Friday, April 20, 2018

Malaysian Army to receive first of 18 Nexter 105 LG1 light guns from November 2019

Dato’ Shafii Hj Roshad and Olivier Travert signing the Purchase Contract, witnessed by (from
left) Maj Gen Dato’ Nordin Hj Salleh, Malaysian Army Director of Artillery, Dato’ Abdul Hadi Abdul Razak, Chairman of ADS, Maj Gen Thierry Marchand, Armed Forces Commander for New Caledonia and Col Jean Francois Shoonmann, French Defense Attache to Malaysia.(Photo: Nexter Systems-ADSSB)

The Malaysian Army will receive its 18 105mm LG1 light guns from Nexter Systems afterall. The press release announcing the signing of an agreement in Kuala Lumpur between French defence company, Nexter, and its Malaysian partner, ADS Sdn Bhd, was released yesterday. The signing presumably took place yesterday - the final day of the four-day Defence Services Asia arms show.

ADS is short for Advanced Defence Systems.

Here is the full press release for your reading pleasure. Do note the error: As far as we know, the Singapore Artillery no longer uses the LG1. One of these guns is now at the Singapore Artillery museum at Khatib Camp.

Malaysian Ministry of Defense opts for 18 105LG1 Artillery Systems of Nexter and his partner ADS

Kuala Lumpur, April 19, 2018 - The Ministry of Defense, Malaysia announced the acquisition of 18 units of 105LG1 artillery systems for the Armed Forces during one of the largest defense services exhibition in Asia, DSA&NATSEC 2018. This 3-year contract will start by November 2019 with the first delivery of 6 light guns and the last delivery is due to take place in February 2020.

The 105LG1 is a 105mm gun designed for intervention and rapid reaction forces. With a maximum range of 17 km, it can be towed by a light vehicle, transported by an average helicopter (PUMA or Bell 212 type) or parachuted by a tactical transport aircraft (C130-Hercules type). This extreme mobility, thanks to its low weight (1650 kg), allows it to be deployed on any theater of operation as complex as it is (jungle, forest, mountains etc.). A crew of 5 men is enough to make it operational very quickly (a battery setup of 30 seconds) and to shoot at a rate of at least 12 rounds per minute.

Combat Proven and qualified by the French army, the gun of 105LG1 equips today six armies around the world: Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Belgium, Canada and Colombia. This new acquisition of 105LG1 by the Malaysian army confirms the excellent performance, ease of use and robustness of this gun.

ADS, one of the major Malaysian defense players, and Nexter, the French land defense leader, are business partners since 8 years and this contract is a new step of a fruitful cooperation. In support to the local artillery industry, 105 LG1 systems will be assembled locally at the ADS Assembly facilities near Gemas, Negeri Sembilan. ADS is confident that this initiative will create self-reliance and improve the artillery capabilities among the armed forces. The package will also include long range ERG3 ammunition and Bacara Ballistic Computer.

Dato’Shafii Hj Roshad of ADS Sdn Bhd (ADS) expressed his appreciation to the Malaysian Government for the opportunity to work together and will continue to support the Government of Malaysia in providing solutions for the defense arena. Olivier Travert, Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Officer of Nexter said that "this contract is a new recognition of the Nexter Group's expertise in the field of artillery and ammunition. This is an important success in our strategy to position our group as the leading artillery partner in Asia.”


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Malaysian Navy MRSS proves elusive, 105mm light gun signing ceremony cancelled

The update on the Royal Malaysian Navy Multi-Role Support Ship project did not take place today at the Defence Services Asia arms show. The RMN had earlier indicated the MRSS design would be unveiled at the show and all eyes were on the MOU update staged this morning.

What's more, a Memorandum of Agreement between European weapons manufacturer, Nexter Systems, and its Malaysian partner, ADS Sdn Bhd, related to the supply of Nexter 105LG1 light guns for the Malaysian Army was cancelled at the last minute. It's not fake news. See above.

Had the event taken place, the Malaysian Army would have been due to receive its first of 18 light guns in November 2019, with the balance delivered by February 2020.

No reasons were given for both developments.

I did not attend the MOU signing as I was engaged with 3 Divisyen staff. Staff from 3 Div had hosted Singapore Chief of Army, Brigadier-General Goh Si Hou, at the Malaysian Army pavilion on Tuesday. Split between hearing their perspective of COA's visit or attending a photocall covered by all media, I decided on the former.

Malaysian defence observer, Marhalim Abas, summed today's developments up nicely in his DSA update on his Malaysian Defence blog. See his post, Cold Feet, here.

