Despite the fact that apart from several accidents involving the Malaysian Army’ Radpanzer Condor 4×4 APC, fortunately the peacekeepers deployed had not encountered any incident related to IEDs and hostile combatant. Nevertheless, IED threats remain a clear and visible threat especially when considering that for nearly 3 years, the civil war in Syria has already dragged Lebanon into the conflict.
The recent abduction of Filipino troops in Golan Height by the Syrian rebels and Hezbollah overt involvement in Syria along with President Bashar’s side are two important indications of the important to remain vigilant and well prepared at all time.
According to MALBATT 5 Staff Officer, Lt Kol Fazal Rahman, threat of Hezbollah gunmen often created problems for them.
“Our convoy was stopped by a Hezbollah group claiming that we took photographs in a restricted area. They seized our communication equipment and suspected us of spying for Israel.”
Following the incident, the Lebanese Armed Forces was contacted in order to retrieve back these equipment from the group.
On December 26, 2012, while on reconaissance patrol in Sunni and Shiite population, a MALBATT 5 patrol was stopped by armed locals. The gunmen had shown a signal asking for money from the Malaysian peacekeepers but was ignored. Several of them opened the back door of the peacekeepers’ vehicle and pointing their firearms before the Malaysians had decided to cease any form of communication with the gunmen by quickly shutting the door back and returned to their base.
Provocation by Israel is also another challenged especially when IASF aircraft violated Lebanese airspace.
The plan to replace the veteran Condor has been going on for several years with some foreign company had even dared to make claim that its respective 6×6 armoured vehicles have been chosen by the Malaysian Army to replace the 1980′s era APC. Nevertheless, no official announcement has been made and not even an official signing was made for the vehicle which is an unlicensed copy of the French made VAB vehicle.
In September this year, Bernama has reported that the MAF plans to replace the Condor with a more modern type of vehicle for the MALBATT contingent in Lebanon. According to the MAF Chief, the procurement of the vehicle however will be made after considering other 4×4 or 6×6 vehicles.(here)
Although the 30 years old Condor could still do its job, MAF thoughtthat newer type of vehicles should be considered to further strengthen the Malaysian troops in Lebanon. Starting from the recent deployment, the Malaysian peacekeeper will only be responsible for safeguarding just one sector instead of two previously.
Beside the armoured vehicles, personal protection equipment such as bullet proof vest, kevlar helmets and firearms will be upgraded.
Well, forget the 6×6 armoured vehicles. As has been demonstrated by the French in Lebanon and in Mali, while 6×6 vehicles gave added security and assurance in terms of mobility (not in terms of protection), the suitability of application amidst low to medium density conflict remain the dictating factors of employing armoured vehicle in peacekeeping operation.
The RMP’s peacekeeping operation in Timor Leste further highlight the effectiveness of their S5 4×4 armoured vehicles. Even the recent Ops Daulat further highlight the capability of 4×4 vehicles be it by the veteran Malaysian Army Condor or by the RMP’s S5.
The Philippine Army does not have any 6×6 vehicles but their GKN Simba proved to be a force multiplier during the Zamboanga Crisis.
As has been mentioned earlier, aside form another pair of wheels, there is no other stark differences between 4×4 and 6×6 vehicles. So why not choose DEFTECH AV4 instead?
A few weeks ago, following the conclusion of GPEC Asia 2013 in Putrajaya, the Malaysian Joint Force Command facebook page has attached a picture of Chaiseri First Win 4×4 MRAP vehicle. A report by Jane’s stated that DEFTECH and Chaiseri have jointly marketed the FW4x4 vehicles to the Malaysian Army whereby local assembly of the vehicle by DEFTECH is also considered.
To date, the Army had use RG-31 Nyala MRAP vehicle in Lebanon in tandem with the Radpanzer Condor 4×4 APC, hence if the FW4x4 vehicles are being procured, they might being use to replace the Nyala which were loaned by the UN.
An interesting read on this matter here