Monday, August 3, 2009

ARMY WAR GAME SIMULATORS – FOREIGN PURCHASE IS NOT AN OPTION

I have been informed that the Phase 4 of the Gemas Army Camp Project is in its preparatory stage for implementation, and the launch of it will complete the entire Gemas Project that has taken more than 15 years to complete. Once completed, the Gemas Camp now named after our previous King, is reportedly to be the largest army camp in the country covering almost 38,000 acres with a total population of more than 8,000 soldiers and their families.

One of the project listed in Phase 4 is the construction of the Army War Game Training Center that is long overdue, and has been the talk in the army for more than 20 years now. While I was in service, I had the opportunity of listen to a number of product presentation by various foreign companies involved in the design and production of the Army War Game Simulator, but for some unknown reason, no deal has been struck.

The War Game Simulator is now being used extensively as a training tool by most modern armies, and our army has been late in acquiring the facility. However, I am told that there is now a serious bidding by local agents for the product to be acquired by army, and all are products developed by foreign companies. My concern is why is the army so enthusiastic in bringing in a foreign product, but is hesitant in offering local IT and engineering companies to undertake the development of the product? Are there no local expertise in developing a War Game Simulator, which is certainly not a ‘rocket science type of technology’.

I believe this country has enough expertise to even venture into rockets and missile development, and to most scientist, they say that developing a War Game Simulator is as simple as A,B and C. And surprisingly, I am told that the country already has the expert knowledge to developed more sophisticated simulators like the MIG 29 aircraft simulator presently in use by the RMAF in Kuantan base, that apparently was developed by a team of Malaysian scientist back in 1994 in Canada.

One need to realized that the continuous purchase of foreign equipments for the Armed Forces is no longer a favoured option, more so if the purchase does not come with a transfer of technology, or at least an option for the maintenance of the equipment. It is only good for local agents who will make a bit of money, but at the end of the day, there is little in terms of a technology transfer, let alone be able to satisfactorily maintain the equipment. In other words, it is purely a one off purchase where upon the purchase being signed, the local agents will be running off to the bank smiling.

As I have said above, this country already has the expert knowledge to design and develop War Game Simulators for use by the army, if indeed army is serious about developing an indigenous designed product. What is critical in developing a War Game Simulator (and I suppose army knows this) are the data to be used in the system. Data has to be realistic and conforms to doctrines and tactics used by the army, and such data can be categorized as restricted information.

Can we not see our stupidity, if we were to provide all our restricted data to a foreign company, when we purchase the product from them. What better way to protect our data, if we were to design and develop the product locally, and at the same time encourage the growth of our defence industry that specialized in the design and development of simulators for use by our Armed Forces, besides a huge saving of our foreign exchange.


CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

20 comments:

FMZam said...

Developing the war gaming simulation system locally and buying the developed OEM product is two different thing. Our Army started to develop a fully computerised system way back as early as 1988 followed by a joint effort with USM and then with UTM, combining military and civilian scholars from those institutions, to replace the manual and semi-computerised war game system. The Army initially had two location as development centers, in Penang and in Port Dickson where eventually the penang center was closed and moved to the Pusat Olah Perang tentera darat in Port Dickson. sometime in early 2000, I know of Telekom Malaysia (R&D Wing) had taken the opportunity to develop a system for the Army but failed. After more than 15 years we still could not produce our own system then the Army decided to purchase an OEM system in the market with the aim of developing ours through the learning process and experience of the OEM product, just like some other armies were doing in trying to develop their own system.

The question of whether we have the capability of developing our own with the brains we have in our country has been answered long ago and whatever the reason of failure has been documented by the Army and can be evaluated and inspected if we want to know WHY IS IT A FAILURE AND WHAT MADE THE ARMY DECIDED TO BUY AN OEM PRODUCT AFTER TRYING TO DEVELOP OUR OWN SYSTEM FOR ALMOST 20 YEARS? The people who understand the R&D Environment of our country would probably give the good answer to you who said it is not a rocket science sort of technology and yet it took 2 decades to be wasted down the drain in trying to develop one, to eventually made the Army decided to but outright an OEM product from the market.

Now if you want to think of going back to square one, the Army will wait for how many more years before we can come up with our own system? And the new wargame center in Gemas will be a ghost building or used for other purposes by the time we come up with our own system.

