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Malaysian Peacekeepers in Lebanon to Begin Using “PANTHERA” Armored Vehicles Next Month

The Ministry of Defense has acquired 20 "PANTHER" (Ejder Yalchin) armored vehicles valued at RM190 million from Turkey to replace the CONDOR armored vehicles used by Malaysian UN peacekeepers serving under UNIFIL in Lebanon.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) – Malaysia’s Ministry of Defense announced that members of the national peacekeeping force serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) will begin using the “PANTHERA 4×4” (Ejder Yalchin) armored vehicles starting April this year.

Defense Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Khaled Nordin, in a recent written reply in the Parliament, stated that members of the Malaysian Battalion (MALBATT) will deploy these Turkish-made armored vehicles following the completion of the Final Acceptance Test this month.

“The PANTHERA armored vehicles are expected to become operational in April 2024, after the Final Acceptance Test concludes in early March 2024,” he said in his written response.

The ministry has acquired 20 PANTHERA armored vehicles, valued at RM190 million, from Turkey to replace the CONDOR armored vehicles.

 Meanwhile, Mohamed Khaled mentioned that there are currently no plans for the disposal of nine IAG Guardian 4×4 armored vehicles, which remain classified as Contingent Own Equipment (COE) and are still being utilized for MALBATT peacekeeping operations under UNIFIL in Lebanon.

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“Although these vehicles do not fully meet the UN specifications, their use is still accepted by UNIFIL,” the Defense Minister remarked.

He further explained that the purchase of the Guardian armored vehicles in 2018 was intended to replace nine aging CONDOR armored vehicles, which had reached 40 years of service life.

There is no issue of the PANTHERA 4×4 vehicles being purchased as replacements for the Guardian vehicles.

“The MALBATT, Joint Forces Headquarters, and the Ministry of Defense are in the process of decommissioning an additional 20 operational CONDOR armored vehicles at MALBATT, to be replaced by the newly acquired PANTHERA vehicles from Turkey.”

The “Panthera” vehicles, produced by Nurol Makina, were introduced in Malaysia in 2018 and have undergone various tests in Malaysia recently, along with several competitors.

During the DSA 2022 exhibition, Nurol Makina and NADI Corp signed a “final configuration review acceptance” for the Ejder Yalchin (Panthera) vehicle.

The specifications of the Nurol Makina manufactured armored vehicle include a weight range of 12 to 14 tons and a payload capacity of up to 4 tons.

These vehicles can reach speeds of up to 110 km/h with an operational range of 600km, powered by a 300 horsepower engine.

The “Panthera” is capable of transporting up to 11 fully armed military personnel and can be equipped with heavy machine guns and Automatic Grenade Launchers.

 It remains uncertain what armaments the “Panthera” will utilize in Lebanon, likely limited to 7.62mm machine guns with the use of Remote Control Weapon Stations (RCWS) for enhanced protection of its crew/weapon operators. — DSA

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