Starstreak No More With RMN

Starstreak LML on the Weststar GK-M1 Weapon Platform

SHAH ALAM: It appears that the RMN Eastern Fleet has divested its holding of the Starstreak VHSORAD system. In a ceremony on July 11, the Eastern Fleet commander Vice Admiral Sazali Sabri officially declared the RMN Air Defence unit disbanded. The official disbandment was just ceremonial as the unit had handed over the missiles and its associated equipment to the Army in April.

In its social media posting, the Eastern Fleet stated that the RMN Air Defence Unit was disbanded six years after it was stood up due to current operational needs. It is unclear how many launchers the unit used to operate though from pictures posted previously by the unit, they were equipped with at least four light weight multiple launchers (LML) launchers. Two of the LML were mounted on the Weststar GKMK-1 Rapid Rover vehicles.

The GK-M1 Weapon Platform in the RapidRover configuration.

It is likely that the Starstreak VSHORAD from the RMN AD unit are now in service with an Army AD unit in Fifth Division in Sabah.
The Starstreak launcher on the RapidRover platform.

Meanwhile it appears that the bus which was handed over by Deftech last month and described by the Army as the Outreach Command Centre Vehicle (OCCV) is indeed a command vehicle. Unlike what I said here. Army chief General Zamrose Mohd Zain hold a meeting in the OCCV while traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Taiping. Together with him were some 15 of the Army highest ranking officers. The meeting was broadcast live to other Army formations likely via a secured datalink.
Army chief General Zamrose Mohd Zain and his officers posed with the OCCV prior to departure. TD picture

From the Army social media page:

KUALA LUMPUR, 11 Julai 2022 – Mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Operasi Tentera Darat (JKTD Op) Siri 1/2022 yang dipengerusikan oleh Panglima Tentera Darat (PTD), Jeneral Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Zamrose bin Mohd Zain telah diadakan di dalam Outreach Command Centre Vehicle (OCCV) bermula dari Kem KEMENTAH, Kuala Lumpur hingga ke Garrison Taiping, Perak hari ini.
Mesyuarat JKTD Op merupakan mesyuarat khas yang membincangkan hal-hal berkaitan dasar dan pelaksanaan operasi Tentera Darat Malaysia (TDM). Mesyuarat pada kali ini telah dilaksanakan secara ‘on mobile’ melalui platform OCCV yang bergerak. Mesyuarat ini juga lebih menumpukan kepada sesi perbincangan di antara pemerintah formasi bersama pucuk pimpinan tertinggi TDM.
Turut hadir ke mesyuarat ini adalah Timbalan Panglima Tentera Darat, Leftenan Jeneral Datuk Seri Mohammad bin Ab Rahman, Panglima Medan Barat Tentera Darat, Leftenan Jeneral Datuk Muhammad Hafizuddeain bin Jantan, Panglima Medan Timur Tentera Darat, Leftenan Jeneral Datuk Mardzuki bin Muhammad, Ketua Staf Tentera Darat, Mejar Jeneral Dato’ Mohd Sofi bin Md Lepi, panglima-panglima formasi serta beberapa pegawai kanan TDM yang lain.
Penganjuran mesyuarat sebegini adalah selari dengan Tonggak Kedua Perintah Ulung PTD Ke-28, iaitu “Keutuhan Organisasi” yang menekankan aspek mempraktikkan sistem tadbir urus yang telus dan teratur.

Army General Zamrose Mohd Zin (left) with his officers inside the OCCV.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2186 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Hmmm. So who will cater the air defence protection for Tldm shore or land based facilities?

  2. The hell does that means “focus on the seas and not the air”?

    It’s a point air defence, a bare minimum of what they should have to guard a naval base from being a target of opportunity

  3. Kamal,

    The whole point of having a MANPADs was enable an organic AD capability without having to rely on anyone else.

    As for “wasting resources”; it was only a single unit – not a whole brigade’s worth; not as if it soaked up immense resources and distracted the RMN from its primary role.

  4. Out of curiosity, is the Sepanggar naval base host the whole of PPUTLDM ? If I memory serves me right there is another detachment at Lumut, and not sure about if similar unit is based at Tanjung Gelang

  5. dundun – “It’s a point air defence, a bare minimum of what they should have to guard a naval base”

    It’s supposed to be the last tier of a layered defence. As it stands however; against certain types of unmanned threats a MANPADs will be the only effective means. Also note that like RMN operated Carl Gustavs; Starstreak; like Starburst before it; is also intended to be deployed in other areas apart from RMN bases.

  6. Azlan – if you think it is a wrong move, why did the RMN chooses that way? I am pretty sure it was after careful evaluation and they decided the best decision for RMN. MANPADS are no longer useful in today’s world. Maybe for a very limited point air defense and it doesnt even guarantee comprehensive protection of bases. Our bases are in fact open for drones to easily enter so what more can a MANPADS does?

  7. No, the hq of the RMN Air Wing is in Lumut. There is only a temporary detachment to Tanjung Gelang, when needed. RMN do not have the manpower or equipment to operate from many bases.

  8. Kamal – ” why did the RMN chooses that way”

    Who said it was the RMN’s decision?

    Kamal – “Our bases are in fact open for drones to easily enter so what more can a MANPADS does”

    You’re missing the plot. Against certain types of unmanned threats only a MANPADs and a auto cannon will suffice… A mini or medium size UAS with a minimal RCS and low IR signature will be difficult to be detected and engaged by any other hard kill system: why do you think the Americans have Stinger in their Stryker AD variant and why others are doing the same?