A related post by Malaysian Defence noted:"Several contracts scheduled for today were left out without any explanation. This includes the contract for the purchase of Nexter 105 LG1 howitzers. ADS Sdn Bhd officials who were at the ceremony were left speechless with the turn of events. Also left out at the ceremony were contracts for Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines to provide transportation for soldiers to and from the peninsula to Sabah and Sarawak. Their representatives who were present at the ceremony were also not given any explaination on why the contracts were not awarded today." 

Click here for the full Malaysian Defence post.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Royal Malaysian Navy Multi-Role Support Ship MRSS design due to be announced at Defence Services Asia 2018

The Malaysian Armed Forces has called a press conference tomorrow to announce "an MOU". Senang Diri understands that it has something to do with the Royal Malaysian Navy's Multi-Role Support Ship (MRSS) project that will replace the ageing KD Indera Sakti (1503) and KD Mahawangsa (1504).

The MOU will pave the way for one of three contenders (above) to receive a Letter of Intent that will bring the MRSS project to the next phase.

And just when you thought Day 3 of the four-day DSA event would see things winding down, a second armament-related media event tomorrow is for the supply of Nexter LG1 105mm light guns to the Malaysian Army.(Note: The Singapore Artillery retired its Giat LG1 light guns years ago as it standardised its tubes to 155mm. Pros and cons of this move could easily sustain several blog posts...)

Stay tuned for more.

Malaysian Army Weststar-IAG Guardian armoured security vehicles due to arrive in Lebanon next week

The Malaysian Army's new warhorses, the Weststar-International Armored Group Guardian armoured security vehicles, are due to arrive in Lebanon in about 10 days' time.

Nine Weststar-IAG Guardians will join the Malaysian Battalion (MalBatt) peace-keeping force deployed in Lebanon. The new 4x4 vehicles will augment Condor armoured personnel carriers that serve as troop transports for MalBatt.

According to Weststar-IAG, the Guardian's due to serve MalBatt have been tailored for the Malaysian Army's specific operational requirements. Changes to the left-hand drive Guardians include the additional of wire mesh to screen all windows and the choice of a cupola-mounted MG with all-round traverse, instead of the remotely-operated weapon system seen on the Guardian now on show at Kuala Lumpur's Defence Services Asia 2018 weapons show.

The Guardians add to an increasingly varied stable of Malaysian Army war machines, which already has the DefTech Lipanbara high mobility armoured vehicle fielded for MRAP-type roles.

Here are some views of the Guardian at DSA 2018. The vehicle is configured to carry eight troops in the rear compartment, with a front cabin for a driver and the vehicle commander.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Guide to Malaysian Army Formation patches & badges seen at Defence Services Asia DSA 2018


The badges of 14 Malaysian Army formations take pride of place at the Malaysian Army pavilion at the Defence Services Asia 2018 arms show. These badges form a popular backdrop for DSA visitors looking for a photocall with Tentera Darat warfighters equipped with the Future Soldier System.

Arranged in three rows in order of seniority, each badge design has an animal motif placed centrally on a shield outline. A three-digit numeric code is placed below the animal, which is typically of a species native to Malaysia. These include creatures such as the hornbill, eagle and elephant.

Here's the Senang Diri guide to the 14 numeric codes for Malaysian Army formations, arranged in order of seniority:
500: Field Army Headquarters
600: Western Field Command (i.e. Peninsular Malaysia). 600-series units indicate those operating in West Malaysia.
700: Eastern Field Command (i.e. Sabah and Sarawak). 700-series units indicate those operating in East Malaysia.
800: Training & Logistics Command
900: Logistics
701: 1 Division
601: 2 Division
602: 3 Division
603: 4 Division
702: 5 Division
617: 10 Brigade (Para)
641: Rejimen Gerak Khas (i.e. Special Services Group)
360: Rejimen 881 Pasukan Udara Tentera Darat
361: Rejimen 882 Pasukan Udara Tentera Darat

Interestingly, the out-of-series 617 designation for Tentera Darat's elite 10th Briged (Para) carries the same numerals as Britain's crack WW2 bomber unit, Number 617 Squadron, better known as the Dambusters.

Badges in black embroidery on a green backing are worn on the Number 5 camouflage uniforms.

The reader should note that the tactical formation signs are not worn on other Malaysian Army uniforms, for example, the Bush Jacket. In the latter case, personnel from 3 Divisyen would, for instance, continue wearing their 3 Div patches instead of the "602" one.


So are we.

But the Malaysian Army isn't the only one that refers to army units by different names. There's another south of the Causeway that does so too....

