GEMAS: The army's pride -- the PT-91M Pendekar main battle tanks (MBT) -- are now fully operational.
Army chief Gen Datuk Zulkifeli Zin said the Pendekars (Malay for warriors) have full battle capability with the fleet of 48 complemented by 14 support vehicles, six WZT-4 armoured recovery vehicles, five PMC Leguan armoured vehicle-launched bridges, three MID-M armoured engineering tanks and an array of supplementary vehicles.
"The MBT regiment's readiness embodies the 'man, machine and method' development strategy the army professes."
He said this at the MBTs operational readiness declaration ceremony at the Syed Sirajuddin Camp in Negri Sembilan on Sept 1.
The MBTs are part of the 11th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps' (RAC) which celebrated its 58th anniversary on that day.
The delivery of the 48 Pendekars began in 2008.
This was followed by the other supplementary vehicles, reportedly under a US$380 million (RM1.18 billion) package from Poland.
The Pendekars each have a crew of three, weigh 45,310kg and can reach a speed of 70km per hour.
Calling the Pendekar acquisition as very pricey, Zulkifeli justified their need as history had proven that armoured vehicles played a significant role during battle.
"For instance, during World War II the German military used its Panzers to combat and capture Allied Forces.
"The speed and mobility of the Panzers were very suitable with their Blitzkrieg lightning offensive tactics," he add