The Goose Or Not The Goose

Firing a goose. BTDM

SHAH ALAM: The Goose or not the goose. The Army has a requirement for 110 units of 84mm recoilless anti-tank weapon for its combat units, according to an advertisement published by the Defence Ministry on May 25. The tender will be closing on 17 June. Although the specifications basically says it is the Carl Gustaf 84mm recoilless weapon system, all local importers can enter the request for bids.

Saab Carl Gustav Mk 4. Saab

Some of the specifications:

There is a requirement to equip light anti-tank weapon recoilless (RCL) for anti-armour platoon to counter the armoured threat in all phases of war including Operation in Build Up Area (OBUA). It is suitable to use in OBUA due to limited Line of Sight (LoS) and distance to engage enemy armoured threat. The weapon also shall possess multi-role usage to incapacitate enemy personnel, destroy bunkers and armoured vehicles. The weapon shall be able to fire various types of ammunition such as High Explosive (HE), High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT),Anti-Structure, Anti-Personnel, High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP),Guided Munition, Smoke, Illumination and Target Practice (TP).

3.1 Mandatory. 3.1.1 Completeness. 3.1.1.1 Launcher. 3.1.1.2Sighting system. 3.1.1.3 Venturi locking lever. 3.1.1.4 Trigger mechanism.

4.1 Mandatory. 4.1.1 Launcher. It shall be as follows:4.1.1.1 Calibre. 84 mm. 4.1.1.2 Length. Not more than 1,000 mm. 4.1.1.3Weight. It shall be as follows: 4.1.1.3.1 System Weight without Sighting Unit. Not more than 7 kg. 4.1.1.3.2 System Weight with Sighting Unit. Not more than 9 kg. 4.1.1.4 Rate of Fire. It shall be not less than six (6) rounds per minute. 4.1.1.5 Cocking and Safety Lever. It shall be able to reach by the shooter easily without interrupting the handling of the weapon. 4.1.1.6Picatinny Rail. It shall comply with MIL-STD 1913. 4.1.1.7 Service Life. It shall be not less than 1,000 rounds. 4.1.1.8 Safety Device. It shall be equipped with safety mechanism incorporated with the weapon system to prevent accidents.

Soldiers from the 10th Para Brigade at the 2019 Merdeka parade carrying the Carl Gustaf M2 version. PDRM picture

Based on the above specifications one would know that they want the Mark 4 version of the Carl Gustaf. Why the ministry is not making the deal directly with Saab or the Sweden Defence Procurement Agency to buy them is beyond me. Despite our own myopic procurement rules, government to government deal is allowed. As it is local importers – who will hike the price of each launchers (around $US20,000 (RM82,000) per unit – will make a small profit from the deal. It will be the Army which have to pony up around RM30,000 (for one unit) for the more exotic rounds for the launchers.

Getting ready to fire a Carl Gustaf from a G-wagen. BTDM

Apart from paying the local importers, the ministry have also to pay the multi-modal transport operator (MTO) to ship back the launchers here, admittedly the only ones who deserved to make some money from the deal.

An inspection of a Carl Gustaf with 10th Para Brigade in February 2020. BTDM.

Anyhow, the M4 version of the Goose would be beneficial to the soldiers who are assigned with the weapon as it is much lighter. The current M2 version weights a hefty 14kg, while the M4 is around 7kg or 9kg with the sights. This is of course a long over due procurement. The other Saab weapon we bought, though not officially, of course.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

18 Comments

  1. Interesting in that we still see the need for a heavier non disposable shoulder launched weapon to equip the Support Companies (and also Gerak Khas); as a supplement to the section level operates RPGs and LAWs.

    The advantage it will have over the RPGs and LAW is better accuracy (due to the sight), better range and the ability to fire a variety of rounds. The Gustavs traditionally have been used to fire smoke and illum which however can also be done by the Milkors and mortars.

  2. Just to clarify,

    So this tender is to equip the anti-armor platoon of the support company (basically weapons company)?

    From the infantry battalion orbat, do the infantry company have a heavy weapons platoon? And if yes, are they only equiped with medium mg?

    Reply
    Yes it the Platun Anti Kereta Kebal (PKK). I am not well versed in the ORBAT of infantry units to detail their exact composition.

  3. Wise choice for ATM, with this new M4 Carl.G ,and many ranges of rounds, maybe it might replace the older version of Carl.G…C90….Baktar Shikan…Metis…NLAW… Eryx…106 mm R.R….
    If ATM is creative enough this gun can be mounted on tarantula vehicles etc etc…the possibilities are endless…

    Reply
    The Goose is meant to be man portable, not mounted on a vehicle. It can be carried on a vehicle though. Its not not being creative but RCL needs an empty back space to avoid the blast from affecting the shooter.

