftech already has license. 250 Adnans should not cost more than RM1 billion.

    Replace the steel track with rubber band track for reduce wear, noise levels and damage to roads. Dont have to buy more tank transporters.

  12. i have to agree with Zul. Economic multiplier is one thing. The other equally important thing is the KNOWLEDGE. Many leaders didnt learn from the 1997 lesson when a whole lot of locals who gain hightech knowledge during the boom time, lost in the sea of project cuts and KIVs. These knowledge are important, and must be preserved through continuos support from the government (directly or indirectly) Believe it or not its how Singapore run things.

    Marhalim: The problem Rul, is that these National Interest projects has no over-sight at all as I mentioned the NGPV project is a huge failure when it comes to the navy, of course many people have gained from it but at what cost?

  13. I am going to get it over with and call Marhalim unpatriotic for not rallying around the flag and gladly handing oodles of money over to DEFTECH/Syed Bukhari. He does not yet however deserve the moniker of \’ejen kuasa luar\’.

    Zul..they say ignorance is bliss. You are blissfully unaware of the trials and tribulations of the NGPV project. here was once an entity called Penang Shipbuilding Corporation that \’took over\’ the Naval Dockyard in Lumut. Took over by issuing worthless script for tangible assets belonging to the tax payer. Pandai kan? It was headed by a certain then Dato\’ Amin Shah (sekarang just Encik, last known location Dubai).

    Now Lumut Dockyard was a busy little place that handled all the navy\’s maintenance, something that kept it\’s calendar and bank balance quite full. There was NO fabrication yard area but never mind lah..can shuffle stuff around. OK…now as you know, GNG became the technical partner and they would build the first 2 ships in Germany but the vessels would be fitted out locally. So far so good.. Unfortunately, Encik Amin Shah was busy spending money on all kinds of projects and businesses not directly related to NGPV along with a huge bodek bajet (budget for sucking up to his masters. Unfortunately, the numbers didn\’t add up and so PSC had no momey to pay major sub contractors like STN-Atlas who naturally did not sign off on tactical systems etc. causing years of delay. Actually it was so bad that the company and by extension the project was insolvent and dead in the water.

    LTAT was convinced by the government who could not intervene directly because they had already paid out the monies to PSC. And thus was born Boustead Shipbuilding etc. LTAT agreed to bail out the project as a national service and in return for some additional considerations, including a firm commitment to Batch 2 in MP10. That is why Lekiu 2 is deader than dead, no way in hell LTAT is going to let anyone eat the pie they already paid for.

    Meanwhile…the Kedahs are already a disappointment. The ‘stealth exhaust’ makes it horribly smokey on board (so much so that they have deleted this from Batch 2), the OTO Breda is about as good as the Emerlecs and they have about zero bragging value at International Reviews thanks to their painful lack of mission equipment.

    Hmm..based on our track record, it’s going to come in hugely delayed, vastly over priced and the tax payer will get stuck with the bill while the perpetrators retire to somewhere with no extradition. Encik Amin Shah was once feted by the local defense industry association too….

    Marhalim: LOL…

  14. The mind boogles………. Didn’t the engineers at the German Naval Group do any tests to see how the ”stealth exhaust” would perform? Is the problem with the Oto Breda due to the gun or fire control? The problem with the twin Emerlecs was integration with the fire control.

    Ree, the Adnans and MIFVs already have rubber pads, sourced from a foreign company via MARDEC-Polymer.

    As far industrial offsets and transfer of technology go, have any actually benefited the country and at what cost? The Eagle and NGOPV projects were flops. Despite its huge pricetag the Kedah class are armed with nothing but guns. The army is reportedly not happy with the Aludra. Despite being well designed there is still no sign of any orders for the AV4.
    Forget Deftech, CTRM, SME and ATSC. A Malaysian company that has done very well for itself is Metrocoats. This low key company supplies the IR paint for the army and has exports to regional armies and even one from NATO.

  15. As a outsider, why can’t Malaysian companies find their own financing for the R&D? As I understand, Pindad paid for most of its R&D and so did Singapore’s STK. The Governments provided only limited funding but extensive R&D support through BPPT in Indonesia’s case and DSTA in Singapore’s case. There were no guarantee of a contract either and final purchase was dependent on performance.

    Marhalim: Both of the companies you mentioned are government owned, we had privatise our defence companies in the 80s…our very own Stride cant even fund its small arms lab…..

  16. I say….. whatever dudes…. as long as we have a strong Armed Forces…. no amount of money can substitute a strong and potent force that we have build up throughout the years….. cheerios dudes…

    Marhalim: Thats the problem, we do not have a strong armed forces despite spending so much money on them….

  17. The difference between Malaysia and the rest like Singapore and Indonesia is that their local stuff comes from Govt owned companies. We insist on giving people small contracts (not too big because we need to spread the money around to other contractors) resulting in no economies of scale at all and no real defence industry. Nobody gives a d@mm if the contract goes to LTAT owned Boustead or some Khazanah owned company…

    Just wait. The opposition is keeping quiet for the moment and doing their research. Just as soon as the deal is signed they are going to have a great day in parliament…

    Marhalim: The politicians dont want anything that is as intangible as the AV8 or NGPV. They want juicer stuff liked something thats connected to Razak Baginda or similar stuff….