You're welcome  :-)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Defence Services Asia 2018 Media Day: Malaysian Armed Forces to showcase Network Centric Operations command centre, new capabilities at biggest DSA arms show

The Malaysian Army has set up a mock command centre at the Defence Services Asia 2018 (DSA 2018) arms exposition to showcase how it intends to wield information as a weapon.

At a media preview in Kuala Lumpur today, Senang Diri was given a sneak peek inside the Malaysian Army's Network Centric Operations (NCO) display. This simulates a command centre with key staff functions aided in their decision-making with information that is drawn from various sensors, and integrated together in real-time. This command centre arms battle staff with a better sense of the locations of friendly and enemy forces, thus enabling commanders to manoeuvre Malaysian Army assets accordingly.

The display was in the final stages of setting up with various scenarios flashed onto multiple plasma screens that form a knowledge wall. This presents the battlespace situation picture and is complemented by what appears to be a large interactive display at the commander's work station.

The Malaysian Army is due to demonstrate to Senang Diri how NCO is executed during DSA 2018. Please stay tuned for a field report on the part NCO serves in the Malaysian Army's battle cycle.

Now in its 30th year, the 16th edition of the show has drawn some 1,500 companies from 60 countries. The four-day event opens its doors from tomorrow at its new venue at the Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre (MITEC).

The Malaysian Army's enhanced battle management capabilities is likely to be complemented by the increased use of armed battlefield robots. Such unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) will leverage on the data fused together by its NCO-enabled units to find and take out enemy forces.This includes a Turkish UGV that has found its way to the display of armoured vehicles at the DefTech booth. We will bring you more on this UGV in the coming days.

A new Malaysian Armed Forces vehicle is also found among the exhibits at Malaysia-based Weststar Defence Industries. The Thales RAPIDRanger weapons mount fitted with Starstreak surface-to-air missiles is making its show debut. We will chat with Weststar and DefTech once they're all set up.

We had a great time at the DSA 2018 Media Preview. The confidence displayed by Malaysian Armed Forces staff officers as they went about their duties in the final leg of pre-show preparations was quite evident. By the way, this is my third time to DSA. I was there in 1992 and 1994 when the show was held at the Putra World Trade Centre.

Look forward to seeing the insights gleaned from the Malaysian Armed Forces in subsequent blog posts. Taat Setia!

Royal Malaysian Navy RMN 501 Squadron flies with Leonardo AW159 Wildcat on sidelines of Defence Services Asia 2018

Photo credit: Leonardo

The Royal Malaysian Navy's Super Lynx unit, 501 Skuadron, has seen the Leonardo AW159 Wildcat helicopter up close as part of the shop window presented by arms manufacturers to the Malaysian Armed Forces as the Defence Services Asia (DSA) exhibition gets underway in Kuala Lumpur (KL) from Monday (16 April'18).

European defence company, Leonardo, announced that flight demonstrations flown by AW159 Wildcats were held last week at the RMN base in Lumut, and at Leonardo's facility in Subang.

The helicopters were flown by Britain's 847 Naval Air Squadron, which has a detachment embarked aboard the French Navy's helicopter assault ship, FS Dixmude (L9015). The warship arrived at Port Klang on Friday escorted by the French Navy frigate, FS Surcouf (F711), for a four-day port visit. The warships, which have some 500 personnel aboard, are part of the French Navy's five-month long deployment, codenamed Jeanne d'Arc, to the Middle East and Pacific Rim.

The Royal Navy's 847 Naval Air Squadron is part of the United Kingdom’s Commando Helicopter Force based at Royal Navy Air Station Yeovilton and operate the Army variant of the AW159 Wildcat. Leonardo described the British Army’s variant of the AW159 Wildcat as "almost identical to the Royal Navy variant with the only major equipment differences being the Army aircraft do not have the Seaspray 7000E series AESA radar or weapon carriers".

Malaysia is the first country to operate the Super Lynx 300. In 1999, Malaysia selected the naval helicopters (previously designated as the AgustaWestland Mk.100) as replacements for its ageing Westland Wasp helicopters. Five Super Lynx helicopters were delivered to Malaysia in 2003, with  the ceremonial handover for the last bird held on 19 July 2004 on the sidelines of the Farnborough Airshow. This followed integration trials in Britain with the Sea Skua anti-ship missile system.

Activities leading up to DSA 2018 are due to kick off today, with a press conference chaired by Chief of Defence Force, General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi bin Raja Mohamed Noor, and Ministry of Defence Secretary General, Dato’ Sri Abdul Rahim bin Mohamad, at the show's new venue in KL.

Photo credit: Leonardo

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