Local defence vehicle Tarantula unveiled

Mindef strives to reduce its reliance on foreign manufacturers for military assets and successfully introduce the Tarantula

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by BERNAMA

MALAYSIA has made a breakthrough in defence with the development of the country’s first locally-designed and built armoured vehicle, Tarantula HMAV 4×4 (high mobility armoured vehicle 4×4).

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Defence Ministry (Mindef) has strived to reduce its reliance on foreign manufacturers for military assets and the successful introduction of the Tarantula displays the capability of local talents and experts in the industry.

“This is Malaysian-made. I have said (previously) Mindef will focus on the fact that experts in Malaysia are capable of producing our own arms so that we do not have to depend on foreign countries for military equipment,” Ismail Sabri said at the naming ceremony of the Tarantula in Kuala Lumpur last week.

He said the government has not made any procurement yet, but the Tarantula has advantages over imported products with the same level of quality and performance.

The Tarantula was developed by Mildef International Technologies Sdn Bhd in four years with a total research and development investment of RM16 million.

Mildef can produce 40 Tarantulas in a year and the armoured vehicle has garnered international market interest from countries in the Middle East.

The Tarantula has completed and passed evaluation tests at various training grounds throughout Malaysia including highway endurance, fuel efficiency, load, winching, slope, mounting and dismounting, climbing and braking, and a fording test.

The assessment spanned nine days for up to 700km of road testing and 300km off-road, besides being put through the paces on an obstacle course.

The vehicle has a maximum speed of 110kph, 60% maximum climbing rate, 40% maximum slide slope, 1,000mm fording depth and a road range of 700km.

It is equipped with state-of-the-art artillery, grenade and mine blast functions, and the weapon platform for this vehicle uses a remote control weapon station, which enables this fighting vehicle to fire throughout 360 degrees while moving.

The name of the armoured vehicle is derived from the name Tarantula which comprises a group of large and often hairy spiders equipped with fangs of the family Theraphosidae.

They can change colour and behaviour to cleverly adapt to their surroundings, and have been known to kill other animals bigger than their size.

Found in various ecosystems from rainforests to deserts. Tarantulas are also known as “earth tigers” in Asia.

In a separate matter, Ismail Sabri said the government has not received any report yet on the allegation that North Korean secret agents are still in Malaysia despite the bilateral relationship, having ended with the country’s diplomats leaving Malaysia.

As it is, he said the matter shall be addressed by the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The media previously reported that North Korean agents used Malaysia as a transit point for luxury goods and weapons movements.