  18. The multiplier effect will only be temporary unless it comes with additional orders from other clients but the government. I agree that the NGV project is a failure, major failure as the intended multiplier effect now runs out and to support it another round of government investment needed. I disagree that we prolonged the suffering of the tax payers, not especially when our debt is mountaining to a point we may have to sell our country to pay it off.

    But i tend to support that we continue with the RM8 billion proposed defence spending. Like i said before more bang for buck, the RM8 billion could get us the 257 AV8 that we wanted at lower than the budgeted RM8billion, the surplus could settle our archaic transport heli problem, which IMHO is a major assets to us. To be self sufficient in defence, we have to look at what is our real need, expertise and capability. lets tackle the small arms and even things like ATGM and MANPAD first, before we go on whale size projects

  19. “Thats the problem, we do not have a strong armed forces despite spending so much money on them…. ”

    and we probably won’t have the money to support a strong and potent armed forces..

    Marhalim: Yes we could do it but it needs a strong hand….

  20. If the Malaysian taxpayer pays for the production infrastructure of a product (in this case the AV8), should they not also own it, rather than Syed Bukhari?

    We paid for the whole AUG plant which is why our rifles were like 2x the cost of the Austrian guns. What has become of our investment? The cold hammer forge is sitting in a field in Batu Arang. The AUG facility no longer exists in Sungai Buloh. NADI has removed it to make way for other non-related activities.
    We even paid for the IP. Remember, the plan was to produce for the local market and then to export (haha). Even this is suspect because it was never redigitized for forward compatibility.

    Painful kan to hear how personal profit trumps national security every time?

    Remember that Romanian truck producing fiasco Peaska Astana? Woi, besar ideanya but in the end bengkrap and we are stuck with a bunch of trucks with no support.

  21. Actually if we have a good armed forces, well equip and well trained.. the problem is.. on paper the number are too low everywhere.

    Low number of infantry, low number of aircraft, low number of tanks… etc.

    We even barely able to complete the 3rd Combined Arms Division… i mean how are you going to make a Division size CAD with just 48 MBTs?

  22. Talking about STRIDE wonder what happened to Tamingsari? I really don’t see the point in a guided 155mm round. Best to start with base bleed and modular charges for the 155mm’s instead of getting something like Tamingsari.
    Marhalim there was if I’m not mistaken an LOI or MOU signed for the future purchase of 105mm howitzers at DSA? Which howitzer was it for, do you know?

    Marhalim: There was no contract or LOI nor LOA for artillery pieces, the nearest thing was the LOI for Vamtac Uro trucks as gun carriers by SERT, yes the new company which got the license from the manufacturer, Uro…

  23. The Malaysian Artillery needs a 155mm guided artillery projectile that can neutralize target at great distance at first salvo.There are obvious tactical advantages to have GPS guided artillery projectile that can hit target at first instance.With normal artillery projectiles you need a few rounds of trial and error before hitting the target. I hope STRIDE can develop Tamingsari like EXCALIBUR which are widely used by the US and Canadian Forces to great effect in Afghanistan.Be aware Indian Artillery experienced technical problems with the equivalent Russian version of Tamangsari which they bought from Russia.Hopefully they have the right people at STRIDE to rectify the problem.

  24. GGK, it’s not just about numbers. Its having the proper support infrastructure and a decent budget for realistic training. Any new purchases of fighters will have to take into account the number of fast jet pilots we have and the ability of FTC 1 and 3 to produce these pilots. There are only 8 MBB-339Cs and about 5 Hawk 100s for LIFT at the moment. The last thing we want is to be like the Arabs who really on seconded foreign pilots to fly their jets and a large number of contracters to support their gear. At the moment we’re so short of technical personnel that when some retires or leaves, it has an operational effect on certain equitment.

    The army has more than enough infantry, about
    28 battalions. This is a legacy of its counter insurgency days and PERISTA. We dont need more infantry but more engineering and other support assets. Bad enough the infantry we have are issued with s****e boots, webbing and hardly spent time shooting live rounds to save costs. What we need to do is improve on what we already have.

  25. Yes Perstaka Astana is defunct. Which is worrying because the ROMAN 6x6s are prime movers for the G-5s. And in time honoured
    fashion of screwing up our logistics and support infrastructure, we have another platform, the MAN which carries the BR-90 and TRS-3D. Not too forget our 4×4 weapon carriers which have absolutely no ballistic protection, the G-Wagon and VAMTEC. Who knows, maybe next DSA another local outfit will get a contract to deliver another make of vehicle as a weapons carrier……

  26. loreng… why worry about upper 5th percentile capabilities like a guided round when the vast bulk of the the artillery is older than their operators with tractors in varying states of disrepair? Does anyone actually believe that STRIDE has the capability to actually commercialize a 155mm arty PGM. I don’t. We cannot even make a rifle.