    Kamal – ” MANPADS are no longer useful in today’s world.”

    In your mind maybe .. If you do some objective research you’ll realise that your claim is utter nonsense.

    In the Ukraine and Nargano Karabakh; the bulk of kills in manned and unmanned platforms were by MANPADs. In Syria, Yemen, Libya and other places the bulk of USA kills were by MANPADs. Longer range system like NASAMs, Spyder, Jernas, Mica, etc, are simply not configured to deal with low flying small to medium size UASs. MANPADs, as has been discussed before; forms one tier of a layered AD system; each tier playing a vital role and complementing each other.

  9. Bro Marhalim. I think PPUTLDM stands for Pasukan Pertahanan Udara TLDM. If my memory is correct I think the detachment HQ is located at the fleet hq Lumut but not sure if there is in Tanjung Gelang base.
    And correct me if I’m wrong previously it was mentioned that both PPUTLDM and PPUTUDM will be getting additional 44 starstreak system. Any updates ?

  10. Kamakl – “I think the detachment HQ is located at the fleet hq Lumut but not sure if there is in Tanjung Gelang base”

    Since the 1990’s when it had Starburst it has always been based at a Lumut but when there’s a need can be forward deployed anywhere; be in Sepanggar or Layang Layang. Same with Rajawali; based in Lumut but assets are deployed to where they are needed. When forward deployed they come under the operational command of the local area CO but remain under the administrative command of their parent HQ.

  11. @Azlan

    What most of us are thinking, what good is a manpad system if we don’t have a layered defence to defend our military bases?

  12. >don’t have layered defence

    But we do. There’s Skyguard and the hundreds of Manpads for VSHORADS role, There’s Jernas for SHORADS role, there’s the hawks,hornets and flankers for the long range air defence

    We’re missing a layer but layered air defence is still layered air defence

  13. Hasnan,

    Having a layered defence and understanding the vital roles MANPADs play are two different things.

    What I’m aying [as I have in the past on many occasions] isthat it depends on the context. If the threat is a mini UAS; then only a MANPADs or a auto cannon can effectively deal with it.

    I’m aware that we need a layered defence [I’ve been driving this point for years] to deal with all types of threats but we don’t – we have MANPADs. Does that mean that MANPADs have no utility? What if the threat isn’t a high flying IRBM but a mini UAS flying at 40 feet and with a RCS so low it can’t be detected by radar and engaged by a radar guided missile? Should we wait until we are able to handle cruise missiles and IRBMs before we get MANPADs? Can anyone say with absolute certainty what aerial threat the RMN will face?

    If we are hit by a cruise missile or a IRBM and have nothing the likes of Aster or NASAMs then we are buggered. If however we have Aster or Nasams but are hit by a swarm of mini UASs and have no MANPADs with an alerting device; we are also buggered.

    Comments along the lines that MANPADs are useless and have no place in the modern battlefield are poppycock.

  14. Dundun – “There’s Skyguard and the hundreds of Manpads for VSHORADS role, There’s Jernas for SHORADS role”

    – Skyguard provides fire control and warning for the GDFs which are not self propelled and can’t fire smart rounds.
    – What hundreds of MANPADs are you referring to? Anza and Igla were bought in 2002 and should have reached the end of their shelf lives. Also MANPADs need alerting devices, only Starstreak has an alerting device.
    – Note that a IR guided missile will have problems picking up the IR signature of certain targets just like how targets with a small RCS will be hard to detect by radar. As stands even engaging targets flares can be a problem and they have a higher IR signature than small UASs. The beauty of Startreak is that it’s line of sight and laser guided.
    – A “layered defence” comprises various systems; each intended to deal with a particular type of target; all supplementing each other and defending the same location. We don’t have this. An example of a “layered defence” would be a S-400 battalion positioned with a Pantsir or Tor, backed by Igla or Verba.
    – GAPU is a holding unit; allocating assets on an ad hoc basis. The Ukraine and Nargano Karabakh war has reminded us that AD has to be localised. In our context AD units, whilst being a GAPU asset; should be organic to certain units, like how 10 Para has Battery 361.
    – A “layered defence” also has to be networked and have redundancy.

    Dundun – “there’s the hawks,hornets and flankers for the long range air defence”

    Having AD systems and jets doesn’t mean both can safely operate in the same space; deconfliction zones are needed.

  15. Ok cool. It looks like the 10 units TDM busses they received earlier this year, so likely from the same supplier. I guess this is one of those local player involvement projects that would have went to a China bus maker if it were open tender (nobody can beat China on pricing). So fwiw there are pros & cons of local involvement.

    About the transference of Starstreak to TDM Im curious if its beneficial to TDM or what they wanted. I recalled you mentioned that TDM had cancelled new order for Starsteaks cuz it appears to be not good enough for their needs. Would this “new” assets help TDM or will it hamper their efforts to get the AD-ASM they wanted waits to be seen.

  16. The Army getting a small batch of VSHORADs, all paid for already, doesn’t dent their planning to get MERAD at all.

  17. Just out of curiosity, why is the Army not investing in the Gempita? It seems they just buy a proprietary platform and don’t bother developing it, preferring to start a new program with the associated startup and development cost. For example, an Air Defence Gempita seems like a logical development path. Or some sort of Electronic Warfare platform to counter small and medium sized UAVs. Or if the army wants tanks but can’t get them, something like the Stryker Mobile Gun System (although the us army is retiring the system, it seems suitable for Malaysia).