As long as our Army's mentality with Research & Development for the wargame is POPTD (Pusat Orang Pencen Tentera Darat), we will remain doing development and development for ages and come up with nothing.

Go on, repeat the same mistake at our own risk!

FMZam said...

We can only say we can do it locally but the moment of truth is that we cannot even deliver what we say we can at the cost of wasted time, let alone the wasted tax payers' money. How we need to think that it is more costly and pricely to go on development than buying a ready Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) product has been first and foremost proven by the Army in our efforts to develop own wargame system.

And for that matter any other military training and weapon system development or for that matter any development, is time consuming.

To me, why start a development from zero and face the consequence of failure after many years? What's wrong if the Army develop something from the learning proces of using a ready product? Wasn't that what had made Toyota, Nissan and Honda as they are now?

FMZam said...

Think of this as a picture of our military development:

1. The Singapore military improvised their tanks from the French AMX 13 light tanks that they now upgrade it into a tank to be used as their MBT (Main Battle Tank).

2. The Singapore Ordnance developed 155mm field gun ammunitions so good that other countries made purchase for it.

3. The Singapore military developed their wargame center facility using various OEM products.

While we went into development of small arm Steyr rifle and ammunition and signal communication system and C vehicle.

I mean if we want to start something on military development, don't waste time developing things which cannot improve our army's fighting capabilities.

komando said...

We will never ever have a system...more than 20 years still talking never had any answers..all mixed up...money, politics and cronies...!

The army can forget it and keep on dreaming...

ArshadRaji said...

Dear All,

Thank you for the comments. But I still believe that something must be done to develop our very own capability in producing the war game simulator. No doubt, we have failed once, but that should not be the end of it. When others can succeed, through trial and error, why can't we. What we lack, I think is the will to take challenges and do something right the first time. Are we not ashamed to see our good neighbour succeed, while we trail far behind, and the gap gets bigger every year? 2020 is just 11 more years, and don't you know that we can't even produce a pistol? Go to Pakistan and take a stroll along the back street in Quetta and you can find weapons being produced with only basic machinery.

komando said...

Dato Arshad, I BELIEVE this country even can produce missiles and rockets to the moon.

BUT THE PROBLEM HERE IN THIS COUNTRY IS WE HAVE DISGUSTING POLITICIANS WHO WANTS A CUT OF EVERY SALE THAT HAPPENS, ESPECIALLY ARMS.

WE HAVE LIVED IN THIS LAND FOR MORE THAN ENOUGH TO KNOW WHAT AND HOW IT WORKS...NO PERCENTAGE NO DEAL SO SORRY...

SAMY VELOO 10%
NAJIB....HUNDREDS OF %
MAMAK TUN ALL %
RAFIDAH %

SO WHY CRACK OUR HEADS & TRY TO SELL !

MIGHT AS WELL SELL IT TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER ELSE WHERE!

THE BEST DOES NOT MEAN GOOD IN THIS COUNTRY.

IT IS ONLY GOOD WHEN THE POLITICAL MASTERS SAYS GOOD..

SO WE ARE ALL TAKEN AS GOONS & PLAYED OUT BY THESE MORONS!

DATO' PLEASE SAY I AM WRONG !

FMZam said...

My dear Dato', please don't say for the sake of talking that "Are we not ashamed to see our good neighbour succeed, while we trail far behind, and the gap gets bigger every year?"

If we are ashamed then why are we not following their good ways of developing their military capabilities? I am very positive about their ways of military development is very much superior than our ways of thinking about developing our military strength. Don't see our neighbour a small country, see who are their allies, that's why they are behaving far well than us in "building their army".

You don't get me when I said...What's wrong if the Army develop something from the learning proces of using a ready product? Wasn't that what had made Toyota, Nissan and Honda as they are now?

I am sorry if I think you are a bad listener.

FMZam said...

Dear Dato',

I hate to say this, but I suspect that you are somehow behaving like a paid BN blogger because the more you post you deviate from the true course of your crusade against corruption, you don't really mean your crusade, because you don't have answers for many questions we put in here.

I suggest you better erase the words "crusade against corruption" from your blog if you are not ready to make it your LIFE MISSION to fight corruption.