    Our military has to be sustainable in terms of cost and resources. We have neither in sufficiency. Why is the Army as big as it is? Because the government is unwilling to downsize and risk the ire of the service. We really need a ‘small and naughty’ military and not the great big beached whale that currently exists. Great big beached whales are however quite useful for dealing with internal dissent.

    Kementah is wall to wall with little Napoleons and bodekers. Then again, it is just a reflection of society at large.

  27. The Army need to be reorganized.The present Command Structure of Field Command, Divisons and Brigades are the legacy of the Counter-Insurgency days.They are not suitable for modern warfare.The new Army leadership should be bold to reorganize and cut the fat out.

  28. So, in a nutshell, gross negligence and incompetence abounds in all level of Malaysian military planning and management, both in civilian oversight(your duly elected representatives) and military leadership as well?

    I mean no country has no problems with its military, but this is on the verge of planning to utter ruin!

    Marhalim: I am covering Parliament (Dewan negara) this week and perhaps next week. So far only two questioned had cropped up for Defence, one concerning the alleged sale of arms to Palestinians and whether allowance for former soldiers will be raised or not. While both questions are valid one wonders whether more pertinent questions could be posed at the Parlimen. As I said before juicer defence things like the Scorpene and the alleged link with Razak Baginda are more likely to be asked. I am not saying that these questions are not valid but other things like the budget or the lack of it and the high failure rate of national interest projects never seemed to be on the radar….

  29. loreng, to utilise an artillery PGM to good effect you need an FO to lase the target and the ability to get the round on target in time. For a start we should start on improving the time it takes to get rounds on targets. Why waste time on a 155mm PGM when the G-5s dont even have base bleed or modular rounds?
    The Model 56s and M110s fire the M1 round which has a maximum range of only 10.5km. Though it has yet to be confirmed, Tamingsari is allegedly a copy of the Krasnapol involving STRIDE and partners from China and Pakistan.
    Before we start dreaming about 155mm PGMs we should ask ourselves if the G-5s have any smart or base bleed rounds and how many times a year do they get to fire live rounds?

  30. Marhalim, I am afraid most MPs don’t care about defence.I see only one or two MPs from the DAP asking deep questions about defence during past parliamentary debates.

    If they are serious about eradicating corruption in the military they should ask the Minister of Defence to review the Procurement systems and mechanisms.

    They should also ask whether the Armed Forces structure, equipment, training, logistic system etc..etc.. are geared for modern warfare.

    They should ask the Minister of Defence on national mobilization plans in support of the MAF in times of national emergencies.If we don\’t have one, do not expect the MAF to last more than one week when faced with serious external aggression.Tak tau ke?Bacalah sikit buku-buku on military conflict seperti WW2.

    Our MPs must ask the right questions in Parliaments instead of just warming up their seats.Soalan yang bukan-bukan semua seronok ketawa.Come on be serious sikitlah.

  31. Meester T,

    Bagi chance la our Artillery to remain as King of the Battle.

    With GPS guided 155mm ammunition we achieve enormous tactical advantage in the battlefield.

    The Artillery will then remain as the premier teeth arms that can support our Infantry 24/7.

    The Gunners perlu jaga maruah jugak.

    Marhalim: I am not sure whether our tube artillery are GPSed already!

  32. Dear Azlan,

    Target fixation for GPS guided 155mm ammunition such as the EXCALIBUR can either be from UAV or FOO (Forward Observation Officer) on the ground or heli.I believe no laser is required, instead just the location of the target fixed by the FOO’s GPS.

    The purpose of the base bleed ammunition is just to gain extra range without improved accuracy.So why waste money on base bleed when GPS guided ammunition can kill 2 birds with one stone: range and bull mark 100% sure hit with the first projectile fired.No ranging required lah.

    The modular charge bag for G5 ammunition is just an improvement on the old charge bag for better handling by the Gunners and storage in the field.The modular charge bag does not contribute to accuracy and extra range of the G5.

    The Artillery should dump the Tamingsari if STRIDE could not fire-proof it.Do not remain hostage to national projects when the players entrusted with the job fail to deliver the project.Instead they should be taken to task.Period.

  33. Marhalim,

    The GPS the Gunners have is just to fix the location of the tube artillery.The GPS they have cannot use to guide the 105/155 mm ammunition to the targets. Before this the Gunners had to do a manual survey to get the grid location of the Gun Position.

    The tube artillery fires 105/155 mm ammunition unguided and therefore inaccurate. It is however, better than the free unguided rockets of the ASTROS MLRS we bought from Avibras Brazil because the 105/155 mm ammunition rotates in flight and therefore more stable than the ASTROS rocket which do not rotate in flight.The Avibras rocket tumbles in flight therefore very unstable and very inaccurate.In one ASTROS demo in Malaysia, the FOO could not even see where the rockets fell! It is unbelievable but true.

  34. loreng… we have far more pressing needs in RAD than buying guided projos so not address them? Like clapped out guns, tractors and equipment. Like a pathetically low number of training rounds fired each year. It would matter less if we had 25lbers if we were drilled to a high degree of proficiency. But we’re not as the Operating Budget is raided to provide Cash for Cronies.