  18. Exactly. The more the merrier. We will have different or newer version of 8×8, 4×4 and even different RMN ships too in future. No more 5 to 1.

  19. @kel
    I recalled it was mentioned there was not enough money for more AV8 which made them went for a 4×4/6×6 mix. With regards to development, they ady have 11 variants of various configs of AV8 so I doubt there are any other more variants missed out. An AD variant might be plausible but modern Western mobile AD are still trialing and limited ie Stryker AD is still in preproduction trialing. Speaking Stryker variant, I would disagree with adopting its 105mm MGS system, not only cause we have no need for it but also there is no way we can get any support or spares for a system that was never put into full production, had limited use, and which is now being retired.

    If there are any developments, I would like to see an uncrewed remote operated version that driven into and out of combat areas without any danger to to crew members.

  20. Actually, the Stryker AD variant is already operational and deployed to Europe. And Stryker AD is not the first of its kind. Germany had the Gepard and now Ozelot. The Russians have their Pantsir. Its just the Americans never got around to upsizing and upgunning their mobile Air Defence platform (for years it was the Humvee based Avenger). I think Singapore has a version that is closer to Ozelot based on the M113 chasis. For the MGS type Gempita, if the Army still wants its big guns on a mobile platform but can’t afford a MBT, that is probably the way forward (IMO) – find a way to bolt a 105mm cannon to its proprietary Gempita platform. In any case, no money to even buy VSHORADS, let along MERADS.. Definitely no money for mobile air defense platform.

  21. Kel,

    The Russians have Shilka. Ultimately stuff like Tracked Rapier, Gepard, Shilka, Pantsir and the cancelled Sgt.York were designed for low level “manned” threats. In contrast stuff like the Stryker AD variant and Rheinmetall’s Skyranger are designed for low level “unmanned” threats which are more challenging than low level “manned” threats. Way before Avenger the Yanks had a mobile system called Chaperral [Sidewinder],as well as hr 40mm Duster and the M113 mounted Vulcan.

    For reasons which have been extensively dealt here in the past and quite recently; I fail to see how a IFV with a 105mm gun or a light tank fits into our scheme of things. I understand why some armies see a need for them [air deployable and dropped, deployable in areas with poor road network] but in our context I fail to see what added value they give when we already have MBTs, IFVs with direct and indirect weapons, ATGWs and shoulder fired weapons.

  22. Because we have 48 MBT and no money to get more? Don’t even have money for SPH, not enough money for 155mm howitzers. Seems at one point the army wanted a light tank – Scorpion replacement, I might be wrong on this and the Army shifted away from a British mindset to American. US Army doesn’t see a need for the Stryker MGS because they have budget issues, but have lots of Stryker and Bradley that can replicate the MGS role. While Malaysia is short of big guns. I believe don’t even have money to upgrade the 48 MBTs (20 years after entering service). I understand some think tanks, MLRSs can last for 50 years in service, but only if they are upgraded which Malaysia rarely does, preferring to replace and buy new. Just like the air force and Navy, the PT-91 are outdated. The Polish are donating their PT-91 to Ukraine in exchange for US M1 Abrams. In summary, still believe the Army should retire all 48 MBTs – they’re old, insufficient numbers, not upgraded, and seems out of place in a small budget army. But yes, I agree a 105mm Gempita makes little sense. But it seems to be the easiest way to get new big guns – if the Army still wants its big guns. Spin it like the LCS project. Helps local industry – local vendors – aim for maturity so it can be exported, just like the basis for Malaysia paying more to own the design and blueprints for the monstrous LCS Gowind – so we can export our own warship.

  23. Kel – “they just buy a proprietary platform and don’t bother developing it, preferring to start a new program with the associated startup and development cost”

    It was a political decision; one of many flawed ones we make for national interests – not an army decision. A reflection of our flawed policy. We go through all the trouble to perform local production [paid by the Malaysian taxpayer] but we have no economics of scale and reach a point where it’s too expensive to buy a 2nd batch.

    Kel – ” For example, an Air Defence Gempita seems like a logical”
    development path”

    Something I’ve alluded to in the past in this forum.

    It’s something we badly need to counter UASs; especially small and low flying ones. Problem is the costs. Take the Stryker AD variant; it has a auto cannon; Stinger, Hellfire, radar and radar. What Rheinmetall has done with Skyranger is impressive but will cost and arm and leg. As a replacement for Shilka the Russians have gone for a tracked mounted unmanned turret with guns but in 57mm calibre. Years before all this the Brits already had Starstreak on Stormer. It has no radar but it has ADADs to detect IR signatures.

    Will be interesting to see what GAPU replaced the GDFs with; hopefully something mobile. Years ago the army publicly announced it was taking the UAS threat seriously and was looking at various ways as a counter.

    Kel – “something like the Stryker Mobile Gun System”

    It’s not a MBT; not a substitute for a MBT and doesn’t fit into our CONOPs.

  24. @kel
    What you see are Stryker AD preproduction trialing units. Full production batches are still sometime away

    Indeed Russia/Soviet had the most mature mobile AD system, followed by the various EU nations respectively, USA had neglected it for a long time and just recently got back into the game. I take USA as the standard as that would be the benchmark to adopt if we had a need to. If we still have a taste for Turkish, we could go for KORKUT AD which is adapted for ACV30 so mounting & integration onto AV8 or Adnan should be easier to do. Back to Stryker AD variant it will take some years for system maturity so imho, it needs more time b4 we can even consider it. The MGS variant was also in preproduction usage in Iraq & Afghanistan but eventually was not adopted.

