KUALA LUMPUR: Six of the 48 PT-91M Twardy main battle tanks, ordered from Poland for the army, have been delivered and are undergoing tests here.
The remaining Twardy (which means tough in Polish) tanks and 14 support/ military vehicles, sought under an RM1.4bil military deal signed in 2003, will arrive in batches.
The deal made big news as it was the maiden acquisition of main battle tanks for the armed forces.
Previously, the army only had 26 of the British-made Scorpion 90 light tanks.
The Polish tanks were chosen over other battle tank designs due to their lighter combat weight (42 tonnes), which better suit local terrain and soil conditions.
PT-91M during military parade (photo : GempurWira)
Army use: The PT-91M Twardy tank, which made its appearance at the 50th Merdeka parade recently, was chosen over other designs due to its lighter combat weight.
The six tanks, assigned to the Royal Armoured Corps based in Gemas, Negri Sembilan, made their maiden public appearance at the 50th Merdeka parade.
A Defence Ministry spokesman said military personnel were testing the tanks and an official launching ceremony would be held later.
The contract with Poland also covers defence technology transfer to Malaysia and training courses for local military personnel in Poland.
The “after-sales service” from Poland will include setting up an ammunition manufacturing depot and tank repair plant here.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who inked the tank deal with Poland, will inspect the tanks soon.
Polish Ambassador to Malaysia Eugeniusz Sawicki said the arrival of the first batch of tanks signalled a proud moment for his country’s military industry.
“The tank deal was clinched after long negotiations. The tanks have been custom-made for Malaysia’s requirements,” he said.
MMC Defence Sdn Bhd, which specialises in armoured vehicle technology, is involved in the project with Bumar Labedy, the tank’s manufacturers.
The anti-explosion tanks, which had upgraded speed, power, communications system and firing range, can manoeuvre to reach difficult terrain.
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Front Runners Emerge in Malaysia Tank Contest
6 Maret 1996
Three front runners are emerging as Malaysia begins to narrow its choice of main battle tanks (MBTs), industry sources say. They are the Polish Zaklady Mechaniczne Bumar-Labedy PT-91; the Slovakian ZTS T-72M2 Moderna and the UK Vickers Defence Systems Mk 3MBT (Jane's Defence Weekly 16 September 1995). All have been demonstrated and evaluated in Malaysia.
Slovakian T-72M2 Moderna (photo : Shinecommerce)
The PT-91 and T-72M2 Moderna are 125 mm-armed; the Mk 3 has a 105 mm L7 gun. Although these MBTs have been identified as front runners, there are other contenders, including Ukraine's diesel-powered T-80UD.Vickers Defence System's Mk3 (photo : Army Recognition)
The initial Malaysia requirement is for up to 50 MBTs, enough for a battalion, although this could later be expanded to a full armoured brigade.
Malaysia does not currently operate MBTs. The 90 mm-armed Alvis Scorpion is the heaviest armed tracked vehicle in Malaysian service.Ukraine's T-80UD (photo : Military Ukraine)
The army has a requirement for 87-100 wheeled armoured personnel carriers for use with United Nations forces. Contenders include: thePandur 6 x 6 from Steyr-Daimler-Puch of Austria; SISU of Finland's XA-185 6 x 6; VAB 4 x 4 and 6 x 6 from Giat Industries of France; Thyssen Henschel of Germany's Transportpanzer 1 6 x 6; Ratel 6 x 6 from Reumech Sandock of South Africa; Piranha 6 x 6 from MOWAG of Switzerland; Dragoon 4 x 4 from AV Technology of the USA; and Textron Marine & Land Systems of the USA's LAV-300 6 x 6.