18 March 2009
Malaysia will take delivery of an additional order of 18 Brazilian Avibras Astros II multiple rocket launchers (MRLs) in September, Malaysian Army Chief General Tan Sri Muhammad Ismail Jamaluddin announced on 1 March.
The new MRLs will form a second regiment to add to the Malaysian Astros II regiment already in service. The 18 launchers, their various support vehicles and munitions were ordered in 2007. Deliveries of munitions for the launchers have commenced, with most of the material already in country.
Malaysia currently has 18 Astros II MRLs in service from an earlier order that was delivered in 2002. The second regiment, 52 Artillery Regiment, will be operationally ready in 2010 and will be based in the state of Kedah as part of the 2nd Division. The regiment already in service, 51 Artillery Regiment, is currently based in Negri Sembilan state as part of the 3rd Division.
Meanwhile, plans for the army to procure a self-propelled artillery capability have been postponed to the timeframe of the 10th Malaysian plan (2011-16) owing to budget constraints. Similarly, plans to buy an additional nine Denel G5 155mm guns as replacements for some of the 28 G5s currently in the inventory have also stalled due to a lack of funding.