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Military Purchase Main Battle Tanks From Poland (12 Apr 2003)

The Malaysia military has confirmed a RM $1.4 billion (S$650 million) deal with Poland to procure its first maim battle tanks as part of their military upgrade that will later involve a submarine fleet, guided missile systems and new fighter jets.

Both defence ministers of Malaysia and Poland signed the agreement yesterday for the procurement of 48 PT-91M main battle tanks and 14 other support vehicles. Malaysia agreed last year to purchase the PT-91 tank, which is modeled after the Russian T-72. This is Poland's biggest weapon deal since 1981 and will be paid through cash and barter trade of palm oil and rubber over the next ten years.

Malaysian Defence Minister, Najib Razak commented that the tanks would be able to give the army an added advantage, which is important for ground offensives. Malaysia may acquire more main battle tanks in the future. The tanks would also help put together the Armored brigade and Combined Arms Division.

After sealing the main battle tank deal yesterday, the intended acquisition of new fighter jets seem to be the final step before Malaysia's upgrading exercise is complete.

Malaysia Air Force expressed interest in adding the Russian Sukhoi SU-30 fighter jet to their existing fleet of British hawks, F/A 18 from the United States and the Russian MiG29 aircraft and a deal could be draft this year.

Last June, The army bought two new Scorpene-class submarines and a refurbished Agosta 70 from European shipbuilders DCN International for training purposes. While Two Months earlier, they acquired Russian and European missiles worth RM 1.4 billion.