    Do you have any idea how expensive a guided projo is? How many war shots do you think we can afford to buy and more importantly to shoot every year?

    Your logic would find much approval in Kementah.

  35. Loreng…

    The point I was trying to make was that the RAD currently operates only HE, smoke and illumination rounds so the next logical step like what other armies have done will be to progress to base bleed. Even in NATO armies, rounds like Excalibur will be used very sparingly due to their cost. Krasnapol is a laser guided round unlike like Excalibur.

  36. I have this idea how the Malaysian Artillery can remain to be the King of Battle in our environment.

    Let’s say they buy the required number of 155mm GPS guided ammunition such as the EXCALIBUR for their war stock.

    Because the EXCALIBUR is dead accurate at first salvo, the 155mm cannon can be deployed as a single gun, in Artillery jargon is called a Pistol Gun.The Pistol Gun can destroy target with the first 155mm GPS guided round fired, remember.

    Since we have 32 units of 155mm in the Medium Regiment so we can have 32 Pistol Guns deployed separately in the Divisional area.

    This 32 Pistol Guns will create a big headache to the Enemy Commander because his forces will be hit hard every time he makes a move.At the same time he will find it difficult to implement his Counter Battery plan (to hit the Pistol Gun) because the Pistol Gun will move to another location as soon as it has fired the one round GPS guided ammunition.

    One has to be creative to remain relevant in the military deterrence game.

    Hope the Artillery leadership consider this idea.

    Marhalim: 32 155mm guns are not enough. One of our nearest neighbours has around 150 modern (including SPH) 155mm guns in service and probably the same number of old 155m howitzers as war reserves plus SP mortars and MLRS, plus counter battery radars and long endurance UAVs as target spotters. BTW they also have around 200 plus strike fighters plus ISR and AWACs jets backed up by tankers. Need I say more?

  37. I m not sure how many 155mm guns RAD has, some source say up to 50+, but most of G5 155mm is semi SPH, but anywere i suggest MINDEF hope to get real-time SPH like Caesar cos more mobility, it can play hit and run and add more smart ammo like u guys mentioned above and dont forget to get battlefield radar. But the most importance in battlefield is combination of manpower, resources and intel… command and intel network, that is the whole idea.

    Marhalim: No the G5 is a towed hpwitzer, although the gun is mounted on a tractor which can move it around in the field. I would not call it a semi SPH…Personally I like the Archer

  38. loreng, I believe there are 28 and not 32 G-5 155mm guns. I could be mistaken but the first order was for 22 guns followed by a 2nd order for 6 guns, of which a battery of 4-5 are used by the artillery school. The FH-70s haven’t been used for a few years now, the barrels wore out.

    What you proposed sounds great in theory but unfortunately as always budgetary issues come into play. If a standard HE shell cost around
    8-9000 [USD] how much do you reckon something like Excalibur costs? More relevant to our discussion, how many live rounds a year do you think the G-5 crews get to fire?

    The problem with 155mm towed guns are they are big and they take time to lay and also time to limber and scoot. Against an ill equipped opponent this is not a problem but against an opponent who has locating radars and a fast rection time, this can be somewhat inconvenient. The planners at the Artillery Directorate are aware of current global developments in artillery, the problem is a shortage of funds prevents them from conducting realistic training involving live rounds on a regular basis.

  39. loreng..not a redleg are you? How do you propose to lay a smoke screen with individual tubes? Or conduct searching fires and preps? How about laying an illum sheaf? I fear you are rather too taken in by sales brochures and power-points to realise that point destructive fires represent but a small part of the artillery mission.
    Turning all your tubes into pistol guns is an idea that deserves to be heard and then laughed out the room. Great way to piss away the few tubes that we do have in a quixotic attempt to fake adequacy. Creative accounting is for charlatans masquerading as economists, not defense planners rooted in the real world.

  40. Is it correct to say that if we do not possessed the latest version of any weaponry or defence system either communication or ECM and ESM, that means our defences are totally screwed even if it cost us a bomb to pay it?

    Marhalim: I dont understand please clarify…

  41. What about the concern of AV8? would the Mindef add more of this combat vehicle in lower cost if success in the first batch? the question is worth it to our defence industry and our people? pls more comment….

    Marhalim: Yes by increasing the numbers theoretically we will lower each unit cost but since the RM8 billion is to include the cost for Deftech to upgrade its plant, theoretically that also meant any new orders will increase the cost of the contract. The numbers mentioned for the contract (233 or 257) clearly shows that the powers that be ignored the economic of scale rule. For example when the FNSS told Kosmo that they will get the contract a day before the LOI was signed, they said the contract would be for 521 vehicles. After the LOI was signed, none of the FNSS representatives were available for comment. I believed they also realised that a production of 200 plus vehicles cannot be justified….

  42. Hahaha the forum here just got even hotter!

    Anyway I have the alternative theory here. Let the govt continue with the APC program because this is a very important mile stone in our history to develop our own APC.

