Saturday, March 2, 2013
Malaysian Army showcases new combat systems for its infantry
Port Dickson, Malaysia: The Malaysian Army this morning underlined its determination to introduce network-enabled capabilities that will allow the Malaysian soldier to go to war carrying the full weight of the Army's firepower in his backpack.
Done at the Malaysian Army's 80th Anniversary parade, this capability shop window indicates to defence observe that the Army has formally ushered itself into the age of network-enabled warfare. It is early days yet before every Malaysian warfighter can plug into the battlefield network, but the Malaysian General Staff's (MARKAS ATM) determination to raise, train and sustain network-enabled fighting forces was a message heard loud and clear this morning.
The Malaysian Army's drive to signal that it is modernising its forces with the same network-enabled lexicon as modern armies is noteworthy.
It indicates that MARKAS ATM is aware of the battle-winning advantages that come with integrating units using a secure data sharing network that will allow Malaysian warfighters to exchange voice, data or video in realtime.
The focus on information warfare was underscored by the first ever participation of the Malaysian Army's new eight-wheeled PARS AV-8 infantry carrier vehicle, which made its public debut in Bandar Tenterat Darat (Army Town) amid a frenzy of interest from the Malaysian media. Reporters and cameramen swarmed round the Turkish-made 8x8 when it stopped briefly before the saluting platform graced by the Malaysian Defence Minister and top brass from MARKAS ATM.
PARS AV-8 with Malaysian Army numberplate ZB 2699 was given pride of place at the head of a mobile column that had more than 120 A and B-vehicles from all its combat and combat service support formations. The new war horse was followed by the Army's PT-91M Pendekar Main Battle Tank - the spearhead of Malaysian armoured battle groups.
This morning's firepower display included systems such as the TDA Dragon Fire 120mm mortar fitted to Adnan armoured fighting vehicles, which can lob 10 mortar bombs a minute, assault bridging vehicles and air-portable war machines fielded by Malaysia's Pasukan Aturgerak Cepat (PAC: rapid deployment force) formation.
Borrowing phrases that would be familiar to Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) warfighters, the capabilities of the PARS and its onboard infantry were explained using English terms which stood out in the Bahasa Malaysia commentary. These include terms like Battlefield Management System (BMS).
Mechanised infantry carried aboard the AV-8 were fully kitted out for night combat with a variety of hand-held devices for communicating with other fire teams, friendly vehicles and Malaysian Army units, night sights and body armour.
Particularly impressive were paratroopers from the Malaysian Army's 10th Brigade and special forces from the Grup Gerak Khas, who went on parade with seldom-seen war machines.
This blog will carry more reports from this special trip to Bandar Tentara Darat in coming weeks.
We are due to watch a GGK demo tomorrow morning.
The blog team thanks MARKAS ATM and the Public Affairs Department, Kementerian Pertahanan Malaysia, for opening doors. The march past and mobile column were impressive. We say this having seen how Singapore National Day Mobile Columns are put together. Gagah Setia.
Posted by David Boey at 2:55 PM