Thursday, October 27, 2022

Malaysia receives new mobility, small unit firepower assets


One of the new Light Anti-Tank Weapon-Short, wtih Commander of the TDM inspecting. Photo c/o Tentera Darat Malaysia.

The Malaysian Army (TDM) has received several new assets that were gradually delivered within this year as part of efforts to improve the readiness and competency of the armed service.

An Army Assets Handover Ceremony was held at the Malaysian Army’s 92 Central Vehicle Depot at Kentomen Batu Camp on 26 October 2022, with Command of the Army General Tan Sri Dato Seri Zamrose bin Mohd Zain accepting the new assets, together with other high-ranking officials of the TDM.

Among those received were 3 units Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks – Muti Cargo Palletized (HEMTT-PCPLS), 10 units 5-ton General Service (GS) Cargo Trucks, 32 units of 3-ton GS Cargo Trucks, and 40 units of 1-ton GS Cargo Trucks, 36 units of Cannon Pulling Trucks and 40 units of 1-ton Fitted for Radio Trucks.

Also received were 72 units of 81mm mortars with vehicles including the TALOS Fire Control System, 27 units of 40mm Multiple Grenade Launchers, and 150 units of Light Anti-Tank Weapon-Short, as well as 98 Assault boats.

According to Malaysian defence blogger Malaysian Defence, the HEMTT-PCPLS trucks are composed of trucks from Sweden’s Scania, the 5-ton trucks are from Iveco, and the 1-ton trucks are Toyota Hi-Lux 4x4 pick-up trucks modified by Malaysian defense company DefTech.

The 3-ton trucks are from MAN, and the cannon towers are Iveco Daily 4x4 vehicles. The 1-ton fitted for radio trucks are the FFR vehicle from Malaysia’s Cendana Auto.

Malaysian Defence also confirmed that the 81mm mortars are from Spain’s EXPAL Systems, and are delivered together with the Cendana Auto MT-815 Ground Tactical Mortar Transporter vehicle.

The Light Anti-Tank Weapon – Short is actually a 40mm rocket propelled grenade (RPG) system  believed to be manufactured by Serbia’s Namenska, which is also said to be the manufacturer of the 40mm Multiple Grenade Launchers.

Meanwhile, the assault boats are said to be capable of carrying up to 12 people, and are powered by a single outboard engine with either an output of 40 or 60 horsepower.

The acquisitions are part of a repeat order to further improve the overall mobility and firepower capabilities of the TDM.

[1] Tentera Darat Malaysia

[2] Malaysian Defence

Myanmar orders FTC-2000G light combat aircraft from China


The Guizhou FTC-2000G Mountain Eagle light combat aircraft. Photo c/o  Aviation Week.

The Myanmar Air Force (MAF) is set to receive an unspecified number of FTC-2000G Mountain Eagle two-seat light combat aircraft made by Chinese aircraft manufacturer Guizhou Aviation Industries Corporation (GAIC).

The Myanmar government is believed to have ordered the aircraft in 2020 as part of efforts to modernize its air arm.

In 2020, China’s Global Times reported that China will be exporting the aircraft to an undisclosed Southeast Asian country, believed to be Myanmar, after signing a contract for an undisclosed number of aircraft in January 2020.

According to the report made by The Irrawaddy, the acquisition was not publicly disclosed by both China and Myanmar, although about 8 pilots, 8 technicians and at least 2 weapons officers of the MAF travelled to Kunming, China in June 2022.

The pilots were said to be assigned with MAF units flying the Chengdu F-7 fighter and the Nanchang A=5 attack aircraft, which are said to be the aircraft models to be replaced by the FTC-2000G.

The Irrawaddy’s sources also mentioned that the new light combat aircraft will be b ased at Namsang Aibase in Shan.

The trip to Kunming is believed to connected to training and familiarization with the FTC-2000G aircraft, and was already delayed due to COVID-19 pandemic and China’s strict policies on containing it.

