Hang Tuah, Laksamana-class, LMS and Helos too

KD Hang Tuah. Wikipedia.
    SHAH ALAM: KD Hang Tuah, the grand dame of the Royal Malaysian Navy will be paid-off once the two DSME-designed training ships are commissioned into the fleet.

    Hang Tuah will be preserved as a floating museum though the location has not been decided.

    The first training ship, Gagah Samudera is expected to be commissioned by November while the second, Teguh Samudera is expected to receive its pennant, next year.

    KD Hang Tuah. Wiklpedia.
    KD Hang Tuah. Wiklpedia.

    RMN chief Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Badaruddin said the four Laksamana-class corvettes will be decommissioned – most likely one at a time – when the first four units of the Littoral Mission Ships (LMS) are commissioned, also one at a time.

    He did not specify the timeline for the decommissioning or the commissioning, however.

    RMN corvette Laksamana Muhammad Amin comes alongside USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) during CARAT in 2004.
    RMN corvette Laksamana Muhammad Amin comes alongside USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) during CARAT in 2004.

    Asked why Hang Tuah and Laksamana-class were to be retired ahead of the much-older Sandakan-based patrol craft – KD Seri Perlis and KD Seri Johor, Kamarulzaman said the five ships were chosen based on the number of days they spend at sea and the cost to maintain them.

    KD Seri Perlis, one of the oldest vessels in RMN today. Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas
    KD Seri Perlis, one of the oldest vessels in RMN today. Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

    “Based on those criterias, Hang Tuah will be the first to go and the Laksamanas the next. After that it will be the MCMVs turn,” he says in an interview after presenting the keynote address at the Maritime Warfare Asia 2016 on Wednesday.

    Kamarulzaman also said that an announcement on the RMN 15-to-5 plan will be made during the presentation of the 2017 Budget, scheduled to be delivered by the Finance Minister by the end of this month.

    RMN's 15 to 5 plan, graphic posted on the service official Facebook page, TLDM
    RMN’s 15 to 5 plan, graphic posted on the service official Facebook page, TLDM

    Pressed on what will be announced, Kamarulzaman declined to comment further saying that “you will have to wait for the budget presentation.

    KD Kasturi launching an Exocet missile during Eks Angsa 2014.
    KD Kasturi launching the an Exocet missile during Eks Angsa 2014.

    Asked whether the announcement will be about RMN ordering China-made warships – corvettes or the LMS – Kamarulzaman declined to be specific although he said that the service had no objections in getting them as long it fit “RMN requirements and missions.” 

    On the LMS, Kamarulzaman confirmed that the plan was to buy 18 of these vessels. RMN, according to him, is speaking with shipyards to get their proposals for the class. He said the LMS will replaced various vessels in the navy including the MCMVs.

    A sailor from KD Gempita conducting training on a GPMG during an exercise in early 2016. RMN  picture
    A sailor from KD Gempita conducting training on a GPMG during an exercise in early 2016. RMN picture

    As for future mine hunting, Kamarulzaman said that they might used  containerised mission modules for the capabiliy. He did not specify the numbers of modules to be procured or the capability to be acquired.

    Kamarulzaman declined to outline the exact specifications of LMS apart from that it will be “70ish (metre) long”. It will be fitted for UAVs and probably USVs.

    “We want to move away from laying specifications as in the past. When we do that – when my planning officers go to exhibitions and similar events – they will come back with a lot of data and we end up with a gold plated ship.

    KD Jerong, the lead ship of the 6th Squadron FAC (G). RMN
    KD Jerong, the lead ship of the 6th Squadron FAC (G). RMN

    For the LMS our priority are the mission capabilities, that is why we called them (littoral) mission ships. It will not be our main surface combatants, that is the job of the LCS, the LMS will be used for border security, patrol and similar operations.

    A close up picture of KD Gempita bridge during operations in early 2016. RM picture
    A close up picture of KD Gempita bridge during operations in early 2016. RMN picture

    For border patrol or preventing illegal fishing, we do not need for example, jamming capabilities. However we might opt for “Fitted for but Not Equipped With” concept so we can reduce the purchase price.”

    Asked on whether missiles and guns will be fitted on the LMS, Kamarulzaman said it will be based the proposals by the shipyards.

    PNS Azmat, a China built missile boat. Wikipedia.
    PNS Azmat, a China built missile boat. Wikipedia. Used for illustration purpose only.

    He also declined to specify the cost of the LMS as envisioned by the navy apart from saying it will be 80 per cent cheaper than the LCS. Industry sources however told Malaysian Defence that the cost has been capped to RM200 million per ship inclusive of all the weapons.

    One source says only China will be able to sell such a vessel at that price.

    RMN Super Lynx helicopter fitted with 50 calibre HMG.
    RMN Super Lynx helicopter fitted with 50 calibre HMG.

    Meanwhile, Kamarulzaman said they want six newly built helicopters instead of just upgrading the six Super Lynxes already in service. For more on the ASW helicopters go here.

    “The cost of upgrading the Super Lynxes is as much as buying new ones, so might as well we buy new ones. We have learn our lessons from the Kasturi upgrade. We end up paying two-thirds of the cost of buying a new ship,” he added.

    RMN ships berthed at the Lumut naval base in early 2014, KD Kasturi, KD Lekiu (hidden) and two Kedah class.
    RMN ships berthed at the Lumut naval base in early 2014, KD Kasturi, KD Lekiu (hidden) and two Kedah class.

    As for the LCS, he said as off, Oct 1, the progress is up to 28 percent. It was expected that the ship will be launched by March or April, next year and Kamarulzaman said they were still targeting 2019 for its commissioning.

    KD Lekiu and KD Jebat sailed together with USS George Washington in Andaman Sea. US Navy picture
    KD Lekiu and KD Jebat sailed together with USS George Washington in Andaman Sea, some time back. US Navy picture

    He admitted that it was cheaper and faster to built the ships in France but the RMN accepted the government’s decision to built them locally . The decision have a great impact on the local defence industry and the community.

