Talks On SPH Procurement

KNDS Caesar 155mm SPH. Picture used for illustration only. Malaysian Defence picture.

SHAH ALAM: Its official, the SPH deal with Turkiye concluded through direct negotiations by the previous administration has been cancelled by the current government. In a written reply to a question by Tasek Gelugor MP, the Defence Minister said the Finance Ministry had decided on January 16 that the procurement proposal to purchase the Turkish-made SPH is cancelled.

“The Defence Ministry is currently in talks with central agency (likely the Finance ministry and the Economic Planning Unit) to conduct the procurement of the equipment through the government-to-government method,” it said without further elaboration.

The MP asked whether the Letter of Intent issued by the previous government for the purchase of the Turkish-made SPH will be continued. Air Times first reported the written reply.

Malaysian Defence has previously reported that the SPH – to be procured through direct negotiations – will be among the deals to be cancelled by the current government.

This was expected the PMX-led government had already stated that any deal – contracted or still in LOI stage – was subject to review.

Talk among the industry however that the SPH deal will be revived via an open tender. A government to government deal may well involve Turkiye though as the Yavuz SPH is manufactured by state-owned firm, MKE. The other truck mounted SPH contenders which are state owned are Nexter Systems with the Caesar and the South African Denel T-52.

— Malaysian Defence

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61 Comments

  1. More importantly it has a fully enclosed gun which does away with the need for crews to be out in the open exposed to the elements and shrapnel. What the Artillery Directorate’s preference is remains the question. To me; Aleksandar looks more interesting.

  2. As I had written previously, there is no requirement for a remote turret. One requirement is that the SPH be air transportable on a C130. None of the SPH with remote turret are air transportable with our aircraft.

  3. Yavuz maybe not as good and as proven as caesar but their base gun which is panter 155mm surely can considered as a success for MKE with hundreds of units already delivered to turkish army..got 100+ order from pakistan and also peaked the interest from the saudi..so if we cannot buy yavuz sph maybe buy 10+ panter 155mm towed to complement the G5? Or the era of towed sph are already over?

  4. Not many current wheeled SPH that can be air transportable on a C-130 due to weight limits.

    The original CAESAR with a weight around 17 tons can be flown by the C-130.

    The latest CAESAR NG MkII weighs more than 22 tons due to armored cab.

    Archer is 30+ tons, as is the Aleksandar.

    Lightest wheeled SPH with full auto loader is the Excalibur EVA, at 20 tons. But that is just a bit over the max payload of an average C-130.

    Currently the lightest SPH is the AM General Brutus, with all up weight around 15 tons.

    What about the MKE Yavuz? Plenty of numbers has been bandied about, but lets take it from official MKE catalogue – 32 tons.
    https://www.mkeusa.com/en-US/catalogue/vehicles/155-mm-52-cal-truck-mounted-howitzer-yavuz/52/1070

    How to mitigate the issue of not being able to be airlifted by C-130? Have adequate SPH numbers in both East and West Malaysia. With the use of modern ISTAR resources such as drones for quick artillery shot correction, the SPH can be used as precision fire support, and not a mass grid destroying system. With that change, a smaller number (say 12 units each in East and West Malaysia) is adequate.

  5. “This was expected the PMX-led government had already stated that any deal – contracted or still in LOI stage – was subject to review.”

    It is a good thing in order to eliminate any “fee” to middleman. If the cancelation is due to no money in the pocket than it is a bad news.

    “One requirement is that the SPH be air transportable on a C130.”

    Caesar made by Nexter will be the frontrunner.

  6. … – ” Have adequate SPH numbers in both East and West Malaysia”

    Obviously but that’s not happening soon is it? There is also no firing range in East Malaysia which can accommodate live 155mm fire.

    … – “With the use of modern ISTAR resources such as drones for quick artillery shot correction,”

    UASs [whether “modern” or not] for target detection is been something I’ve been harping on for years and events in the Ukraine only cement the fact that arty units need an organic UAS capability but whether we have any such plans in the near future remains an unknown.

    … – “not a mass grid destroying system”

    That would be the role for unguided rounds fired from MLRSs which incidentally also need UASs organic to them. The key lesson in the Ukraine his often overlooked is not the efficacy of HIMARs per see but HIMARS with the means to soon target deep in the enemy’s operational depth.

    … – “With that change, a smaller number (say 12 units each in East and West Malaysia) is adequate”

    “Adequate” for what exactly? Until things really get hot we unfortunately have no idea what will and won’t be “adequate”.

  7. Romeo – “Caesar made by Nexter will be the frontrunner”

    In many ways it always has been since Giat first offered it to us in the late 1990’s and when it appeared that we’d be the first customer.

  8. Some people are just ‘asymmetric’ lovers & are obsessed with prepositioning & numbers thus accept the risk of high cost & unmovable asset and thus think that Building 2 of everything be it MRO or firing range is best thing ever since slice bread.

    The things is MAF had times to times show very little interest in asymmetrical and has a hard on expeditiory capabilities thus suggesting one are just pointless.

  9. The SPH football keeps on rollin, rollin, rollin, with no end in sight. Maybe wait another 5 years, perhaps then TDM could get the Caesar they had desired for. Or maybe the new chief might just give up fighting and willing to accept whatever he is given, even if its a gun on a crate with wheels. Whichever the case the SPH has became the political football of whichever administration in power.

    @hulubalang
    “The latest CAESAR NG MkII weighs more than 22 tons”
    There are 2 types of Caesar mounted; the 6×6 and 8×8. The former is transportable by C130, the latter is not.

    “Have adequate SPH numbers in both East and West Malaysia.”
    The Army plan was to have an Eastern Command with mirrored setup & equipment as in the Peninsular Western Command, that means having SPHs as well, regardless whether they could be C130 portable or not.

