03 Juni 2009

Eastern Europe : Searching for Bargains

19 November 2008

BVP-2 of the Indonesian Marinir (photo : Kaskus Militer)

Slovakia allowed the Marines to improve their firepower and mobility with the acquisition of the BVP-2 IFV. In 1998 six of these vehicles were acquired and were delivered the same year, a second purchase in 1999 covered a total of 11 more BVP-2 vehicles, which were delivered in 2000. In the 1990s, the collapse of the Soviet bloc saw the emergence of numerous new nations, many with very capable defence industries, and Searching For Bargains the reality of a vast amount of military hardware that was surplus to requirements. In Indonesia, it was the Indonesian Marines who took advantage of the opportunity to acquire some enhanced capabilities at what were considered extremely affordable prices.

The Ukraine was one of the earliest ports of call and in 1996 the Marines were able to acquire three BREM-2 armoured recovery vehicles, based on the BMP-2 chassis, and some 34 BTR-50 armoured personnel carriers. The BTR-50 was an important acquisition, in the early 1960s Indonesia had received 66 of these vehicles from the Soviet Union, and the Marines were still using the survivors. Obtaining more BTR-50s built up the strength of the fleet and also provided a use-ful pool of spare parts. The BTR-50 is an extremely useful vehicle for the Marines and there have been numerous upgrade programmes to keep them in service and add capabilities.

BTR-50 of the Indonesian Marinir (photo : Kompas)

Slovakia presented the Marines with another opportunity to enhance their armoured vehicle fleet in the late 1990s.Here the prize was a number of BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), or to be more precise the BVP-2 version used by the former Czechoslovak Army. In 1998 Indonesia acquired nine BVP-2,which were delivered the same year, and in 1999 followed that up with a second purchase of 11 BVP-2,which were delivered in 2000.

RM-70 GRAD of the Indonesian Marinir (photo : Kaskus Militer)

The Czech Republic also proved to be interesting for the Marines, in the form of surplus RM-70 122 mm calibre multiple rocket launchers. These systems were an ideal solution to the requirement for more artillery firepower and due to the fact that they use the same caliber rocket as the widely used BM-21 system, ammunition is readily avail-able. In 2002 an order was placed for six RM-70 systems and these were delivered in 2003, with an additional three systems being delivered in 2007.

One of the great advantages that came with the ability to acquire systems in Eastern Europe was that parts for many of the legacy vehicles and equipment delivered during the Sukarno era could finally be obtained. Although Indonesia has shown an incredible ability to keep these legacy vehicles running and in many cases has conducted modernization programmes, the fact that it can get original spares is an important and welcome development.

BTR-80 of the Indonesian Marinir (photo : Purnomor-Asiafinest)

The Czech Republic was the source for a very important acquisition by the Marines in the form of the RM-70 122mm calibre multiple rocket launcher system. In 2002 a total of six RM-70 were acquired and delivered in 2003,a further three systems were delivered in 2007.

(Asian Defense & Diplomacy-Supplement)

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