    Its not that TDM has no money for VShorads but it seems like it was “not good enough” for their needs apparently.

  25. There is no money and VSHORADS is not at the top of most urgent need in the larger scheme of things. Even larger armies, like the US, is gnawing its teeth to get SHORAD

  26. The war in Nargano Karabakh, Libya and the Ukraine was a wake up call so to speak of the need for new solutions to deal with low to medium level threats and a major reminder that current systems will not suffice. The U.S. already had large stocks of Stingers and what it’s doing now is fielding Stryker AD into service to fulfill an urgent requirement.

    On the “not good enough”claim; there is an article on DSA where the writer quotes unmanned army people as saying they are happy with Starstreak be cause it’s hard to jam. I also know for a fact that even before Starburst was retired GAPU had already considered Starstreak.

    It’s also much faster and can go to a higher altitude than IR guided systems on the market. The downside is it’s price tag. It’s SACLOS line of sight but it’s high speed means the operator only has to keep it on target for seconds.

    On the “most mature” it’s not that the Soviets/Russians were more “mature” but they placed more emphasis on AD and deployed it much more extensively/widely [down to platoon level in Motor Rifle platoons] because they were realistic; they figured out that air superiority would take time to be gained and that in the first few days NATO would control the skies. Experience in WW2 also played a major role.

    Amidst this talk about Russian AD; visual to note that not only do the Russians view it differently from the West but there is Russian army AD and Russian Air Force AD [it and not the army operates Pantsir].

    The biggest AD related reminder from the Ukraine is that AD must be localised. Which is why ideally GAPU’s assets should be organic to specific units rather than kept under GAPU’s administrative and operational control and allocated on an ad hoc basis.

    On Stryker, it boils down to CONOPs and operational requirements. As it stands there is nothing a 105mm armed IFV can do which can’t be performed by other assets; i.e. enemy IFVs can taken out by 30mm cannons, don’t need a 105mm for that and if it’s a bunker;shoulder fired weapons are available.

    The PT-91 is a design based on Soviet operating philosophies and has reached the end of its growth potential. It also has a major flaw which we knew about years ago. All this however doesn’t change the fact that there is no alternative to MBT when it comes to deploying mobile, protected firepower.. The army is keenly aware of this. As such any notion that we should prematurely retire the PT-91 because it’s old and we only have 48 is preposterous.

    As for the upgrades you mentioned, simply not a good ROI. Replacing the carousel with a bustle loader entails a new turret; adding a APS requires improving the power supply and realigning the stuff already on the turret, etc – I could go on.

  27. On the Scorpion; we bought it at a time when we cwould not afford a 105mm gun and when focus was internal security. An other issue is that unlike today the only shoulder fired weapons then were the few Gustavs issued to battalion Support Companies; thus we had a need for 90mm Cockerills.

    Prior to a decision being made to acquire MBTs; the Armour Directorate did look at light tanks [we were offered Rooikat, Centauro and CV-90 earned with a 120mm in t be 2001/02 period] and 105mm IFVs but concluded – righly – that anything less than a MBT would simply not have the required protection or mobility. Like the pair of Scorpenes; the regiment’s worth of MBTs was to give us a basic/minimal level of capability which would be expanded at a later date.

  28. Since everything except buying new seems to be the only way, yet everyone knows buying new or pitching the idea of buying new has never worked, what should the Army or armed forces do? Stick with what hasn’t worked for close to 30 years, or change how to get what they want? Government has no money and never will pay for national defense unless there’s some economic gain by someone. Government won’t abandon the middleman requirement in procurement hence keep buying proprietary platforms (e.g., Gempita and “Mega” Gowind) to mark up the prices. I see an opportunity selling the idea of more Gempita or continuing the production line since it helps Deftech and “local companies”. But not when the Army also wants to buy 10 different other assets. Government is just going to say, choose or nothing gets funded. So unless the Army doesn’t like the Gempita, then fine, no more development for the Gempita. As for ROI, even if the project has the highest ROI, government doesn’t care because they only look at the absolute value (the dollar and sens). Buy new, no money. Upgrade, bad ROI. So how should the armed forces get their equipment? We’ve gotten so poor that we resort to leasing to get around the CAPEX vs OPEX problem. So really is buying new the right way to get anything?

    Its back to the buy a bit of everything but not enough of anything and end up with so many different platforms to maintain and run, for an armed forces that has no money to operate, maintain, upgrade, replace. So over time, the assets degrade with no replacements and the capabilities dies with it. Since government has no intention of paying for new assets until 20 years after expiry date (basically near 40 years after entering service) , is it really prudent to want a little bit of everything and say the armed forces has spent 30 years in capability development mode and will spend the new 30 years continuing to develop capability?

  29. kel – ”what should the Army or armed forces do?”

    Until the policy is revamped the armed services can do bugger all…

    Kel – ”I see an opportunity selling the idea of more Gempita or continuing the production line since it helps Deftech and “local companies”

    You’re not the only one to ”see” the possibility. A former Defence Minister was convinced we could sell SME produced M-4s. Before that we had the illusion we could sell AUGs – we approach Syria and Pakistan. Ask Marhalim to tell you about the Burundi story. Getting back to the AV-8 why on earth would anyone want to buy it from is when they could buy direct and cheaper from Turkey?

    Kel – ”is it really prudent to want a little bit of everything and say the armed forces has spent 30 years in capability development mode and will spend the new 30 years continuing to develop capability?”

    Never mind about what’s prudent; it’s due to our policy; the mindset we have – the importance we place on defence.