The FTC-2000G Mountain Eagle is the export variant of the Guizhou JL-9 Shanying lead-in fighter trainer of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), and can be used as a for flight training, surveillance and reconnaissance, patrol, close air support and air escort missions.

It was reported that the aircraft costs around US$8.5 million each, which is far cheaper than most of its non-Chinese counterparts.

[1] The Irrawaddy

[2] Janes

[3] Air Recognition

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Indonesia to acquire used Mirage 2000-5 fighters from Qatar


A Mirage 2000-5 fighter aircraft of the Qatar Emiri Air Force. Photo c/o Reddit.

The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) was reported to be the buyer for Qatar's fleet of Dassault Mirage 2000-5 fighter aircraft, which have been retired from service after accepting new replacements.

French news outlet Intelligence Online reported that the 12 Mirage 2000-5 fighter aircraft of the Qatar Emiri Air Force is finally heading to Indonesia, despite interests from France and Bulgaria for the used but still in good condition fighters.

Qatar received their first of their 12 new Mirage 2000-5 fighter in 1997, but were recently retired from service after the Middle Eastern country procured dozens of new fighter aircraft from France, the UK and the United States as it increase its capability and size.

It is believed that Indonesia will use these used Mirage 2000-5 fighters as a training and transition platform as it wait for the delivery of their new Dassault Rafale fighters ordered from France in 2021. 

Indonesia has never operated fighter aircraft from France, and the Mirage 2000-5 would allow their pilots and ground crew to familiarize with French combat aircraft.

Bulgaria and France were also said to have been interested with the fighters, with Bulgaria planning to replace its Soviet-era fighters and be in line with NATO-standard fighters, while France wanted to use the Qatari fighters as Aggressor training aircraft for their Rafale fleet.

The Mirage 2000-5 will increase the fighter aircraft fleet of the Indonesian Air Force, which currently has a mix of 33 American-made F-16A/B/C/D Fighting Falcons, 16 Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 and Su-33 Flanker fighters, 22 British-made Hawk 200 light combat aircraft, and 14 South Korean-made T-50i lead in fighter trainers.

[1] Intelligence Online
[2] TurDef Global Defense News

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Australia reviewing proposals to build new corvette-type surface combatant fleet

Luerssen's C90 design used for the Bulgarian Navy's corvette requirements. Photo c/o Luerssen.

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) was reportedly reviewing a plan to procure a new fleet of small surface combatants to provide the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with increased combat capabilities in response to the heightened security threats in the region.

Media outlet The Australian reported that a proposal to procure between 10 to 12 corvette-type warships with anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities, with a proposed cost between A$5 to A$6 billion (US$3.2 to US$3.8 billion).

The plan was said to have been raised after a realisation with the Australian DoD that the Royal Australian Navy's upcoming Arufara-class offshore patrol vessels designed by Germany's Luerssen are no longer sufficient in providing security against a growing strength and reach of China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), China Coast Guard (CCG) and its Maritime Militia forces.

The introduction of new missile and torpedo-armed corvettes would provide greater firepower and combat capability to meet future threats, especially in defending Australian territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone waters, as well as sea lanes and areas of interest.

The report also mentioned that the DoD is looking at Luerssen's corvette models, which include the K130 design used on the Braunschweig-class corvette of the German Navy, and the C90 design which is used for corvettes being built for the Bulgarian Navy.

Both designs are larger than the Arufara-class OPV being built for the Royal Australian Navy, and are armed with surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, torpedoes, and multiple medium-caliber naval guns.

 A proposal to up-arm the Arufara-class with heavier weaponry was also raised as an option, although there are also plans to transfer the offshore patrol vessels to the Australian Border Force, which is equivalent to a Coast Guard force of other countries.

Should the plan gets green light, the corvettes would be built in Australia, or could be a hybrid construction project between Luerssen's shipyards in Germany and Australian.

The first corvette is expected to be completed by 2028, with additional ships produced and completed every 10 months, and are targeted to cost as low as A$500 million each, far cheaper than Australia's recent warship acquisition and construction projects.

