Candidates for RMN Utility Helos

Hong Kong based Government Flying Service (GFS) Airbus H175. Airbus

SHAH ALAM: Candidates for RMN utility helicopter programme. In the original post for the RMN utility helicopter programme, I wrote that the Leonardo AW139 and the Airbus H145M as among the likely candidates.

The Turkish Aerospace Industries Gokbey utility helicopter is unlikely to be offered for the tender as the first prototype only flew recently, unless the politicians got in the way of course.

Gokbey helicopter prototype. TAI

Elephant In The Room

Before we list the other helicopters likely to be offered for the RMN tender, we must also faced the elephant in the room, used or second hand rotorcraft. First, it’s the four Sikorsky Blackhawks previously offered by Brunei to Malaysia.

RBAF S-70A Blackhawk helicopter. USAF photo

As I reported previously these helicopters were offered for RM58 million only, much lower than the RM220 million budget allocated for the RMN programme. It is likely the tender would not had happened if RMN had wanted them or similar specced helicopters.

MHS Aviation EC225. Airbus

The other used helicopters available for RMN are the five EC225 owned by MHS Aviation, currently in Miri and flown periodically to ensure they will be available for service, when and if it comes.

One of the two Leonardo AW189 9M-BOE as seen stored at the Leonardo hangar in Subang in March, 2018.

These helicopters were bought to service Petronas O&G needs but have been idled after the contract was terminated after several crashes involving similar helicopters, the last one being the fatal crash in Norway on April, 2016. These helicopters do not meet the requirement of the tender, not because they are used, so they should not be in the mix.

The Others

If the Blackhawk did not meet the requirements of the tender, so will it be plain sailing for Leonardo and Airbus then? Not really as Sikorsky has the S-76 of course. Sikorsky had displayed the latest version of the S-76, the D, in Malaysia back in 2016

A round a dozen or so of this rotorcraft though mostly the B and C variants, are already in service in Malaysia, mostly for the O&G industry.

A S-76D of the Japan Coast Guard.

Leonardo could also offer the bigger version of the AW139, the AW189 for the requirement of course. Two of these helicopters were already bought for the Bomba air wing. As these were purchased for RM105 million each, I am not sure whether it can really be an alternative to the smaller AW139 though.

Airbus H160. Airbus

As for Airbus, apart from H145M and H145, it could also offer two other helicopters, namely the H160 and H175. Both meet the requirements though again at the end of the day, they will still need to abide with the budget allocation. The H175 is supposed to be in the same class as the AW189 but the H160 is the latest twin medium helicopter from Airbus. The company is producing a military variant of the helicopter, though this version will only enter service in 2022. Its not relevant to this tender however.

Hong Kong based Government Flying Service (GFS) has received three H175s in public services configuration, becoming the world’s first operator of this new variant which enlarges the H175 mission capacity to search and rescue (SAR), emergency medical services, law enforcement, firefighting as well as land and maritime border control operations. Seven H175 are in service with the GFS. Airbus

Another helicopter that could possibly be offered for the tender is the HAL Dhruv. I read somewhere it had been offered previously to Malaysia though I am not certain for what programme and which version, the skid or the one fitted with wheels.

HAL Dhruv. By Neuwieser – https://www.flickr.com/photos/neuwieser/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6177777

Bell Helicopters could also be in the mix with the Bell 412EPI. If offered for the programme, the 412EPI, will be the second skid equipped helicopter after the H145, if the Dhruv offered is the version fitted with wheels.

Bell 412EPI. Bell

Of course, there are the Russian and China utility helicopters as well. From the requirements of the tender, only the Kamov 60 and the AVIC AC352 helicopters will be able to make the cut. Both – based on their track records or the lack of it – will not rock the boat even if offered at rock bottom prices.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 1154 Articles
Shah Alam

49 Comments

  1. Dhruv? How about no. Ecuador bought them and within 2,3 years more than half of their dhruv crashed.

    Reply
    It could be offered. I will not say any further about this lest some one writes berating me about it

  2. On the blackhawk and EC225LP.

    I believe that TLDM would not take this utility helicopter matter in their own hands if they can depend on TUDM for its helicopter needs. If the blackhawk purchase went through, all of those helicopters would be dedicated to ESSCOM, negating the need for TLDM to get its own utility helicopters.