    Kel – ”So unless the Army doesn’t like the Gempita, then fine, no more development for the Gempita.”

    No issue here. After almost 3 decades Deftech came up with practically zero improvements/upgrades on the Adnan; SME was the same with the AUG. The army has no major issues with the AV-8 but that’s not the point; the point is after going through all the trouble of local production; ToTs, etc, the army can’t get more because of the price tag – this is a reflection of the gagaland self defeating policy we have; no substance and little long term tangible gain.

  30. “they are happy with Starstreak”
    Well I can’t speculate but if they were truly happy why did they cancelled their earlier Starstreak order? This was a question I posted before. Perhaps certain elements were happy but the decisionmakers were not, who knows.

    As for Russian/Soviet AD being more mature, its because they had them in their doctrine since early Cold War til today and their weapons platform evolved with it unlike the West where USA had long neglected having proper mobile AD systems for some time until Stryker AD. Even so such systems will be limited in numbers so we have to be careful which will have longevity & support.

    It would be easy to talk about the inadequacies of Pendekars and to replace them but realistically what are there options for replacement. Abrams? Too heavy, expensive, & downgraded export model. Leo2? Only available in 2ndhand market which some say TDM will vehemently refuse. JGSDF Type10? Limited support with one 1 user. K2? Purportedly one of the most expensive MBT today. So what options do we have left?

    Going for more AV8 would depend in TDM sees the need for more and other smaller platforms (4×4/6×6) are more versatile or usable in certain situations so TDM would not want to get caught using illsuited stuff. Either way, if the reason is to give Deftech more business, irregardless whether its more AV8 or others, they could still get the job if their offer was competitive. If TDM wants to help Deftech and the local companies, they could just continue buying more buses from them, it generates a lot more economic returns.

  31. joe – ”why did they cancelled their earlier Starstreak order?”

    What exactly was cancelled? You’ve mentioned this several times : what was cancelled? The army has it and never cancelled anything….

    ”2ndhand market which some say TDM will vehemently refuse.”

    Let’s get this right an not draw wrong conclusions from the M-109 affair. The army will refuse if it feels a design is aged; will cost increasingly more to operate/support due to age and if it feels the said piece of kit doesn’t have much more growth potential.

    ”As for Russian/Soviet AD being more mature, its because they had them in their doctrine since early Cold War”

    That’s not exactly true. All or most armies had them in their doctrine since before the Cold War; in WW2 the Germans had the Whirlwind [I will explain more if you desire]. As has been pointed out the key difference is that the Soviets had AD more integrated/distributed to various level operationally because unlike NATO they expected not to have air superiority in the beginning; as such there is and never was a question of ”more mature” but necessity and preference [NATO expected to have air superiority from Day One and also had extensive AD; difference was it was not distributed the way the Soviets did theirs . As was also pointed out the Way the Soviets went about their AD was driven by lessons learnt in WW2 when to the last days the Luftwaffe was still able to operate to some extent.

    Joe – ”It would be easy to talk about the inadequacies of Pendekars and to replace them but realistically what are there options for replacement.”

    Nobody [as I also pointed out to … many moons ago] is talking about replacing the PT-91 in the near future; merely pointing out that it has a major flaw inherent in its design; was based on Soviet Cold War operating philosophies and has reached the end of it’s growth potential. As for its replacement I don’t have an oracle or a soothsayer but I can confidently state it will not be Abrams. The longer we wait the higher the chance we might end up with something with an unmanned turret. I was also pointing out to kel that irrespective of its vintage/inherent flaws and small numbers the army will not bin the PT-91 without a replacement.


    “design is aged; will cost increasingly more to operate/support due to age and if it feels the said piece of kit doesn’t have much more growth potential”
    Pretty much describes the Leo2 as well

    Post Vietnam, Western mobile AD doctrine took a backseat to ‘air superiority from the get go’ doctrine. Which is why Avenger Stinger & M6 Linebacker were pushed into service as a stopgap somewhat incomplete AD system (not having a mounted radar). Some did not last long (Linebacker) some did (Avenger) as there had no better alternatives. This unlike Russia/Soviet that had more emphasis on mobile AD since the start so they have had more evolved platforms as compared to USA, ie Shilka, Tor, Tunguska, Pantsir.

  33. “Pretty much describes the Leo2 as well”

    Not that we’ll buy it but it has more growth potential. Another difference is that for operational reasons the army wanted a wheeled SPH.

    “AD since the start so they have had more evolved platforms as compared to USA, ie Shilka, Tor, Tunguska, Pantsir.”

    Since “start”? They only got into the mobile missile game on an extensive scale beginning in the 1960’s. Because the felt they had to; wasn’t a case of more “mature” but different CONOPS per doctrine. The Americans had Nike and later Chapperal and other things, just not as widely distributed because they saw AD performing a slightly different role under different circumstances compared to the Soviets. Another difference is the Soviets, because they were not confident of air superiority, deployed AD systems at a tactical and operational level layered; i.e. rare to see Hawk deployed in the same backspace as Patriot.

  34. “but it has more growth potential”
    What makes you ascertain that with such confidence? The Leo2 is at A7 gen and like Abrams pretty much have maxed out its growth potential what with having to resort to external APUs to power current equipment whatmore any additionals ie APS, anti-drone, ECM, etc. The same can be said for M109 where it was due for replacement but in the end got bumped up to A7 gen as well with no viable replacement yet. I’d say both are pretty much on the same level in terms of dated platform and wide adoption by 2nd hand users and neither would have ‘better potential’ than the other. Both were Cold War relics.

