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.
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.