    On the EC225LP. It is a no brainer for those helicopters (and a few others, i think awan inspirasi EC225LP are also still in malaysia, and there is even an unused EC225LP still stored in malaysia) to be taken up by TUDM. French navy and ukraine for example are a few military branch using civilian EC225LP.

    BTW what is the general requirement for this?

    If transporting PASKALs for raid or such, adding external benches to the fennec like the picture below can be done (kits already approved to install on the ecureuil and used by SWAT teams worldwide)

    http://www.ocregister.com/wp-content/uploads/migration/nv3/nv339d-09.tustinshots.0410.ks.jpg

  3. …, – “i believe that TLDM would not take this utility helicopter matter in their own hands if they can depend on TUDM for its helicopter needs”

    Unless the RMAF can allocate a number of helis to be based in ESSCOM with their primary tasking being to support the RMN (unlikely); it does make sense for the RMN to want to have the ability to have a platform with a better lift capacity – compared to what it already has – to meet its specifics needs; whether it’s to transport PASKAL or to move equipment from Point A to B. Given that the LCSs will enter service without their ASW configured helos; these 3 platforms can ;or also will) be embarked to perform various roles.

  4. .., – “BTW what is the general requirement for this”

    From what I’ve heard (as far back as 2016 actually); the general requirement is for a platform which can lift a PASKAL team and its equipment to anywhere they need to go; not necessarily straight into action but general transport. This is a problem with the existing Super Lynxs and the Fennecs.

    We can also say that the selected platform will also carry other other duties like CASEVAC, mercy flights, general surveillance, SAR, etc, roles the Super Lynxs and Fennecs have long been performing from shore and from the decks of ships.

  5. @…
    “On the EC225LP. It is a no brainer”

    From article:- These helicopters (EC225) do not meet the requirement of the tender, not because they are used, so they should not be in the mix.

  6. @Marhalim

    16 units of Canadian made Bell 412EPI are up for sale (https://www.defensenews.com/industry/2018/02/14/philippines-terminates-234m-helicopter-contract-with-canada/) with the right nego tactics, we could get more than we need since they would be desperate to offload the aborted deal.

    But one query, if its for TLDM usage, should the choppers be marinised? If that’s the case, which are most suitable?

    As to the buy, my take is 2 options; since we don’t have much money getting used or canceled orders would maximise the numbers we can get. The Blackhawks and B412 fits the bill.
    But if we should go for new then consider that eventually TLDM still needs to get their ASW choppers, so my take is why not get the utility choppers from the same maker or even the same chopper model as our eventual ASW (ie AW149/159 Wildcat, EC725/H225M).

    Reply
    Most of the helicopters I wrote about are all used in O&G industry so they should be fine for frequent used at sea

  7. @ joe

    The EC225LP is a no brainer for TUDM. The CAP55 states that it will go for a 2 skuadron of medium lift helicopter, and EC225LP can fulfil that by replacing the nuris.

    The philippines contract was cancelled before those helicopters are built.

  8. Given that they will be embarked on ships and when on land will be operating near the coast; of course they should be marinised.
    Absolutely no question about it.

  9. …/Marhalim,
    Local 225s are no longer available. In fact there is a surge of demand for 225 globally. The news is rather discrete tho.

    …,
    Navy has different priority all together. 8 pax above is not their top 3.

    Marhalim,
    I must disagree.

    If navy must choose a 12 pax helicopter, there is only 1.5 choice. The others are not even in the picture.

    Azlan,
    LCS will not enter service without AWSH. First ship commission is 5 years away.

  10. @ m

    If those EC225LP is gone, that is a lost opportunity. I believe most are snapped up for military suppport missions (most went to ukraine), latest few for US Navy ship resupply missions. As it is, a medium helicopter for the price of used AW139 is hard to beat.

    If 8 pax is what they want, AW109 fits the bill, and used AW109 Power can be had for around USD2 million each.

    BTW the latest philippines tender for new LSDs (they are way more transparent than us) specifically mentions AW139 for its landing pad and hangar space.

  11. “they should be fine for frequent used at sea”
    Good to hear that. Reason I was asking because Blackhawk has its marine counterpart (Seahawk), so I wasn’t sure if it was marinised and if its not then how about the rest. But I guess ground based Blackhawks (ie those RBAF) would be at a disadvantage in that case.

  12. @pracxis
    The competition for choppers from Western makers are fierce and price competitive for whatever specs is required (since there are many more suppliers), plus we can leverage their training & servicing centers that are usually catered for their civilian customers. Going Russian meant we have to do everything from scratch like the Bomba Mil17. Ever wondered why we never expanded from that purchase?