    Speaking of Cold War, yes the Russian/Soviets were in mobile AD early, stayed longer, and kept them relevant, hence the maturity there. It is like driving a car, if you started driving earlier had been driving all these while and continue to drive, you are more matured in driving compared to someone who started later, only drove occasionally and haven’t been driving the last 2-3 years.

    Coming back to our adoption of mobile AD if so happens, I’d like to see us not make any rush decisions. We should look at platform maturity, let initial customers work out the kinks, pay for development & integration costs, and only buy once it is widely adopted by a main user ie USA, where spares & support could be easier to get.

  35. My perspective on why I prefer mobile AD is because we have no money to buy enough fixed AD systems to effectively defend the airspace. Mobile AD can be tasked to support the brigade on the move, or tasked to defend areas or installations when needed. Something a fixed AD cannot do. There will be tradeoff in terms of effectiveness but its what I consider effective for a small budget armed forces. My perspective on why Malaysia should retire its MBTs and rely on Gempita type platforms is because we don’t have money to buy more MBTs or upgrade the ones we have. Better to save on the operational cost and work with Deftech to get more ATGM or 120mm mortar versions. It can’t fully replace a MBT or a SPH, but it can perform some of those roles. This is similar to my view on fixed vs mobile AD. Small armed forces, no money, so better to keep the forces (or the capabilities) mobile. But I know it will never happen because either Deftech are just rent seekers, where its their foreign partners that are doing the heavy lifting and they probably won’t accept low margins, or another middleman companies need to eat their share of the pie.

  36. Kel – “My perspective on why I prefer mobile AD”

    In this day and age unless one is operating in a benign environment anything fixed won’t cut it.

    Kel – “Something a fixed AD cannot do.”

    The well undertood reality is that fixed AD defences simply aren’t survivable, nor offer the needed operational flexibility.. We’d be daft to go for fixed systems; not that the services want them or that they are widely available.

    Kel – “My perspective on why Malaysia should retire its MBTs and rely on Gempita type platforms”

    “My perspective” is that MBTs form a vital element of combined arms formations whether in the offense and there is no alternative when it comes to delivering mobile protected firepower. Nothing else currently in existence offers the mobility, protection or firepower.

    My perspective is that retiring them simply because we will never have enough is downright ludicrous. “Enough” of what exactly; to form a Tank Shock Army? “Enough” to fight whom? We will never have “enough” of anything. Should we retire our MRCAs and go for and all LCA fleet because we will never have “enough”?

    Kel – “Small armed forces, no money, so better to keep the forces (or the capabilities) mobile”

    Where on earth did you get this quaint notion that it’s a lack of cash which necessitates the need for mobile systems? Neither the RMAF, army or RMN has any daft requirement for fixed systems. The days when we had stuff like Bloodhound on fixed mounts or radars which can’t be moved are over; 2022 now.

  37. Not a tank shock company, but perhaps you can enlighten me, as to how 48 MBT contributes to the overall effectiveness. If its a case of “we have some capability”, I think my views on this is clear – not enough to be effective. Nice to have in peacetime, very effective ground pounding during fire exercises and national day parades but I don’t see how 48, with no upgrades, no possibility of acquiring additional numbers, counts as being effective. To put things into perspective, Singapore has 150+ MBT, Thailand 100+, Indonesia 200+, Vietnam has a lot although most are outdated. Malaysia has 48 and doesn’t plan to acquire more of upgrade the ones we have. The other countries plan to buy more, and / or upgrade the ones they have. If you ask me which country integrated MBT into their tactics, I would say the countries that will buy more tanks and / or upgrade the ones they have. Not the country that bought a small number of tanks and don’t plan to buy more or upgrade existing ones.

    Yes to retiring all MRCA and go all out on LCA if that is an option because the LCA is the only active RMAF combat aircraft program for the next 15 years – the LCA is almost certain to be split over 2 RMK (10 years), 4 RMK (20 years) if Batch 2 comes to fruition. Also, the RMAF’s LCA is a MRCA. It morphed from a Hawk replacement to a plane that needs to perform some of the Mig-29s role. If it was solely a Hawk replacement, the Tejas would be too much.

    My views are based on the money that is available, the experience with capital expenditure, the middleman problem in acquisition programs, and how to get the best bang for the buck. This “ROI” is based on defining the main external threat in the next 30 years – the context you asked for.

    I do not believe in a “little bit of everything, not enough of anything” approach because as you rightly mentioned, there is no way Malaysia will ever get enough of anything to fight off the external threat – China. But as my context has pointed out, if the threat comes from SCS, the adversary needs to transport the bulk of the land forces by sea. So what is the best way to deter or prevent the enemy from landing a larger force? In peacetime what exactly is the biggest external threat? The 9-dash line hardening and eating into the country’s EEZ.

    Lastly, its sub-optimal to spend on 100 different capabilities, only to see a majority of them reaching obsolescence because there is no money to upgrade, replace or increase those capabilities. Plus every acquisition requires a middleman. 100 separate buys means 100 middleman to pay.

    Azlan still waiting for your “context”.

  38. Kel – “I think my views on this is clear – not enough to be effective”

    Not effective against what exactly? You know for fact the type of conflict we’re going to face? Or you merely generalisng?

    The whole idea of getting a regiment’s worth of MBTs was to enable us to have some level of capability; to form our first combined arms division – same reason we bought only a pair of SSKs; for the institutionalised knowledge and experience. The notion that we should retire the MBTs simply because we don’t have enough [what is enough?] Is ludicrous.