  10. @ Azlan,

    “Obviously but that’s not happening soon is it? There is also no firing range in East Malaysia which can accommodate live 155mm fire”
    What is soon got to do with talks of SPH procurement? Why are you so fixated with soon? The very expensive RM854 million cancelled contract for 18 Yavuz can easily get us 30+ CAESARs. Belgium decided in 2021 to order 9 CAESAR NG 6×6 howitzers in a contract of approximately €48 million. In June 2022 a €62 million contract was signed for an additional 19 CAESAR NG to be delivered between 2025 and 2027. So getting at least 24 SPH should not be a problem with our budget. As for firing range, why can’t the Kota Belud range which is used by TUDM for bombing practices be used for 155mm firing too?

    “Adequate” for what exactly?
    12 in East Malaysia should be adequate to undertake fire support (along with CAS & 105mm guns) for countering any sudden invasion of forces up to a brigade in size.

    @ darthzaft,

    “Some people are just ‘asymmetric’ lovers”

    If you don’t understand the meaning of the word, please don’t use it.

    There is nothing asymmetric about what I am talking here about the SPH.

  11. Singapore has no firing range for arty. They go to NZ for that.
    So why can’t 155mm arty be placed in East Malaysia. So what if no firing range. For that, the arty guys can fly to West Malaysia without bringing their equipment. They can train live firing using the West Malaysia 155mm how.

  12. Given the number of howitzers, is the Army’s intention to split the SPH and G5s between East and West Malaysia so each side has a mix of SPH and towed artillery? Example: Using the original LOI of 18 SPH + existing 28 G5, to have 2 units of 9SPH + 14G5 pre-positioned in East and West Malaysia? So the mobility component is more about being able to reinforce each side (i.e., move a few units), rather than moving 18 SPH from one theatre to another?

  13. If I’m not mistaken the said tender came with free UAV to sweetened the deal. Maybe Anka or TB2?

  14. I am just curious… why cancel the Yavuz SPH deal? Isn’t that a sort of ‘Government to Government’ deal? And now there’s a new round of the same deal but brokered by a different regime?
    Two, if the concern is that the proposed SPH be air-transportable via a C130, there aren’t many that’s below 20 tons. The Denel T-52 is closer to 28 tons. Perhaps they (whoever it is) are waiting for the outcome of the new 155mm SPH, Brutus developed by AM General? That is a lightweight at 15 tons. Perhaps if the Americans start using it, we’ll start showing interest in the new system. Angan² Mat Jenin…
    Three, if this government isn’t interested in acquiring a wheeled SPH, then someone with authority (the PM/Defence Minister/Finance Minister etc) should announce it in no uncertain terms. That’s it.
    The End.

  15. @ anon,

    Good idea. They can train with howitzers based with PUSARTI in Semenanjung.

    @ joe,

    CAESAR weights :

    1) CAESAR 6×6 – 17 tons
    chassis – Renault Sherpa 6×6 215hp, Mercedes Unimog 6×6

    2) CAESAR 8×8 – 28-30 tons
    chassis – Tatra 817 8×8

    3) CAESAR NG MkII – 22+ tons – this is the latest version of CAESAR, all future production will be of this version. Armored cab and IED protection.
    chassis – Arquus 6×6 460hp

  16. @ marhalim,

    The G5 can be around for many more decades to come, as is our current L5 pack howitzers (last count about 128 units). The G5 is 100% based on Gerald Bull GC-45 howitzer design. Right now we can get the spareparts from various sources. The original Gerald Bull toolings now bought over by Bharat Forge in India and moved everything from Europe to India. Denel still has the G5 toolings. The design was sold to China and most Chinese 155mm Howitzers are of the same design, including the gun on the PCL-181.

    Qatar has retired 12 of their lightly used G5 and replaced by tracked SPH. If we can add those 12 to our 28 existing G5 fleet, that will give us a total of 40 units of G5. Enough for 2 regiments of 18 guns, one each in East and West Malaysia, plus 4 guns for PUSARTI.

  17. Kel – “So the mobility component is more about being able to reinforce each side (i.e., move a few units), rather than moving 18 SPH from one theatre to another?”

    It’s a combination things. We’ve long saw the need to be able to airlift things to East Malaysia; thus something of a certain weight and length. Not only the vehicle but ammo and associated gear also have to be flown; adding to weight/space concerns.

    A SPH of a certain weight/ground pressure also makes it easier to operate in areas with a poor infrastructure.

  18. …,

    Never mind what can be performed on paper. The reality is that the Artillery Directorate has probably reached a point where it wants [for obvious reasons] all 155mm guns to be self propelled. Thus it’s a question of not wanting to keep the type in service rather than not being able to.

    Note that the vast majority of Ukrainian arty destroyed by counter battery fire was towed; not that we needed the Ukrainian war to highlight the vulnerability of towed arty; we knew that long before.

    On the G-5 read “Arms And The Man” a book on Gerald Bull. Armscor performed several changes to the design. The one which comes closest to Bull’s design was the GHN-45 which was offered to us in the 1980’s. The Bangkok based rep flew down here a few times and after not making any progress here [full pages ads ran in ADJ for a considerable period] managed to sell it to the Thai Marines.

  19. @kel
    “Army’s intention to split the SPH and G5s between East and West”
    IINM the TDM already has a regiment(or battalion?) of G5 at East MY. The plan was to have same equipment at both sides, and moving resource from one to the other is a matter of insufficiency or last resort.

    “why cancel the Yavuz SPH deal?”
    Its all about politics of whoever is currently in power. Add on the whims of TDM.

    “should announce it in no uncertain terms. That’s it.”
    There are a lot of things the Armed Forces wants but Govt are disinterested to get but of course won’t say it in any certain terms or else suffer the displeasure of the chiefs and thus the armed forces members. That is a voter bank no politician will want to turn into a hornets nest. At best things will be KIV, in due time, when money allows it.

    @hulubalang
    “CAESAR NG MkII Armored cab and IED protection.”
    Not all buyers will require such as arties are not frontliners.

    “add those 12 to our 28 existing G5 fleet”
    Arties aren’t so expensive as for us to get used, and often the cost will have to replace the barrels anyhow. And if & when we do get 155mm SPH there are no pending need for more towed 155 arties.