  13. @…
    Meaning the LCS won’t be having ASW choppers when they start to go into use? Bad enough they likely will be entering without VL Mica missiles onboard. Will this be another repeat of NGPV debacle?

  14. ….. – “ASW helicopters are planned for RMK13 2036-2030“

    Yes but the LCS will have been commissioned into service by then and by that time period the Lynxs would be somewhat aged

  15. 2nd hand of Ec225 not safe to fly? I believe there is some fixes on helicopter after the crash right? I not sure how mix is that. If have enough quantity, it will be cheapest n easy maintenance solution since we have the service facility n flight simulator. While 2nd option is Aw139/189 bz we have it. 3rd will be H175, it look great for me. However, we do not under estimate the underdog..mi-171

    Reply
    MI 171 don’t meet the requirements

  16. @ azlan

    By then the Lynx is about 25 years old, and probably ripe for a mid life upgrade. As TLDM will have another new type to do utility tasks, would it be a good idea to transform the Lynx (or some of it) into ASW helicopter similar to south korean birds?

    Our fennec recently (and quietly) received a slew of upgrades, and now can act like a mini MPA.

    http://www.caledonian-airborne.com/images/image-2-5.jpg

  17. Off topic

    India is selling 1 of its kilo class submarine to Myanmar!

    So India is open to selling its used military hardware. Things we need to take into consideration in the future.

  18. ….. – “then the Lynx is about 25 years old, and probably ripe for a mid life upgrade”

    By then it’s doubtful that the RMN would want to spend more than the absolute minimum, given the age of its Lynxs.

    Yes on paper we can configure them for ASW but this would require several modifications (again the question of whether it’s worth it or is a good return of investment would arise) and when configured for ASW; the Lynxs won’t be useful for anything else. The RMN did do a feasibility study but found its wasn’t worth the effort to configure its Lynxs for ASW.

    ….. – “Things we need to take into consideration in the future”

    Only if it doesn’t result in support/logistical issues and doesn’t cost a bomb to operate and maintain for the remainder of its service life.

    Reply
    Actually RMN was offered by Leonardo to upgrade the Lynx already but it was not accepted as it cost too much for not much extra capability.

  19. joe – “Will this be another repeat of NGPV debacle”

    Even if the LCSs enter service without MICA (it will come at a later date) it doesn’t necessarily mean that the programme is a “debacle” – too early days to come to such a conclusion.

    What will really be a “debacle” will be if – when the time comes – for a follow on batch of LCSs; a completely new design is selected. That will mean that the whole exercise of forming a partnership with DCNS to develop the Gowind design into a basis for follow on ships of the same class and to develop the local industry, has failed. If that happens then yes it will be a “debacle” or “cockup” or f***up” (call it what you like).

  20. Marhalim,

    Hopefully it won’t be too long before they receive a minor upgrade; whether in the form of a new ESM or other stuff.

    Years ago the RMN also looked into the possibility of adding a towed array to the Lekius but the costs associated with it was a put off.

  21. Navy already have their choice of ASWH in mind, it’s in the list. One thing for sure, they prefer non of the legacy frames.

  22. @…
    “Things we need to take into consideration in the future”
    Even their new hardware is cheap enough to purchase but it begs the question: Why? Their hardware aren’t known to be super reliable.

    @Azlan
    At the moment there isn’t any push for the Mica order and it should have been done much earlier. If the production timeline had passed it would be quite certain the first ships will enter builder’s trial without the missile system ready for testing. This is the time when any “cockups” are discovered and fixed so the rest won’t face the same problems. While it would have been a massive “cockup” if we went for a different ship/maker for the same weight class and role, I would rather they go for Belharra class if they wanted something much bigger. Although I don’t see they would have a need for something quite as large.

  23. @ m

    They prefer non-legacy frames? So no more Lynx? In the list there is only 2 of them that has an ASW variant, the Blackhawk (or rather the seahawk) and the bell 412. So the preference is for the Seahawk I assume, unless they are going to be the 1st to do an ASW version of the EC225/725. There is now an ASuW version with exocet, but not anti-sub.
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-9J0dCLUu32Q/U50OWWiLMFI/AAAAAAAAe4k/QK1RsPbMuQg/s1600/20425.jpg

    @ joe

    Some india origin items could be interesting to us. If they can spare us a few MKI that would be good, also spare parts for MKI. They have plenty of capable patrol boat design from their coast guard too.

