Sooner Gempita Than Later

I am sailing. Soldiers from 4 KAD and the CO of KD Mahawangsa posed for a picture. Note the 4 KAD chevron on the Gempita. KD Mahawangsa/RMN

SHAH ALAM: 4 KAD, it appears, will be getting its Gempita 8X8 at its camp in Kuching, Sarawak, sooner than later. The first batch of 26 Gempita it is getting has already been loaded onboard RMN MRCSS ship, KD Mahawangsa at the Lumut naval base ahead of Merdeka Day. It is likely that the ship will sail in the next few days.

From the pictures posted by the ship social media it appears that the Gempita are already fitted with 4 KAD markings. From KD Mahawangsa post:

A Gempita being driven into KD Mahawangsa side vehicle entrance. RMN.

Lumut, 30 Ogos – Buat julung kalinya, fasa pemindahan masuk Kereta Perisai Gempita ke KD MAHAWANGSA di Tambatan Pangkalan Lumut telah berjaya dilaksanakan hari ini.
KD MAHAWANGSA telah dipilih sebagai platform penghantaran logistik dalam proses pindah alih KP Gempita antara Rejimen Pertama Kor Armor Diraja (1 KAD), Kuantan dan Rejimen Ke-4 Kor Armor Diraja (4 KAD) di Kuching.
Tidak hanya bakal menguji keupayaan aset angkatan laut dan darat, fasa pemindahan dan pindah alih ini juga adalah hasil manifestasi kerjasama TLDM dan TDM yang bakal menyaksikan kesepaduan kedua-dua perkhidmatan dalam melaksanakan misi bersama bagi memastikan kedaulatan negara terus terbela dan terpelihara.
Fasa seterusnya adalah pelayaran KD MAHAWANGSA ke Kuching dijangka pada awal September ini.

Soldiers from 4 KAD and sailors from KD Mahawangsa posed for picture inside the vehicle deck. RMN

From the pictures, one can also assumed that the 4 KAD soldiers are happy that they are going home soon. It is likely that soldiers and officers have been here for at least three months to hone their skills on their new vehicles.
A Gempita being driven into KD Mahawangsa vehicle deck.

Apart from missing their loved ones, I am sure the soldiers are also happy they are doing what they trained for and are now equipped accordingly. It must have been depressing to drive around in souped-up 4X4s instead of an armoured vehicle. They have been doing just that for the last six months or so since the Condors were retired early this year.
The COs of 1 KAD and 4 KAD with a Gempita replica signifying the transfer of the armoured vehicles between the two units. The Gempita in the background are from 2 KAD where the ceremony took place on August 16. Kor Armor Di Raja picture.

I was told the transfer of the Gempita between 1 KAD and 4 KAD is part of a planned reconfiguration of the armoured corps. Not much details though for now.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

22 Comments

  1. The total Gempita for 4 KAD is 26 vehicles

    That 26 will be sent to Sarawak in 2 batches.

    ” Perpindahan akan dilaksanakan dalam 2 peringkat menggunakan perkhidmatan kapal Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia (TLDM) iaitu KD MAHAWANGSA mulai bulan September dan dijangka selesai pada pertengahan bulan Oktober 2023 ”

    So the first batch on KD Mahawangsa should be around 12-14 vehicles. The ship cannot carry much more than that.

  2. As can be seen, it is a laborious task to load in vehicles when without a rear loading ramp. The upcoming MRSS should be configured to rapidly load & unload as turnaround time is critical.

    Still this is a good exercise for Mahawangsa as we previously tend to send via civvie ROROS.

    “last six months or so since the Condors were retired”
    While officially retired 6 mths ago, the troopers may have been making do without them much earlier as we tend to make things official after they are truly well and done for some time, ie the official retirement of Fulcrum happened years after we stopped using them.

    Speaking of which, are the Condors & SIBMAS going to undergo Long Term Storage process as did PUTD Nuris? Havent heard about it yet. Or else what would be the fates of these 400+ vehicles?

  3. The Army has not said anything about the actual numbers for an armoured regiment. For comparison, a British armour battalion has 56 MBTs.

  4. >rear loading ramp

    It’s useful during an amphibious operation where you need to deploy to beach head using landing craft or AAVs. For normal peacetime transport not so much. You might as well use a cargo ship to do the job

  5. What is holding up our SPH procurement? That budget was available since the M109 got canceled.

  6. Actual numbers…

    Should i talk about it here? Anyway most of information is openly available if one looks closely

    For cavalry & armored regiment, it usually consists of
    – HQ squadron
    – operational squadrons
    – support squadron
    – REME workshop squadron.

    As for the Gempita variants
    It is known that the recovery variant was cancelled, and replaced with volvo FMX wreckers. Is the total gempita number still 257 or reduced?