  20. Rather than guessing what the malaysian army “want”, this is what that is written down in the Army 4NextG Plan

    This is the Army 4NextG Plan for Bantuan Tempur (combat support)

    Main requirement listed as “endstate”
    – Long range precision fires
    – MERAD
    – Increased RAJD capability
    – Sustainable C2
    – real time ISRT

    To achieve the requirements
    For TD as a whole
    – Intelligence Fusion Centre (IFC)
    – 1x EW regiment
    – 1x Cyber regiment
    For Field Commands
    – 1x ISRT Rgt in each Division
    – 1x ICC in each Division
    – 1x RAJD Bde in Eastern Field Command with Bridging & CBRNE units
    – Field artillery (precision strike)
    – AD artillery (SHORAD & MERAD)

    There is no specific mention of not wanting towed field artilleries, just a note of needing field artilleries to be able to do precision strike.

    This capability is wanted to be had in both Eastern and Western Field commands. So it is laughable when discussions of getting same things for both East and West malaysia is considered as “asymmetric”.

    Yes artillery is comparatively cheap. But in this case, we should get used G5’s to have a homogeneous type of towed howitzer in service, facilitating the ease of training, deployment, maintenance and sustainment. This would also clear the budget for getting the long needed SPH’s, to buy guided artillery shells and fuses for precision strike, and to get the real time ISRT system needed to enable precision strike.

  21. … – ”There is no specific mention of not wanting towed field artilleries,”

    There is also no mention per see in this of of wanting SPHs but we know they do. Not only that but the lack of mention of anything doesn’t necessarily mean a requirement does not exist.

    … – ”So it is laughable when discussions of getting same things for both East and West malaysia is considered as “asymmetric”.

    It’s ”laughable” when certain individuals loosely use words like ”asymmetric” and ‘expeditionary” without really understanding what they mean and their context.

    … – ”Yes artillery is comparatively cheap.”

    A lot of things are ”comparatively cheap” but acquiring the means to employ something effectively as part of a larger overall plan might not be cheap and the when we have a situation where we have various things which have long been on the planning list but face uncertainty in the face of a constrained budget and indecision; what’s ”comparatively cheap” can be elusive.

    … – ”Why are you so fixated with soon?’

    Does saying we won’t have a 155mm capability soon in both ends of Malaysia signify ”fixation”? Or were you referring to ”40-50 years ” in the future?

    … – ”The very expensive RM854 million cancelled contract for 18 Yavuz can easily get us 30+ CAESARs.”

    Putting aside your penchant for paper prices; that wasn’t the topic; nor was anyone saying we should have get Yavuz instead.

    … – ”So getting at least 24 SPH should not be a problem with our budget.”

    Various things on paper ”should not be a problem with our budget” [to quote your good self]. I’m more concerned with the need for changes in doctrine, organisation and other things; not us getting the actual hardware which eventually we’ll do.

    … – ”why can’t the Kota Belud range which is used by TUDM for bombing practices be used for 155mm firing too?”

    A range to drop air delivered ordnance doesn’t automatically means it’s suitable for arty/MLRSs. We also have more ranges which enable the dropping of air to ground ordnance than we do for arty/MLRSs.

    Ideally, if arty/MLRS is to be based in Sabah; they’d also have a range which enables live firing to be performed for the simple reason [one of several] that arty should train with the very troops they are intended to support.

    … – ”2 in East Malaysia should be adequate to undertake fire support (along with CAS & 105mm guns)”

    I’ll revert back to what I said : ”Until things really get hot we unfortunately have no idea what will and won’t be “adequate”.”

  22. “On the G-5 read “Arms And The Man” a book on Gerald Bull”

    Since the release of the book in 1991, there are further happenings. Like the sale of the toolings in Belgium to India, further use of the design in China (as now PLA army has finally adopted the 155mm calibre, rather than production just for export. PLA artillery now adopting 155mm and 122mm as their main calibre, phasing out the 152mm), and also further information regarding the design use in Israel and Singapore.

    All of the GC-45 guns are similar, with differences in the gun carriage, APU power and the like. The G5 for example, are built with both belgium imported and locally forged barrels.

  23. I read that we were getting a slovakian made self propelled howitzer? What happened to that?

  24. ” Or were you referring to ”40-50 years ” in the future?”
    Nope, as Marhalim is talking now about it, it should be within this Rancangan Malaysia. Also based on the previously agreed budget of RM850 million, it should get us 2 regiments of SPH as based on the price Belgium is paying for the CAESAR NG MkII, not just 1 regiment if we continue with Yavuz. Isn’t the posibility of getting twice what you are getting originally and able to station one regiment each in East and West Malaysia a definition of adequate?

    “I’m more concerned with the need for changes in doctrine, organisation and other things; not us getting the actual hardware which eventually we’ll do”
    As i posted the Army 4NextG details, the changes in doctrine, organisation and other things is already planned. Plus the clear want of the artillery to be able to do precision strike, something it currently not able to do.

    “Ideally, if arty/MLRS is to be based in Sabah; they’d also have a range which enables live firing to be performed for the simple reason [one of several] that arty should train with the very troops they are intended to support”
    Allocating a big area for a new range in sabah or sarawak is not the biggest hurdle in the large scheme of things.

    ”Until things really get hot we unfortunately have no idea what will and won’t be “adequate”.”
    There is no way you could plan your capability until you set what your challenges and needs clearly. No idea is not something you can use to plan.

  25. … – ”Since the release of the book in 1991, there are further happenings. ”

    I wasn’t referring to ” further happenings” related to the G-5 but the fact that the G-5 does contain a number of changes and that the gun which comes the closest to Bull’s original design is the GHN-45. This was in reference to your ” the G5 is 100% based on Gerald Bull GC-45 howitzer design”. The book goes into detail how he came up with the G-5 and how it became the GHN-45. Interestingly it also mentions Bull as being the inventor of base bleed.

    … – ”All of the GC-45 guns are similar, with differences in the gun carriage, APU power and the like.”

    Thank you for that snippet. They are similar because they share a common design [as do various things] but have various differences obviously because they were improved on progressively and because Armscor performed various things to meet the SADF’s unique requirements; note that when the G-5 was developed for the SADF; exports was the last thing on their mind; as opposed to Noricum which offered the GHN-45 for export. The G-5 [no idea if the Mk1 or 2] I saw at IDEX 1997 looked a wee bit differently externally to the one [Mk3] I saw a few years later at DSA.