    — Malaysian Defence.

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About Marhalim Abas 1163 Articles
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53 Comments

  1. Based on this picture from TLDM facebook..the number of each class is specified for the 15 to 5 plan..

    Reply
    12 LCS? I will always thought it was six

  2. “He admitted that it was cheaper and faster to built the ships in France but the RMN has to accept the government’s decision to built them locally.”

    this sentences will cause a lot of story and controversy in future.

    18 LMS??really..at that price…..this just make me excited. hope this will proceed smoothly

  3. Prolly we need to look at different helo model as getting wildcats would not be as economical as it seems due to it’s minimal part commonality with the super lynx as well as size problem

    Should rmn consider getting bigger helo for ASW like AW101 or EC-725?

    both has its own advantages; Ec-725 has been operated by the AF and they could use the existing training facility as well as the already established logistic support while AW-101 is undoubtedly a bigger helos and could have greater flexibility as well as range and payload it can carry.

    Reply
    AW101 is over the top, as for the EC725 well you know the current issue with it.

  4. The TLDM infographic of the 15-5 plan is missing the 2 samudera class training ships. Intentional? If that is included it should be 6, not 5 classes.

    Btw now there is clearer picture of what the LMS is looked at by TLDM. But IMO RM200million (usd50mil) cap for each LMS is quite tight, with less than usd1bil for 18 ships. There is the MCM modules, and IMO survey (which is a complimentary capability to the MCM task) and some logistic capability to support the spratly bases that should be included too. With the tight budget it is also very difficult to get a 70m ship, which I think an ideal size for the LMS. Also IMO the LMS because of its mission should also have a sprint speed similar to the FAC and laksamanas, which is about 35knots, slower it would just be a patrol ship.

    Looking at the quantity of ships in the 15-5 plan, it is substantially more than I imagined. I don’t see the reason why we need 18 NGPV’s, and going for 4 subs would mean one has to be named after mahathir.

    My own ideal 15-5 plan
    -6x SGPV
    -12x NGPV (fully armed)
    -3x Scorpene
    -4x MRSS (2x LPD, 2x logistics and replenishment)
    -26x LMS (9x hi end combatant, 12x lo end patrol, 3x lo end multipurpose logistics, 2x lo end hydrographic survey)
    -2x samudera training ship

    Sell off lekiu, kasturi n mpcss

    Stretch target – 5x lafayette frigates as they are retired by France (early 2020’s), to replace the 5 saudara (tuah jebat kasturi lekir lekiu) with 1 common type and to complement the SGPV.

    Reply
    I believed the Samudera as the training ships are deliberately left out as they do not jive with the 15-to-5 plan

  5. alex,

    There is no RMN ship with a hangar large enough to accommodate a AW101. The Wildcat does not have ”minimal” capability with the Super Lynx; a number of major components are common.

    The RMN can’t hold on retiring the Laksamanas much longer; their hulls are really worn out. Which is why I mentioned in the past that although there were feasibility plans to upgrade them, the RMN was reluctant to spend more than the minimum needed as it was felt that the cash could be better used elsewhere as opposed to old ships with worn out hulls and largely obsolescent. It was thanks to Dr. M that we got the Laksamanas, even though the RMN advised against buying them.

    As I feared, the RMN might have to scale down its specs for the LMS due to budget issues. ”Fitted with” but ”not for” sounds great but the fact remains that most ships, worldwide, that are ”fitted for” end up ”fitted for” and not ”with”.

  6. I’m not at all surprised to hear the RMN Chief talk about issues in upgrading the Super Lynxs. On paper, upgrading sounds and looks easy but in reality various issues are involved. Contrary to popular belief, at times the OEMs are not interested in certain upgrades not because they want to make more cash by selling new but because of the issues involved, the level of work involved and the prohibitive costs which the end user is not prepared to pay. In the past we looked at fitting a towed array to the Lekius but it was found to be too troublesome and the OEM was not too keen.

    There is also the question of how much cash a customer is willing to spend upgrading a platform/aircraft already in use for some time; which is why I kept insisting that there were no serious plans to redo the Laksamanas as their hulls were too worn out. Back to the Super Lynx, as it is we only have 6 and they are over stretched supporting PASKAL as well as the myriad of other peacetime duties such as MEDEVAC, light replenishment, etc. Configuring them for ASW would mean they are good for ASW but little else! There’s a reason why Super Lynx customers are not looking at upgrading theirs to Wildcat standard and why AgustaWestland isn’t offering such an upgrade. There is also a reason why so few Lynx/Super Lynx operators have configured theirs to ASW …….

  7. Your reason to curtail the submarine fleet is really to avoid naming one after Mahathir????You’ve said many questionable things before, but this really takes the cake. There are better ways to avoid naming a ship after someone you don’t like and far better reasons to shape the fleet.

  8. Marhalim, Just want to ask regarding the MRSS, what is the approximate displacement for these vessels? 10,000t or same as initial plan 13,000t? and if the SGPV 2nd batch (6 nos.) will RMN focus on AAW?

    Reply
    Those things are for another day

  9. @ Azlan

    Previously my opinion is the laksamanas should be SLEPed as the ships has a unique capability (bigger than the FAC, optimised for littorals, anti-air, anti-surface capability) that other ships in the fleet don’t. But that is before the 15-5 plan and the LMS concept saw the light of day. Now with the LMS concept, some of the laksamanas capability that is good for the littoral domain could still be retained by TLDM.

    After the laksamanas retired, do you think it is a good idea to pass in on to mmea? Remove all the weapons and obsolete electronics, leaving only the dardo fast 40, then the expensive to maintain part of the equation is removed right? The removed 76mm gun could then be used on the NGPV batch II, reducing some of that programs cost.

    As for asw helicopters, most of them is a single use airframe, rarely an asw equipped helicopter can be used for utility missions. Maybe we could skip upgrading the lynxs but maybe aquire used lynx that already been set up for asw, as a common airframe with the existing lynxes. Probably Korea would sell its lynxes as it is slated to be replaced by KAI surion Asw variants.

