Friday, July 23, 2010

MAF live fire demo: Kem Gemas

Scorpion's sting: A Scorpion light tank pounds its target with a 90mm round fired by its Belgian-made Cockerill gun. The small Scorpions - Malaysia's first tanks - are used as ambush parties as their small size makes them ideal for mobile operations in oil palm and rubber plantations. 

Malaysia's Ministry of Defence (Kementerian Pertahanan, KEMENTAH) brought forward its live fire demo and let fly yesterday at Kem Gemas. The Malaysian media has earlier been informed that the firepower demo was scheduled for next Tuesday, 27 July 2010.

There were many Kodak moments as Malaysian Army Armour, Artillery and Infantry battalions from the 3rd Combined Arms Division demolished targets down range. A wide range of land forces capabilties were demonstrated. These ranged from 5.56mm Steyr AUG assault rifles at the lower end of the scale to Pendekar MBTs (Polish-built PT-91Ms) and Keris rockets (Astros II MLRS fire units).

Live fire demos such as the one shown here serve an important role in educating and updating the media on the Malaysian Army's operational readiness.

The media engagement is also valuable because it exposes military officers to the rules of engagement for defence information management.

News reports that inevitably result from such sessions also reinforce the Malaysian public's confidence in their armed services.

Khoo Jin Kiat, who made the trip from Kuala Lumpur, brings us some pictures of the event. I am grateful to JK for his support and contribution.

Armour Forward! With red flags indicating live ammunition onboard, Malaysian Adnan infantry fighting vehicles trundle forward to the firing line.

Weapon carriers: Light vehicles armed with a 40mm automatic grenade launcher and 12.7mm heavy machine gun wait their turn. The front vehicle is a Mercedes Benz MB290GD with cut down cargo deck and the other vehicle is a VAMTAC Hummer.

The Malaysian Army has considerable experience operating vehicles in jungle terrain and plantation areas. One takeaway from operations in these areas is the wire mesh screen fitted to most soft skin vehicles. The MB doesn't have wire mesh protection because its windscreen can be hinged downwards. Note the smoke dischargers covering every quadrant on the MB that it can use to screen its attack/withdrawal.

Weapon carriers give Malaysian Army infantry support weapons such as heavy machine guns better mobility. These weapon carriers are grouped as a counter attack force, a kind of fire brigade that moves rapidly to cover threatened areas such as a helicopter landing point. They are also used to harass enemy troop concentrations and logistics lines.

Deadly cargo: The truck-mounted Keris (Astros II; a Keris is a traditional Malay dagger with a wavy blade) multiple launch rocket system is one of Malaysia's deadliest wheeled war machines. 

Gunners from the Gemas-based 51st Battalion RAD (Rejimen Artileri Diraja) operate on a shoot-and-scoot mode. This view of the Astros in march order shows how difficult it is identifying the Keris MLRS from a distance as its side profile resembles that of a normal cargo truck.

If you blow up the image and look carefully at the targets to the left of the image, you'll see at least two Sibmas vehicles in the impact zone.

Air Guard: A Djigit launcher, seen here on a VAMTAC Hummer, allows air defence missile teams to salvo launch a pair of Igla surface to air missiles. This system is also used by the Singapore Armed Forces, mounted on MB290 GDs.

Gunners, Take Post! Malaysian gunners prepare a G-5 155mm gun howitzer for action. The Malaysian Army has recognised that artillery must fight as a system for maximum effect. The sensor-to-shooter loop that involves target selection, prioritisation, engagement and post barrage damage assessment is increasingly reliant on UAVs and Arthur radars for counterfire missions as well as special forces inserted for spotting missions. 

On target: A support team opens up with a Browning 0.5" heavy machine gun. Although the design dates back to WW2, the 12.7mm rounds fired by the Browning 0.5" are man-stoppers and can also chew through lightly armoured vehicles.

Outgoing! A Eryx short-range anti-tank missile speeds down range. The Malaysian Army has progressively strengthened its anti-tank capabilities with missiles sourced from China, France, Pakistan and Russia. These acquisitions underscore Malaysia's awareness of the armoured threat. Its inventory includes Russian-made Metis M missiles that proved effective in massed missile ambushes against Merkava MBTs in Lebanon.


Anonymous said...

Good photos, post more of this!

Tell us about more about their formations, their operating practices!

Beagle said...

lol they decom the SIMBAS liao? used as targets

xtemujin said...

Hope to see the Avibras Astros II one of this day.

Anonymous said...

their FH-77 lifespan is probably over as well.

Ben Choong said...

I'm actually quite surprised that they have that many Sibmas to spare

Anonymous said...

Heard some of their armour vehicles (not sure which type) could not be operated due to lack of spare parts after the manufacturer went bust. Maybe Simbas is one of them.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone think there's any kind of message they r trying to convey by holding an exercise of such significance so close to our ND ?

Anonymous said...

I wonder what's the size and structure of their CA Division. Do they operate as a tight and effective unit ? How often do they hold CAD exercises, and what is the scale and level of sophistication of their CAD exercises ? I'm sure SAF watches and assesses these developments with very keen eyes.

Anonymous said...

Am very very surprised that a Singaporean is invited to observe their combined arms exercise. Does the SAF do the same ?

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

in the above post i wanted to say how close the arty gun was to the target.normally artillery pieces are far from the target.unfortunately there is no edit post button.