  26. Nope, the plan is to get 18 guns and ancillary vehicles and equipment. Whether the budget allocated is RM850 million is beyond me.

  27. … – ”should be within this Rancangan Malaysia.”

    Reality : a lot of things ”should” have been allocated many moons ago. The SPH requirement ”should” have been ‘within” a Malaysia Plan many years ago; I can go on.
    The fact is that irrespective of whatever paper plans you might come up with; the harsh reality is that there are no immediate plans to have 155mm guns in Sabah; in situ; organic to a parent formation….

    … – ”Allocating a big area for a new range in sabah or sarawak is not the biggest hurdle in the large scheme of things.”

    Contrary to your assumption; in the ”large scheme of things” it involves getting land and other things which is why it hasn’t happened yet despite there long being a need for it – bureaucracy, funding and approvals. Not as easy as you think.

    As I said : ”“Ideally, if arty/MLRS are to be based in Sabah; they’d also have a range which enables live firing to be performed for the simple reason [one of several] that arty should train with the very troops they are intended to support”. Plus the fact it would be less than ideal if a whole regiment was inactive because crews were thousands of km away in Negeri Sembilan training. Also, as pointed out just because there’s a range for other things doesn’t mean the range is certified for 155mm fire…

    … – ‘There is no way you could plan your capability until you set what your challenges and needs clearly. No idea is not something you can use to plan.’
    … – ”Isn’t the posibility of getting twice what you are getting originally and able to station one regiment each in East and West Malaysia a definition of adequate?”

    Thanks for the revelation but as I said : whether something is ”adequate ” or not remains to be seen… Unlike Alexander of Macedon I don’t have an oracle; thus I’ll not make any predictions. ”Adequate” in what context; ”adequate” based on what operational conditions?

    … – ”should get us 2 regiments of SPH as based on the price Belgium is paying for the CAESAR NG MkII, ”

    I don’t make assumptions based on what others paid for the simple fact that what they paid can vary; thus it can be misleading. Also, the requirement is for a single regiment’s worth of guns; 18 guns. Where or how did you get the impression it was more than 18 guns?

    … – ” Plus the clear want of the artillery to be able to do precision strike, something it currently not able to do.”

    Great but it’s not written in stone. The army; like its sister services; planned to do a lot of things. Having the intent or plan and actually implementing it can be profoundly different things…

  28. Hulubalang “Allocating a big area for a new range in sabah or sarawak is not the biggest hurdle in the large scheme of things.”

    The biggest problem is wanting the cake and eat it too and the fact money doesn’t grow on tree.

    If you have facilities in Borneo then there’s no reason to continue maintaining the current airlift & acquiring new sealift capabilities.

    These whole ‘asymmetric’ are just not going to happened no matter how much mental gymnastics one does. It’s obvious pointless to be self sufficient in defense but still relied on importation of food and exports base economy.

  29. Yes gerald bull is the inventor of the base bled design. Denel was the inventor of the modular charge (as opposed to the old style bagged charges). Modular charges, like lego can be stacked together to finetune the power of the charges.

    Many differences between the various GC-45 based gun, but the barrels are the same/interchangeable.

    As written out with the 4NextG. The plan is to have the same capability for both East and West Malaysia. Do not confuse quantities ordered/budgeted with the quantities wanted/needed. So if there is 1 regiment of SPH in semenanjung, there should be 1 SPH regiment in borneo too. That is the ideal need. Yes clearly the initial requirement is for 18 guns, but if the budget allocated can buy 36, then why not get 36 and have the same capability both in East and West Malaysia?

    As for ranges, what can be done is to have different firing locations shooting towards kota belud bombing range. It is done with ASTROS here in semenanjung.

    ” ”Adequate” in what context; ”adequate” based on what operational conditions? ”
    I wrote it before. 12 SPH in East Malaysia should be adequate to undertake fire support (along with CAS & 105mm guns) for countering any sudden invasion of forces up to a brigade in size. That is adequate rather than all in West Malaysia and none at all in East Malaysia. When compared to what is based in Kalimantan, currently there is 2 regiments of towed artillery. Each a mixed regiment of 2x 105mm towed battery and 1x 155mm towed battery. The CAESARs, 2x regiments in java, 1x in nusa tenggara timur (near timor leste). M109 tracked SPH, 2x regiments in java (mixed with AMX13 105mm SPH). ASTROS 2x regiment in java plus 1 battery in Natuna.

  30. “Having the intent or plan and actually implementing it can be profoundly different things…”

    So are we here to discuss what options we have/can do to get it done/implementing it? Or just repeat everything is impossible and cannot be done?

    As for zaft, seriously? What are you talking about?

  31. … – “Do not confuse quantities ordered/budgeted with the quantities wanted/needed”

    I’m not “confused” with anything thank you. Point out to where you think I’ve displayed “confusion”‘. On the contrary it’s you who seems to have a penchant for conflating things and perennially not making the distinction between what can or might be possible on paper and what can in reality.

    … – “So are we here to discuss what options we have/can do to get it done/implementing it”

    “So are we” going to continue mixing with what we’re actually doing; what we realistically will do and what we on paper might be able to do? Going to continue giving the assumption that just because something’s possible on paper that in reality we can or will do it? If that’s the case we might as well also talk about lasers and the sky being the limit. We’ve had this discussion before BTW.

    As I told you many moons ago; I know what I want to discuss : dictates as to what I should or should not discuss and the manner; are nothing more than self serving pompous noise.

    … – “I wrote it before. 12 SPH in East Malaysia should be adequate to undertake fire support (along with CAS & 105mm guns) for countering any sudden invasion of forces up to a brigade in size”

    “I wrote it before”: I will not assume what’s “adequate” or not. Will leave the assumptions to you as I’ve long done.