    Reply
    Its unlikely the MMEA will want the Laksamanas. The hulls are not in a great shape. As for the guns, it could be recycled/reused on the first four LMS to reduce the cost further.

  10. Well done TLDM for coming up with a graphic of ‘class minimizing concept’ which seems to be very practical, representing the whole armada of current and the future.

    It is quite simple yet very effective to attract the commitment and political willpower of our government, i guess.

  11. @ marhalim

    As of recycled guns, I was thinking of the 57mm bofors for the LMS. Obviously not the latest guns out there, but we have a lot of them, and probably could be improved with new servos and gyros from later model 57mm bofors for better shooting accuracies?

    Reply
    Yes the 57mm will be perfect for the LMS but as the main gun of the Laksamanas are the 76mms its more likely to be put on the first 4 LMS as their 40mm aft guns. Probably the second batch will get 57mm guns especially if BNS is the shipyard

  12. I also hope we stop naming ships for prime ministers so we don’t have to name one after the father of Scorpene.

    Reply
    Only the submarine are named after the PMs so if we buy two more technically one has to be named for the Fourth PM. Tun M is the father of the Scorpene as the project was first mooted and funded when he was the PM. Furthermore, Razak Baginda could not have been the agent without the blessing of Tun M

  13. The budget will be crazy tight as the goverment income being squeeze by low oil and slump in world trade. I will be very suprise if the gov approve the money that the navy request.

  14. Yes the important question is, what would that all cost? From the TLDM graphics, we could guesstimate the total cost of the TLDM 15-5 plan.

    TLDM 15-5 plan
    – 6 more SGPV – usd2.8bil
    – 12 more NGPV, say each usd160mil – usd2bil
    – 2 more Scorpene – usd1bil
    – 18 LMS, each usd50mil cap – usd900mil
    – 3 MRSS, based on Makassar class LPD – usd150mil

    A total of usd6.85 Billion. This is like double the current budget allocation.

    My idea of the 15-5 plan
    – 6 more NGPV, say each usd160mil – usd1bil
    – 1 more Scorpene – usd500mil
    – 26 LMS, with hi/lo variants, MCM modules and hydro survey versions – usd1.4bil***
    – 4 MRSS, 2 LPD + 2 logistics replenishment version based on Makassar class LPD – usd300mil

    A total of usd3.2 Billion. Around the current allocation.

    Stretch target, to get 5 used Lafayette frigates with SLEP – usd1bil

    Sell off Lekiu, Kasturi and Mahawangsa classes – usd500mil

    *** the 26 LMS breakdown
    – 9 hi end combattant 70m, each usd80mil – usd720mil
    – 12 lo end patrol utility 55m, each usd15mil – usd180mil
    – 3 lo end multipurpose logistics 55m, each usd15mil – usd45mil
    – 2 lo end hydrographic survey 55m, each usd50mil -usd100mil
    – 4 set of containerised MCM modules -usd355mil

    I really need to complete my LMS article, to better explain to everyone my take on the LMS (the concept, the why, deployment areas that got to the 26ship conclusion), and what all my jibberish above means.

  15. Rmn suggestion is heavy towards the big ships rather than more lms, so more folks get better rank, perhaps widen the pool for flag country.

    Please don’t go more lms than the proposed numbers, IMO it can disturb MMEA plans for more PC, who knows Treasury argue that RMN have a “big” pool of lms that can do MMEA pc work.

  16. ……. – ”Previously my opinion is the laksamanas should be SLEPed as the ships has a unique capability”

    We have gone through this issue before. As I’ve pointed out here several times : the Laksamanas, especially their hulls, are in bad shape…….. No point talking about upgrades or unique capabilities when hulls are so worn out. In addition to the condition of the hulls, there are various systems aboard that will need replacing if the class is to be operated for a few more years. I also pointed out that spending more than the minimum on such old and worn out hulls is just not justified : precisely why the RMN never seriously considered upgrading them as the cash could be better spent elsewhere. As for their AA capability, let me just say that from Day One there were issues with the fire director and the Sparrows. Crews had more confidence in the 76mm and 40mm than the Sparrow! Transferring the Laksamanas to the MMEA would be doing the MMEA a great disservice.

    …….. – ”As for asw helicopters, most of them is a single use airframe, rarely an asw equipped helicopter can be used for utility missions. ”

    It’s fine if [like other navies] we have dozens of helicopters but we only have 6 Super Lynxs. When configured for ASW they are useful for little else.

    ……. – ” Probably Korea would sell its lynxes as it is slated to be replaced by KAI surion Asw variants.”

    Pre-owned aircraft, even ones with lots of hours left and in good condition; can come with their own set of problems. As things get older, they tend to get more maintenance intensive, parts break down more often and they become more expensive to support. Compared to land based/operated helicopters, naval helicopters also tend to have more wear and tear as they land on pitching decks and are exposed to corrosion. There are various issues to contend with before contemplating buying pre-owned : just because a particular air frame is low houred and is in good condition doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a sound buy.

  17. @ azlan

    “Pre-owned aircraft, even ones with lots of hours left and in good condition; can come with their own set of problems.”

    Well they are, but at least those pre-owned asw helicopters has the same set of problems as our current superlynxes, as they are basically similar.

    @ nimitz

    You don’t get many bigger ships just to give captains chair to more people. It is your pocketmoney (taxes and gst) that is paying for their luxuries. As for encroaching the mmea domain, yes you have quite valid reasons there, but the LMS IMO has its place alongside the mmea (leaning towards warfighting/domain superiority rather than merely policing). The main question now is why we still have the marine police, as the government is trying to cut redundant government functions.

  18. “As for their AA capability, let me just say that from Day One there were issues with the fire director and the Sparrows. ”

    Fleet rumour was that Rahmat had even worse problems with its Sea Cat and never hit a target in all her life.

    “The main question now is why we still have the marine police, as the government is trying to cut redundant government functions.”

