The Malaysian Royal Armoured Corps had its beginning with two army units formed by the British administration during the Malayan Emergency. On 1 September 1952, the 1st Battalion Federation Regiment was formed. On the same date the Federation Reconnaissance Regiment was also formed. The Federation Regiment was unique for it was the first multi-racial infantry unit in Malaya.
The Federation Regiment and Reconnaissance Regiment was merged in 1 January 1960 and was known as the Federation Reconnaissance Corps. Units under the Corps on its formation was the 1st Federation Reconnaissance Regiment and the 2nd Federation Reconnaissance Regiment, better known as 1st Recce and 2nd Recce respectively. Both units were equipped with scout cars namely the Ferret and other British made armoured cars.
Both 1 Recce and 2 Recce served with the Malayan Special Force under UN Command in the Congo. For its sterling service, the Regiment was given its Royal colours on 23 March 1963. With the formation of Malaysia, the regiment once again was renamed the Malaysian Reconnaissance Regiment. The 3rd Reconnaissance Regiment was formed by merging the 1st Independent Reconnaissance Squadron with the “D” Squadrons from 1 Recce and 2 Recce. The regiment was bestowed the “Royal” title on 20 May 1972, and thence called Royal Reconnaissance Regiment.
A specialised Parachute Armoured Squadron was formed on 12 September 1992 to equip the newly establish Rapid Deployment Force (Pasukan Aturgerak Cepat) centred on 10th Brigade Paratroopers. Members of the parachute Armored Squadron are jump qualified.
Armoured warfare training is undertaken at the Armour Training Centre at Sebatang Karah Camp in Port Dickson. Exchanges are made with friendly countries such as The United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, India and Pakistan.
A mounted ceremonial squadron, the 21st Mounted Ceremonial Squadron (21 Skuadron Istiadat Berkuda) was formed on 13 May 1997 and provides ceremonial guard duties at the Istana Negara and the ceremonial Sovereign's Escort of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Royal Armoured Corps units were a component of the Malaysian contingent under the UNPROFOR and SFOR missions in Bosnia, serving under UN Command and later NATO command. The 3rd Regiment Armour (3 Armor) serving as MALBATT I (Malaysian Battalion I) under UNPROFOR monitored the disarming of the opposing factions and enforcing the ceasefire in Bosnia in 1993. The unit was later relieved by 2nd Regiment Armour (2 Armor) as MALBATT II in 1994 – 1995. The 4th Regiment Armour (4 Armor) served as MATBATT IV and MALCON I (Malaysian Contingent I) under IFOR. 2 Armor was involved in this Bosnia mission again in 1997. The mission continued until 1998.
Presently, the Royal Armored Corps is equipped with Infantry Fighting Vehicles such as the wheeled Sibmas 6x6 armed with the 90mm Cockerill gun system and the Thyssen Radpanzer Condor 4x4. Tracked vehicles used included the Alvis Scorpion light tank, the Alvis Stormer APC and the Korean IFV. The locally assembled Adnan ACV-300S (licensed ACV-S from FNSS Turkey) is entering service.
The design of the Adnan ACV-300S is a derivative of the Adnan ACV-300S vehicle which itself was derived from one of the world's most widely deployed combat vehicles, the US Army M113.) The Adnan ACV-300S is an all terrain amphibious vehicle suitable for infantry engagements. It is equipped with heavy FN-Herstal 12.7mm machine guns as well as Global Positioning System (GPS), laser warning system and 76mm grenade launchers.
The Royal Armoured Corps will soon have its first Tank Regiment, formed around the proposed purchase of the PT-91 Twardy tank from Poland, deliveries of which is expected by 2007. The Twardy was chosen over other (western) design due to its light combat weight (42 tonnes) compared to the over 60 tonnes for Western designs such as the Challenger, Leopard and Abrams. The French Leclerc was a strong contender but eventually lost out on pricing. Hyundai offered to supply their K1 tank but the offer was not taken up.
The Armour Museum is located at Jalan Sua Betong, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan. The late Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah Ibni Al-Marhum Al-Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah, the Sultan of Terengganu, launched the museum on 4 September 1993. He was also the Colonel-in-charge for the Royal Armoured Corps.
The purpose for the establishment of the museum was to store for reference historical documents and artifacts of the Royal Armoured Corps, which has its headquarters at Sunggala Camp, Port Dickson.