  32. I want to take LCA/FLIT as an example. The current buy is for 18 aircraft. Is the requirement laid out in CAP55 is for just for 18 because the order is for 18? No. The requirement is for 36 or 2 squadrons. The same is for the SPH requirement. The Army 4NextG plan wants the same capability of field artillery for both East and West Field Commands. The current buy of just 1 regiment of SPH does not mean the requirement is just for 1. It is you that is purposely spinning the facts.

    “If that’s the case we might as well also talk about lasers and the sky being the limit”
    I am not discussing things that is not attainable/illogical/no limits. I have been discussing and proposing things based on
    1) The requirement of the services itself, vs the wants.
    2) The budget available for the requirement and alternatives that can be done based on that budget.
    3) Alternative requirements and needs to counter future security challenges based on what limitations we have to deal with.
    4) Getting used stuff as a stopgap solution and to add more quantity to current in service weapons.
    5) Highlighting duplications of missions among the services future plan, and how we can save resources by eliminating the duplications.

    For a decade all you have done is telling people off everything cannot be done.

    Can it affect some of the outcomes?
    TUDM went from your repeated insistance of TUDM not wanting used Hornets to now officially reforming the 17 Skuadron in Butterworth in anticipation of flying used kuwaiti Hornets. TUDM went from wanting for new MRCA to signing a contract for a new LCA/FLIT instead, which is proposed nearly a decade ago as a much more urgent requirement than a new MRCA, and new MRCA should be bought after 2030 when there are more low observable alternatives available. Proposed instead of the MRCA program, to get the FA-50 to replace 3 types – hawk, mb339 and MiG-29N; which of course you say TUDM has no such need and it is impossible for the korean FA-50 to replace the MiG-29N.

    Could tentera darat be interested to get 12 used G5 howitzers from Qatar? Who knows? I am just pointing out the options available that the army can do to have 155mm howitzer units in both East and West Malaysia at the lowest cost without needing to learn to operate a different new equipment.

    Im also pointing out the same budget approved previously for 1 regiment of the Yavuz (which weighs 30+ tons) is enough to get 2 regiments of CAESAR NG MkII. Hopefully the army in the near future can get 2 SPH regiments instead of just 1 for the same budget.

  33. Hulubalang “As written out with the 4NextG. The plan is to have the same capability for both East and West Malaysia. Do not confuse quantities ordered/budgeted with the quantities wanted/needed. So if there is 1 regiment of SPH in semenanjung, there should be 1 SPH regiment in borneo too.”

    As neither the army nor the manhen had stated their official stand on 4nextG and thus what you assume is just that. your personal assumptions and shouldn’t be confused with official position.

    As stated before money doesn’t grow on tree. if one bought in quantity then there’s won’t be any need to maintain the current airlift & even acquire future sealift capabilities.

    “and new MRCA should be bought after 2030 when there are more low observable alternatives available”

    There’s are no other jet that have the utilities, abilities, access to stockpile of consumables, upgradability, continue investment in abilities as US made jet. So unless US jet is out of the equation due to political reasons like in the 2000s. There’s no good reason why the AF want to look for ‘other’ alternative.

  34. TBH, my personal view, while there is logic in what the Army is doing, it does not seem to be executing a “real” or coherent plan. In that the big picture seems to be, “the Army is still developing capabilities, therefore we will buy a bit of everything, not a lot of anything, just to learn”. Take the Gempita for example, where the Army decides bigger is better, time to move up to 8×8, heavier than the tracked Adnan and KIFV. Yet after 290+ units they decide to call it quits. Perhaps there are civilian / political reasons for stopping, but it begs the question, why didn’t they just focus on the 4×4 and 6×6 programs? Now they’ve spent billions on an 8×8 program that is neither here nor there, and find themselves without money to replace the 4x4s which is more important. Similarly, with the MBTs, its nice to say to the world we have tanks and some form of combined forces. But at just 48 units, if 12 gets destroyed, that’s 25% of the fighting force. So would it have been better to just get another 48 tanks instead of the Gempita – enough to put 1 tank regiment each in east and west Malaysia and have enough left in the bank account to buy the 4x4s? Then there is the artillery situation, if the plan is to retire the G5 once the SPH arrives, then there will be attrition in the number of howitzers in service. Yet to meet the KPI, Army went ahead, created a unit in east Malaysia with no howitzer to operate? Would it be better just to say they want 36 units of SPH? Or we will trade our PT-91s for more SPHs? Then the very delayed Nuri replacement. Want mobility, but no mobility platforms of its own. Have to rely on Air Force, but the Cougar’s have their own Air Force duties to perform. Why put money on recapitalising armoured vehicles that can neither swim to east Malaysia, nor easily moved between East and West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, nor air transportable? Perhaps its politics disrupting the Army’s plan, but look at the 4nextG and look at CAP55 and 15to5. 4nextG is very thin on details.

  35. And unlike the RMN and RMAF plans, the Army one is subject to much tinkering by the different leadership, which, unlike the two services, are cut from the same cloth, i.e., aircraft and ship drivers.

  36. That’s the difference between us. You’ll look at it at a superficial paper level and assume it can be done. I’ll worry about the lack of live firing ranges; the availability of sufficient manpower in the near term; whether the army will make make changes in doctrine and whether we can get the key enablers to achieve some level of efficacy.

    I’ll also base my reasoning on the pertinent fact that allocation has been approved for a regiment’s worth of 18 guns under a specified allocated budget.

    As mentioned previously: I also make a distinction between discussing hard realities; what could be done and looks great on paper and what might look great on paper but might not be achievable in our context; rather then conflating things in a generalised simplistic manner.

    … – ‘Could tentera darat be interested to get 12 used G5 howitzers from Qatar?’

    The Artillery Directorate has probably reached a point where it wants [for obvious reasons] all 155mm guns to be self propelled. Thus it’s a question of not wanting to keep the type in service rather than not being able to [note the nuance]. Note that the vast majority of Ukrainian arty destroyed by counter battery fire was towed; not that we needed the Ukrainian war to highlight the vulnerability of towed arty; we knew that long before. A recent estimate has shown that half of all Ukrainian M-777s were lost to counter battery fire and that losses in SPHs were mainly by UASs and loitering munitions.