    The government, as general policy, does not cut government jobs. Especially in politically sensitive times. So if for example one M109 battery can cover the frontage of 3 M56 batteries, one battery may convert but don’t expect to see 2 M56 batteries disbanded.

    Reply
    Rahmat was a dock queen.

  19. …… – ”Well they are, but at least those pre-owned asw helicopters has the same set of problems as our current superlynxes, as they are basically similar.”

    No, not as clear cut as that. Depends on the age, depends on the hours accumulated, depends on the type of systems on board [some might no longer be supportable and might have to be replaced and some will be different to what are on our helos], etc. Buying pre-owned, on paper, looks great but in reality they’re various issues to consider; even if the said aircraft is low houred and well maintained. No point buying new and saving cash if one has to spend extra to maintain a particular pre-owned platform; defeats the whole purpose of buying pre-owned to achieve cost savings : as many have learnt the hard way. Which is why I’m not a big fan of buying pre-owned unless the circumstances are ideal.

    Also, as I’ve mentioned previously, a Lynx/Super Lynx simply does not have the range and endurance for ASW which 9 out of 10 times is very time consuming. From the time it takes to detect a target, to the time one can track it, classify and get a firing solution good enough to launch a torp can take hours. Also, can a Super Lynx carry sonobuoys? Adding a dipping sonar and its associated equipment adds more weight to an already small helo; one that also has to carry torps. More weight equates to more fuel ……

    Badawi agree in principle to do away with the Marine Police but it never happened. Ideally there should be no Marine Police as there’s an MMEA but in reality what do we do with the people in the Marine Police if it’s disbanded? We can’t simply transfer them to the MMEA or other units in the police as there are seniority, rank, salary issues, etc. The MMEA will have people of similar rank or seniority who are already waiting to be promoted or transferred or who are already occupying posts where there are no vacancies; the last thing they need is ex Marine Police people for whom there is nowhere to place.

    Kotori Itsuka – ” I will be very suprise if the gov approve the money that the navy request.”

    Quite a chunk of the cash will be from unspent cash in the operational budget and cash for maintenance that will be unspent when old and expensive to operate ships are progressively retired.

    Reply
    The government should have moved all the Marine police personnel into MMEA when the MMEA Act was about to come into force. Either that or make Marine police the second force (dealing in maritime matters with the head as the DIGP) in the PDRM and stop altogether the formation of the MMEA which at that time – Pak Lah – was possible. Instead he allowed the bad idea and implementation from Mahathir time into reality.

  20. Until all the LCS and LMS are in service I don’t see the RMN wanting to sell the Lekius. With the Kasturis it’s a different story as they’re older but it really depends on whether they get more expensive to run over the coming years due to age. Even then, in just a few years many of the systems aboard will be older and will need replacing; doubtful if anyone would want to buy ships that are almost 3 decades old at present. With no sight of the MPSS anytime soon, Mahawangsa and Indera Sakti will soldier on. When it’s time to retire them, they will be older and hardly anyone would want then; assuming they are put up for sale. Prematurely retiring the Lekiu, Kasturi and Indera Sakti class, to fund newer ships is a possibility but extremely unlikely, given that we don’t have a history of going down this route and that it would leave capability gaps; that is until replacements arrive, which will take time.

    On the MPSS, what others have paid for theirs can be used as a rough yardstick for what we’ll pay for ours but ultimately depends on our specs and other things we specify as well as where the ships are constructed and who we order them from. Same goes with combatants, if one wants stringent DC and shock standards then it adds up the overall cost – like everything else, it depends on what a customer wants and is willing to pay. It remains to be seen on what future plans with the survey ships are. There were recent rumours that survey work would be privatised. Given the number of systems and equipment that constitute a full fledged survey ship; it’s doubtful whether modules can be added on a non dedicated survey ship to
    the produce the same results a dedicated survey ship can.

    In addition to the current 15 classes of ships there are also the 2 FTVs [no rush to retire them as they have a small logistical footprint], the CB-90s [also no rush to retire these non commissioned ships] and at least a couple of tugs [used amongst other things to tow targets and barges during Blackshark and missile firings]. The diving tender, Duyong has long been retired as has Sotong, a tug that was also used for routine patrols [sold to a Singaporean company]. On recycling the 76mms from the Laksamana class yes this is an option but the issue here is that Oto Melara now offers a new model of the Super Rapid [with a different loading system and add on standard features including a digital system] – ideally we can’t be in a position where a particular class has 2 different models of main gun, even if they’re of the same calibre and from the same OEM. Anyhow, I’ve been told that the preferred choice for the LMS is 57mm but of course this is not written in stone and can change.

  21. Hmm, rm200mil per ship.
    That would be very tight budget.
    Iirc gagah samudera cost around usd40mil.
    Do we have the blue print for it? With some redesign and we can get a good ship within budget.
    We can go for low cost mbda sea ranger system.

  22. @ azlan

    I was thinking of the possibility of selling the lekius and kasturis like after the 3rd or 4th gowind is commissioned. The lekius are quite young IMO, but in order to reduce the types of ship we are using, its better to sell them off to someone who needs them urgently (uae comes to mind, transports operating off Yemen with no escorts). Replacing lekius (along with the kasturi) with lafayettes of similar age as the lekius is my option that could have the most commonality with the gowinds for the least cost, rather then getting 6more new gowinds.

    My idea of the hydrographic survey version of the LMS is that the 2 is a dedicated version, same hull and machinery but with permanent specialised survey sonar and workstations installed. You cannot do all things modular, as what the us navy found out with the LCS. Hydrographic survey capability is important to have in house as it is regularly needed especially for our submarine operations.

    Reply
    AFAIK apart from being designed by DCNS the Lafayettes have no commonality at all with the Gowinds. It’s 3700 tonnes and are equipped with SEMT Pielstick diesel engines.

  23. Lms need not be capable because its for patrol and preventing illegal fishing?! Isnt that apmm’s job. Isnt tldm focused on’war’ part of the mission. Isnt tldm supposed to have ‘warships’ and apmm supposed to have the lite patrol ships for patrol and enforcement.