    My recommendation is:-
    1) Continue with the APC program
    2) Continue with the 2nd batch of the NGPV program and upgrade the current NGPV weapon suites.
    3) Beef up the Royal Artillery Regiment with more howitzer and MLRS.
    4) Procure the Iskander-E Theater Balistic Missile that the Russian proposed.
    5) Procure the S-400 SAMs for air defence purpose instead of more fighter at the moment.
    6) Stock up on more ammunition.

    Marhalim: The NGPV has morphed into the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). Why we adopted the US term is beyond me while at the same time we are saying that the US weapons are too expensive and has too many restrictions….

  43. What is a ”redleg”?

    Anyway, anyone have any ideas how many Model 56s are still in service or how many Regiments there are? I suspect one of the reasons that the Model 56s are still operable despite their age is because quite a number were stored after delivery and were never used. Oto Melara still manufactures the Model 56 so spares are not a problem.

    Marhalim: Spares is not a problem of course but the Army gets theirs from Direct Purchasing Agents. So like the Fulcrum fleet we will be paying arms and legs for parts…..

  44. Dear Marhalim. Currently the spares are purchased directly from Oto.Previously, yes, there was the DPA contract where 4 local co supplied from various source/country including China, UK, Spain & never from Oto.
    At least the Army is doing the right thing now.To say some of the howitzers were never used may be not right comment. I have a good glimpse of the usage of all the howitzers.
    Azlan, you can guess the no.There are 7 regt using 18xMod 56s each. That is not inclu the trg sch (Pusarti), wksp & ceremonial bty & war reserve that have a sizeable no. You may enquire more, we can share a lot on the Oto Melara\’s 105mmPack Howitzer Mod 56 which was introduced way back in 1963.
    On the AV8 (whoever gave the name), the whole process is moving with a wrong step (langkah pertama pun sudah silap).I may be able to tell you how the trial was done in 2006. I pity the Armour Boys (I mean the cavalry soldiers who will be using it for the next 15-20 yrs)The Royal Armour Corps’ choice had always been not right after the best buy of the Ferret Scout Cars. God Bless the Army.

    Marhalim: The AV8 is the name given by Deftech for the project, it may be changed to a more local flavour….

  45. The US military called their beloved artillery man redleg.For fuller explanation please refer Wikipedia.

    I agree we are buying weapon systems that are not relevant to our defence needs.So despite trillions of USD being spent in the past on expensive equipment purchase, our military force is still short of the required military deterrence to keep the peace.

    What we need is an Armed Forces that is capable of defending the nation’s territory.We do no need a military force to do expeditionary missions.Defensive, not offensive military posture, that we need.

    Therefore we must show to the world that every able-bodied Malaysian has no hesitation to take arms when required.

    We must reorganize and reequip our Army Air Defence so that it can shoot hostile aircraft coming into our airspace at high, medium and low altitudes.

    Organize a small Army Force and equip it with modern weapon systems and well proven fighting doctrines to handle national contingencies back by the Citizens Army.

    Put in place a well-proven national mobilization schemes to reinforce the MAF, ensure security of the population and imposition of national war economy.

    We need to wake up from our deep slumber if we are really serious about the defence of our country.

  46. bang Syameer, your proposal sound fantastic, but i afraid if we go that route within 10 years we may have another bail out greece style bang. The APC about RM8 billion, the 2ndbatch NGPV estimated between RM7 to RM9 billion, tu belum lain2 lagi. Iskandar E, are the Russian selling it?I doubt it as i think the priority will be their own VVS.

    But if it happens and we are not in negotiated default situation then fine. Pray to God that it will happen.

    If i am not mistaken, a day after the LOI was signed between MY Gov and Deftech, Bloomberg reported that BAE and FMC Nurol are in the running to supply up to 200 APC worth USD500 million to Malaysia. So the possibility of the news may be as follows:-

    Total APC to be build is 257 in Malaysia but the amount RM8 billion includes the production/manufacturing investment and could “possibily” includes the 200 APC of the shelf. Wallahualam

  47. Fieldboy, many thanks for the info on the Model 56s. I was suprised that parts were sourced from China. In the 90’s China bought just 6 Model 56s from Oto Melara and later produced an unlicensed copy that was made available for export. No surprises there.

    What about the 18 M101s? Are the used for ceremonial purposes or do they equip a field battery? There are also 3 light Guns gathering dust at the Naval Dockyard. These were transfered in 96 as part of the plans to produce the ‘Sakti”. The reason I made a guess that a number of Model 56s were stored as reserves and never were actively used is because in the 80’s various publications listed the number of Model 56s bought as 150, which seems a lot. Shortly after delivery the 1st Field Artillery Regiments was sent to Sabah during the Confrontation but I’m sure if the fire any shots in anger. A number of FO’s were attached to Malaysian and Commonwealth units.

    Syammeer, it will be very silly and pointless to get the S-400 when at the moment there are no funds for the Starburst replacement which will be needed in the near future and when GAPU only has a single medium range missile regiment and 6 alerting radars. Better to spend cash on improving on what we already have. There is also the question of integrating the S-400….