    The fact that the end user might not want any more G-5s never crossed your mind because you see things in black/white. Reminds me of pen pushers with horizon’s as wide as an Armitage Shanks rims; unable to see anything beyond P/L sheet.

  37. Kel – “Take the Gempita for example, where the Army decides bigger is better, time to move up to 8×8, heavier than the tracked Adnan and KIFV”

    Both types perform different roles. The army decided that its tracked IFV needs were sufficient for sufficient for the time being and that getting a new generation wheeled IFV was a bigger priority. Nothing to do with
    “bigger is better”.

    Kel – “. But at just 48 units, if 12 gets destroyed, that’s 25% of the fighting force. So would it have been better to just get another 48 tanks”

    At different times the army has a greater need for different things and at times the government decides what should be a priority. At present – right or wrong – the sees no immediate need for follow on MBTs; wheeled IFVs and other things were/are a bigger priority.

    Kel – “its nice to say to the world we have tanks and some form of combined forces”

    Understand that for much of what we do the intention is to get a minimal capability which can be expanded on at a later date after some level of experience and core competency has been achieved.

    There is also the pertinent fact that quite often the services ask for more than what is eventually approved. The availability of a single MBT regiment enabled it to create its first combined arms division; that was the intention and the aim was always for a 2nd regiment eventually.

    Kel – it does not seem to be executing a “real” or coherent plan”

    Not that the army is infallible but the plan it can execute is dependent on the plan the government approves and the funding it enables.

    Laying posts in paragraphs instead of a large lump makes it easier to digest.

  38. @ zaft

    “your personal assumptions and shouldn’t be confused with official position”

    Is this thing below is not my personal assumption –
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Foz9ME1aEAA86ku.jpg

    Below also is the official statement about the need of similar artillery capability in both Eastern and Western Field Commands

    TDM menerusi hantaran di media sosialnya berkata, penubuhan 8 RAD Ad Hoc ini, dilaksanakan seiring dengan penjajaran semula unit-unit TDM berdasarkan kepada Pelan Pembangunan Keupayaan Strategik TD (Army 4NextG).

    “Ia bertujuan mempertingkatkan keupayaan bantuan tembakan artileri kepada kedua-dua wilayah secara serentak dengan lebih efektif dan efisien,

    “8 RAD Ad Hoc, yang akan ditempatkan di Kem Penrissen Lama Kuching, Sarawak, merupakan usaha awal kepada penambahan unit-unit RAD di wilayah Pemerintahan Medan Timur Tentera Darat (PMTTD),” jelas TDM.

    @ Kel,

    Malaysian Army 4NextG Plan

    Capability upgrade for
    – Tempur (combat)
    – Bantuan Tempur (combat support)
    – Bantuan Khidmat (service support)

    Below is the details for the combat capability upgrade
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FlwWdb1aAAEj3cU.jpg

    “TBH, my personal view, while there is logic in what the Army is doing, it does not seem to be executing a “real” or coherent plan”

    The issue is that the army did not really lay out the “Army 4NextG” plan to the public like RMN and RMAF does. I learnt about the details of the plan like at the most obscure of places.

    I really think that the army has a clear vision of what it wants, but not quite there on what is it to be done to achieve those visions.

    The main aim of Army 4NextG is to have the same capability in both East and West Malaysia, to be able to conduct operations/defend in both at the same time.

    Yes i do feel like some of what they are trying or planning to do, like the acquisitions for the armored formations, for GAPU, does not really help towards achieving the objectives laid out in Army 4NextG.

    As usual there are duplications of need, for example MERAD by both the army and air force. The RMAF is very vocal publicly about its want for MERAD, but the army has also listed MERAD as one of the needs of the Army 4NextG plan. Ideally we should not have 2 services trying to do the same thing.

  39. If the Army is subject to thinkering by the different leaderships within the Army, is this why armour and big guns has been dominating recent plans? Because the core leadership are those with armour and big guns experience only, and therefore do no see other elements as essential? Reason why Nuri replacement never happened? The Air Defense is still stuck on V/SHORADs? Minimal emphasis on precision weapons. Minimal emphasis on long range weaponry. If that is the case, no wonder the Army seems to be operating in its own world.

  40. @Zaft
    “maintain the current airlift & even acquire future sealift capabilities”
    Its more of a tactical flexibility, irrespective of whether there will be enough quantities on either side, for instance if one regiment got incapacitated they could still shift support assets over. Future sealift capabilities are moreso important for the humanitarian, HADR, overseas deployment missions we would encounter rather than actually going to war.

    “There’s no good reason why the AF want to look for ‘other’ alternative.”
    The best would be if Redhawk had been militarised for combat duties, and perhaps in future it might be, alas we’re too early to buy the LCA/FLIT for it to be a viable option. The next best is M346 Master as it was designed to be a NATO 5th Gen training jet hence has been integrated with the plethora of EU & US munitions arsenal that NATO countries are using. The least compatible Western-biased jet is FA50 and thats what we’re getting.

    @kel
    “Yet after 290+ units they decide to call it quits.”
    Its probably bcoz the quantities had met their needs back when the program was planned. Subsequent requirements (ie mass retirement of Condors) would entail the new need for more units alas it came at a time postCovid when things are expensive & Govt purportedly has no money, hence the switch to smaller vehicles. It could also be for tactical reasons where they saw a need for much smaller vehicle in use for urban areas hence why the 6×6/4×4 (imho should just go for either one and not both). Ultimately, the TDM will have to accept what they get and they will surely make full use of what was received.

    “So would it have been better to just get another 48 tanks instead of the Gempita”
    Geographically, both sides of Msia is not tank country where you’d expect tank on tank battles, our tanks & likely the adversary’s would be more for an armoured thrust to provide the punch for an infantry/mechanised infantry assault/counteroffensive, in stationary killzones either at urban areas or chokepoints on roads & accessible areas. 48 is not a lot but its not too insignificant in a strategic way, where TDM won’t be wasting tanks in an all out fight ie Kursk or the Bulge. Perhaps a concern would be a 1st strike taking out a significant number whilst in their bases.