  7. Honestly, I think the government should fund three RORO ships and run as RMN auxiliaries to transport government stuff including ammunition to Sabah and Sarawak.

  8. @ marhalim

    Our defence force should now concentrate on the “defence” part of what they do. Defending town or industrial areas from attack. Defending border crossings. Defending beach and ports from amphibious attacks. Enough with practicing to be attackers. Instead practice more to be the defender, how to build bunkers and machine gun nests. How to block roads, how to lay minefields, how to defend bridges.

    As for our maritime logistics capability, we can forgo the ability to do amphibious landings with our armored vehicles (still in our army dreams as late as 89th army day capability show in PD last year).

    What is important is to have a logistics bridge between west and east malaysia.

    For starters, yes a RORO (one would be enough) would be a good capability to have. Along with port facilities in East Coast of Peninsular. Something like a sistership of Spanish Navy Ysabel. That ship costs the Spanish Navy just EUR 7.5 million. This would enable a whole Cavalry Regiment, or a Mechanised infantry Battalion to be transported at 1 go.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_ship_Ysabel

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FqJAHNnX0AAIWhc.jpg

    Then a dedicated MRSS (or two) from a modified RORO design. Something with the same concept of Royal Navy Littoral Strike Ship concept
    https://www.navylookout.com/a-closer-look-at-the-littoral-strike-ship-concept/

  9. I said three as one would be always available for MAF while the other two could be used for commercial purpose like the ones used by the UK. I do not see any need for a dedicated MRSS or two when the funds for the combat fleet are not available.

  10. @ marhalim

    “when the funds for the combat fleet are not available”

    The funds are available, albeit not as much as what our neighbours have.

    But what kind of “combat fleet” do we want to build? What kind of TLDM do we want in 10 years time? What kind of capability do we want TLDM to have? What size? How can we empower TLDM combat capability while at the same time strengthening APMM peacetime enduring presence and security capability within the limited available budget?

  11. @Dundun
    “It’s useful during an amphibious operation where you need to deploy”
    Which is what MRSS should have, on top of what’s already there with Mahawangsas, and which are the common feature in all the MRSS proposals. Its beneficial for HADR when docks aren’t available.

    “government should fund three RORO ships”
    Disagree if its just civvie ROROS in naval colours. Unless we’re moving things around very frequently (like weekly), it makes little economic sense to have a fleet of these on standby when the civvie ROROS are doing regular laps, and they could help the military move things at cheaper cost.

  12. Back on the topic of gempita

    Yesterday, USA has approved Bulgaria’s buy of 183 Strykers for USD 1.5 billion.
    https://www.dsca.mil/press-media/major-arms-sales/bulgaria-stryker-vehicles

    Most of the vehicles is the latest M1296 Dragoon variant with 30mm remote turret.

    This is a picture of M1296 Dragoon
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FNoNMzNVgAAxeC7.jpg
    The turret looks huge, but actually the stryker is a relatively small vehicle (when compared to something like the Gempita).

    The M1296 Dragoon weighs around 18tons, while the Gempita is 28-30tons.

    Total cost of Gempita including ammo and missiles is about USD 2.4 billion for 257 units.

  13. @ joe

    “Which is what MRSS should have, on top of what’s already there with Mahawangsas, and which are the common feature in all the MRSS proposals. Its beneficial for HADR when docks aren’t available”

    We are defending our own territory. If we have to resort to do amphibious landing, then we actually have failed to properly do defensive preparation of our land. What we really need is actually the capability to deny an amphibious landing, not to undertake one. We need more mines, both land and water types. We need standoff sea mines with wings (like the quickstrike) that can be deployed by fighter jets. We need coastal anti-ship missile batteries. We need to practice making obstacles to slow down beaching operations. We need more artillery that can pound the beach for hours straight. We need advanced anti-personnel shells such as the new ones with thousands of tungsten ball bearings
    https://www.defenceweb.co.za/featured/rdm-holds-successful-military-attache-demonstration-showcasing-ammunition-energy-progress/

    For HADR, we rarely need to beach heavy equipments. Many of our HADR deployments by ship is to an existing port facilities. As a country we also have multitudes of commercial landing crafts available for HADR ops, especially in Sarawak where they are used as cargo ships.

  14. @hulubalang
    “amphibious landing.. failed to properly do defensive preparation of our land.”
    I never said so. In the first place there are a range of scenarios where docks are unavailable or made unavailable, ie destruction of dock facilities or tsunami, hence an amphib capability is still useful. The rear RORO is for when we have them to load/unload.

    And there is no such thing as defense at all cost. Not all can be Bukit Kepong and not everyone wants the same fate as Lt Adnan. Our geography doesn’t allow us to fight them into a trench warfare. We will likely resort to holding retreats and counter attack at rear/supply lines when chanced. Otherwise we typically won’t stand a chance against a superpower.

