SHAH ALAM: Tell me why. A couple of months back, a South Korean newspaper got everyone excited that there will be a tender for 6X6 vehicles for the Army. I ignored the story as I had already been told that no tender for 6X6 vehicles is expected in the near future by a very credible source.
It was a good story of course for those promoting defence exhibitions, those looking for free trips overseas and copy and paste artists but nothing else really. A check on the Kementerian Pertahanan 2020 annual report suggested that a locally design 6X6 vehicle will be built from the ground up, instead.
Stride ( the R&D arm of the ministry) had on May 5, 2020, signed an MOU with Mildef International Technologies Sdn Bhd, for the design, development, integration and manufacturing of a 6X6 high mobility protected wheeled vehicles. Mildef is of course the company that promoted what it called the locally developed MRAP, the Tarantula
With some RM40 million allocated for STRIDE this year, it is likely that the MRAP 6X6 will go much further than the Tarantula. Whether or not it will enter production, is of course another thing all together. Of course this is not the first 6X6 vehicle that was supposed to be developed by a local company. Another local company was given the go-ahead to develop a 6X6 in 2019 by the then Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, which floundered when the company – which is an automotive design house- failed to develop the vehicle beyond conceptual drawings.
Not all of the RM40 million allocation will be used to develop the 6X6 vehicle though as Stride also signed MOUs with two local companies to develop a drone and a degaussing system in June and September, 2020, respectively. The drone is being developed with Sky Rich Holding Sdn Bhd while the degaussing system is with Dayatech Merin Sdn Bhd.
As with the MOU with Mildef, no details were released on the agreements with Sky Rich and Dayatech. A model of a single person drone was used as a background for the Stride/Sky Rich MOU signing ceremony though. Could it be that the ministry is planning for Op Benteng patrols be conducted in this drone in the future? Your guess is as good as mine.
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