VAB vs Anoa = Condor!

PETALING JAYA: I sincerely hope with this post, the Indonesian media and establishment will stop making noise about Malaysia buying the Anoa.

Yes, it appears both the VAB and its Indonesian version, the Anoa, have been beaten in the competition to supply Malaysian peacekeepers in Lebanon a new 6X6. And the winner? The Malaysian Army Condors!

I was informed that the 33 Condors were shipped to Lebanon recently to replace those vehicles which had been deployed there since two or three years ago. As Malaysian Defence had reported earlier there were attempts to replace those Condors initially with new or second-hand 6X6 but the programme went no where as the requirement was supposed to be filled by the Anoas.

The Indonesian media and establishment on various occasions had went to town on the supposed deal and the latest report also stated that a deal for 32 Anoas worth some USD80 million was confirmed by the Indonesian defence minister himself. Read Here

As this report and others in the past had been denied by our Defence Minister, the latest developments in Lebanon probably means that the programme to replace the Condor is, officially, dead. That said, strange things have happened in Malaysia before.

A RAD Condor in service with UNIFIL mission. Joint Force picture
A RAD Condor in service with UNIFIL mission. Joint Force picture

I am told the Condors recently shipped to Lebanon, are outfitted with new engines. Whether these engines were fitted recently for the Lebanon mission or whether these were part of the batch that were re-engined after the Bosnia and Somalia missions, I have no idea.

I was told however that apart from the new engines, the Condors are not much better than the ones they are replacing. Let’s hope the UN give us more RG-33s.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2207 Articles
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  1. Those Indonesian media love to speculate things. This hoax has been circulating the Internet for years.

    Its not speculation when you quote someone and that someone is the Defence Minister!

  2. Oh well i am glad to hear that. I am dead against it. But is it 100% absolutely true we aint going to buy this thing? There was a report in Utusan not too long ago on the supposed purchase of the Anoas. From the way it was written, i thought the deal was done and dusted.

    Buy from Thais, Sings or China for all i care. But NEVER from that one particular country. But then again, you will never know what this government of ours is willing to do in the name of diplomatic relations.

  3. Well, our ”cousins” won’t be happy thats for sure! Though there is a legitimate need for our troops with UNIFIL to have a new APC, I wasn’t keen on the Anoa as it’s just a carbon copy of the VAB and no improvements have been done by PINDAD to make it any better! As a 6×6 the Anoa has better mobility but like the Condor, only offers protection up to 7.62mm. Buying the Anoa would also have meant that the army would have another armoured vehicle to support and that thousands of parts would have to be stocked just for less than 30 vehicles!

  4. This is a great news!

    Nothing wrong with the Condor IMO, accept of the rollover issue in Somalia (which IMO caused by the road being sprinkled with oil to stop dust and also driver training). Refurbish it with new engines, ABS, ESP for auto hill decent, add some composite/ bar armor and it is good for another 20 years!

    The soldiers in Lebanon, thinks otherwise!

  5. While I agree that we should not buy the ANOA the fact that our boys will have to risk their lives with obsolete stuff saddened me.

    I hope government will accelerate the delivery of the PARS. If a 6×6 is what is needed in Lebanon, then make a VO for that variant of the PARS. The first few batch should be sent over there if we are going to stay in Lebanon long enough for the PARS to complete all the necessary trials and operator training. The ad-hoc buying such as those of the KIFV, ACV 300 now VAB or ANOA (or not) must stop.

    The perception it gave is that we do not have a APC or IFV that is fit to defend this country. When there is an urgent requirement such as UN mission where there is a real threat, we have to scramble to purchase without proper planning or study whether it fit our overall defense needs.

    If we increase the total numbers of vehicles ordered, I supposed it should be able to reduced the per unit cost. At the same time boost DRB capacity and local economies.

  6. Halim,
    Could you explain what actually happened with that Condor in somalia?
    Heard stuff,not sure what is real. Now @…on is saying oil to stop the dust?

    Apart from Black Hawk Down mission, the Condors were used for daily patrols. As for the oil sprayed on roads to prevent dust issue, you got to ask VR an explaination.
    BTW have you ever seen Condors on the roads? You will see that the guys sitting almost on top of the turret every time. This is because, from my short experience in them, one cannot stay inside a button up Condor. The vents suck in the exhaust smoke right into the cabin.

  7. …..,

    Nothing wrong with the Condor???? There’s nothing wrong with it indeed if just dealing with lightly armed insurgents and nobody shoots at it with anything larger than a 7.62mm round….. apart from that and other minor stuff like a complete lack of spall liners and even a TI for the driver [which proved to be a ‘slight’ problem on the night of 3/10/93], I supposed there’s nothing wrong with it. The Condor is based on a Unimog chassis and can only take so much weight, so adding stuff like applique armour might not do the trick. As part of PERISTA when there was a need to buy a large number of low tech, inexpensive APCs, the Condor was perfect but its time has past and yes it has provided us with years of excellent service. The roll over issue is largely due with the terrain and the limitations of having just 4 wheels not just oil on the road, that’s why most armies have gone for a 6×6 or a 8×8. One of the first offers received to replace the Condor was an offer from Denel for the Ratel in 1995.