    Reply
    In an ideal world, yes, RMN should focus on other surface combatants. But change is difficult as you might be aware.

  24. RMN recapitalization plan can work if Mindef supports it. The services plans which went public are not echoed by its ministry, who really are the ones that holds the approval authority. Do they endorse&support RMN 15to5 plan?

    I was reminded on this after SMK Balung crash, Mindef stated they will allocate monies to repair damages, its not TUDM that say the same thing. It reflects where the monies is.

    I don’t agree with … recapitalization plan which is light in the frigate corvette submarine but heavy in lms. RMN plans for 12 FFG ( I assume sgpv equal to FFG) with 18 PV capable to be FFG, it can commit 30 major combatants in a conflict. I recalled that RMN need at least 12 FFG to spread over 4 Commands.

  25. ……. – ”I was thinking of the possibility of selling the lekius and kasturis like after the 3rd or 4th gowind is commissioned.”

    Yes but realistically, this won’t happen for a number of reasons. In the larger scheme of things, the Lekius are still considered new or at least, not old. Also, the Kasturis and Lekius are less maintenance intensive and expensive to run; compared to the smaller Laksamanas.

    …… – ”Replacing lekius (along with the kasturi) with lafayettes of similar age as the lekius is my option that could have the most commonality with the gowinds”

    The RMN is very wary of buying pre-owned. As others have learn the hard way; buying pre-owned can later lead to issues. When one is offered a pre-owned hull, one can either take it as it is [like the hot transfer of the Inderapura – luckily she was in pristine condition] or upgrade it. If a decision is not made to upgrade it, one has to live with the fact that certain ”items” [if that’s the right word] might not have a lot of life left and will need replacing after awhile. It can be anything from generators, to the shaft, to the wiring, to something easy to replace like a navigation radar.

    …… – ”You cannot do all things modular, as what the us navy found out with the LCS.”

    Indeed, as I questioned in a previous post : can a ship fitted with MCM modules provide the same capability as a dedicated MCMV [with a specialised hull, noise reduction and thrusters to maneuver in a minefield] provide? The answer is no but as always compromises have to be made. Another issue with modularity is you need a ship with the right modules in the right place at the right time.

    …. – ”Hydrographic survey capability is important to have in house as it is regularly needed especially for our submarine operations.”

    Off course but it still can be privatised with certain data being restricted. RMN crews can still have a presence on privately operated survey ships.

    gonggok – ”Lms need not be capable because its for patrol and preventing illegal fishing?!”

    What’s said now about the LMS and how it turns out could be 2 different things. Of course the RMN will say it has to perform various peacetime duties; it helps gain funding. If the RMN just emphasises its combat roles the pen pushers will make it harder. Just like how HADR and supporting UN missions are always used to provide justification for the MPSS. To justify a need for AEWs the RMAF also pointed out that AEWs have some peacetime utility.

    gonggok – ”apmm supposed to have the lite patrol ships for patrol and enforcement.”

    Which is slowly happening.

    BTW the 6 Fulmar UAS ordered by the MMEA will be delivered way before the ships – this is mentioned in AFM.

    AM – ”Fleet rumour was that Rahmat had even worse problems with its Sea Cat and never hit a target in all her life.”

    Wasn’t a rumour, it was true. Which is why Seacat got binned and replaced by an L/70 during a refit in 1983. The Seacat issue was actually the least of the problems! Even before she was delivered, she experienced technical issues [with her turbines] which were never resolved. She spent most of her time in dock. I’m not sure about the actual problem Seacat but with the Laksamana/Sparrow [Aspide] combination it was the director.

  26. nimitz – ”Do they endorse&support RMN 15to5 plan?”

    As has been mentioned, a large chunk of the funding will come from surplus cash from the operational budget and from cash saved from the maintenance of old ships that will be retired. This was the way the idea was sold to the politicians and approved. Google the interview the RMN Chief did with ”Naval Recognition” on the 15-5 plan. He explains where a lot of the cash for the LMS is coming from.

    nimitz – ”I don’t agree with … recapitalization plan which is light in the frigate corvette submarine but heavy in lms.”

    The whole idea is to have the LMS to perform roles that don’t require a LCS or a Lekiu. Being smaller the LMS will also be cheaper to run than a LCS or a Lekiu. Most routine peacetime roles the RMN performs don’t require a LCS or a Lekiu. Even in wartime, some roles such as sea denial and escort work can be better and more practically performed by the smaller LMS. Yes the RMN has a need for 2 more SSKs but in this political and economic climate there’s a higher chance of horses starting to sprout wings or the Jamaican Defence Forces buying T-90s :] As for the NGOPVs yes there’s a requirement for more but a bigger priority at present is to replace a number of old and very troublesome and expensive to run ships.

    nimitz – ”it can commit 30 major combatants in a conflict. I recalled that RMN need at least 12 FFG to spread over 4 Commands.”

    Previous plans called for 6 frigates but that was then. The number of ships one has and the number of ships that can put to sea are different things as at anyone time ‘x number of ships will be in drydock and ‘x’ number will be undergoing routine maintenance. The RMN’s future force levels [as planned under the 5-15 plan] are based on the scenarios which we are likely to encounter; which does not include a full blown state on state conflict with anyone.

