PETALING JAYA: Pakistani Navy newly commissioned fast attack craft missile, PNS Azmat is on a four day official to Malaysia from May 16 to 19. The ship is berthed at RMN Tanjung Gelang base in Kuantan. The picture below is courtesy of the RMN.
The ship which was inducted into Pak Navy on April 23, is on an Asean tour as part of its shakedown cruise home. It will be going to Indonesia next. According to news report from the Pakistan, the Azmat was built at China State Shipbuilding Company, Xingang Shipyard. The ship is equipped with eight C-802A/CSS-N-8 Saccade anti-ship missiles and a CIWS gun (from the picture I believe its a twin 37mm mount.
The Pakistan news reports also stated that the Azmat, is the first of the class, with second ship to be build in Karachi shipyard. The reports also stated that Azmat Class Fast Attack Craft (Missile) has a crew of 12 to 14 sailors which is less than half that of similar FAC (M). Each FAC (M) will cost of around $50 million each.
Could and should we build a similar vessel?. Its not rocket science but the fact that nuclear-armed Pakistan needs technology transfer from China to build an FAC shows that its military industrial complex is not as sophisticated as we think.
As for Malaysia, we had the capability via Hong Leong Lurssen shipyard which had built similar vessels (Jerong class) in the past. The capability however was allowed to lapse after building six boats. They continued building smaller patrol crafts for the police and other government agencies but when money was available for re-capitalisation in the late 80s and 90s, the navy (and most probably the government) procured bigger boats. When they procure FAC-sized boats, they went overseas (Mahamiru and Laksamana class). And when the time the New Generation Patrol Boats came along, well do I need to say more?
Now with both the navy and MMEA patrolling with 30-old FAC and patrol boats, the need for such capability remained unfulfilled.
In the meantime, NGV Tech Sdn Bhd is building two 75 metre training boats for the navy. The boats are supposed to be armed with guns and used for training only but it wouldnt be difficult to up-gunned them with missiles, ASMs and SAMs.
Since we already paid for the rights to the design of the training ship from Daewoo, it would be wise for us to use the same basic hull to recapitalise RMN and MMEA patrol fleet. The MMEA boats could maintain the training ships guns-only design but the navy could upgrade them with ASM and SAMs.
A number of hulls could also be built for the mine warfare duties. What about the CMS and radar? We could always buy the Tacticos from Thales as well as the radar from them. MBDA, Boeing, BAE Systems and Oto Melara will be knocking on our door to sell missiles and guns.
It could be done of course but do we really need to prepare a working paper?