  4. I’m guessing the reason why its not G2G deal was because it goes thru tender which DIDN’T specify the exact weapon of choice but from the way the tender requirements is written leave no doubts as to what that weapon is. Going G2G meant no tender process which is against the current open style procurement process.

    No doubts opening for local agents only meant feeding middlemen but at least the process is more open now and open tender means TDM could still get a reasonable offer and not from a fixed crony.

    Reply
    Not really, only one or two companies can claim to be local agents of a particular foreign company. The problem with this of course that the designated company might not get the contract but instead go to another company. What will happened then, if the first company can still make money they will get a deal with the designated company for a small profit which has happened before various times. If the margin is too low for such a deal, the deal will flounder and they will have to re-tender again until the designated company wins it. Which has happened before.

  5. Nihd – ”From the infantry battalion orbat, do the infantry company have a heavy weapons platoon? And if yes, are they only equiped with medium mg?”

    Traditionally each infantry battalion had a Support Company which had amongst other things a MG Platoon [in the form of GPMGs] which were parceled out where they are needed. Carl Gustavs are also operated by the Support Company but in the past there was no such thing as a ”anti-armor platoon” for the reason that engaging tanks wasn’t on the list of our priorities [given the threat situation then] and the Carl Gustav was a jack of all trades; from engaging bunkers to laying smoke to whatever targets of opportunity were presented.

    The difference between now and then is that back then the Carl Gustav was the only means of engaging AFVs [apart from the hard to conceal and not very effective RCLs]; times have changed; putting aside guided stuff which is more conducive at non restricted terrain at medium to longer ranges [i.e. along highways and such]; at closer ranges in restricted terrain [palm estates or urban areas] the RPGs and LAW would be useful; even if they achieve a mobility kill or destroy the target’s optics; the job is done.

  6. Prove me wrong…twin 106mm RCL have been mounted on M113 by the auzi before….it can be mount n dismount of cause….I understood pretty well of the backblast area 50 mtr…it should be no issue as the gunner n loader will be standing at both side of the tube inside the vehicle….more ammo can be carried by the taranrula…2 men team lugging 16kg tube ( older version ) n 4 ammo in a canister is no joke ( 4 tubes in a rifle company )….plus your rifle n personal belonging…

    Reply
    the RCL you are talking about was never designed to be fired from the shoulder unlike the Goose. Yes the 14 kg Mark 2 is heavy but mounting it to a vehicle would need proper engineering it would not be enough to be creative. As you can see from the post, our guys had already carried the Goose in a G wagon but then fire them from the shoulder.
    I know I won’t convinced you that your idea to mount the Goose is a a bad idea, so you do you. It’s the same about aimed fire but life is too short to argue over trivial matters

  7. “they will have to re-tender again”
    It would still have to be an agreeable sum between both buyer and seller hence if the Govt doesn’t feel the bid is worth the value, a re-tender is necessary and altho nothing is really foolproof, the Govt do acknowledge there is attempts to rig Govt tendering process in other areas and they are scrutinising tender bidders more closely.

    Human greed is such that people will always find ways to do things unethically but progression towards a more transparent system is still better than previously.

  8. -A major issue with RCLs is that the black blast creates a lot of smoke and dust; making it easy for others to spot the firing position.
    -Ultimately; RCLs (large heavy tripod mounted ones as opposed to shoulder launches ones like Folgore and Carl Gustav) have been largely done away with by most armies for the reason that their roles can be performed just as effectively (or even better) by other weapons which are more practical to use.
    – The 12.7mm spotting round makes tripod mounted RCLs quite accurate but the 106mm round itself has very little penetrating power against anything other than a lightly armoured target.
    – The USMC use to have a platform with 6 RCLs called the Ontos which was very effective in the direct fire role. It was very useful in Hue for blasting holes in walls. The Filipinos in Marawi also found RCLs useful for this role.
    – Out of sheer necessity RCLs have been mounted on other platforms as well : the problem is that when used in the direct fire role their crews are totally exposed to enemy fire.

  9. Still want to go through middle men who add no value to the chain. A gov to gov deal will give more bang for the bucks

  10. Lee – “gov to gov deal will give more bang for the bucks”

    Quite obviously but such practices are ingrained in the system. Unless and until deep fundamental changes are made; nothing will change.