    As for the mica, it is too early to tell if the delays is a blessing, or a curse.

    As for more LCS, I would prefer a batch 2 of the Gowinds to be build. Not 15 years from now, but immediately after the 1st batch is completed, probably at just 3 of the 6 planned. So we will have 9 Gowinds before the end of 2030.

    The Lekius and the Kasturis I would prefer them to be replaced with a large general purpose frigate at around the same cost as the Gowinds, not with the Gowinds themselves. For this, I would prefer the Babcock/Thales Arrowhead 140 frigate concept
    http://www.thaifighterclub.org/images/answer2015/A0117918918122422213.jpg.

    The Belharra is a nice ship, but is probably out of malaysian affordability range. I do think we need some of our frigate to be something of around 4,000 tons displacement, as china cost guard is already building ships as big as 10,000 tons displacement, not to mention the new Chinese navy Type 055 Destroyer.
    http://cimsec.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Ships-China-Final-e1433807204683.jpg

    And as you know I am for the NGPV Kedah class future buy to be cancelled altogether, with the more cost effective Damen OPV1800 and such should be bought for MMEA instead.

  24. @…
    “ASW version of the EC225/725”
    Poland was about the sign for a batch of H225M with one variant is ASW, before they pulled out https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/warsaw-details-reasons-behind-h225m-selection-411489/ My guess is, the capability to equip it as an ASW is available if we want that option upon purchase.

    When you mentioned India I thought you were referring to Tejas jet, Dhruv chopper, Insas rifle, Arjun tank, etc. I don’t mind if we got the BrahMos for the MKMs though. Compatible MKI spareparts too, but that is licensed made.

    For better or worse, we have no choice but to go for Mica since its FCS is built into the LCS. Maybe can change things up in 2nd batch if it comes but atm first batch needs to continue with Mica. So by delaying, it definitely is a curse if the ships don’t come with self-air protection.

    The Arrowhead 140 does looks promising but I guess modern designed frigates all look about the same anyway, only difference is the cost.
    Although the more I read about this ship and the Type 31 competition, the more doubts I have. Namely, the Brit MoD & Admiralty are seemingly hellbent on making it the winner regardless if the competition might be more capable, asal bukan BAE. Whatmore the cost of that project might not reflect the true cost if we were to buy one as the Brit Govt are most likely subsidising the developmental and building cost for RN usage to ensure it wins due to the reasons above. It is a well capabled ship no doubt, but is it really that good or cheap as touted? I do wonder….

    Agreed with you about NGPV for TLDM, although if the design could be dumbed-down just to basic armaments (30mm RWS) and the price reduced significantly, it could be a good ship for MMEA use in high seas long range patrol.

  25. joe -“ This is the time when any “cockups” are discovered and fixed so the rest won’t face the same problems”

    Granted but it’s still way premature and simplistic to assume the whole programme will be a “debacle” simply because the lead ship of the class might be commissioned without Mica.

    In an ideal world it would be commissioned with Mica but Mica can be added without too much hassle at a later date (sooner rather than later we hope) and contractor trials with the less ships will identify any teething issues related to the ship as a whole.

    joe – “I would rather they go for Belharra class if they wanted something much bigger”

    I would like something bigger; amongst the benefits of going bigger would be availability of more deck space,(including a larger hangar) future growth.

    As it stands however the RMN’s requirements don’t call for a larger combatant; we’re unlikely to be involved in a future high intensity war (our requirements don’t call for a 32 cell VLS or 16 SSMs) and wherever it’s deployed in our waters; no RMN ship is more than 2 days sailing time to the nearest base.

    … – “ I do think we need some of our frigate to be something of around 4,000 tons displacement, as china cost guard is already building ships as big as 10,000 tons”

    Even if we had a frigate displacing 4,000 tonnes; in a peacetime situation where it’s intercepting a 10,000 tonne Chinese ship, what difference (apart from looking impressive) would be if it was 3 and not 4,000 tonnes?

    If it’s ramming you’re worried about, a 3,000 tonne ship will be just as damaged as a 4,000 ship.
    RN frigates sufferd terrible from Icelandic trawlers during the “Cod War”. Hulls these days are thin. If we’re going on the basis that we need a larger ship because it can stay on station for longer periods and for the better seakeeping; than we’re better off building such ships (in the form of OPVs) for the MMEA.

