The Malaysian Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) is bolstering the nation’s defence capabilities through a series of contracts valued at RM7.3bn ($1.5bn). 

Concurrently, a promising partnership with South Korea’s Hanwha Aerospace emerges, marking a potential leap in Malaysia’s military technology landscape.

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MINDEF sealed 40 deals during the Defence Services Asia (DSA) Exhibition & Conference 2024 and National Security (NATSEC) Asia 2024.

The Malaysian Army stands to benefit from 18 units of anti-tank guided weapon—medium range (ATGW-MR) from Türkiye, enhancing infantry battalion capabilities. Meanwhile, the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) is gearing up for a technological overhaul, replacing its air surveillance radar (ASR) and air traffic management system in an effort to ensure airspace sovereignty and modernised air traffic services.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force recently benefited from Lockheed Martin and Boeing clinching an $80m contract with Malaysia to procure ten AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods to modernise its F/A-18D platform. The deal, approved by the US State Department, emphasises America’s support for its partners in the Indo-Pacific region. 

In addition, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has secured contracts to refit vessels such as KD JEBAT, KD PERAK, and KD BAUNG. Moreover, the in-service support contract for Prime Minister’s class submarines signals a proactive stance towards maintaining mission safety and operational availability.

Amidst these developments, Hanwha Aerospace’s entry onto the Malaysian defence stage sparks intrigue. The South Korean defence giant, known for its Chunmoo multiple rocket launcher system (MRLS), formalised a cooperative agreement with Widad Business Group, a Malaysian investment company. This collaboration holds promise for Malaysia’s MRLS acquisition programme, aiming to replace ageing fleet systems by 2026.

The K239 Chunmoo MRLS, with its track record of service in various nations, presents a solution for Malaysia’s defence needs. Capable of firing a range of rockets and missiles, including the 290km CTM-290 ballistic missile.

Malaysia has a brief history of acquiring military equipment from Hanwha Defence, acquiring 111 K200A1 armoured personnel carriers between 1993 and 1995, according to GlobalData’s “Malaysia Defense Market 2023-2028” report.  

Tan Sri Dato Muhammad lkmal Opat Abdullah, Chairman of Widad Business Group, expressed confidence in Hanwha Aerospace and is foreseeing a fruitful partnership. Similarly, Hanwha Aerospace’s Executive Vice President, Go Sang-hwe, emphasised the company’s dedication to elevating Malaysia’s military capabilities through collaborative efforts.