    Marhalim: I could be wrong but I believed the M101s have been retired, I believe there is one used as a gate guard at the Desa Tun Hussein Onn quarters at Setiawangsa.

  48. No need to buy that many 8×8 for the 4x Cavalry Regiments.

    Look at other means to carry out the tasks of surveillance and screening operations normally done by the Cavalry regiments in the three phases of war: offence, defence and withdrawal.

    Surveillance operations in our environment these days are best done by UAVs that operate 24/7.

    Screening operations are more efficiently done by sniper and anti-tank parties mounted on scout vehicles and motorcycles.8X8 cannot survive in our environment when carrying out these tasks.Trust me.

    So may be the Cavalry regiment should be organized like this: 1 x AFV Squadron, 1x UAV Squadron and 1x Anti-tank and Sniper Teams Squadron.

    Let the Armour Directorate choose the best AFV for their use from the international market.

    The Minister of Defence should have an independent Panel of Experts that can help him to guide the development of the Army, Navy and Air Force in cost effective manner.He should not just follow what the Generals and Admirals want to purchase.Every purchase must be properly vetted from all angles.

  49. Correct me if i am wrong, but i thought the immediate requirement for a wheel APC/AFV is to cater for our UN peace keeping role. Assuming that around 40 is required, then maximum budget of USD5 miilion a piece (inclusive parts warranty and service for at least 10 years), immediate budget of USD200 million or RM640 million. Well just a guess anyway.

    I also read in Combat Aircraft Magazine at Borders Curve, that US MOD is ordering 101 S61T sikorsky for the usage of its diplomatic transport and supply mission in afghanistan. Reported that bulk would be upgraded from the stored HS3E belonging to the US Navy.

    Marhalim: The UN deal is a separate contract and they are supposed to buy 6X6 AFVs. As I had wrote before the VAB 6X6 was the firm favourite, early delivery time and low shipping costs were the main factor, the project had turned upside down with the Pindad Panser becoming the favourite, mostly due to political reasons of course. However until now they have not made the decision of course. With the UNIFIL mandate running out by year end I am wondering whether it will be too little to late. Yes I know the UN could extend the mandate by another year but what then? Personally since the UN will re-imburse the cost of buying these vehicles I am also wondering why or why they are taking such a long time to make the decision…..

  50. Dear Fariz,
    Those you said as M101s are correctly the US made M102 105mm towed howitzers which were extensively used in the Vietnam War. It was presented to the Malaysian Army to equip 3RAD in Taiping way back in 1970. The US Govt gave 20 odd of these FOC but not its spares which our Army was compelled to purchase at a costly price. These howitzers fire the same rounds as the Oto Melara\’s Mod 56 Pack Howitzers.The M102 are no more with the operational Field Artillery units but are with the Ceremonial Bty as well as some are displayed at the entrance of some units and Mindef.

  51. Fieldboy, my mistake I meant the M102 not M101. Like the Model 56 it fires the M1 HE round.
    RDM had proposed upgrading them in 1994.
    Thanks for the info.

    Does any one know anything about the numbers of Carl Gustavs and Yugoslav 81mm mortars that were bought?

  52. fieldboy, aslan, marhalim,

    I didn’t know the TD ever operated M102s. What were the artilleri boys using before the melara howitzers? To kamal, the russians have put the iskandar for export to replace the scud and display in at defence shows including dsa. The scud is no more in production.

  53. Dear Mike,
    The Gunners(Artillery boys) used the British 25 Pounders for the Ist Field Bty in Kajang in 1957.They were proud to fire the 1st Gun Salute for our Merdeka Celebration on 31st Aug 1957. There on, the Italian Oto Melara 105mm Pack Howitzers Mod 56 was introduced for the 1st Artillery Regt in 1962. The American model M102, which is a 105mm Towed Howitzers were given to a Regt in 1970.

  54. Before the Model 56s, we were using 25lbers and they were great.
    CGs and mortars belong to the infantry, not RAD.
    The Fh70s were junked because ‘could not get spare parts’. It should be said, could not get spare parts through the usual channels and at the usual mark up because the UK and FRG were busy dumping their surplus guns at the time. A complete gun, de-milled for collectors was going for around 6,000 Euros, FOB their caserne in Germany.
    Yes, we could have stocked up on dozens of them for nothing. It would hwoever have gotten in the way of buying more G-5s…….

  55. Before the OTOs, we used 25lbers.

    What does a SRBM like Iskander do for us? Really.. it\’s just another example of our overcompensating.

  56. In my own opinion, i have my worry on our neighbour north due to their political turmoil. they are facing border crisis on the north, small rebellion in the south and street demo in the capital. God forbid a civil war erupted, then the conflict may spill over our north border.

    Although 3/4 of their war inventory are vietnam war surplus and not sure about the servicibility, in terms of armour & artillery, they outnumber us at least 6 to 1. On the air and sea, a bit even i guess but if you talk in terms of numeric advantage it will be to them.