    There could also be another reason why guys sit on top. The AC could be down or is not functioning well.

    The Condors I took the ride had the AC or maybe blowers, but it was only cool exhaust smoke!

  8. @azlan

    Compare VAB and condor.

    Armor? Most APC’s can only windstand only 7.62mm round as standard. A standard VAB armor is designed also only to take hits from 7.62mm rounds. Even our SIBMAS and MIFV/ADNAN can only take hits from 7.62mm rounds.

    Add on composite/ bar armor / spall liners won’t affect much if the absorbers/springs are upgraded too. TI’s is not rocket science to intergrate to an APC. Can Condor chassis take the weight? It can be done. Just look at up-armored Humvees. Upgraded HVAC systems (Aircon) is also doable. I do automotive R&D, so i know it is not impossible. Except for the 6×6, VAB is no better than the condor.

    @Dave malaysia

    About the oil issue, that is what was told in during the 90’s as the cause of rollover. Oil on dusty gravel/earth roads with steep slope. I don’t know if it is true or not as i have never been anywhere near somalia ever.

  9. Re: PECACAI

    “The ad-hoc buying such as those of the KIFV, ACV 300 now VAB or ANOA (or not) must stop.

    The perception it gave is that we do not have a APC or IFV that is fit to defend this country… we have to scramble to purchase without proper planning or study whether it fit our overall defense needs.”

    I couldn’t agree more with these statements. The procurement situation is comparable to someone who goes to the toilet and then discovers there is nothing to wash his backside with! We always seem to be caught with our pants down!

    Get rid of the Condors! As Azlan laid out they are not fit for serious military service. For internal security, maybe, but definitely not for anything like what the army would face in a conflict. It would be better for the army to have nothing at all than a fleet of bullet magnets that can’t stop the bullets!

    The government is at at fault for the state of affairs.

  10. What is the current state of the army’s tracked armor?

    – PT-91M Pendekar
    – Scorpion
    – ACV 300 Adnan
    – K200 KIFV
    – Stormer

  11. What is the current state of the army’s wheeled armor?

    – SIBMAS
    – AML-60/90
    – M-3 VTT
    – Condor*
    – Ferret
    – AT-105 Saxon
    – Commando V-100/150

    (I’m going by SIPRI’s database. I know that some of these vehicles have long since been retired. What happened to them? Are they in storage? Or were they scrapped?)

  12. ……,

    ”Most APC’s can only windstand only 7.62mm round as standard.”

    Not true at all and it depends or on whether these APCs are wheeled or tracked. The RTAs Ukrainian APCs can take up 12.7mm. Before the Adnan entered service, the Ferret had the thickest armour [i I’m not mistaken]. The Adnan provides all round ptotection up to 14.5mm not 7.62mm. The MIFV can take up to 12.7mm not 7.62mm. And yes, the point I was trying to make is the VAB/ANOA has the same protection levels as the Condor and MAYBE both can even be penetrated by 7.62mm AP rounds and by shell/mortar splinters. As for your proposed upgrade, it should have been done years ago, not now – the bottom line is it worth spending cash to fit new engines, applique armour, etc, on a 25 year old 4×4 vehicle?? I think not and most Condor crewman would agree.


    The Panhards were long retired. Up to a few years ago, some V-150s were still used for training, I’m not sure if that’s still the case. The PDRM still has theirs, minus the 90mms and 20mms that have been taken off, mostly. The Saxon is operated by the PDRM never by the army. The Scorpions and Stormers have been completely refurbished over the years and have been converted to diesel.
    The KIFV became the MIFV when it received a new engine and transmission and was trailed with the Kongsberg Ptotecter OWS 7-8 years ago.

  13. P.S.


    A number of Sibmas’s have appeared in Ipoh junkyards over the years. One ARV variant was being sold for 12K and the owner was more than willing to sell it to me. We never operated the AML-60/90. As for the PT-91 it, despite the lack of a thermal camera for the commander and questions regarding ERAWA 2, it was the best T-72 variant until the recent unveiling of the T-90AM which has a bustle auto loader, an OWS and an APS. And it was the best protected MBT after the Sings Leopards 2s, until the RTA gets it Oplots.

  14. 32 anoa for US80 million, takla murah sangat. At least the thais got the 8X8 for ukraine for US1 mil a piece and have us made engines

    the pars would have made a good replacement if not for its us10 mil a piece price tag. imo forget about producing it in country, buy outright from them turkish and save at least 2-3 million us a piece in the process.