    …. – “So no more Lynx”

    Hardly surprising. ASW can be time intensive and a helo may have to fly a distance to get to where it’s needed and after that it may take time to detect what it’s looking for; so it’s expected that something with more range and endurance is desired. Not too mention the extra cabin space and lift capacity.

    Operational requirements are one thing, actually having the needed funds are a completely different thing unfortunately.

  26. @Azlan
    “contractor trials with the less ships will identify any teething issues”
    I am not too familiar with the contractual terms for builder’s trials. Let’s say during the trials of the last ship in the batch, it encounters problems not detected before. Is the contractors liable to go back and fix the potential problem on those previous units now commissioned?

    Nice to have something bigger & better for the long term, I agree but can we afford to buy it, arm it, man it, run it, maintain it, upgrade it? Unfortunately our budget only allows to have capabilities for the short to medium terms timeframe and continue to use equipment and armaments way past their obsolete dates.

  27. @ azlan

    ” Operational requirements are one thing, actually having the needed funds are a completely different thing unfortunately ”

    As with all things in life, everything is a compromise. It is how we juggle with picking the right compromise.

    On the bigger frigate.

    The suggestion of a bigger frigate in the shape of the 5,700 tonne Arrowhead 140 stems from my premise of
    – no more OPVs in the TLDM fleet
    – having at least 9 Gowinds by 2030
    – as a replacement of the lekius and also the kasturis post 2030
    – to function as the flagship of the navy
    – general purpose frigates instead of ASW frigate of gowinds
    – able to conduct long endurance missions in international waters along with other friendly nations in naval task forces.
    – commonality with future british and probably new zealand ships
    – large hangar able to accomodate a lynx and UAV at the same time
    – not to cost more than the gowinds

    On ASW helicopters

    If you can have just 1 type, probably we need the helicopter to be able to perform everything. Right now there is already a requirement for utility helicopters, so in a sense the lynx does not need to be a jack of all trades. So probably 3 can be converted to ASW. Any missions that needs utility helicopters will embark the new utility helicopter, fennecs or non ASW lynx. This also boils down to having to compromise.

    @ joe

    I believe the Arrowhead 140 is an affordable option for malaysia. Do read back on my 15 to 5 article.

    Reply
    The reason the navy dont want the Lynx for ASW is simple, it doesnt have the legs to do so, it can carry the dipping sonar with an endurance of two hours but no torpedoes. Thats why the British dont used them for ASW.

  28. Qjoe – “Is the contractors liable to go back and fix the potential problem”

    Yes. The yard is bound by contractual obligations to rectify any issues encountered before it is handed over to the RMN. Depending on the contract; even after it’s handed over there will be a period of warranty.

    joe – “I agree but can we afford to buy it, arm it, man it, run it, maintain it, upgrade”

    Manning is not the main issue as a slightly larger ship will not result in a much larger crew – the drawback in having smaller crews, due to increased levels of automation or computerisation, is that they will be less people to perform DC, which is manpower intensive. A slightly larger ship may not result in much higher operating costs unless the ship in question is at 5-6,000 tonnes. Ultimately our operational requirements do not call for a much larger ship.

    Reply
    On whether the contractor is liable for defects during the warranty period or even after it depends on how the contract is done actually. I have been told that contractors will hire the best specialist law firm to prepare the contracts while the government will usually get it done by by a few people in the legal department to be reviewed by the people in the AG Department most of whom also have to deal with other things in the government.

  29. … – “It is how we juggle with picking the right compromise”

    Very obvious but in this case there is no “juggle” or “comprises” or “trade offs” is there? If we can’t afford a larger platform we’ll have to go for a smaller one with less range, endurance and lift capacity and our helo ASW capability will be somewhat limited or constrained : period.

    …, – “. So probably 3 can be converted to ASW”

    We are just covering old ground again.

    There are reasons why the RMN and most other Lynx operators don’t configure their Lynxs for ASW. It simply doesn’t have the endurance or range as it is and would require certain modifications which would not be worth the investment in the long run. Until it can have a ASW configured helo the RMN is willing do without the capability and has no intention of converting any Lynxs .

  30. @…
    As mentioned, I don’t doubt the veracity that 250mil Pounds/ea is what RN would pay for their Type 31 (Arrowhead is one of finalist) if committed to freezing the specs and estimated ship numbers as it is. But as stated, the Brit bureaucracy are hellbent on making it the winner so I would expect some form of “creative accounting” on the price tag would have taken place to appease public & political consumption in the case of BAE making a complaint (they are working to undercut BAE so that its proposal becomes overpriced or underspecced). It might not be 250mil Pounds if we were to tag on that buy though. I would prefer to wait for a 2nd customer follow on order to gauge the actual price tag.