    So i wont worry about SIN and not worry about IN (at least for next 3-5 years as they are in the process of economic growth). I would pray Thai remain peaceful,stable and strong. God forbid any untowards incident happens there, our northern border may be at risk. But that just me

  57. Dear Mike,

    Prior to getting the Oto Melara’s Pack Howitzers, the Gunners (artillery boys)were equipped with the British 25 Pounder when the artillery unit was formed on 15th Aug 1957. They had the honour to fire the Gun Salute for our Merdeka Celebration on 31st Aug 1957. You may see them in the Museum AT now.

  58. Just as I am puzzled over the army’s fascination over Land Rovers, why the Oto Melara? Would it be timely for the introduction (replacement) of 120mm mortars (or howitzer mortars like 2B16 Nona-K, or Valisek/ western equiv.), which offer similar firing range to the Oto?

    Marhalim: Its good that we still have the Landies otherwise the army will have to rely on their Iswaras to move around. The Oto Melaras remained servicable and from my untrained eye looked set to go on serving for another 20 years. NDSB tried to sell them the Sakti a few years back (a Malaysian licensed version of the RO 105mm (Bae Systems) gun but it never panned out. My fear is that when the time come around to replace the Pack howitzers, we end up buying 36 new guns only to replace 7 regiments worth of guns!!

  59. If you are suggesting new artillery pieces to replace the Oto Melara’s PHs, than we must be talking about medium guns fulfilling the roles, irrespective of the types & models. Weapon calibre, ranges and also mortars against gun/howitzers should be a consideration. Difficult for us to propose but gunners maybe experts at it based on the current Malaysian Army doctrines.

  60. Cheekucai, 120mm mortars are no substitute for howitzers. The advantage of the Model 56s are they are small, have a low profile and are light.The only problem is the age of the army’s Model 56s and the M1 HE round that has a maximum effective range of only 10.5km. During the Emergency that range was considered sufficient but for any future conflict that would remain debatble. Most 120mm mortars, including the Nona/Vasilek that you mentioned have a longer range than the Model 56.

  61. Which one would be better assuming suddenly army got the budget to replace the old Mod 56 which were send in 1962. Another type of 105mm with average new range around 18km or 155mm like M777 which is only 1.5 US tonne but with range above 25km. The SG pegasus system which is SP 155mm weight abt 18 tonnes, i think the artillery used Soltam but i could be wrong. IMHO the answer above could also be decided based on what medium will be used to transport it to battle field either air flown or land system. But let the experts comment.

    Marhalim: Nah, the experts wont get past the gates, Kamal. From my own untrained eye, I would prefer the army to standardise to 155m guns, towed or SPH (wheeled) for the extra range and firepower…

  62. Then as an arm chair general (a moronic one i might add), if 155mm is the choice, the cheapest alternative is to apply for the the surplus (retired) FH70 from the germany/uk stock and replace the worn out barrel. We already have it in our inventory, albeit some forumer stated that the barrel has worn out. If we can still use the Mod56 which is from the late 50’s, there should be less hassle to incorporate something that were designed/produced in late 70’s. i believed the germans are retiring their 180+ FH70, so does the UK with about 120+ example. So in general we can replace the mod56 at a rate one a piece. So in my untrained opinion, the 22 G45 and 36 Astross can be reserved as strategic assets while the FH70 took over the role of the 200 odd mod 56 role.

    But as many 1malaysia project, i afraid the surplus stock would be cheap but the rebarrelling would cost sky high due to the insistance to include “Local participation”

    Marhalim: You nail it when you said that such a project would probably become a National Interest project and the final cost will be more expensive than buying new ones LOL.
    That was the thing that happened several years back when a company offered to refurbish our stock of Archer missiles. I was told that the cost of a refurbished missile was more expensive than a new one! More over the company cannot confirmed that a refurb missile will last as long as new ones! Air force officers quickly kill off the proposal…….

    BTW the idea to standardise to 155mm guns was mine and not an official RAD stand.

  63. I can’t confirm it, maybe you or Dzirhan can, recently I read somewhere that the army had previously decided to go for the K-9 Thunder instead of the Caeser. Personaly, I have mix feelings and am undecided whether a tracked or wheeled option is the best solution. If our terrain consisted of wide open plains and our artilley was required to keep pace and support fast moving columms, the K-9 would be perfect.
    But given that anything we buy is likely to operate mostly on roads and from plantations/estates and urban areas, perhaps a wheeled option is better. The Caesar has the advantage of being able to be flown in a C-130 or A400M but the K-9 offers its crew protection. Tracked vehicles also are more expensive to run, so it’s a tough choice.

    Kamal you have a good point. The problem is the different calibre of the FH-70 to the G-5.

    Marhalim: Yes the rumours are that the K9 is the army preferred SPH solution. I think it is cheaper to buy refurbished Paladins from surplus US Army stocks. I preferred a wheel solution to the SPH dilemma with the Archer as my favourite. It has an automatic loader after all….. Protection? From small arms and shell fragment only not a direct hit from anything bigger than an RPG….