    Yes my calculation showed that the Anoa would cost RM7 million a piece and there was no mention that the figure included support costs.

  15. In addition to the Pars (which looks like a sure thing), shouldn’t we be operating an armored vehicle with enhanced marine capabilities? I’m thinking of something like IVECO’s SuperAV 8×8, in development for the US Marine Corps Personnel Carrier program. IMO, and I know that we have so many other pressing matters, one of our long-term goals should be building a marine element either within the army, or as an adjunct to the navy.


  16. FareedLHS,

    We did operate M-3s but never the AML. They had twin 7.62mms in a Giat turret. I can name you the unit that operated it if you’re interested.

    Instead of a vehicle with marine capabilities, I assume you mean a full amphibious capability, it will be pointless as we don’t have the requirement or the means to deploy vehicles from the sea. Something that would be more relevent to our needs would be to have a ”marine” battalion, nothing to big, perhaps 2 companies, an AT, AD and mortar platoon, an HQ, a signals section, etc, that can be used to garrison the Spratleys and guard critical points on the coast. Off course the army won’t let that happen as they will insist that it’s their job and will be worried that the initial cadre will be taken from them.

  17. Does anyone know what the 12 AV-8 variants will be? Has it even been officially announced yet?

    I can only work out the following:

    1. Standard Infantry Variant – either a Denel or OM turret with a 30mm gun.
    2. Ambulance.
    3. AT variant – with the Ingwee. Instead of an AT variant it would be more useful having an AD variant.
    4. Mortar variant – with the same 120mm mortar as that fitted to the 8 Adnan mortar variants.
    5. Surveillance variant – with a Squire radar to detect personnel. Instead of fitting it to the AV8 they could give it to the Intel Corps to replace their 1990’s analogue ASKARADs.
    6. Fitter variant.
    7. Command variant.
    8. NBC variant – IMO a waste given that we face no NBC threat, are not likely to in the near future and that the vehicle could be used for something much more useful.

    The rest?

    It seems we have been busy signing non-sexy but essential contracts, in addition to the very recent ones awarded to Thales for the BMS and the Squire radar, and the one awarded to Trilogy Comms to integrate our radios.

    The one will carrying the 30mm gun will be an Armoured Fighting Vehicle while the one carrying infantry will be armed with 50 cal only whether OWS or not I am not sure. As usual they are fighting over the small details, whether to purchase the gun from Manroy of the UK or FN……Deftech wants Manroy while the Army wants FN….

  18. TD IMHO r going to write off Condors bit by bit in foreign lands (ala post-UN Mission in Timor Leste) then bring back any used vehicles but designated as surplus(preferably of NATO specifications ala post-UNPROFOR Bosnia)

  19. Han…r u sure that pic is a TLDM asset?

    It looked very much like KD Pari apart from the satellite antenna

  20. Azlan,

    The formation of a Marine battalion is exactly what I have in mind. I’m not talking about an amphibious assault force, or anything grand like that, rather a small, yet credible, force capable of limited operations in a maritime environment, such as the Spratlys. For this they would need an armored vehicle with superior marine capabilities, such as IVECO’s SuperAV, or another similarly upgraded vehicle. I believe Patria is also developing a variant for the US Marine Corps competition based on the AMV.

    Also, regarding the Pars variants, IMO there will probably only be 2-3 variants that will account for almost all of the vehicles. The other variants will be limited in number. I also want to share, as it is not commonly known, that the Pars is a derivative of a US company’s earlier design:

  21. Azlan,
    Before you get all excited among all the “non excited sexy” contract, check when was the last time let say communication integration contract they signed, you will yell:”aww, what an idiot”.

    I guess they need to fix the blind spots left by the Sapura system…

  22. Hui,

    There is a whole long list of contracts that should have been signed many moons ago. This does not detract from the fact that these contracts are still essential and were signed to meet present requirements.

    A comms integration contract was indeed done by Thomson CSF [now Thales]in the early 90’s.
    Prior to that there was really nothing to integrate beyond ensuring all our comms could ”talk” on the same frequency within all 3 services as we were using fairly basic stuff like the TRC series and from Thomson CSF.
    As we expended our comms, in size, scope and capability there was a need for further integration and to cover problems like blind spots, caused by geography. As we now also have the capability to send non-voice comms via data transmissions and emails over a LAN, I would assume this also requires further work.

  23. 12k for a Simba? hmm very tempting that would be 3,000Cdn and another 5,000 to ship it here. Not sure how happy the wife would be.

    How many Ferrets do you operate and did they upgrade the engine?

    I believe its around 50. Yes they put in a diesel engine, do not know what type.

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