This blog will be better without those words so you are relieved from its burden and we all can talk in a more relaxed environment away from the great expectation of a holy course of action.

Be very honest with ourselves that we need a holy man to lead a holy war.

maurice said...

Dear Dato and Readers,

I have suggestion.The local company should propose the simulator as a BOT project to Mindef.If not completed within a fixed time frame the Army has the right has to abort the BOT project without paying the company a single sen.

However on successful completion of the BOT project the Army will pay for its use on a monthly/yearly basis.

The local company gets the BOT project on the premise that it is designed and built using local technology and resources.

This business model does not commit Army funds on a project whose outcome is uncertain.Instead the local company which claims expertise at bulding the Army War Game Centre will have to shoulder all the financial risk involved in the ambitous project.

Would the local company accept the challenge Dato?

FMZam said...

Dear maurice,
What you suggest has been overtaken by event, it has been done, your BOT (Build, Operate, Transfer) or BOO 9Build, Operate, Own) was termed by the Army in the wargame tender in January 2005 as COCOM (Company Own Company Operate & Maintain). See?

Many of you do not know what is a fully computerised wargame system and do not know what had happened to the tender, so I am sorry if I am the "better dressed" one in this situation and talk with the "inner knowledge". But then are we not supposed to be well read to talk like a person who knows his stuffs, BEFORE we talk?

I am not trying to boast, I am ready to spill all, but not in here, because I have spilt all and went through it all, walked through and run through.

I am sorry maurice to have to say to a nice person like you like this. I have been in this arena too long since 1999 and I even "betrayed" a senior officer while in service when I reported his corrupt practice until he was so lucky to be dismissed from the service with the mild action of Advised To Leave.

Now when I am out of service I did it again all because I cannot tolerate corruption in the Army. My life mission is SLAY THE ARMY DEVIL!

So I ask where does 'Crusade Against Corruption' put a ready fighter like me in our rank? shouldn't I be at the frontline facing this crusade's enemy?

maurice said...

Dear FMZam,

I believe the concept is still valid.Never too late to revisit the concept in the interest of our local defence industry.

For sure the BOT concept will encourage the growth of the local defence industry.Many scientists, engineers, computer specialist and programmers will be employed by the local company to design and build the simulators.Many ex-military officers will also be employed as they have a critical role in the formulation of the various tactical simulations.

This is a golden opportunity to support our local company rather than giving the project outright to a foreign company.I think the Armed Forces have learned the bitter lesson that a foreign company will squeeze you dry when you need them to maintain the system.

FMZam said...

Dear maurice,
What the Army must learn is not that the foreign companies suck us dry, no maurice, the one that sucks us dry is our own corrupt people who sucks us dry from behind the foreign companies. Please correct your perception because I dare say this with the reality is here right at our own door.

Don't you see how many generals and ex-generals and their siblings dealing in those Mindef tenders?

FMZam said...

Dear maurice,

Our experience in developing fully computerised wargame system was that no one company in this country is a wargame development company. Now maurice, I ask, is there any now? And do you know what it takes to establish one? How many competent computer experts in the discipline of MSG (Modeling, Simulation and Gaming) we need to design the game in computer language (not in drawing)? How many OR (Operational Researcher), SA (System Analyst), Computer Engineers, Model Formulators, computer programmers and most of all do we have the expert to organise the team and what to design and what to 'customise" for Malaysian Army ORBAT and Malaysian Terrain Data for maps. And how long to design with computer language to make a war game icon move from point A to point B, and in 3D visual and 3D map and 3 D terrain of the whole face of Malaysia?

Developing a wargame system is an R&D environment if we want to start from scratch. Do we know what is R&D Environment? We can work and die and our children continue with our work and die to finish in an R&D Environment, But in Malaysia's R&D Environment, we see our people get posted and get replaced every now and then.

And then after years of development we get only PROTOTYPE rolling out from our factory.

That is why our neighbour develops their wargame from OEM products they purchased and learn the development from the knowledge and experience gained. They work smart and we can only envy them, nothing more. That also their workforce has cost them more than the cost of the OEM products they purchased.

I have experienced all these and had seen an instance where a person tasked to develop our game came up on the presentation day, to present a sample development of 2 years works and he simply presented a blank computer screen and said "sorry gentlemen our system crashed" right before a visiting General who was fuming mad.