  27. When you go FFG and OPV heavy, the cost would be more than usd6.8 billion, with questionable need for that much big ships. What do you need 12 FFG and 18 OPV for?

    this is how my 15-5 plan works out by area:

    HQ (lumut)
    2 FFG gowind
    3 OPV batch I
    3 LMS hi combattant
    3 LMS lo patrol
    2 MCM team
    4 MRSS

    MAWILLA1 (kuantan)
    3 OPV batch I
    3 LMS lo patrol

    MAWILLA2 (kota kinabalu)
    3 SSK
    4 FFG gowind
    6 OPV batch II ASW
    3 LMS lo multipurpose logistics (pulau layang2)
    2 MCM team

    MAWILLA3 (langkawi)
    3 LMS hi combattant
    3 LMS lo patrol

    ESSCOM
    3 LMS hi combattant
    3 LMS lo patrol

    2 LMS lo hydrography at Pusat Hidro Port Klang

    If stretch target getting 5 Lafayettes or retaining 2 lekius, then 6 Gowind would be in MAWILLA2, the lekiu or lafayettes in Lumut HQ

    the LMS should not just a mere patrol ship. the hi end should be capable at achieving domain superiority (surface and air) against non state actors, other patrol boats/FAC and of course host the independent MCM team (either TLDM or even other friendly nations). It must bring the fight to insurgents in fast boats, and capable of dealing with swarm attacks. It would be superior in what it is designed to do, and not to over design it to fight bigger ships (frigates) or submarines. The lo end (of all 3 design) should be able to perform patrol tasks and have similar performance while doing it to the current FAC(G) boats. This is while having multipurpose areas for MCM, cargo or other containerized modules. The difference in the multipurpose logistics and hydrography versions is the former has less bunk area for ferry type seating to shuttle soldiers to and from layang2, while the latter has permanent hydrographic sonars attached to the hull and permanent cabins in the multipurpose area to house survey personnels.

  28. The current MCM trend is not to put any manned vessels in the area to be cleared. So the mothership would be outside of the area to be sweeped/cleared, and mine sweeping/ mine hunting would be done totally at stand off range by USV, UUV and ROV’s. So specialized ships with non magnetic hulls etc etc is no longer a requirement.

    There is a good article on think defence about this.

  29. I’ve also heard from a sailor that our Sea Wolf has also not performed well. According to him the exercise involved a Lekiu and a Laksamana. Both the Sea Wolf and the Aspide did not kill the target.

  30. … , you have excellent skill, did you submit any drawings to shipbucket?

    Did any of you guys look at the latest youtube where the latest 76mm with guided ammo in action?

    After this I wonder why use a 57mm main gun on a 111m ship?

  31. A number of issues play a part. At times it can be the missile itself [normally the circuitry] or the the director. With the Laksamana the main problem with the Aspide has always been the director. This was discovered when we performed the first firing many, many years ago. As far back back as 2000/20001, a Lieutenant told me he had more faith in the guns that the missile! The fiasco we faced with the Laksamanas is a prime example of what happens when the politicians decide that the MAF should get something based not on actual requirements or suitability but on other factors.

  32. Zainal – ”After this I wonder why use a 57mm main gun on a 111m ship?”

    It depends on what one wants to do with the gun or what one thinks the gun will mostly be doing. If it’s for AA work both the the 76 and 57mm have a fast rate of fire and both have smart rounds intended to defeat incoming missiles. If one foresees that hitting targets at shore – whether as part of regular littoral ops or supporting amphib ops – is a vital requirement, then it’s a different matter which is why some navies still stick to 127mm and 4.5inch. In a way it’s a shame that we retired the Creusot Loires but I guess it makes sense given that a decision was made to stick to 76 and 57mm and that gun and director interface issues with the Creusot Loire was never adequately resolved. Anyhow, the NSM does have a land attack capability, the issue I suppose is whether the warhead is large enough for certain types of targets and the fact that each ship only has a limited number of missiles.

  33. Why RMN need 12 SGPV (FFG) and 18NGPV (corvette)? Why RMN plan is heavy in the capital ship department?

  34. Just a suggestion. Is it possible for the 76mm gun be transferred to the sgpv from the laksamana?

    If im not wrong old oto melara 76mm can be upgraded to Strales version. And the 57mm from sgpv & old ones from patrol boats be used in the new lms ships. Although using ones from sgpv which have stealth cupola might be hard (not sure just a thought).

    It is just that since the plan of 15-5 is demanding for more kedah ngpv. Wont it warranted for purchase of more oto melara 76mm guns. Its just that im failing to see the relevant for sgpv which is a better armed ship than kedah but having a smaller gun.

    For the lms, for me the best configuration that i can think of is a ship with
    – 1 Bofors 57mm gun on the front
    – 1 35mm oerlikon ciws / 2 30mm guns at the back
    – 4 ssm (if within budget)
    – No helideck and hangar
    – Stern ramps with 2 access points (1 for rhibs and another one for equipment from using iso container module which seems like will be using uuv for mcm mission and hydrographic mission)

    There are a lot of factors that i truly do not understands and know but just my opinion on the matter.

    Reply
    There is no way they will transfer the 76mm on the Laksamanas to the LCS. I mentioned already the LMS will be fitted for UAVs, which literally meant that there will be a landing pad and small store/hangar but not big enough for a helicopter

  35. Nimitz – ” Why RMN need 12 SGPV (FFG) and 18NGPV (corvette)? Why RMN plan is heavy in the capital ship department? ”

    Good thinking……
    When the last batch is built maybe the initial batch already been decommisioned. How about man power? support and maintenance? Budget problem? Maybe majority will be FFBNW, just a hull with 57mm gun…….mak aih.

    Looking at 15 to 5 plan. Panglima intends to use 70m long hull for patrol, FAC, and MCMV rather a dedicated type of smaller vessel. The indons can optimize their 40m long hull clurit class for patrol (PC) and FAC (M) very efficient and cost effective. Even a 50-60 m enough already for an MCMV. Today modern weapon is smaller and can be put on smaller vessel but deadly enough to deactivate/sink corvette/frigate class.

  36. I have been watching this blog for years as silent reader. I guess will try to give an input from today.

    Regarding recycle 76 mm and 57 mm, I would have agreed to doing it. Likewise, if u can prolong or upgrade the Aspides and Seawolfs seem to be good idea for “confidence measures” in ship survivability.

    But in the end, the above need a brand new FCS. Current market in FCS seems to have the ability to integrate every weapons in the market. IMHO, we need to invest in finding the right one that suites our loves to buy “rojak” guns and air defense missiles. Hence, either we buy it in bulks to fit all ships in TLDM and Maritim for the same model or locally manufacture a model from a prefer company. At least in this respect, we have an economics of scale and standardized maintenance schedule.

