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At DSA 2018, held 16-19 April in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the CEO of Malaysia’s Deftech, Amril Samsudin, confirmed to MONCh that the AV8 GEMPITA painted in desert tan, which was parked at the front of the DSA show site, had undergone trials in Saudi Arabia last year in August/September, which included a two week trial involving other AFVs from a number of countries. Mr. Samsudin stated that the vehicle performed very well: “The GEMPITA placed first or second in the various categories of trials so it was a good display given the amount of competition it faced.”

He also stated that only minor modifications were made to the vehicle to enable it to operate in Saudi Arabia. However, the follow on for the trials is uncertain due to the sackings of both the Chief of Staff of the Saudi military and the head of ground forces in February this year who oversaw the AFV trials.

While based on the FNSS PARS, the Deftech AV8 GEMPITA is significantly different with its own vehicle architecture and specifically designed to meet the Malaysian Army’s operational requirements with FNSS granting Deftech the intellectual property rights to the AV8 GEMPITA, which allows Deftech to export the vehicle.

Mr. Samsudin told MONCh that currently 118 of the 257 vehicles in 12 variants ordered by the Malaysian Army had been delivered. Final deliveries of the GEMPITA is expected to in 2020, so far the Malaysian government’s has yet to give any indication as to whether a follow on other will be made.

Also display by Deftech at DSA 2018 were the Sealed Pattern One and Sealed Pattern Three (logistic) prototype vehicles for the Armored Re-manufacturing Programme (ARP) for the Malaysian Army’s CONDOR 4x4 APCs, which is geared towards upgrading and extending the service life of the Malaysian Army’s CONDOR fleet, entering service in the 1980s and of which more than half of the 460 vehicles purchased still remain in service .

Sealed Pattern One is the Deftech proposed upgrade and has already been displayed at the DSA 2016 exhibition while Sealed Pattern Three, was displayed at the 2017 Malaysia National Day Parade. Sealed Pattern Three is a CONDOR APC with the troop compartment converted into a flatbed where cargo can be carried. Sealed Pattern 2, which debuted at the Defence and Security 2017 exhibition held in Thailand is done by Thailand’s Chaiseri, Deftech’s partner on the 4x4 AV4 LIPANBARA MRAP, of which twenty were delivered to the Malaysian Army and includes a new engine and air conditioning system for the CONDOR. While not on display at DSA 2018, Sealed Pattern Two will be bought over to Malaysian soon for evaluation and trials.

A source involved in the programme said that Sealed Pattern Two provided better improvements over Sealed Pattern One but also would cost more. When asked on the status of the programme at DSA 2018, Malaysian Chief of Defence Force, General Raja Mohamed Affandi said to Military Technology that evaluations and testing were still ongoing but it was important that the CONDOR upgrade be eventually carried out given the large number of vehicles still in service and that it would be cheaper than buying new vehicles to replace the CONDORs.

Dzirhan Mahadzir

AV8 GEMPITA, painted in desert tan, was parked at the front of the DSA show site, underwent trials in Saudi Arabia last year in August/September. (Photo: Dzirhan Mahadzir)

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