Monday, October 19, 2009


I wish to refer to an article, 'MAF RM10 Wish List' that appeared in Malaysian Defence blog dated October 18, 2009 that seem to suggest that the Caesar 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer is the preferred make for the Malaysian Army.

The Caesar 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer is a French manufactured gun developed by GIAT and is truck mounted on wheels. The article also implied that the Malaysian Army intended to purchase a Regiment of 12 Guns that will form the indirect fire support component of the Mechanised Brigade. Having being in command of a Mechanised Brigade myself, I deem the purchase as highly desirable.

I have posted two articles in this blog on the subject that discusses the viability and preference of either a wheeled or track 155mm Self Propelled Howizter; the first article being in January 30, 2009, and the second article being in February 3, 2009.

I had concluded that the wheeled Self Propelled Howitzer is preferred for the Malaysian Army, though I did not specify the make. There are several choices in the market, and I would like the Army to make its final professional preference, void of any 'external interference'.

The thing that is utmost in making the final selection is that the product must be worth the cost, the process of acquisition has to be transparent and there has to be the element of a transfer of technology. It should not be a one off purchase, only to be discarded a few years later.

I also wish to remind the powers that be to the recent statement made by the Defence Minister with regards to future capital purchases for the Armed Forces when he said that, “The Armed Forces will not be a victim of greedy people who only want to make quick buck”. I hope this statement stands true in respect of this intended purchase.



komando said...

Is it what the Gunners want, my first question or the Mech Brigade for that matter?

Can it be effective facing the current situation and environment?

Is this the best we can afford?

Is it practical in our terrain and the possibility of an effective deployment!

Simple yet mind boggling questions, but that we were taught from day one in Cadet School...a good appreciation must be clear and not biased!

Don't buy becos UMNO says so, or the Minister says so, or the Contractor says it is good, or worst the First lady says it is good!



ArshadRaji said...

Dear Komando,

Please go to the previous two postings on the subject. I think I have said enough on the subject. I am not going to preempt whether it is track or wheel because I am a nobody, but merely saying my thoughts on the subject.

maurice said...

Dear Dato,

The Gunners have more than sufficient fire power resources to do their tasks.No need to create another 155mm Self Propelled Regiment to support the Mech Bde.It is redundant and reflects poor planning.

If Mech Bde wants more instant fire support, it is better to have a dedicated fire support within its own organization.Just increse the current APC mounted 120mm mortars by several units and the Mech Bde will have a medium artillery support at its disposal 24/7.

Suggest the APC mounted 120mm mortar units be manned by the Gunners under the command of the Mech Bde.The Gunners can call on other artillery resources to support the Mech Bde when there is a need.

The introduction of separate 155mm SP Artillery Regiment for the Mech Bde will make the force cumbersome and too heavy for our type of environment and geography.

The money saved should be used for other more urgent requirements such as attack helicopter, 8x8 AFVs, medium air defence etc.

komando said...


PM said...

Whatever it is we do need some heavy artillery. See this site

According to the characteristic it should be able to deploy rapidly and has good anti tank and range capabilities..

Perhaps the gunners should provide more comments.

hussin said...


ArshadRaji said...

Dear Maurice,

It is rumoured that Army is acquiring the 120mm Rifled Mortar to be mounted on the Adnan AFV. I suppose this is for the Mech Bde. Have you heard anything about this? But my concern is why a rifled mortar and not a smoothbore mortar?

maurice said...

The challenge for the Gunners I think how would they structure their artillery resources and what kind of tactics to develop and adopt to support the Infantry and Armour in future warfare in our type of environment.

It would be a mistake on the part of artillery planners to develop their organizations and tactics on the last war.The Japanese invasion, the wars in Vietnam and our own experience in Indonesian Confrontion do little to contribute to the understanding how future warfare is going to be fought here.What is certain, technological prowess will be used to the fullest by all parties to keep the war short and sharp.

The challenge then is not what we have, but how efficiently do we structure, develop the required tactics and train our troops with the weapon system that we have to fight such future wars.

Fabian said...

My dear friend,

1. The civilians are under the impression that MINDEF and MoF had been too secretive on military purchase of strategic equipment.

2. Perhaps, it is time for the two ministries and the AF to be more open and transparent. After all, sooner or later the so-called secrets are open-secrets. As one commentator correctfully said, it is the training, efficiency use of the weapons, the strategy and tactics employed that counts.

3. Let the discussions or debates among the users on the pros and cons, their recommendations and decision made known through the media. Let there be no doubt that the choice of the weapon system is best suited for MAF and the welfare of the soldiers are taken as the top consideration. (We are reminded constantly of complaints of the participants of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan of bad weapons, causing many of their soldiers killed and wounded uncessarily.)