    Back to issue of recycle, when KD Sri Inderapura initially caught fire, the CIWS was at the highest point of the ship, top of the bridge unaffected by the fire. When they choose to let it burn instead of trying to contain the fire, that bridge area collapse due to structural failure from the intense heat.

    Had they tried to contain the fire around the bridge without collapsing it, even if she sunk in shallow water, the CIWS was the only thing that worth to be salvage / recycle.

    Reply
    I was told that there is a possibility that the Seawolfs life could be extended further. I believe this will be done as it is the cheapest short term option as installing new missiles will also see the need to upgrade the CMS and other things on board. I guess that’s the reason for an extra 6 LCS, to replace both the Lekius and Kasturis.

  37. IMO the 6 LMS is already the replacement (capability wise) of the hang tuah/kasturi/lekiu classes. No real reason to add another 6 (and requiring another usd2.8bil in the budget)

    Do remember before the LCS programme, the frigates are supposed to be beefed up by 2 more lekiu batch II, to get the frigate numbers to 6 (including kasturi, which was designated light frigates before). Now with the LCS, we already have 6 new frigates, so no real need to have a replacement for the lekiu and kasturi, unless to enlarge the fleet.

    @ romeo

    The navy top brass need to consider the “real” requirements that the LMS going to do in service. Forget attacking corvettes/frigates, the possibility of those happening would be very slim. It is all those small fast boats of non state actors, terrorists and pirates that the LMS would be against. All the sensors and weapons of the LMS must be tailored to those type of enemies.

    Reply
    I am talking about the first four LMS which are likely to be armed with guns only so no way they are replacing the missile armed Kasturi or the Lekiu and not even the Laksamanas as when they were newly delivered. Granted the missiles might not work as advertised, the Laksamanas when newly delivered, were on paper, packed a lot of punch. The four gun equipped LMS are technically no different than the Vosper built Kedah class albeit the guns are/will be directed by EO turrets. I am not saying its optimum or cost effective or there is enough money to have 12 LCS but just the reasons for it as I see them.
    Just like when I say I don’t believe the first LCS will be commissioned in 2019, it doesn’t mean that the program will need a bail out like the Kedah class.

  38. A second batch of 6 LCS for RM 9 billion is an unaffordable dream, and is not necessary at this time. But it might become a necessity in future as regional navies build themselves up or become more aggressive. It will be interesting if our security environment becomes that competitive.

    In the interim, if RM 9 billion becomes available perhaps it should go to new or existing MRCA. Aircraft can fill so many other roles, including anti shipping and sea denial in support of the navy.

    … “. the hi end should be capable… It must bring the fight to insurgents in fast boats, and capable of dealing with swarm attacks. ”

    I should think the equipment you need here should be standard on any lower capability vessel or OPV. Fast firing A gun, autocannon, decoys, EO and radar- that’s the minimum equipment a 1000+ ton surface combatant should have.

  39. Just to throw the crazy idea, yet effective IMHO. Why not use those ottomat from laksamana class and install those missiles into trucks as land based costal defense….is it possible to do?

    Reply
    Well I guess that you didn’t read my story at DSA which clearly states that the Otomat missiles has been sold paid off and the proceeds are used to partly offset the cost of buying EO turrets for the Laksamanas so their guns could be aimed again

  40. Nihd,

    The Super Rapid version fitted on the Laksamanas and the Kedahs was first offered in the 1970’s. Yes, Oto Melara has a new version now with a number of improvements. As I mentioned in my previous post, if a decision is made to arm the LMS with a 76mm gun and if we reuse the ones on the Laksamana; we would be in the silly position of having a whole class armed with 2 different main guns.

    …… – ”The navy top brass need to consider the “real” requirements that the LMS going to do in service. Forget attacking corvettes/frigates, the possibility of those happening would be very slim.”

    Rest assured there is a whole project team that does nothing but plan for the LMS and the idea is to have an LMS able to perform roles specific to the RMN’s operational needs.

    Of course there is no requirement for a LMS to go head to head against ”corvettes/frigates”. The whole idea of having the LMS is to perform both peacetime and wartime roles that are more practical and cheaper for a smaller ship to perform rather than a LCS or Lekiu – in other words, secondary, low intensity roles. Wartime roles the LMS would perform includes sea denial for which the idea would be for the LMS to use geography and perhaps even commercial shipping to conduct swift attacks before retiring : a role the FACs were originally bought to perform. Anything more serious would call for a LCS or Lekiu.

    5Lkick,

    Assuming we still had them, the Otomats that were delivered with the Laksamanas were manufactured in the mid-1990’s; by now their propellant and circuitry would [and have] worn out; even if they have been sent back to the OEM to be relifed.

  41. Sounds great on paper but in the near future how many navies can expect this capability?

    What you described is not the ”current trend’ but is only available to a few navies at the moment as it’s cost prohibitive. The idea to deploy ”drones” from a ”mothership” to minesweep first appeared in the 1980’s and was first thought of back in the 1970’s – one is reminded of the Bundesmarine’s Troika system introduced in the mid-1980’s. At one time it was even thought that helicopters could largely do away with minesweepers but this never happened. Also, in rough sea conditions and in places where there is a strong current, deploying USVs and ROVs can be problematic – I’ve pointed this out before as I know someone who faced this problem. Deploying a USV in the calm waters of the Gulf [like the RSN did] is one thing, deploying it in rough seas is another. It’s telling that some navies are still investing in MCMVs, as such for some a specialised hull with non magnetic [including GRP] hulls with thrusters and stringent shock levels are still a key requirement. The key difference is that instead of relying on a sweep deck mounted wire sweep or oropesa to sever the cables of moored mines, reliance is increasingly being placed on drones/UUVs offering superior capabilities to ROVs; with the ship out of the danger zone but not to the extent of how you described; at least not yet and not widely adopted, yet.

