Sunday, November 9, 2008


The Malaysian Chief of Army was reported to have said that the planned replacement of the Army's Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) and the Armoured Fire Support Vehicles (AFSV) that has been in service for more than two decades, have to be deferred to RMK 10. The replacement was planned for RMK 9, and he cites insufficient financial allocation being the reason for the deferment. However, he did not state the amount of allocation required for the replacement.

Presently, the Army has in service the Belgium made Sibmas and the German made Condos. For some unknown reason, the Malaysian Army is the only country in the world to have purchased the Sibmas 6x6 wheeled AIFV and AFSV.

For the Army to retain both the Sibmas and Condos in service for more than 20 years, and with a possible extension of service life for another 5 years, will surely cost the Army heavily on maintenance, to ensure that the vehicles are combat worthy. And the longer the vehicles are used past their effective service life, the more we will see the serviceable state of the vehicles dwindled. And when this happens, the combat readiness of the Army will be badly affected.

To defer the planned purchase is certainly an unwise decision to make. I do not believe that the entire fleet of Sibmas and Condos can be fully maintained to effective service life for the next 5 years. Neither do I not believe, that the Army should compromise the planned purchase just because there is insufficient allocation.

The question that need to be asked now is whether the Army is ready to compromise its combat readiness for the sake of saving the government its money? Isn't there any other option that the Army can adopt, without compromising the fighting capability of the Army? Is the Army prepared to see troops being trained without the right compliment of armoured vehicles, and to accept playing 'notional' as an alternative?.

Let this not be another 'failed' purchase of the Eurocopter, and defence of the country is not something that the Armed Forces would want to compromise. It will be the Armed Forces that will bare the brunt if war is to break out......not our politicians.

Posted at 10.25pm on Nov 9,2008


maurice said...

I have heard a lot stories about the SIBMAS.Apparently it is too big to manoeuvre off the main roads and difficult to conceal among the bushes due to its sheer size.

Why was it purchased? I believe Jen Dato Zain Hashim (Rtd), Lt Jen Dato Jaffar Onn(Rtd) and Col Andrew Boudville (Rtd)among others could throw some light on the decision.

The government should scrap the "National Service Scheme"; the savings to be used to modernize the Army which is not getting its fair share of fundings as compared to the RMN and RMAF.

captazhar said...

The SIBMAS is actually the export version of the successful South African RATEL family of 6x6 wheeled armoured vehicles that has seen extensive action in South Africa. In fact the RSA Army effectively deployed the RATEL both in the forests of Angola as well as the deserts of Namimbia. Operating against insurgents groups as well as the armoured forces of the regular Angolan army, the RATEL has fought in ambush encounters and also encounters with heavy tanks.

The vehicle is designed to withstand mine attacks and is equipped with 6 run flat tires for survival. Even today, the RATEL continue to serve and similar designs continue to be sold abroad with an order for the US requirement for mine resistant vehicles to be delivered by mid-2009.

Back home, we find the army burdened with the purchase of vastly different vehicles from different countries without regard to the logistical mess being created especially in the supply of spares and the maintenance demands. That is probably the main reason behind the current complaint of the inability of the army to continue maintaining and operating the SIBMAS and CONDOR.

maurice said...

Besides the logistics nightmare, it is the tactical handling of the SIBMAS which is creating a lot of headaches to our junior leaders.

Our Malaysian terrain is nothing compared to the South or Angolan terrain which is open and good for cross country mobility for the RATEL.Our close terrain make it difficult for SIBMAS to move about quickly and freely compared to operating in the African setting.

We should learn from the Japanese success in our backyard using small powerful tanks and indeginous tactics to outfox the British.

Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sam said...

What AFV do you think make a good relacement for Sibmas and Condor?