    There is no alternative to a MBT when it comes to delivering mobile protected firepower.

    Kel – “with no upgrades”

    As has been explained to you the design has reached the end of its growth potential and upgrading it is not only an unsound ROI [i.e. replacing the carousel with a bustle requires a new turret, etc] but upgrades can’t rectify limitations inherent with the design.

    Kel – “the adversary needs to transport the bulk of the land forces by sea”

    It’s not 1944 anymore, a conflict in the area doesn’t necessarily entail amphibious ops. One merely has to control the sea lanes or prevent maritime access. You are assuming a conflict Will see amphib movement.

    Kel – “Not the country that bought a small number of tanks and don’t plan to buy more or upgrade existing ones”

    The Armour Directorate has a paper requirement for another regiment worth of tanks; since the early 2000’s. Just because a buy isn’t anywhere near doesn’t mean the requirement isn’t there.

    Kel – “peacetime what exactly is the biggest external threat? The 9-dash line hardening and eating into the country’s EEZ”

    To you maybe but in reality there are also various other threats/challenges.

    Kel – “Azlan still waiting for your “context”

    Patience is a virtue and you seem to have it all figured out [or think you do].

    Kel -“If you ask me which country integrated MBT into their tactics”

    Nonsense. The answer is any country which has them: the question is the extent. The notion that only countries which plan to buy more have “integrated” then is poppycock. We have only 48 but we deploy them as part of combined arms a unit so what are you on about? Even before we had MBTs we operated Sibmas as part of combined arms formations for the needed experience until came when we actually had MBTs.

    Kel – ldo not believe in a “little bit of everything, not enough of anything”

    Neither do I and funny enough it was me who came up with that phrase years ago.

    Kel – “Yes to retiring all MRCA and go all out on LCA if that is an option”

    Not it isn’t because LCAs don’t provide the same capability as MRCAs; the Hornets and Flankers still Have quite a lot of life yet and nothing is written in stone in that a MRCA but might come earlier than expected [as a MAF observer surely you’d know that we have a history of shifting priorities driven by the politics of the day.

    Kel – ” the context you asked for”

    Really? The “context” I asked for or the one you decided to.give to bolster your narrative? If memory serves me I normally stress the need for “context” and looking at the nuances when presumptuous generalised assumptions are made.

  39. Azlan, very simple. You say my narrative is meant to support my views or context. Its actually wrong. The narrative is based on what is happening and what is likely to happen. The 9 dash line is real. The China CG harassing Malaysia commercial ships is real. The China air force intruding our airspace is real. China pushing BRI projects in Malaysia that are debt funded is real. China trying to break ASEAN through Indo China is real. Lastly, China will not abandon its nine-dash line is fact. China building a massive Navy to challenge our most important security ally, the US is fact. Not making this up, its all happening right now.

    Thailand invading Malaysia, or Indonesia invading East Malaysia, or Philippines mounting an invasion to retake Sabah, or Singapore invading Johor for its water, is IMO plausible but unlikely – ASEAN has grown and evolved a lot since the 4th PM’s time. But the SCS maritime threat is plausible and very likely. That’s how I develop my context and the narrative to support the threat assessment.

    You keep saying against what? I thought I’ve already explained countless times in my “context” – 30-years, external threat is maritime in nature, biggest threat is a great power. Only way to survive is delay and deter. Prevent enemy from putting boots on the ground. Buy time for allies to help.

    Apparently I have misunderstood the word “context”. I apologise on that. Let me know what exactly you with for me to list down. Happy to oblige.

    Also please don’t paraphrase out of context. I am open to retiring all the twin engine heavy fighters if it means the RMAF can get all the brand new single engine Light (Multi-role) Combat Aircraft it wants, signed and delivered on time and on spec, because the LCA will (IMO) be the only combat jet program for the next 10 maybe 20 years (meaning the F-18 replacement will not get funded until 2035). So there is a small window of opportunity for the RMAF to get 18 brand new fighter jets, probably the only time in the next 20 years. I’ll take some lost capability for improved readiness.

    I’m open to loosing some capability to improve readiness. Basically, the premise is we tell the world we have 18 SU-30MKM fighters. But really at one point only 4 was combat ready. 3 years later, we say things have improved (have enough spares for 2 years but still working out the how to effectively support the SU-30 fleet), more planes are ready. So we do have the capability (4 combat ready SU-30 at one time, maybe 8 of 18 today), just overall readiness is bad. Similarly, we say (in the past) we have Mig-29 MRCA fighters in our fleet. Reality is, only a very small number (probably 1 hand) is in flying condition. So yes, we say we have the capability, just not very effective nor ready. We say we have 4 brand new Navy ships (the LMS), 6 Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessels, but they are all just gunboats. The Navy hasn’t acquired a new Anti-Ship or Anti-Air ship in decades. We have the blue water Navy capability, just not very effective nor ready.

    Again, still waiting for your “context”, or what you meant it to be. Once again, I apologise for not understanding your meaning of “context”. Let me know what you want to see, and I’ll list down what I can. I really want to hear an alternative view on what the priorities should be and how they should go about meeting the threats and challenges in the next 30-years (or whatever time frame). For example, one could argue a militarised Japan is the real threat – plausible and reasonable although unlikely. Or, that our ASEAN neighbours are secretly plotting to invade Malaysia. Or perhaps, Indonesia and Philippines’s long-term goal is to take Sarawak and Sabah respectively. Or that Thailand plans to reclaim Northern Malaysia. All are plausible but unlikely in my view, given the current state of affairs.