    “Why put money on recapitalising armoured vehicles”
    Its easier to convince the politicians & beancounters on the merits of national project to assemble armoured vehicles here compared to buying expensive choppers from overseas which gives nearly no local incentives, plus an army is naturally ground focused rather than air. Indeed after Gempita, I been exhorting TDM to focus back on the PUTD medium choppers now that Nuri is officially retired and there’s no replacement yet. Hopefully the leased Blackhawks could convince the decisionmakers to go for this platform when there is money to buy them. Forget about the 6×6/4×4 for now.

  41. @ Kel,

    “Minimal emphasis on precision weapons. Minimal emphasis on long range weaponry”

    Look at my posts on what the Army 4NextG plan is all about.

    The emphasis is actually there. As is more real time ISTAR to enable precision, long range targeting.

    Just the plan was not communicated to the public more widely like the navy and air force plans.

  42. … – ”Ideally we should not have 2 services trying to do the same thing.”

    Difference between ‘ideally” and ”reality”. The ”reality” is that at times role duplication is unavoidable; i.e. the RMAF needs SHORADS for its service centric; so does the army – on paper SHORADS would be operated by a single entity but in reality can be impractical.

    kel – ”is this why armour and big guns has been dominating recent plans? ”

    Nothing is ”dominating” anything. ”Big guns” are nee4ded because the last purchase was in 2001 and of all the army’s combat arms the Royal Artillery Corps has received the least attention.

    Kel – ”Reason why Nuri replacement never happened? ”

    Simple. Because the government was unable to allocate funding

    kel – ”the Air Defense is still stuck on V/SHORADs?”

    You mean the requirement for a SHORADS? The army has long had a requirement for a SHORADs to supplement its V-SHORADS; since the early 2000’s in fact. Tenders were placed on a couple of occasions. Nobody is ”stuck” on anything as you wrongly suggested; it’s a question of funding.

    kel – ”Minimal emphasis on long range weaponry.”

    It has had a longstanding requirement for another MLRS Regiment and it’s pointless having ”long range weaponry” if one lacks the means to locate and fix targets.

    kel – ”If that is the case, no wonder the Army seems to be operating in its own world.”

    No it’s not ”the case” which you’d know if you know where to look and what to ask with regards to army planning.

    Kel – ”therefore do no see other elements as essential? ”

    As has been explained to you; the army has to decide what gets priority for funding [trade off are made] during particular periods. Just because the army at present sees a greater need for 155mm guns rather than MLRSs doesn’t mean it does not see the value or need for MLRSs. Also, government has to agree on what should be a priority.

  43. Hulubalang “The main aim of Army 4NextG is to have the same capability in both East and West Malaysia, to be able to conduct operations/defend in both at the same time.”

    There’s nothing there that remotely suggested that there’s going to be the same MRO, firing range, support facilities in EM to replicate the WM support facilities. Being able to operate in EM doesn’t mean it would be based and has all supporting facilities builds EM permanently. If anything they can still achieve it by using air & sealift.

    Hulubalang “I really think that the army has a clear vision of what it wants, but not quite there on what is it to be done to achieve those visions.”

    The army shares of the % of the budget is declining year over year as AF & Navy budget increase in term of % year over year. It’s likely difficult for them to implement a long terms plan as the money isn’t there and there’s need to readjusted the plan over & over.

    Joe “Future sealift capabilities are moreso important for the humanitarian, HADR, overseas deployment missions we would encounter rather than actually going to war.”

    The flexibility is why airlift & sealift capabilities are acquired even at the cost of plenty of armoured land vehicles.

    Joe “Its easier to convince the politicians & beancounters on the merits of national project to assemble armoured vehicles here compared to buying expensive choppers from overseas which gives nearly no local incentives”

    Helo is quite a no brainer for local production though. The Korean go for a single model for all the defense & internal security. But then again they have a single procurement agency and a single monopolistic suppliers.

    Kel, “Minimal emphasis on precision weapons. Minimal emphasis on long range weaponry”

    Their Astros & GBAD haven’t reached the 30 years age to warrant a replacement. Then there’s the question whether TDM themselves would owned the drone & other asset to perform ISTAR for such long range precision strike capabilities or would the AF be in charge of it?

  44. I don’t know if people have a different understanding of priority, but prioritisation requires rank ordering from important to least important. Prioritisation does not lie with the government, it lies with the services. The government says what do you want. The services say we want 1 to 99 items. Government says you have to choose only 3 things to buy this RMK. Having a long wish list does not equate to having a priority list. On the idea that the Army does want precision weapons, the answer is its not a priority. They merely have a statement they want it, which is logical. But they have neither specified what equipment they want, when do they want it, how many do they want, or stated a force structure on how it will operate within the broader Army. Right now its just a statement of intent, the “we are still learning. We just want some capabilities to learn”. If what I understand was mentioned about tinkering within the Army leadership (Ctrl+F if unsure what I mean), because of the diverse type of soldiers (armour, artillery, infantry, air defense, support, etc) it would appear the Army’s choices or priorities depends on which “faction” runs the show in Army HQ rather than follow some strategic plan / force structure.

  45. zaft – ”Being able to operate in EM doesn’t mean it would be based and has all supporting facilities builds EM permanently. ”

    The long term plan is to have the needed support/training infrastructure in East Malaysia in order to better sustain the increased footprint there and do away with the need to still rely on things in the Peninsular… You would have noticed that over the years the army has progressively expanded its bases/facilities in East Malaysia; that the RMAF spoke of a FOB in Bintulu and the RMN also in the long term wants a base in Bintulu. So yes …
    All this is well known; just a matter of researching and looking it up.

    zaft – ”Then there’s the question whether TDM themselves would owned the drone & other asset to perform ISTAR for such long range precision strike capabilities or would the AF be in charge of it?”

    There is no such ”question” because the UASs would be ones operated at a tactical/operational level organic to arty regiments; so no the RMAF doesn’t even enter the equation.

    kel – ”I don’t know if people have a different understanding of priority”

    I can’t speak for you but most people have a pretty good understanding what ”priority” means despite not having a Major in English.

    kel – ”Prioritisation does not lie with the government, it lies with the services.”