Will the government give the contract to a company to develop and if you say on COCOM (BOT, BOO - civilian term), I don't want to say what will be the project cost, I just want to say that bloody company will have to have hell lot of money to upfront the development first and ready to lose that kind of money.

I don't talk cock like those who simply say we go for development. I am ready for lengthy discussion if that will make you all happy!

FMZam said...

The Army Chief can take this government for granted and bluff his way out of the current debacle on the wargame tender by telling things and stories like going for development or not buying foreign OEM products, as an alibi to blind the the people from the truth behind it.

What is the truth? After the failure of developing own wargame system for more than 15 years, the Army decided to purchase OEM product and offered the Wargame Tender for bidders in January 2005, sometime in June 2006 the tender was awarded with LOI to Softlabs Technologies Sdn Bhd, but soon the tender faced problem when a report of abuse of powers and corruption was made against it. So it was stalled. What happened from then on until today, the Army could not proceed on because the report had eventually turned into a legal matter, which had made the Army abandoned a Retender Exercise supposedly to be out in July 2009. It suffice that I don't elaborate more than this, but that is the situation to answer Dato' Arshad's question on "why no deal has been struck".

If Dato' Arshad has been fed with information from the Army side, I countered it with my posting regarding the history of development efforts, BUT, whoever gave that info to Dato' was lying and he had succeeded in making Dato' worked for his purposes. I was short of saying Dato' could be an accomplice to that person to make a biased posting in this thread.

Now I ask you Dato', if the report is wrong, why were all of them, from PM, Defence Minister, KSN, KSP, KSU Mindef and PTD did not take action on it???? Whereas the report and all corresponding letters were official and with all the proofs, not Flying Letter. Why were all of them have No Balls to reply? Until they have to be served with letters from lawyers? Is that the way for rakyat to take the long road in making report on high profile corruption of government officials?

We will get to see if the Army Chief get bluff his way through the Defence Minister and i am surprised at all if he could because they are all the birds of the same flock.

I am not surprised Dato' Arshad came up with the idea of another development because that was mooted by the Army in desperation to save the Army Chief's skin.

What I don't like was that for those in this blog who do not know the background of our wargame development, they all will be influenced by the writing of Dato' Arshad and start talking like an innocent schoolboy.

I am not wrong in thinking Dato' Arshad is behaving like a paid BN blogger. Why didn't Dato' Arshad go talk with those POPTD officers, now and then, who had been involved in wargame development the agony they faced in developing our own system. Dato' Arshad can talk on Reinforcing Failure but failed to see it is all in what he said in this thread.

Dato' Arshad may not like a critic so kurang ajar like me and Tun Mahathir was right when he said we are hypocrite if we say we like people to criticise us.

The point is I am so brave to say it here in this blog because what I said can always be proven truth or lies and nobody dare to prove me wrong or take my challenge, why? because I am telling the truth and that's why they all could not take action on me.

You have me Dato' and yet you are wasting me, and I always know in any war, I am expendable.

komando said...

FIELD MARSHALL ZAM - FMZAM..

RIGHT ON BRO I THINK YOU HIT THE NAIL 100%....

WE AIN'T GULLIBLE PEOPLE AND WE AIN'T BLINDED BY LOYALTY AS SOME WHO TALK IN THIS COLUMN...

WE AIN'T GONNA SAY WHITE WHEN IT IS BLACK AND VICE-VERSA!

SORRY PAK CHAD !

maurice said...

Dear FMZAm,

It would be a mistake if we want to purchase a sophisticated war game simulator similar to the ones in use in Western Armies.Their simulation models are based on their own ORBAT, terrain and operational doctrines which are completely different from our own.Our jungle terrain and ORBAT gives us the opportunity to develop a less sophisticated one for our own use.Of course, designed against the ORBAT and operational doctrines of our potential adversaries.

New ideas could be introduced in the design of the simulators for exercises at the strategic level, such as mobilizing the civilian population in support of the military efforts in the event of a military conflict,ways and means of minimising civilian casualties in the combat zones, mobilizing the reservists for fifth column operations, coordination of inter-ministerial contributions, maintaining essential services, distribution of food and medical supplies to the civlian population etc.