[1] The Australian

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Australia launches 4th Evolved Cape-class patrol boat


The 4th Evolved Cape-class patrol boat for Royal Australian Navy. Photo c/o Austal.

Australian shipbuilder Austal has launched the 4th Evolved Cape-class patrol boat for the Royal Australian Navy.

The boat which would be named ADV Cape Capricorn (814) once in service, was  launched at Austal’s Henderson shipyard in Western Australia

The completion of the 4th Evolved Cape-class patrol boat was reached after around 12 months of construction period, and just 3 months after the launch of the 3rd boat of its class.

Austal has so far delivered 2 Evolved Cape-class patrol boats to the Royal Australian Navy since May 2020, with 2 more expected to join soon and 4 more in different stages of construction as part of two separate contracts signed back in May 2020 and in 2022.

The Evolved Cape-class patrol boats are 58 meters long and can accommodate up to 32 personnel, with improved quality of life systems and advanced sustainment intelligence systems compared to previous designs.

The class, together with the larger Arufara-class offshore patrol vessel, will be replacing the RAN’s fleet of Armidale-class patrol boats and will be used for border and fisheries protection, maritime law enforcement, and maritime defense missions.

Austal @ Twitter
[2] Navy Recognition

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Australia decommissions Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Glenelg

The HMAS Glenelg (ACPB 96). Photo c/o RAN.

(Press release from Australian Department of Defence)

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley, CSC, RAN attended the ceremony and recognised the service of the Ship’s Company.

“HMAS Glenelg and the men and women who have served in the vessel have made a significant contribution to our national interest,” Rear Admiral Earley said.

“The professional and dedicated crews have protected our nation’s borders and offshore maritime interests.”

Since commissioning in 2008, HMAS Glenelg has worked alongside Border Force, Australian Fisheries and the Australian Federal Police as part of border protection operations.  It has served in Operations AUGURY (Philippines,) SOLANIA (South West Pacific) and APEC ASSIST (PNG).

Glenelg’s crews have also exercised with regional partners including Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei.

“Today we reflect on the contribution while looking to our future and the ongoing renewal of our fleet,” Rear Admiral Earley said.

“Navy is transitioning to 12 new Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels. These boats have greater range and endurance than our existing boats. This will allow Navy to protect Australian interests over great distances and in more complex maritime environments,” Rear Admiral Earley said.

HMAS Glenelg is named after the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg in South Australia and is the fourth Armidale Class Patrol Boat to be decommissioned.

Australian Department of Defence

Monday, October 10, 2022

Malaysia selects ATR-72MP maritime patrol aircraft, Anka unmanned aerial system


The Leonardo ATR-72MP maritime patrol aircraft. Photo c/o Leonardo.

The Malaysian Ministry of Defence has selected the Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) models for acquisition for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).

Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has confirmed that the Ministry of Finance (MOF) has finalized the international open tenders for MPA and UAS projects.

He also confirmed that the Malaysian Government has agreed to an offer from Italian defense conglomerate Leonardo for the supply of two Maritime Patrol Aircraft, and also agreed to an offer from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for the supply of three Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Systems (MALE-UAS).

A formal Letter of Award will be released by the Malaysian Government to both companies soon.

Leonardo has offered the ATR-72MP maritime patrol aircraft, while TAI offered the Anka unmanned aerial system

A formal Letter of Award will be released by the Malaysian Government to both companies soon, with both assets to be procured using funds from the Malaysian Government’s FY 2023 budget 

The RMAF has previously indicated that it intends to acquire up to six Maritime Patrol Aircraft spread over several years under several 5-year Malaysia Plans.

Meanwhile the RMAF wanted to procure three UAS under the current 12th Malaysia Plan, and another three UAS under the 13th Malaysia Plan.

Defence Security Asia
[2] Malaysian Defence

Friday, October 7, 2022

Cambodia receives more than 100 tactical military vehicles donated by China


Variety of military vehicles donated by China to Cambodia. Photo c/o Khmer Times.

The Royal Cambodian Army has received 107 new military vehicles and other military equipment donated by the Chinese Government.

