According to the Malaysian company Weststar Defence there are orders from the Royal Malaysian Navy and Royal Malaysian Air Force for 44 GK-M1 Rapid Rover 4×4 vehicle each following an official signing ceremony on 19 May at Defense Services Asia. That reportedshephardmedia.com.
A spokesperson from Weststar told Shephard that they expect orders for another 44 from each service. He added that the Army already has the Vamtac from URO fitted with the Igla.
The vehicles are fitted with the Starstreak very short-range air defence (VSHORAD) missile on a Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML) system from Thales and will provide a mobile air defence capability to the service. It is not clear how many Starstreaks and LMLs will be bought.
Thales and Weststar signed a partnering arrangement in April 2014 for the latter to distribute Ground-Based Air Defence systems in Malaysia. Starstreak will replace the existing Starburst VSHORADsystem, which was retired in 2013.
Starstreak was tested for the first time in Malaysia in March. Despite the GK-M1 Rapid Rover being displayed at the DSA 2014 exhibition, the missile has yet to be tested on the vehicle. Further Starstreak tests are due in October.
It could suggest that firing Starstreak from an LML from the back of a Toyota Hilux is not providing as much stability as required. However, a spokesperson from Weststar insisted that first deliveries are expected this year.
Weststar’s subsidiary, Global Komited, which provides the vehicles said that GK-M1 Rapid Rover and the other vehicles on the stand at DSA – the GK-M1 Special Operations Vehicle (SOV) and the GK-M1 Fit For Radio (FFR) vehicles – were all locally built to the Toyota Hilux chassis design. However, they look similar to the versions built by Thailand, which bought Starstreak last year.
The spokesperson revealed that three Starstreak missile launchers had been purchased by Weststar and this follows the first testing of Starstreak on 28 March.
He added that further Starstreak systems would be purchased in batches dependent on the completion of the vehicle tests.
The GK-M1 has a gross vehicle weight of 3,300kg and can carry a 500kg payload. It is 5.7m long and 1.8mwide with a height of 2m.
Meanwhile, while the new SOV variant has the same GVW and width it is shorter at 5m long but it is fitted with a rooftop 360 degree ring mount and front swing for a machine gun. It can carry a slightly larger payload up to 760kg.
The FFR is slightly shorter again at 4.7m long, but has a built in radio racking system for all military specification and three antenna brackets (for HF, VHF and UHF) space for a lean-to tent and a three layer hard roof panel and side ladder.