We should have a War Game Centre which we can use for strategic planning and tactical deployments suitable for our own environment in future war scenarios.We would be stupid to think that the Army will be fighting a war of fire and manouver similar to the ones we recently witnessed in the Middle East or for that matter the Japanese invasion of Malaya in WW2.Our future war if all there is going to be one will be more on limited border conflicts and seizure of isolated territory.Unlikely a potential adversary would invade the nation piecemeal forcing our military to conduct a defensive operations within the length and breath of our national territory.No sane national leader will commit its nation to such a war due to the potential economic cost and condemnation by the world community.

If the local company is successful in developing this kind of War Game
Centre, I believe they would have a captive market in Asia, Middle East and African continents, bringing much-neeeded revenue to the country and creating vast employment opportunities for our graduates.

FMZam said...

Dear maurice,
If you ask me to endorse your idea on developing own wargame system, I certainly will go along with your thought, I am not against anyone for developing our own system, in fact I envy the Japanese, the only Asian Nation that had stood alongside other world powers 60 years ago, all because they had acquired the capability to build cars, guns, tanks, warships, aircraft carriers and aircraft as early as that.

But your thinking about wargame sounds not very right lah and I don't blame you if you think that way because only those people who know will know why we need to have a training tool that can give our army a VIRTUAL war situation in Training For War.

Your analogy about development setting of the wargame is also very limited and seems to reduce our training capability into something with inferiority complex.

The scope of wargame development is very wide but made possible by Information & Computer Technology (ICT). We military always train for war on first the conventional war, why? because that is what we must be good at to protect our country from invaders who as history has taught us well, will use conventional means to launch an invasion. So that is the basic thing we all were trained for - fight the conventional war. All operations other than war(OOTW) are trained as we progress along our military career. The priority of development of that basic and fundamental thing takes the center stage of our development.

And because it is computer development and best still if it is a Windows based system, any commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) wargaming product are designed ready for development and customization of any army's ORBAT, any country's terrain data, climates, vegetations, any army's strategies and tactics, uniforms, physical appearances, etc, all are catered for by the system. Virtual reality is the word made possible by ICT.

That is only for wargame simulation system and we can categorised it into land wargame up to any level as far as Corp or maybe Army, and we can break it into OOTW like the minor operations you mentioned and FIBUA, MOUT, PKO and other security and special operations.

We haven't yet talk on other development of simulation system, I mean specific or special simulation system for Tanks, Guns, Field Artillery, aircraft, missiles, etc, etc.

The real issue is not whether we can develop because human ingenuity will stop at nothing to develop anything we want. Nothing is impossible and impossible is nothing. The real issue is why are we not developing like a true developer.

And the reason why I bring out this matter is not because I am against development. It is because I see some quarters in the Army is trying to divert away our focus from the real problem they made a mess out of it and wanting us to blame it on foreign product.

The funny thing is that have we bought any foreign product yet and tested it to say bad or good, and likewise have we managed to produce own product which the country had trusted to develop and we failed it?

The real issue is BETRAYAL of the trust of the people by Malaysian Army and those betrayers got away "scot free" so said komando.

Shhh!!!! Bunny said...

Buy CAT STYR from Sweden and kill the issue coz the sneaky PAMBU already walloped certain amount of kronr equaivalent but the agent fails to win the contract. Do you agree with me FMZam? Full stop then.

BaD said...

Salam all,

It's good issues to be discussed. There are lot of disadvantages of using foreign technology. Our selected group of people can deliver with 'amanah' and 'taqwa'. We have proven it with one of the most advanced simulator develop locally from scratch within 3 years. In fact it started from a JV program with Mat Salleh but end up, that our dedicated engineers had to clean up the shit and deliver the system. Yes, as an engineer we have pool of talented group that are ready to move forward and served the country BUT we don’t want to be cheated and under paid by any so called local conglomerates.

BaD said...

Salam all,

It's good issues to be discussed. There are lot of disadvantages of using foreign technology. Our selected group of people can deliver with 'amanah' and 'taqwa'. We have proven it with one of the most advanced simulator develop locally from scratch within 3 years. In fact it started from a JV program with Mat Salleh but end up, that our dedicated engineers had to clean up the shit and deliver the system. Yes, as an engineer we have pool of talented group that are ready to move forward and served the country BUT we don’t want to be cheated and under paid by any so called local conglomerates.