Monday, 11 November 2013


 By M .Hanif Ismail 

Amphibious warfare is inherently a joint operation; at the most basic form, it requires ships to transport troops from ship to shore where they can establish a beachhead and execute a normal ground campaign from there. For many armed forces around the world, it is the business of the Navy to operate ships; as such ships for the amphibious warfare will be maintained and manned by the Navy.

Although troops fulfilling the function of a Marine Corps historically come from the Navy as well, it does not have to be the case (for example, Guards battalions tasked with amphibious operations are under the Singapore Army, not Navy).

It has been established in Part II that the intention behind the establishment of the Marine Corps is important in order to determine which model suit it best.

If the intent is for power projection then a number of big ticket items are needed: trained troops for the amphibious landing, sufficient troop lift capability, ability to provide air cover in transit and during the amphibious landing, ability to protect the amphibious warfare ships in transit and during the amphibious landing and specialised craft to transport ship to shore.

If the intent is to setup a rapidly deployable force for handling domestic situations, most of the requirements above can be waived, as technically the Marine Corps will be the same as an Army unit, and can be transported by trucks instead of ships for most domestic situations. 

Here we will take a look at what resources we currently have to form the base of the new Marine Corps.


TRAINED TROOPS: Currently all the commandos and Special Forces formations (21 Gerup Gerak Khas / 21 GGK of the Malaysian Army, PASKAL of the Navy and PASKAU of the Air Force) are trained and can be deployed for small scale amphibious operations / raids, as well as to be part of larger amphibious landings. Also trained in amphibious operations is the 10 Para Brigade (in particular the 9th Royal Malay Regiment / 9 RMR, one of the airborne infantry battalion under the Brigade). 10 Para Brigade is the main element of the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF). The amphibious operation capabilities of these formations have been demonstrated in joint / joint combined exercises such as EKS BELANGKAS, EKS ANGSA, EKS MALINDO DARSASA and EKS CARAT/PENYU TRIDENT). 

Elements of 21 GGK and PASKAL are trained in beach reconnaissance and obstacle clearing for landing zone preparation, which are essential for a successful amphibious landing.

AMPHIBIOUS WARFARE SHIPS: Currently we have 2 amphibious warfare ships, KD Mahawangsa and KD Sri Indera Sakti, each can transport about 600 troops. These ships are not suitable in the long run as it is not equipped with well deck to allow the loading of landing craft from the interior vehicle lanes.

SPECIALISED CRAFT: Assault boats with outboard engines are currently used in amphibious operation exercises. These are not exactly the most ideal craft for large scale amphibious operations as it cannot carry vehicles and can only transport about a dozen troops each.

AIR COVER: Boeing F/A-18D and Sukhoi Su-30MKM from the Air Force are able and can be tasked to provide air cover and close air support.

MARITIME PROTECTION: The 2 Lekiu-class multi role frigates can be tasked to protect the amphibious warfare ships in transit and during the amphibious landing. Additional 2 Kasturi-class light frigates and 4 Laksamana-class corvettes can also be tasked as needed.

Part V will look at the requirements for a tactically mobile Marine Corps as well as for a strategically mobile, power projection-capable Marine Corps.

1 comment:

  1. I would propose that Malaysia look at the marine forces of the Scandanavian countries as a possible model. These are littoral forces with no/limited power projection capabilities but strong in defensive firepower.



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