    Not questioning your recommendation, oh no, just the too good pricing quoted in Brit media so just some cautions applies: “if its too good to be true, it usually is”, “you get what you paid for”.

    @Marhalim
    If that’s the case, then the Blackhawk/ Seahawk combo would be ideal for TLDM utility (RBAF used)/ ASW(USN used via EDA).

  31. The LCS may have a tower array but to all intents and purposes it’s still a multi role combatant.

    A larger hangar is desirable not just so it can accommodate a UAS and a helo but so when weather conditions are bad: maintenance for the helo can be conducted inside the hangar – I’ve seen the hangar on the Kedahs, cramped. The ones on the Lekius are slightly roomier, to the extent that weight machines can be stored inside …. A larger hangar will also enable more stuff (whether ordnance for the helo, spares or equipment needed by a embarked PASKAL detachment) to be stored.

    We don’t need a larger platform to operate in “long range endurance missions” (never mind that we’re unlikely to do so) as the Lekius, Kedahs and Kasturis can do the job. Granted they may have to dock at friendly ports from time to time but so do larger ships belonging to other navies. Also, with larger ships belonging to other navies, what gives them the ability to conduct extended patrols is not only the larger displacement of their hulls and the range and endurance that comes with it but also a fleet train.

    In our context the main value in having a larger platform is for the extra space needed for future growth and of course the range and endurance provided in the extremely unlikely event we need it. As it stands however we don’t even have the resources or political will in the near future for follow on LCSs and LMSs; let alone larger combatants which are superfluous to our operational requirements and threat perceptions.

  32. @ joe

    On Meko 100 Kedah class cost reduction.

    IMO there is no way that the kedah cost can be reduced to DAMEN OPV1800 level, which is even cheaper than the LMS 68. The DAMEN OPV1800 is like less than 20% of the cost of the Meko 100 Kedah class.

    @ marhalim

    Malaysian super lynx engine power and transmission system has more in common with the wildcat rather than the older royal navy lynx. Below is a picture of south korean wildcat with dipping sonar and torpedoes.
    http://www.navyrecognition.com/images/stories/news/2018/june/South_Korea_Opens_Tender_for_12_More_ROK_Navy_ASW_Helicopters_2.jpg

    Curently there are lightweight sonars (like the thales compact flash) that was not available when we bought the super lynx in the early millenium. The cheapest way for an ASW helicopter that we can afford IMO is to convert some of our current super lynx to ASW. Not the best but a compromise we should look into

    Reply
    Pictures are not representative of real world capabilities. Yes same engines but the Wildcats have new MGB which results in a heavier load carrying capability

  33. @joe
    The Type 31 competition is not decided yet and the RN is not backing any particular manufacturer. Arrowhead is just one of a few designs.

    The competition is held up a little as the MOD is trying to negotiate more capabilities for less pounds, but well… Brexit and pound value and all that.

  34. @ azlan

    On the larger frigate.

    As i stated, as a replacement for lekiu and kasturi post 2030, and after we have at least 9 gowinds before 2030.

    Even it ls larger (twice the displacement of the lekius), it needs less crew than the lekiu (100 vs 146) , and has nearly twice the unrefuelled range (9300nm vs 5000nm)

    I dont know why something like this is considered superflous? We need to ensure our SLOC (sea lines of communication) open and free so that our ships and trade can sail to and from malaysia. 90% of our trade is by maritime routes (exporting goods, crude oil, palm oil, LPG, while importing cheaper crude oil from middle east for our oun local consumption). The ability to escort and protect malaysian merchant fleet is clearly within the scope of our navys task. The Arrowhead 140, with long range, large spacious hangar, 4 large dedicated boat bays is ideal for such escort missions. With a cost less than the gowinds so why not?

    A future TLDM fleet of
    4x Arrowhead 140
    9x Gowind
    6x scorpenes

    Along with the support of 20 large OPV with MMEA, a potent force for our maritime defence. All within the current budget allocation of the government to TLDM and MMEA. Dropping the original 15 to 5 plan to get 12 more kedah class and getting additional 1 arrowhead and 2 more scorpenes is IMO a better alternative.

