Brigadier General Mohd Fazly bin Mat Said, the Director of the Malaysian Army Royal Armoured Corps (Kor Armor Diraja, KAD), witnessed the Handover Parade of the DefTech AV8 GEMPITA 8×8 armoured fighting vehicles between the 1st Royal Armoured Regiment (Rejimen 1, 1 RAR) and the 4th Royal Armoured Regiment (4 RAR) at the Parade Ground of the 2nd Royal Armoured Regiment (Rejimen 2, 2 RAR) in Sunggala Camp, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan. Led by Major Izzudin bin Dato’ Abidin, the parade symbolized a historic moment as the Malaysian Army agreed to transfer the 8×8 GEMPITA armoured fighting vehicles from 1 RAR (Rejimen 1, 1 RAR) to 4 RAR (Rejimen 4, 4 RAR) to cater to the operational, training, and competency needs of the crew of 4 RAR, 1st Division, and the Eastern Field Army Headquarters.
A total of 26 DefTech AV8 GEMPITA 8×8 armoured fighting vehicles out of 257 units were transferred from 2 RAR in West Malaysia to 4 RAR in Johor, East Malaysia. The transfer will be carried out in two phases using the services of the Royal Malaysian Navy’s ship KD MAHAWANGSA, starting in September and expected to conclude by mid-October 2023. The geographical distribution of the Royal Armoured Corps units underscores their strategic positioning. the 4 RAR operates out of Kuching, strengthening defense capabilities in that key area. The 5 RAR (Rejimen 5), stationed in Sabah, completes this robust network of armor units. The Royal Armoured Corps’s deployment of armor regiments and the specialized armored squadron highlights the nation’s commitment to maintaining a modern and effective defense force.
The DefTech AV8 Gempita (Thunder) is an amphibious multirole armoured vehicle developed by Malaysian defence company DefTech with the assistance of Turkey defence company FNSS. The Gempita resembles some of the Turkey FNSS Pars design and technology. The vehicle has a modular design which allows the fitting of different turrets, weapons, sensors, and communications systems on the same vehicle. The vehicle has 12 variants, including the armoured personnel carrier, infantry fighting vehicle, tank destroyer, signals intelligence vehicle and recovery vehicles. The AV8 is manufactured by DefTech in Pahang, Malaysia. In December 2014, the AV8 was officially inducted into service with the Malaysian Army in a ceremony at the DefTech plant in Pekan.
The driver and the commander seats are located at the front of the vehicle, the turret in the middle and the troop’s compartment at the rear. There is three large day periscopes at the front position of driver and commander and one on each side that provide excellent visibility. Eleven infantrymen can be seated at the rear of the hull on individual seats down each side of the hull facing inwards. All shock-absorbing seats are fitted with five-point seatbelts as standard. Back of the driver and commander position, there is an access passage to the troop compartment at the right side of the hull. The AV8 has add-on armour at the front and sides to increase protection level to STANAG 4569 Level 4, with protection against 14.5mm rounds.