    As for using lotsa mines, nope just nope. Go ask Vietnam or Cambodia about this legacy scourge.

  15. Maybe it would have been a better idea to combine all the Gempitas is one mechanised brigade (like the US Army’s Stryker brigade) to maximise their capability and to ease maintenance. Recce for light infantry units can be done by cheaper 6X6 or even 4X4 armored vehicles.

  16. @ h

    Yes that is a good idea.

    But to implement it, we need to buy more Gempitas, especially of the IFV25 variant.

    I am for the current 4 Mechanized Brigade to be a fully wheeled one with Gempita, to be an analogue of the US Army Stryker Brigade. It will improve mobility, as it can deploy at long ranges without the need of lowloaders like for tracked IFVs. The current Adnan/MIFV could be used to create a fully tracked armored brigade, along with the PT-91M tanks.

  17. @ joe

    When did I say of defence at all cost?

    ” Otherwise we typically won’t stand a chance against a superpower ”

    so is the answer to defend ourselves from an amphibious invasion is = to do amphibious landing?

    what kind of defensive scenario of which our 1st choice of action is = to do amphibious landing?

    let say there is a repeat to what happened to Lahad Datu. Should our our 1st choice of action is = to do amphibious landing?

    lets say there is a repeat of the japanese army invasion in WW2. Should our our 1st choice of action is = to do amphibious landing?

  18. @hulubalang
    “For HADR, we rarely need to beach heavy equipments.”
    During the 2004 tsunami, the Aussie LPDs were able to land vehicles where docks were made inoperable by the tsunami.

    “When did I say of defence at all cost?”
    This was your statement; “What we really need is actually the capability to deny an amphibious landing”. Denial of landing is a last resort, which is why you see Hitler’s impressive Atlantic Wall defence. You want us resort to that tactic? But in the end that wall was penetrated.

    No static defence tactic is impregnable. Not the Great Wall, not the WW1 trenches, not the Maginot Line, and not the Atlantic Wall. Static defense tactics only works in peacetime but we must able morph to a fluid holding defence at key chokepoints while consolidating and readying for chances to counterattack and hit & runs, when a real invasion is coming.

    The only true way to stop a landing is via the sea and that means to take on the PLAN in the high seas but we don’t have the resources for it. And speaking of japanese army invasion in WW2 don’t forget, they could still do an IJA and invade from Thai border then all your impressive sea defence tactics above will be rendered useless.

    “answer to defend ourselves from an amphibious invasion is = to do amphibious landing?”
    Also I never said that. In the first place, a MRSS is a supporting unit which is not part of the frontline defence equation. We are more likely to use them for peacetime hauling gear and men to & fro both sides, for visitations, for exercises, for humanitarian & HADR, for SAR. In war it will take on the support role provided it has enough cover, otherwise more of a fleet flagship and C&C, comms & planning, and landing support when the retreating forces destroy docks & roads. Thus its config should be something its more likely & frequently to do.

    @h
    “combine all the Gempitas is one mechanised brigade”
    We don’t have enough Gempitas for it.

  19. h – ”Maybe it would have been a better idea to combine all the Gempitas is one mechanised brigade”

    It would b a good idea to have a combined arms armoured brigade; organic MBT, IFV, arty, GAPU, logistics and engineering assets; as opposed to what we’re doing: spreading things in penny packets and centralising things. The army however is risk adverse and conservative and doesn’t experiment much with changes in organisation which remain largely the same since Merdeka.

    ”Still this is a good exercise for Mahawangsa as we previously tend to send via civvie ROROS.”

    The Saktis have lifted Condors and heavy stuff over the years to the Split, Baidoa, East Timor, Beirut; etc.

    … – ”As a country we also have multitudes of commercial landing crafts available for HADR ops, especially in Sarawak where they are used as cargo ships.”

    Indeed. Perfect for ”amphib movement”. As I never tire of pointing out; when it comes to moving men and gear from Port A to Port B; any commercial vessel will suffice but when it comes to other thing requiring something with more capabilities to perform more challenging roles then one needs a MPSS. Yes some are mesmorised with Ro-Ros which are great for certain roles but lets also look at the penalties : poor seakeepingand poor DC on account of the design.

    … – ” If we have to resort to do amphibious landing,”

    Yes; I see us conducting ‘amphib movement” rather than ”amphib assault” which we lack all the key enablers anyway. By the same token I find it hard to foresee a future scenario where one conducts ”amphib assault” in our scheme of things; given that one merely has to control the air space and sea lanes to gain access/control or deny us access. Same with the Spratlys; there use to be talk in the past of Tarawa or Inchon style amphib landings but most of our reefs are the size of 2-3 basket ball courts and one merely has to control the seas to deny us access.

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