    A ”multipurpose logistics” variant of the LMS won’t be able to dock at Layang-Layang as the pier there can only accommodate ships the size of FACs, which is why the FTVs come in so handy. It’s not only a question of building a larger jetty but of the water being too shallow. Something you might want to add in your paper is the need for racks to be fitted on some LMS, to lay mines. At the moment some RMN ships have them, some don’t. A traditional problem faced by FACs is that the performance of their sensors are affected by a low free board and excessive vibration when moving fast. This won’t be a problem with the LMS as it’s a more stable platform with a higher freeboard. Where the LMS and other ships will be homeported will be largely dependent on the level of support available at that particular base. If we weren’t so overstretched all Kedahs would be based together [like the Jerongs at Sepanggar or Mahamirus at Lumut] to simplify support but the fact that we are overstretched means that the Kedahs are parceled out and homeported at various places : not an ideal solution. On paper the RN’s adoption of flotillas comprising frigates, MCMVs, etc makes sense and is worth emulating but then the RN has more bases with all the needed support infrastructure to support these mix flotillas.

    The RMN has had quite a while to think of how they want to do things better and have come up with some innovative ideas for the LMS. The danger is not the LMS being wrongly equipped or wrongly deployed but not being fitted out as desired due to funding. I will be extremely surprised if a single LMS is armed with a surface to air missile; even a MANPADs on a stablised mount like SADRAL but then one can also make a convincing argument that for the roles it’s likely to perform during wartime [sea denial, escort work, etc] the LMS only needs self-defence systems as protection against attacks from the air. In short the whole idea behind the LMS is to have a common design able to perform a variety of roles by virtue of being modular. Sounds great on paper as it offers flexibility and costs savings but in reality there are also issues involved here in that the right a ship configured with the right module has to be in the right place at the right time. Opinions on the LMS within the RMN are quite mixed. Whilst most officers realise the idea behind it and what it’s intended to achieve; many are also worried that specs might have to be scaled down due to funding and that the programme might affect other plans the RMN has.

  42. We can always cannibalise the 76mm guns for parts, or use them for training on shore or on the two training ships if there is room.

    By the way, after we retire our 3 classes of FAC (and much later the Kasturis and Mahawangsas) we will have a large number of aged 57mm guns. They are sufficient for patrol use and some of those on the FACs have just been hooked up to new EO directors. But given their age, I don’t know how long more the guns will last. I believe we will be seeing them at camp gates soon.

  43. @ azlan

    MCM missions is almost exclusively done near chokepoints, around ports and river estuaries. MCM is almost never done in open waters. The main malaysian MCM capability is to support anti sea denial of the straits of melacca, and to the approaches of our main naval bases (lumut, telok sepangggar) and ports (port klang, tanjung pelepas, kuantan, bintulu). There is only a few methods for the enemy to mine our waterways, either by air, subs or sailing a disguised commercial ship to malaysian waters to lay mines.

    USV’s are mainly used to tow minesweeping and acoustic noisemakers following preprogrammed paths to detonate floating and semifloating mines. UUV’s and ROVs are used to scan the seafloor for bottom mines and destroy them. Technology of minehunting using UUV and ROV is already mature and most dedicated MCMV’s are already using them. There are less and less reasons now to have a newbuild dedicated MCMV.

    My idea for the LMS multipurpose and low end versions is to be just a little bit longer than the FAC’s at 55m. These has shallow draft of around 3m full load, and equipped with dynamic positioning (DP) systems to dock the large ship without resorting to tugs. the large rear deck would also allow them to be used as minelayers, with modular mine racks designed for easy attachment onboard the ships.

    Only to finish my drawings (doing this on my freetime) so hopefully all would be ready by end of the week (before the budget is tabled)

  44. One question. What will happen to the Lekiu class if the 15-5 plan success?

    Reply
    Floating museums, I assumed. One in Malacca, Jebat and Lekiu in Lumut.

  45. ……. – ” MCM is almost never done in open waters.”

    You are mistaken, which is why the RN and other navies had ocean going minesweepers as well as minesweepers designed for shallow waters [the HAM class ”inshore” sweeper as an example].
    MCM operations are mostly conducted in shallow waters but can also occur in deep waters. Current MCMVs in service are good for minesweeping and minehunting in both shallow and deep waters.

    ……. – ”USV’s are mainly used to tow minesweeping and acoustic noisemakers following preprogrammed paths to detonate floating and semifloating mines.

    And if sea conditions are rough to the extent that a USV can’t be deployed; then what? If currents are too strong and can affect a ROV then what? I’m quoting actual experiences here BTW.

    ……. – ”technology of minehunting using UUV and ROV is already mature and most dedicated MCMV’s are already using them”

    UUVs and ROVs yes but in the manner you described in an earlier post, no; at least not widely yet. Also, one of the issues faced with current gen ROVs is the battery life.

    …… – ”There are less and less reasons now to have a newbuild dedicated MCMV.”

    On paper yes but the reality [as I mentioned previously] is that some navies are still buying MCMVs and others [including the RN and USN] are still maintaining theirs and have yet to fully convert to USVs and ROVs to perform minesweeping or minehunting in the manner you described in a previous post. The wiresweep has been done away by a few and ROVs are used more widely [they’ve been around since the 1960’s] but by and large the way the majority of navies perform MCM still has not undergone a major change; at least not yet. Despite all the new technology navies still maintain divers; either to assist in finding and identifying a mine or to place a charge on it.

  46. hhhmmm… still no hard stand words for upgrading or weaponize the NGPVs, although those Laksamana and FACs are being older and older and pulling out eventually, but still, no hope for NGPVs..

    LMS…. hhmmm me also thinking those vessel will end up with no teath either, at least, Panglima should stand and say the ship will have capability of anti ship and anti air missile, no need to say which one or type of the missile ( although we never look upon Chinese made missile

    sooo….

    then…. are going to let the killing works to Lekiu, Kasturi, and the LCS only….. yes maybe…..

    my two sen……

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