    Reply
    Both RMN and APMM prefer crew than automation so a bigger warships will need more personnel. Both NGPC and Damen OPV has more crew by choice than the original design.
    I have no proof to back this but I believe our Gowind is bigger due to the manning requirements despite the design for more automation

  35. …. – “The ability to escort and protect malaysian merchant fleet is clearly within the scope of our navys task”

    The “ability to escort and protect Malaysian merchant fleet” within our waters or the periphery ….. For which the LCSs, Kedahs and others have the endurance. Something like Ops Fajar was a rarity and in the unlikely event it happens again we’ll be using friendly bases for replenishment.

    Yes we do take into account that there may be the likelihood that an Ops Fajar type op (its way beyond our waters or the periphery) will need to be mounted again but it’s not at the top of our priorities. We do factor in a whole range of scenarios but can only focus more on the ones we’re likely to face and it’s the most likely ones that our ships are designed to do and which their displacement/size is taken into account.

    Navies go for larger hulls not only because they desire the range and endurance but also the deck space to mount the weapons and sensors that believe they need in line with their operational requirements. That is what I meant by “superfluous” in that at present our operational requirements can be met by a 3,000 tonne ship.

    You can go on listing all the benefits in having a larger ship but you’re really preaching to the converted. I agree and I’ve long realised that a larger ship offers more operational flexibility. The fact however is that at present there is no requirement for a larger ship but whether this changes in the future remains to be seen.

    Irrespective of how lightweight a sonar is it’s still takes up space and torps will also have to be carried. A Lynx or Wildcat also has limited range and endurance for ASW which is time consuming and can take place many nautical miles away from the mother ship. Which is precisely why the RMN has specified a larger platform and why it and others (with few exceptions) have decided against configuring their Lynxs for ASW.

    Yes it can be done but in this case it’s obviously not going to be done and it’s a compromise not seen worth taking after taking into account the drawbacks. Given its list of priorities and the threat environment; the RMN is willing to go without a ASW configured helo until funds are available. The “compromise” it is making is continue relying on the Lynx/Whitehead combo with coordinates provided by the mothership

    Reply
    Adm. Reza said during his PC about the missiles firing about exercises between RMN ships and the submarines. He said it was no contest every time, with the submarines able to produce periscope pictures of the ships meaning they had been targeted without detecting the submarines.

  36. On the nuri emergency landing.

    Whatever the next step, it is obvious that more money is needed to be spent on our helicopter capability.

    If we still want to keep the nuri, then more money to maintain the bird is needed. Seriously need to ask around our foreign friends (india, japan, canada, uk, usa) to collect as many spares as we can.

    If not to keep the nuri, serious thought of getting alternative helicopters urgently for both TUDM and army PUTD. I am for additional 12 used EC225LP for TUDM (hopefully there are some still around after ukraine snapped most of whats available in the market) and used blackhawks for PUTD (from australia maybe, or even US EDA stocks).

    @ marhalim

    On the gowinds.

    Yeah, probably true as the gowind 2500 has less than half the crew of the maharajalela class. But our gowind is faster (28knots vs 25knots) and has a bit more endurance (5000nm vs 3700nm)

    On submarines.

    Why i prefer the tip of the spear of TLDM strike capability to be the submarines (and the need of more of them in the near future), and the urgent need for our gowinds to be in service. For normal peacetime patrols, it does not matter if it is done by USD300 million Meko100 or USD56 million MMEA Damen OPV1800. Hopefully TLDM can let go of the OPV, and reallocate the OPV budget on more Gowinds and scorpenes in the near future, and hopefully bigger frigates post 2030.

  37. Marhalim,

    Some navies during exercises go to the extent of releasing flares from subs to aid those who are hunting them. To be expected that the RMN desires follow subs despite the very high procurement and operating costs.

    In our case, given we are so short of hulls and that those hulls are busy meeting their peacetime commitments; unfortunately there is very little opportunity for ship crews to practice ASW. Ideally sonar operators and other ship crew members will get to spend some time on subs to better understand how subs operate and also their weaknesses.

    By the same token we must not take for granted that subs will always or mostly be able to remain undetected; should an actual conflict arise as it depends on so many factors such as water conditions, quality of equipment, skill of crews and luck..

    Subs always have an advantage – absolutely no doubt about that – but we also tend to hear much more about the instances where they were hard to detect rather than the instances they were detected. Also, in line with the proliferation of subs in the region, navies are improving their ASW capabilities and it’s often overlooked that subs tend to be more effective when operating in conjunction with other assets.