  40. Kel – “Or that Thailand plans to reclaim Northern Malaysia”

    Appreciate the sarcasm but no need to obfuscate things. Nobody mentioned anything about war with neighbours. What I did say is that there are longstanding unresolved overlapping disputes with neighbours that have nearly gone hot at times and that I’m addition to China we have other security challenged. China is not the only challenge and is one we can’t deal with if it goes hot.

    Kel – “We have the blue water Navy capability”

    No we don’t and never had it. A blue water navy is not one that has the ships which can deploy in deep waters on extended patrols but one which can deploy indefinitely without putting to port beacuse it has a fleet train.

    Kel – “or what you meant it to be”

    Unless one is thick or has not followed; I’ve pretty well made it clear what my views are and my take on things.

    Kel – “You keep saying against what?”

    Saying the PT-91s are not “enough” is a simplistic fanboy assumption; what is “enough”? Are we going to be engaged in a protracted land conflict? I explained just like with the SSKs the plan was to get an initial capability which could be expanded on later and so we could have the needed institutionalised skills and experience. Also contrary to your claim there is an outstanding requirement for another regiment’s worth and even armies which don’t plan on buying more do integrate their MBTs in overall planning.

    Kel – ” Prevent enemy from putting boots on the ground.”

    I’m worried about someone denying us access to deal international sea lanes and restricting our movements at sea; not “boots on the ground” [a cliche I detest].

    Kel – “We say we have 4 brand new Navy ships (the LMS), 6 Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessels, but they are all just gunboats.”

    In case you didn’t notice the RMN has a requirement for a class of fully fitted out LMSs. This is FYI to mitigate the cockup with the Batch 1s.

    kel – “I really want to hear an alternative view on what the priorities should be”

    We have our priorities right – our maritime domain. Problem we are doing things too slowly and in too small numbers and we have a flawed politically driven self defeating defence policy. Also what you wanting necessarily what you get. I’m not in the habit of making fantasy TOEs or plans which are simplistic and ignore realities.

    Kel – “I’m open to loosing some capability to improve readiness”

    Great on paper but it only works if one has some level of mass to begin with. We don’t. We are running on a shoestring, not even the bare minimum to meet peacetime commitments.

  41. Kel here is yet another that thinks we could do something to deter & delay a superpower long enough for another unknown superpower to come save us. Why they keep having such ideas I have no idea, in the first place even when we put up a fight it will be like an ant vs an elephant, whatever delays we could muster would just be to evacuate our civvies & Govt to safe havens or other countries. And which ‘allies’ would be so magnanimous to be spending money and losing lives to fight a war that is not theirs unless it fits with their hegemony ambitions?

  42. Politicans will do what they do. Middleman will continue to exist as long as it is a policy in all government procurement. Have to accept unless the core of the NEP or whatever its called today is removed. On the readiness aspect, you agree its all about numbers. Which is why i prefer to scrap the MBT if it gets more money for more Gempita’s, SPH, howitzers, MLRS. Loose some capability but imprved readiness overall. Some of these platforms can replicate some but not all of a MBT capabilities. Which is also why if MoF agrees to buying all 18 LCA next month if we scrap the F18 and maybe some SU30, I think that is a reasonable tradeoff. Loose some capability but get 18 new combat jets. From 3 platforms – Russian, American, British – to just two – Russian plus ‘insert LCA winner’. And they’re brand new, likely the only new combat jets in the next 20 years. Which is also why i dont support resuming the LCS, believing that it is safer to write off the money already spent, move the additional RM6b bil earmarked to complete the LCS program to get 8 LMS2 shipbuilt overseas. Prefer to loose some capabilities provided by the LCS for more ships with lower delivery risk that can replicate some of the LCS’s capabilities. But wont matter because leaders dont see military as enhancing national power. Its just like what the Admiral recently said, if everyone is happy with current state. Then ok. No need to spent. Essentially its, if everyone is ok with China intrusions, etc, then armed forces also accept no need to invest in defence. Otherwise dont demand the armed forces do something about it but dont invest in the equipment. Peacetime is preparing for conflict or being ready. No one knows when war will break out or who will attack but can anticipate, identify threats, and prepare – be ready. Since jets, ships, tanks are not built in a day, it has to be bought earlier based lf threat assessment. The idea of peacetime commitments overridiing preparing for unknown threats is the 4th and 7th PM mindset. I suppose 4th PM grew up during an insurgency and governed when internal threats was a bigger problem. Hence his views on the military is dismissive, which is likely entrenched in government thinking. No money is a problem for decades. Operating so many different platforms is a known waste of money which the armed forces agree with – no economies of scale, exhibit A govt buying 3 combat aircraft from 3 manufacturers from 3 countries. So learning from such experience, my preference is on streamlining assets to achieve economies of scale in maintenance and operations. Lose some capabilities for improved readiness. Also the more streamlined the assets, the less middleman involved. 10 different assets having 10 different middlleman, plus 10 maintenance contracts with another 10 middleman. 10 systems 20 middleman to deal with. Thats a lot of mark ups.

  43. On another note a small 1O Para detachment has taken part in urban warfare training alongside Indonesian, Chilean, Mexican and U.S. troops at Rimpac. That is in addition to one of the Kasturis participating in the sea phase. There was some mention here of the U.S. being an “ally”. It’s a “partner” not an “ally” because we don’t have military “allies” in the strictest sense of the word.

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