  64. Its funny but despite the protection offered by tracked arty, in almost all war fotages, whether Israeli M-109s in Lebonan or Dutch PzH 2000s in Afghanistan, the crews are always out in the open with all the hatches unbuttoned, surrounded by shells and fuzes.
    I supposed it would be different if there was a possibility of counter battery fire.

  65. azlan … why is the difference in “calibre” an issue? By “calibre” I take it you mean the difference between a 155/39 and a 155/52?

  66. Talking about medium guns, the FH70 is a 39 calibre gun whereas the G5 is 45 calibre & we should forget yesterday’s technology. All new systems are 52 calibre and this is what the Army should select. Technically,the calibres dictate the ranges of the guns. FH70 are ceased guns & lets not think of refurbished Paladins coupled with the sales condition posed by the US govt.

    Marhalim: Yes I understand the condition imposed by the US govt on its weapons. But we must not be taken in by claims the conditions will not allow us to use the guns how ever we see fit. The ONLY reason that I like the FMS route is that it will be a clean deal……

  67. I heard rumours that we actually already operated 6 caeser since 2001. Plus i personally saw 6 of them being parked in port klang back in january 2001, when i was doing an audit work for a company located there. When i asked the guard they said”Ini barang baru satu minggu sampai”.

    As a orang awam, i tend to agree with Azlan that wheeled and lighter SPH 155mm would suit us better. The K9 i check weigh as much as PT91M.

    Marhalim: They had the Caesar down here for “familirisation” tour some years back, it was the original prototype with the Unimog chassis.

  68. The Unimog is no longer is production. The French Caeser’s are on a Renault and for Malaysia, it will be the Handalan. Like the Ceaser, the K-9 was here for mobility and live fire trials, but it was 1 Ceaser and 1 K-9.
    6 Ceaser’s seen in Port Klang is interesting.

    I think any restrictions placed on U.S. sourced weapons is a moot point. If Malaysia was ever in a situation that was ‘disapproved’ by Uncle Sam, it would be in deep s””e’ anyway, given that the U.S. is the largest investor here.

    Marhalim: Azlan, everyone knows that but they prefer to follow the party line….

  69. the 6 caesars i supposed were used to check out what a battery of 6 caesars could do to an area. saturation fire test maybe?

  70. Same lot who worry about the Silver Bullet Division smashing through the final barricade at the sungai besi toll…

  71. You never know, MOD never being truthful anyway with what they have. just like the question of R77. Some say we only got it in 2007 while others speculate we have had it since 1999. If we have the caesar now, well 6 will not be enough to do mass damage, more like a strategic weapon for the Rapid deployment force.

    Marhalim: We may not announced it but Nexter would have. And since it would not have any effect on the strategic balance, it would be funny for the armed forces to keep quiet about. The only export order for Caesar that had been made known was for Thailand, the rest were for France forces….

  72. Talking about our artillery and armoured car needs. The Oto 105MM artilerry which we are using now are all obsolete for several reasons:
    1.The range is short as compared to other similar caliber guns
    2.The ausies and the Kiwis were also using the Oto guns in the vietnam war and found the gun to be too fragile.They are OK for counter insurgency but in a real high volume fire for effect scenario, the parts were found to break very quickly
    That is also one reason why the British who had made use of this gun requested for these guns to be changed and their light guns are excellent-if not the USA would not have adopted these guns as one of their own.
    While these guns can still be used due to the number that we have, we need to shoot 3 rounds and scoot.Otherwise we neeed to purchase new guns or even buy the Sakti guns . Do equip our arti boys with terminally guided ammunitions for specific work where extreme accuracy is required.No need to reinvent the wheel.Just buy such laser guided or GPS guided munitions from manufacturers.
    Other ordinary munitions can be used for general support.
    As for the 155MM howitsers, yes the FH77 is also obsolete due to the calibre of the barrels. The G5 is the best that there are.But we need more guns and also of the 52 calibers too.The current guns can be upgraded.We must also get smart munitions too for certain targets.Its a force multiplier here.
    Our neighbour-the small red dot uses the wheeled version of the MLRS which are now GPS guided for accuracy.Thus we must get the people in brazil to sell us their new GPS guided rockets too just to match the red dot.Its no point nhaving the asset but not being able to maximise its usage for accuracy.
    We have the commando, the Condor and the Sibmas currently which are old stocks. We can still used these vehicles but upgrade them with new engines, new fire guidance systems and uparmour them. They can form the core of new mechanized batallion apart from the mechanized battalion with teh adnans. A mechanized regiment normally comprise one tank and two mechanized battalions whereas a tank regiment comprises two tank and a mechanized battalion. We must be creative to safe money and make our armed forces more effective the most efficinet way

  73. Msia needs a new artillery system, not another APC. But anything’s better than the Condor. Mmmm BTR seems fine.

  74. Having just read all of the above posts… Until there is a change in leadership at the national level (i.e. government); until the culture of graft, cronyism, etc., is gone; and until a motivated and well-organized effort is undertaken to do what is in the best interests of national security – the current deplorable state of the Malaysian armed forces will persist.

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