    Funding no doubt is a big issue and there is a long shopping list as it is but hopefully in the coming years the RMN will be able to conduct some level of upgrades on both boats; whether in form of a towed array or other areas. Despite whatever paper plans one can make, the harsh reality is that we are a very long way off before follow on subs can be ordered; mustn’t wait too long to upgrade both boats.

  38. In d future our neighbors (sing n indonesians) probably going 2have a bigger ship so imo we also should do d same. My favorite is the Japanese new frigate.3900tonne with 36vls n ram yours for 600m he3 or if we want something cheaper we can go for something like the Thailand frigate. I agree that no way we can buy a European design like d bellhara in numbers so d Japanese or Korean design is d way 2 go. We already spend a lot on our yard so we should at least get the original price .

  39. @ ujang

    Regarding bigger frigates.

    Type 31e, Arrowhead 140 target price is USD320 million. Compare to gowind ceilling price of USD460 million. Even if the price is more than USD320 million, anything less than the gowinds is a good buy IMO.

    The Belharra AFAIK is similar in cost to the japanese 30DX.

    The thai frigate should not be in the picture, we already have something similar in the shape of the gowinds.

  40. I don’t have a good feeling about that arrowhead or absalon or iver huitfield design. How can they be so cheap. There must be a very serious compromise that we don’t know . Let’s d Indonesian have them. Ha3.Anyhow bellhara is 800m AFAIK while the Thailand ship is 450m.D Thailand ship even if it’s only 500 tonne bigger than our gowind but they sure pack a lot of firepower.6 of this post 2030 together with 6 of our gowind for rmn is good enough for me considering the budget . Just my humble opinion of course

  41. Type 31 tender is not complete, there is serious doubt that it will reach the target price.

    It also reuses as many items from the decommed Type 23 as possible so that will reduce the price a little – to what extent I’m not sure.

    Belharra may well be a more indicative price tag. If not, look to the Koreans as their ships are cheap.

    But really, what we need is a patrol boat fleet rather than more frigates. It solves our immediate piracy and EEZ problems. If we can make that a FACM fleet it would be nice, but that wouldn’t solve the China problem either, only useful for pointing at the neighbour’s.

  42. @ ujang

    Something for you to read on the arrowhead 140 and iver huidtfeldts

    http://www.ft.dk/samling/20141/almdel/fou/bilag/20/1417702.pdf

    http://www.babcockteam31.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Arrowhead-140-Brochure.pdf

    http://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/in-focus-the-arrowhead-140-type-31e-frigate-candidate/

    @ chua

    Yes the type 31e tender is not concluded yet. But there is a strong indication that the arrowhead 140 is the best candidate so far.

    As for more OPVs. Yes it is correct there is a need for more OPVs. But that should not be the expensive USD300 million fully navalised ships with build-in degaussing, advanced 3D radar, combat management systems but armed just with a gun like the Meko 100 Kedah class is.

    If Putrajaya can commit annual budget just the same as this year (RM469 million or about USD111 million) for the MMEA development for the next 15 years, we can more than able to have at least 20 large OPVs in MMEA fleet.

    Why? Pure OPVs does not cost much. The current MMEA Damen OPV1800 costs USD56 milion each. The Larsen and Toubro Vikram class OPV just cost USD32 million each (IMO one of a few good things we can get from India). To take that into perspective, the smaller TLDM LMS68 costs USD60 million each. Both of those OPVs are of the same size of the Kedah Class OPVs of TLDM. So let MMEA buy those OPVs, clearing TLDM budget to be able to rearrange the additional gowind and submarine build schedules forward.

    http://www.iastoppers.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/OPV-Vikram-iastoppers.jpg

    Ps. Seems the Vikram class has about 100 crew, so not much automation there.

    http://m.muscatdaily.com/Archive/Oman/Indian-Coast-Guard-Ship-Vikram-to-arrive-today-on-three-day-visit-5civ

  43. The Airbus Helicopters assembly, final fit our n MRO n training center for the region has open today officially. All deliveries to the region would come from Subang. It is also having simulators for the Dauphin n 225 . Pilot training would be done in Subang too.
    It may be more cost effective to buy Airbus heli

  44. On the type 31e

    There are rumours that the UK MoD may announce the winner of the Type 31e project slightly sooner than expected, either during, or soon after, the Defence and Security Exhibition International (DSEI) in September 2019.

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