Since Its Been Here

A Guardian with Malbatt peacekeepers at a riot control training. The Guardian manual turret did not appear to be fitted with a gun.

SHAH ALAM: Since its been here. Although much of the procurement plans for the Armed Forces are only expected to be approved and funded later this year, I am told that the Condor replacement programme for the Malaysian unit of UN peacekeeping for Lebanon or UNIFIL has been greenlighted and is expected to be tender out in the next few months.

As the UN will reimburse the cost of the Condor replacement, one can assumed that this was the reason the project was greenlighted by our tight fisted bean counters. I was told that the Condors will be replaced by a 4X4 High Mobility Protected Vehicle (HMPV), more commonly called mine resistant, ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles, by other users.

A 20mm turret Condor with the other Condors undergoing inspection by the UN recently. Joint Force photo.

I am told that 40 HMPV will be procured for the Unifil mission – the current unit is designated Malbatt 850-7 – though I was not informed of the number of variants needed. I am guessing that at least it will be three namely – personnel, ambulance and a command and control platform. A fire support variant like the Condor armed with the 20mm gun is unlikely based on our unit’s experience in Lebanon.

Tight fit. The interior of a Condor ambulance.

It must be noted that apart from the Condors, the Malbatt unit in Unifil, are also equipped with other soft skin vehicles from Land Rovers to Handalan trucks. The unit is also equipped with forklifts to move equipment around at the camp.

It may not be glamourous but logistics work need the right equipment as well including this forklift.

I am told that around the same number of HMPV will also be procured to equip the current Army’s ready battalion, the 7th Royal Rangers. The decision to equip the battalion – kept ready for UN emergency peace keeping mission – is likely based on the same one taken to equip the Unifil mission with the HMPV. Our peacekeepers in Lebanon found that the locals were more likely to interact with them if they were not equipped “war like” vehicles such as the Condors or tracked armoured vehicles.

An Iveco ambulance attached to Malbatt.

As a mechanised unit, the 7th Rangers, is equipped with the Adnan ACV as its main combat vehicles. It is unclear what will happened to the Adnans when the battalion is reequipped with the HMPV. The vehicles could be transferred to other mechanised units or be the first ones to undergo a SLEP if it is funded of course.

An Adnan with 7 Royal Rangers undergoing inspection.

I am told an open competition will be held to select the HMPV for the UN units. This means that the next Malbatt unit may well operate two types HMPV in the future as it is already equipped with nine IAG Guardians. I am told that the Guardian was purchased via direct negotiations something that will not be repeated by the current administration.

A Guardian with Malbatt peacekeepers at a riot control training. The Guardian manual turret did not appear to be fitted with a gun.

That said they could be operating more Guardians instead of another HPMV as the local company which sold them could take part in the tender. Even Deftech – which sold the Lipan Bara to the Army – could also take part in the tender. I was told that that the chances of the Guardian or the Lipan Bara to be chosen for the tender are rather slim though.

A Lipan Bara likely from the Armour School in Port Dickson at the Merdeka 2019 rehersal day.

It must be noted that the Condor replacement programme started in 2006, partly as part of the Unifil mission requirements. Back then the Malaysian unit was based in the northern part of Lebanon, a semi rural area with mountain roads leading to the requirement for 6X6 vehicles as the Condors were prone to tipping over in uneven terrain, something which was well known since the Somalia peacekeeeping operations. However, the requirements morphed into the HMPV as the Malbatt unit was transferred down to the middle of Lebanon around 2010 onwards.

Condors of 4 Armor during an exercise in February, 2019. Facebook

Apart from replacing the Condors in Lebanon, the Army is also keen to replace the vehicles still in service with its Armor unit as they are also basically obsolete. Some 200 or so (most likely lower) are still in service with the Royal Armoured Corps, despite the introduction of the Gempita. The Army wants to replace these Condors with new 6X6, whether it will happened in RMK12 is the million dollar question.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2226 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. I’d like to ask what’s the level of protection of our Lipanbara? I’ve seen some reports mentioning STANAG level 1 and some say level 2. If it’s level 2 then it’s equal or surpass Condor already. Shouldn’t we get more Lipanbara?