  11. @Lee Yoke Meng
    A direct G2G deal would also meant no tender and no transparency in the procurement process. Do we want to go back into the Dark Ages of Govt buys?

    Reply
    Its not dark ages lah. We are buying direct from the OEM via its government. How is it not transparent? They also have to report to their parliament about the deal.

  12. The whole idea of involving or appointing local companies as agents was to ensure that local
    companies would have revenue and it was hoped that the knowledge they gained would eventually improve the local industry. Like many plans which looked good on paper; this was highly flawed from the very begunning.

    The harsh reality is that not only do most companies fail to offer value added services but it has become a drain in resources. The taxpayer ends up paying more and the end user is buggered when local companies can’t deliver it go bust – we’ve seen this too many times. Unfortunately there is neither the will or intent to change things.

    Similarly the bulk of offsets and ToTs (paid for by the taxpayer) have failed to deliver any actual long term tangible benefits – CTRM building steps for the A400M, SME producing Hawk pylons and the setting up
    of ATSC are examples. Let’s not even go into the “self sufficiency” gagaland illusion which some still believe in.

    Unless there is the political will to undo years of deeply ingrained flawed practices and until we adopt a holistic apolitical assessment of what we want to achieve and what we actually can achieve and sustain; nothing will change irrespective of who occupies Putrajaya and who the Defence Minister is.

  13. “How is it not transparent?”
    Without a proper tender selection would show a deliberate bias and basically against the spirit of transparency and openness. As I mentioned above, the tender did not point out a specific weapon system, thou of course it is written such that it leaves little doubt to what that is, still the process of going thru tender selection would have lesser repercussions and recrimination.

  14. A tender selection to allow some companies to print money has lesser repercussions and recrimination? I understand the need to tender things if the thing being purchased is an generic item for example a recoilless rifle from 80mm to 120mm , of course it will be advantageous to request for bids. But when the item is already identified and its the only thing that will work, what ever tender exercise is done is redundant when there is a method to avoid it, not due to nefarious means but logic.

    For example, if you are a business owner and you want to replace your trucks and you identified the latest version of the Mercedes truck to replace the old fleet. Will you go find 10 people who can sell you the trucks for 10 per cent extra or do you go straight to Mercedes and pinch their balls to get the best deal? Of course if you have a nefarious supply manager, he or she will tender the bid and buy the most expensive trucks and keep 10 per cent of the proceeds to him or herself.

  15. Sometimes I wish there was a “like” button.

    The Twitter feed really sums it up in a nutshell and leaves no room for doubt that for many purchases there is simply no need for a agent; one who gets paid for providing services which are not needed in the first place and who provides zero added value to justify the revenue gained.

  16. @Marhalim
    If there is a need to get a specific equipment, of course direct buy is the most cost effective, but this tender is anything but directly buying a specific equipment. It doesn’t mention M4 Carl Gustav in the tender, IINM.

    Its like saying if my tender is to buy prime mover trucks, specifically must be continental brand, specifically must be ordered in Germany, you might think, hey, it must be Mercedes right?

    But no. MAN is also German. And ordering from Germany doesn’t automatically meant it must be a German brand – my tender never said that – you could tender a bid with Volvo or DAF or Scania truck via German distros and I wouldn’t say you’re wrong. Its down to the tender selection process to sort out unqualified bids.

    I don’t disagree with you that limiting to local agents meant lining up someone’s pockets, it always does, but don’t we want due process and better transparency of the procurement? Our previous way of doing things opaquely via closed tenders & G2G is evidently not better than today, was it not?

    Reply
    Clearly the CG is not mentioned by name to allow for the tender to proceed. That’s the reason

  17. Transparency in any deal in government procurement or even listed corporations is a must . Having said that it’s not always must to call for a tender just to satisfy transparency requirements. Even in commercial entities there are many times we go directly to suppliers to negotiate the best deal in town especially if it’s a repeat buy or the list price of the item is well published or easily comparable. Calling tender in such situations can actually end up inflating costs and timeline. There must be some latitude offered to the defence acquisition council or team if there is one. I think we can cite examples of FMS program when buying capital items from the US as a good way, where especially smaller buyers like Malaysia can leverage or tag on to US forces program offices to help arrange the deal. Also sorry since such deals need notifications to their elected officials, transparency is also there.

  18. We can all agree the procurement process is still loopholed and should be made better to ensure the end users gets what they want at the prices the Govt can afford in quantities that suffice, however what we have today is definitely a step in the right direction and far, far better than what we’re doing the last 30-40 years of defence buys.

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