The vehicles were formally received during ceremonies held at the Phnom Chum Raek Military Police Training Centre in Kampong Chhnang province on 20 September 2022, with Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian leading the event.

The vehicles were provided by China as a grant to the Cambodian Ministry of National Defence.

The equipment from China are expected to boost the overall capabilities of the Royal Cambodian Army, and has addressed the need for training of army units to effectively use these military vehicles.

Ambassador Wentian said the gesture is a sign of strong partnership and brotherhood between China and Cambodia, and has urged Cambodia to play a more active role in regional security.

Among those noted as part of the Chinese donation include Dongfeng EQ2050 4x4 utility vehicles, Dongfeng EQ2102N military trucks, and the Norinco CS/VP4 8x8 all-terrain vehciles, as well as assault ladder vehicles, and riot control trucks.

This is the latest donation made by China to the Cambodian Ministry of National Defence, just days after donation of 150 luxury vehicles and buses for use in the upcoming ASEAN and ASEAN Plus summits.

[1] Khmer Times

Thursday, October 6, 2022

India introduces new Prachand light combat helicopter

The Prachand light combat helicopter. Photo c/o Indian MoD.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has inducted the first batch of its new Prachand light combat helicopter (LCH), which is expected to boost the service’s combat capability especially in high altitude environments.

The first four Prachand LCH for the IAF were formally inducted during ceremonies held at the Jodhpur Air Base on 03 October 2022 in the presence of Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, IAF Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshall VR Chaudhari, and other senior Indian military officials.

Aside from IAF, the Indian Army was reported to have received their first batch of Prachand LCH, and inducted at Bangalore last 29 September 2022.

The Prachand, is the end product of India’s Indigenous Light Combat Helicopter Program, and was developed and built by state-owned aviation company Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

It was designed to operate in high altitude environments in India’s northern and north-eastern borders with China and Pakistan, and is said to be the only attack helicopter in the world capable of landing and take-off from an altitude of 5,000 meters with considerable load of munitions and fuel.

The Prachand, named after a Hindi word translating to “fierce”,  is a 5.8-tonne twin-engine helicopter with a maximum speed of 268 kilometers per hour, a range of 550 kilometers, an endurance of over 3 hours, and a maximum flight ceiling of 6,500 meters.

It has a 20mm chin-mounted gun, and can be armed with a variety of air-to-ground rockets and missiles, and air-to-air missiles to shoot down enemy helicopters.

The Indian Air Force plans to have 65 Prachand helicopters, while the Indian Army plans to have around 95 helicopters, with the helicopters expected to be fully delivered by 2030.

India also plans to export the Prachand light combat helicopter, with the Indian Ministry of Defence already releasing No Objection Certificate for countries including Egypt, Ecuador, Angola and Nigeria, as well as Asian countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

[1] Indian Express

[2] Hindustan Times

[3] The National News

Monday, October 3, 2022

Australia receives 4 F-35A Lightning II JSFs, grows fleet to 54


New F-35As arriving at RAAF Base Williamtown. Photo c/o Australia DOD.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has received another batch of 4 F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, which arrived at the RAAF Base Williamtown between 30 August and 02 September 2022.

The aircraft were delivered as part of the Exercise Lighning Ferry 22-3, which involves flying the F-35 fighters from Luke Air Force Base in Arizona in the continental United States, with stops made at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, and Andersen Air Force Base in Guam before reaching Australia.

This is the 3rd such delivery to the RAAF within 2022, which also involves the support provided by the RAAF Air Mobility Group’s KC-30A Mutil-Role Tanker Transport from No. 33 Squadron, and the C-17A Globemaster III from the No. 36 Squadron.

With this delivery, the RAAF now has a total of 54 F-35A fighters, out of the planned fleet of 72.

The new fighters will be joining the RAAF’s No. 77 Squadron, which is part of the No. 81 Wing.

The arrival of the new fighters allowed the RAAF to reach another step forward in increasing its overall F-35A combat capabilities, as it represents an almost 10% increase in the training and combat capacity of its growing fleet.

[1] Australian Department of Defence