    No it doesn’t and it has been clearly explained to you. The armed services lay out their requirements and select their priorities but ultimately the government decides what should be a priority; there are actual examples if you’re interested; in how the government decided to shit priorities; i.e. in the 2008/9 period the government decided that MRCAs should be a priority. The RMAF during that period was actually focused on MPAs and other things which according to the then plan; would have been realised before MRCAs entered the scene. Eventually things went ratshit and the government decided on LCAs which were intended to replace the Hawks and partly do some of the roles the Fulcrums did [LCAs of course can never replace a MRCA and it would be tomfoolery to think so; some do]. I could go on with other examples of priorities being changed by the government; i.e. the RMN was deadset on a pair of former Swedish training boats but received a pair of frigates instead after the politicians changed their minds.

    kel – ”But they have neither specified what equipment they want, when do they want it, how many do they want”

    Incorrect. They know what they want; there are people whose job is to plan for future force structures. Just because they have not publicly stated what they want doesn’t mean they haven’t figured out what they want.

    kel – ”Having a long wish list does not equate to having a priority list.”

    Having a list signifies what the services need to be progressively acquired. Who said that everything in the list is a priority. You’re unnecessarily
    things.

    kel – ”Army’s choices or priorities depends on which “faction” runs the show in Army HQ rather than follow some strategic plan / force structure.”

    Name me one military on this planet whose priorities or certain aspects of policy or other things might not change in line with a change of leadership. As for ”which “faction” runs the show” – the RMR and to a lesser degree the Gerak Khas/Para [many of whom are/were RMR anyway] faction/mafia.

    kel – ”Right now its just a statement of intent, the “we are still learning”

    No it doesn’t work that way. The armed services plan long term; they list out their requirements in order of priority and they submit their requirements for approval to await funding. As for priorities; they naturally evolve but just because priority may be assault rifles doesn’t mean the army doesn’t see the value of LMGs. I have pointed out misplaced assumptions you made with the wheeled IFVs, SHORADS, etc. It’s a matter of what the army feels it needs most at a particular moment; making the needed trade offs.

    kel – ”We just want some capabilities to learn”

    You need to note that longstanding policy has been to have a minimal deterrent capability and that drives what we buy and the quantity. The armed services will be told; ”you need ‘X’ fine but the number will be limited because of the low threat environment and funding issues. Why do you think we’ve on occasion bought fighters in batches of 18 and ships in 6s? Why do you think we got only a pair of subs? As a RMN friend told me; the actual number was constrained not only by financial reasons but also due to the fact that for the bean counters the subs were to enable us to have a nascent capability which could be expanded on later. In short; the Scorpenes were initially seen/sold as training platforms; to have an initial capability.

  46. What is puzzling, WHEN do we switch from capability based upgrades to threat based? Chin is already implementing area denial in our EEZ. Our government may adopt an ostrich head in the sand on the matter called “defence diplomacy” but things for sure will esclate. All other nations are doing something yet our PMX wants to sit down and discuss…duh

  47. Kel – “Yet to meet the KPI, Army went ahead, created a unit in east Malaysia with no howitzer to operate”

    You’ve got it totally wrong. It’s not for the “KPI”. A unit has to be raised; a cadre of trained personnel which operate the initial batch of guns and which can also be expanded on when the time comes. There is also the administrative angle to be factored in. Surely you’re not suggesting that the unit is raised from scratch only after it’s received it authorised number of guns. That would be silly. Raising a cadre with support/administrative elements is the long established way when it comes to raising new units; i e. 4th Mechanised Brigade became 4th Mechanised Brigade before it even received a KIFV; the Army Aviation Corps was raised before it even received its full complement of Alo 3s; I could go on.

    Kel – “.Why put money on recapitalising armoured vehicles that can neither swim to east Malaysia”

    Based on that logic then why have MLRSs, arty, SHORADs, bringing gear and other things since they can’t “swim to East Malaysia”. You’re unnecessarily convoluting things and asking questions which have answers which should be known to you. Might as well as why bother having a Malaysian Army and investing billions of it can be defeated by the PLA’s 5th Shock Army; why bother having a LCS with only a 16 cell VLS which can be saturated in a high intensity environment or why have LCAs which can’t meet a Rafale or a F-22 on a level playing field.

    The IFVs are being upgraded/refurbished because they still have utility and because the army can’t [obviously] replace them yet. That’s why… It’s not for fun; not because the army has no idea what it’s doing or a nefarious plot to waste taxpayers money

  48. @joe
    “The next best is M346 Master as it was designed to be a NATO 5th Gen training jet hence has been integrated with the plethora of EU & US munitions arsenal that NATO countries are using”

    What 5th gen training capability that FA50 can’t do that the M346 can? As for the weapons, I don’t see that RMAF will purchase Brimstone and iris-t if we ever gone with M346, and FA50 also have its own sets of Korean and western weapons integrated, as of now it is short off having any antiship and anti radiation missiles. Choosing M346 also meant we would sacrificed something else

  49. The Master never had a serious look as RMAF wanted a FLIT/LCA which is supersonic. That is why the Master did not figure in the tender. I was told that it was offered initially but withdrawn the next day.

  50. @Zaft
    “army shares of the % of the budget is declining year over year”
    As it should, as some says, since we’re a maritime nation so TUDM & TLDM should take priority.

    “Helo is quite a no brainer for local production though.”
    Hell no! Its the same as local production of jets, we just don’t have the technical capacity nor knowhow to do such a thing. Its gonna cost a lot to setup a facility for such and to train people, money that is better spent on actually buying the units CBU.

    “TDM themselves would owned the drone & other asset to perform ISTAR”
    For the now, PUTD has AW109 and MD530G to provide fire support. Drone for such is nice to have but not a necessity for now.

  51. @Luqman
    “What 5th gen training capability that FA50 can’t do that the M346 can?”
    M346 was designed with an open architecture allowing for continuous upgradability support and the cockpit layout was onset designed with 5th/6th gen planes configuration. The M346 also has LO add on modules which the FA50 lacks.

    There are more to a plane than just outright speed.

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