Mindef signs 54 contracts to buy military equipment

by ANIS HAZIM / pic by TMR FILE

THE Ministry of Defence (Mindef) has signed a total of 54 memorandum of understanding (MoUs) and contracts worth RM4.6 billion at the Defence Services Asia and National Security Asia 2022.

Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (picture) said from the total, 20 are letters of agreement worth RM1.14 billion, 24 contracts (RM3.32 billion), seven letters of intent (RM152.79 million) and three MoUs.

In a press conference yesterday, Hishammuddin also highlighted the ongoing procurement of new assets for the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF).

“For MAF, the assets are an armoured personnel carrier to be deployed with Malbatt 850 in Lebanon, a 155mm self-propelled howitzers and logistic support bridges for the Royal Army Engineers, three-tonne GS cargo trucks and light anti-tank weapon anti-structure for the Special Forces,” he said.

For the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), he said the new assets that are in the pipeline are three Italian-made AW 139 utility helicopters.

RMN is expected to receive the second batch of three littoral mission ships (LMS), which will be equipped with more sophisticated weapon systems to complement the existing four LMS next year, subject to approval by the Economic Planning Unit.

Additionally, he said about 13 fast interceptor crafts are also in the process of procurement for RMN.

Meanwhile, the procurements for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) would be the 36 new fighter-lead-in-trainer or light combat aircraft to be acquired over two phases of 18 aircrafts each.

“This will replace the MiG-29N/UB that have ceased operations in 2017, the HAWKs that will have been in service for 32 years by 2026 and the Aermacchi (MB-339CM) will have also been in service for 22 years by 2030,” he noted.

Concurrently, Mindef also plans to procure three long-range air defence radars, medium-range air defence radar, unmanned aerial surveillance, medium altitude long endurance unmanned aerial surveillance and maritime patrol aircraft.

“Under the Maritime Security Initiative, three CN235-220M aircrafts are currently in the process of being upgraded to fulfil the role of Maritime Surveillance Aircrafts that will be capable of conducting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance duties,” he added.

Hishammuddin also noted that Mindef is currently leasing four AW139 helicopters as a short-term measure to address the Nuri’s decommissioning, as requested by the endusers (RMAF) via the government operate, company own and maintain (GOCOM) method.

“Apart from GOCOM, plans are already in place to procure 24 new helicopters to address the decommissioned Nuris from 2026 onwards with 12 helicopters to be acquired in Phase 1 (13th Malaysia Plan [MP] from 2026 to 2030), and 12 more helicopters to be acquired in Phase 2 (14MP from 2031 to 2035),” he said.

Despite the economic impact from the pandemic and working within the allocated budget, Hishammuddin said Mindef and the military are always committed to ensure Malaysia’s defence and security readiness remain at an optimum level.