Good luck to all.

Fabian Wong

nxforget said...

Salam Dato,

While I'm not in the position to comment on the military arsenals, I sure do learn a lot from your writings and other commenting.

Thank you.

zulu said...

Dear Dato,
I am a Gunner and will always be. I have been following your blog for sometime now. Although I am disturbed by the recent affairs and happenings in our Armed Forces, I had not contributed nor commented before. Since this post is about Fire Support, I thought I'll contribute my views.

There is no doubt that there is a requirement for more Medium Artillery in our army to support a fast moving battle. However the question is not for our medium guns to be SP guns, but whether our present towed medium regiments have real problems in providing fire support for our Mechanised Bde. I still believe in the old tactics involving Fire and Movements. Purchasing SP guns will invariably bring a whole lot of logistics and maintenance problems. Purchase for more towed medium guns may be a better option.
Warmest regards to Dato and my former collegues.

EAGLE said...

Salam Dato'
There are a lot more on procurement issues in the MAF. General perspective is the procurements were made sometimes out of the blues and without really looking at the services needs.
Self Interest?
Too many mediocre at the top.
Or do we have a master plan that fit into the Defense strategy and NDP?
Look at the inventory? macam macam ada!!! The Army, the Navy and the Air Force - the clueless CDF may not have balls to wake up Army Chief or he will be checkmate too!!!

Butterfly said...

I appreciate the various views. My main question is - Is there clear doctrine now available for mechanised operations in the Army? If so, what does it say it terms of fire support? If we have it well thought out and documented ,then follow the procurement as our doctrine dictates. I have no qualms about that. It is either Pepsi or Coke.If there is no doctrine, then we are in trouble, as we have to live by the consequences of our decisions. To the other commentators, I have this to say ;- We have to consider fire support as , intimate/close/general support. Then there is the range factor, where mobility and firepower are matched to maintain sufficient coverage for the operating units.It is a fallacy to believe that we have enough artillery on hand.In the battlefield that will always be a shortage of resources against tasks. I can write a thesis on this. Finally, I am quite loss for words "120mm mortars for medium support????? and at that rifled too????? We are indeed Malaysia boleh!

maurice said...

Our military strategy must be surely dominated by our interest to protect the national sovereignty.There is a danger to implant coventional military doctrines without taking due consideration of the local conditions.

The Japanese and Vietnamese had shown their foes the uselessness of conventional doctines in tropical environment.We should learn by other peoples' mistakes in the search for an effective military organization.

ArshadRaji said...

Dear All,

These are about the best comments that I have ever received in my blog. Having read all, I feel like I am back in uniform and struggling in the filed on exercise, being bombarded with tactical questions from all arms. Certainly, the artillery employment is my weakest, but as usual, we are trained to show confidence, even under duress.
All your comments are indeed useful, and my only hope is to get as many viewers who are still in the service to read the comments. My sincere thanks to all.

captazhar said...

I have happened to hear some people (lobbists) talking about this very subject some days earlier, afraid the subject will turn out to be very much political... enough said.

Dare I venture to ask why yet another purchase from France? Who are the other operators of the Caesar system & how long has it been proven effective? I vaguely remember the said system is something like an exposed artillery piece mounted on a flat bed truck, no protection against small arms, shell fragments and probably useless in an NBC environment. I think it also has very limited mobility & fighting ability in a mobile warfare environment. IMHO, a smaller mobile rocket system (perhaps a 122mm or smaller) on a high mobility vehicle, at least a 6x6 or ideally an 8x8 will have better firepower & short deployment time but better range.

Tactically, having self propelled artillery would certainly be desirous for a Mech Bgd but I think that such assets would only be effective in battle only if it can be used in large enough numbers and well coordinated with other assets including air & sea & spatial (Astros Rockets?).

Instead of focusing on such penny packets purchases, maybe it would be better for the Armed Forces to look into the existing doctrines and devise proper doctrines to fight the battles of the future.

eli said...

Let's take a bet. It is going to be K9 from Korea. It is highly recommended by the KSU of MINDEF, the self-proclaimed expert on military weapon systems.

taming said...

We keep spending money on new defence systems because it is the easiest way politicians and their cronies make quick bucks!

Before the country gets involved in any new defence system the army must look at the existing systems in the their inventory. Do we have enough 155 shells of all types for meeting any future crisis which we hope will never happen? Have them fully equipped before the army gets involved in procuring any new system.

I know the Koreans and their K9 had
been well entrenched in this country for quite somtime. However, the "French Connection" is equally strong and it would never be a surprise if the army goes French.

I know who are the personalities behind the Koreans and the French. Let us watch the battle between the giants and irrespective of the outcome, there is always one same winner.

Good luck to Malaysian Army.