Back To The Future

SHAH ALAM: Back to the future. At DSA 2016 I reported that a contract was signed for a barter trade involving the Otomat missiles and components with eight Electro-Optical Fire Control System (EOFCS) for the 24th Corvette Squadron (the Laksamana class corvettes).

Astra Permai Sdn Bhd was given letter of award for the RM34.5 million deal to sell the expired Otomat and some of the proceeds will be used to buy the EOFCS. Under the deal, the four ships of the Laksamana class will have two EO directors, aft and forward, linked to a FCS to fire the two guns, the 76mm and twin 40mm, remotely from the bridge. The EOFCS selected is the Gem Elettronica EOFCS115A.

GEM Elettronica EOFCS115A, the EOFCS for the Laksamana class ships signed at DSA 2016

Since DSA 2016, I have been trying to find out whether or not the EOFCS have been fitted on the Laksamana class without success even though we already know other RMN ships have been fitted with new EODs.

Otomat Mk 2 of the Peruvian Navy. Wikipedia

In early 2018, my interest on the Laksamana class EOFCS was renewed further when I was told that the components of the Otomat missiles we bartered had been used in testing on a new anti ship missile being developed in Italy. At DSA 2018 I asked around and was told that Gem Electronicca EOFCS would soon be installed on the Laksamana class ships.

RMN corvette Laksamana Muhammad Amin comes alongside USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) during CARAT in 2004. The Otomat missiles and its launchers are gone by 2016.

My interest on the EOFCS peaked again this year when RMN Chief Admiral Reza Sany announced that all four Laksamana class would be put out to sea again this year. For starters, all four corvettes are slated to be among the ships at the LIMA 19 fleet review next week.

KD Laksamana Tun Jamil after the refit on March 12. Note there is nothing on top of the bridge to indicate an EO turret has been installed. RMN picture.

On March 12, RMN Western Fleet command posted an update on the Laksamana corvettes, two of them have completed their refit at Boustead Naval Shipyard in Lumut while another two were still undergoing the same procedure at the nearby Grade One Marine Shipyard (see update, below). Pictures of at least two of the ships (above and below) posted by the command, however did not show any EO turrets on them.

One of the Laksamana corvette undergoing refit at Grade One Marine shipyard, also in Lumut. There is also nothing above the bridge to indicate an EO turret has been install. RMN picture

What gives then? There is enough time for the EOFCS to be manufactured and shipped to Malaysia to be fitted on these ships, by this year, especially since all four are supposed to be on full time duty then. I guess we will have to wait for LIMA 2019 to find out or not!

Update. RMN took delivery of the two Laksamana class corvettes refited at Grade One Marine Shipyard on March 21.

— Malaysian Defence

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