  2. Gempita 6×6 plz,although i would like to see more Gempita 8×8.So aditional 200+ Gempita 6×6 would form a Gempita its a YES for me

  3. @ JunTau

    1. What is the cost of getting 200+ PARS 6×6?

    2. What is your planned complement or orbat for a Gempita Brigade? How many Infantry regiments? How would getting 200+ PARS 6×6 for Armoured Cavalry Regiments be the main item to build a Gempita Brigade?

  4. “I was told that that the chances of the Guardian or the Lipan Bara to be chosen for the tender are rather slim though.”
    On what reasoning tho? Pricing? Technical? User Rejected? Politics?

    The Guardians are also battle-proven in Iraq & Syria. If anything can withstand Iraq, it can stand anything thrown at it.

  5. Anything will do for now..just curious if UN gonna reimburse the cost for this new MRAP (for UN peacekeeping mission) does that mean we can go for premium MRAP or UN will decide that for US?..And UN will only pay for new MRAP for UN Mission only right and not including the one that we are intended to replace here?

    My favourite MRAP as a normal civilian is ejder yalcin but I’m all for JLTV

    UN will pay for reasonable cost stuff.

  6. @ Joe

    The Guardian is an APC, not MRAP. It is an armoured chassis built on top of the Ford F-550 truck.

    Both of the Guardian and Lipanbara are also not designed to go far off road, with very small suspension travel.

    I have no idea of the price for the Guardian, but we bought the Lipanbara at USD1.7 million (RM7.05 million) each, which can actually buy 3x of the Bushmasters!

    The Bushmaster OTOH is a real deal MRAP with V-Plate bottom to mitigate mine blast. It also has large suspension travel, for more comfortable off road ride.

    @ Firdaus

    I am also for JLTV, but it cannot be a HMPV as it can carry just 5 person at most. I am for the JLTV to replace the Condors (instead of expensive 6x6s) in the armoured cavalry regiments, to perform armoured recce, fire support and ATGM missions.

  7. @…
    Hmm… but according to what Marhalim wrote above, Guardian is categorised as HMPV/MRAP? Which is why it was brought up here? Or could it be the decision makers got confused between wheeled APC and MRAP, hence the inclusion of Guardian?

  8. @Hornet Lover

    Lipanbara is overpriced.thats why we dont need them anymore with just only up to stanag 2.Ejder Yalcin on the other hand got protection level from stanag 3 close to stanag 4 and with almost 2000 order received already..And im heard some chit chat Yalchin will be pick as our new MRAP already tested in DEFTECH facility in Pekan..But not now thats for sure

  9. @ firdaus

    If lipanbara sold by DEFTECH is overpriced, how can you be sure the Ejder Yalcin by DEFTECH is not overpriced, and will be sold at a price as competitive as the Bushmaster? As it is the Bushmaster has been used operationally in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon. The same can’t be said of the Ejder Yalcin.

    @ joe

    We dont know the exact requirements of HMPV. As a Condor APC replacement many vehicles can be a contender for that, including the Guardian, but of course a full MRAP vehicle would be at the top end of that requirement.

  10. With up to stanag 4 level protection..yalcin gotta be a better deal than lipanbara with stanag 2 level protection level only even if it will be price like lipanbara no?..And i almost certain deftech will not face any problem to assemble them if chosen..

    As condor replacement, tdm seems keen on 6×6 platform..i reckon theres gotta be some announcement bout that at Dsa 2020 this coming april..

    Deftech is no longer the agent for the Yalcin, its now with the Nadi Corporation

  11. @Firdaus
    “i almost certain deftech will not face any problem to assemble them”
    DEFTECH kat mana? Pekan.
    Siapa kat Pekan? Tahu tahu laa…

    As for Condor replacement, it would have to be in the context on where it would be used. If for urban or peacekeeping missions, a truck based APC or MRAP would be more beneficial in terms of protection and PR. If for battle taxi, a proper APC that could survive a fight (like 6×6 Gempita) would be more preferable. In this uncertain times, better to have a mix of both types.

  12. @ Firdaus

    No, IMO any HMPV priced more than USD1 million is a waste. For me it should be priced at around USD600k.

    Yes as for condor replacement the army wants 6×6. But IMO in the bigger scheme of things, spending so much on a complementary vehicle to the AV8 gempita in the Armored cavalry regiment does not give a big increase in overall army capability. Compared to say getting more HMPV for east malaysia, or getting MR-SAM, or creating an armoured division with a fully gempita mechanized infantry brigade.

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