Keel Laying Ceremony for MMEA OPV

A CGI of the MMEA OPV

SHAH ALAM: The keel laying ceremony for the first out of three MMEA OPV is expected to be held this December. It will be held at the THHE-Destini shipyard in Pulau Indah, in Port Klang.

Industry sources told Malaysian Defence steel cutting for the first OPV is already underway in Singapore and it was a matter of time before the prepared materials are shipped to Port Klang for the building process to start.

A model of the MMEA OPV displayed at LIMA 17.

For those unawares, we also sourced and cut steel for both the LCS and NGPV projects – overseas as Malaysian steel producers do not make steel for ship-building. In the case of the LCS and NGPV, the steel were sourced and cut at two different manufacturing plants in Holland.

A CGI of the MMEA OPV

By getting the steel from a plant in the region, THHE-Destini would have reduce the cost for the OPV somewhat.

Another angle of the MMEA OPV model displayed during LIMA 17.

As reported previously, the ship will be built to the Damen 1800 OPV design. However, unlike 1800 design, the MMEA OPV will not come with a hangar for an embarked helicopter. It can land and refuel helicopters up to an AW139, however, as well as UAVs. No decision has been made on the UAV. It will be fitted with four Caterpillar diesel engines with two screws for a design speed of 20 knots. And It will be 83 meters long and crewed by 70 personnel. It will be fitted with the Aselsan SMASH 30mm RWS on the A deck,two GPMGs on both sides just behind the bridge and a 50 caliber gun facing aft above the helo deck

A CGI of the Damen 1800 OPV

If indeed the keel laying ceremony is held this December, this will mean the project will start ahead of schedule as at LIMA 17, THHE-Destini officials said that it will start early next year.

THHE Destini shipyard as seen from the National Hydrographic Centre.

This will be a boon for the workers at the shipyard at Pulau Indah which seemed rather deserted during a recent visit.

* this is an updated version of the post. The original post stated that the keel laying will be held in November but it has been pointed out that this will be done in December, as per the contract.

— Malaysian Defence

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31 Comments

  1. Congratulations to MMEA.

    Hopefully this will be followed up by 2nd batch of the NGPC too.

    BTW marhalim, a clearer picture of the OPV

    Reply
    Thanks for the link. We will have to see whether the NGPC second batch is funded in the budget to be announced later this month. I know money is tight but I think there is enough money to fund at least two new NGPC for 2018. If the government could fund two NGPC every year until 2030, MMEA could retire all of its old patrol boats

  2. really hope there will be more ships after this batch soon to the point there will be no used vessels in MMEA inventory either from TLDM or foreign agencies

  3. Marhalim,

    My sources tell me that the helideck is designed to land an EC725.

    Reply
    Yes one of the CGI of the 1800 OPV shows a Super Puma on the helideck

  4. Meh,

    Why not both? For slightly cheaper than the LMS, my sources tell me that the MMEA will be getting a larger ship with much longer range and endurance, making the ship capable for extended operations if needed, outfitted with the same weapons as the LMS, i.e. 30mm RWS as A-gun (although no search radar, ESM and CMS), modern Integrated Bridge System based on dual Ethernet, helideck with modern HVLA system, stern launch system with RHFB, en-suite toilet modules for nearly all cabins with European standard furnishings for the accommodation, state of the art integrated communications system, UAV, rugged hull of mild steel instead of high tensile (much easier to repair), equipped with a Fast Interceptor and jet skis, AHRS plus standard gyro, etc. etc. etc.

    Good deal, if you ask me….

  5. IMO the new MMEA OPV’s can do almost similar peacetime tasks to the Kedah class.

    Now the question is, with the MMEA, what tasks can the TLDM reduce, and what tasks can it increase?

    I can see mundane daily patrol duties to be tasked more to MMEA. TLDM to increase ASW capabilites, fast littoral strikes (denial and anti-denial of busy choke points in melacca straits and langkawi archipalego), mine countermeasures and infantry support in littoral areas (CB90s, Landing crafts, LPDs).

  6. Api69 “Good deal, if you ask me….” ” (although no search radar, ESM and CMS),”

    Good deal, or gold plating? I would think the ship should have a search radar.

    Reply
    They will have nav radar

  7. Off topic- looking at new pics of Op Pasir we do have units still wearing the harimau belang and using the M-16/M-203.

    Reply
    Yes they do

  8. AM,

    Again, my sources confirm that the vessel will be fitted with 2 radars, an S-band and X-band, with capability for helicopter tracking. The MMEA does not really need a surveillance radar as the gun is a RWS with its own tracker. If the MMEA fitted a 40mm gun or bigger, then a surveillance radar and CMS would be necessary. In any case, a surveillance radar is simply a glorified, upgraded X-band. And why would the MMEA need an ESM?
    Remember that the MMEA is essentially getting 3 ships for the price of 2.
    Thus, good deal….

    Reply
    It must be noted that as I mentioned earlier, the LMS cost more than the OPV as it is fitted with a CMS and a search and attack radar.

  9. Marhalim,

    There is a gap of usd 12 million per ship between the MMEA OPV and TLDM LMS (OPV usd56mil, LMS usd68mil)

    A suite of high end 3D radar (like smart-s of the gowinds for example) + CMS could be bought with a budget of usd 12 million. So it does not explain how TLDM ends up with a 700ton chinese ship while MMEA gets a 1800ton european designed and locally built ship. Is high tensile steel costs 2.5 times as much as mild steel?

    Reply
    I am just telling you what I was told. The LMS is also to be licensed built by Boustead perhaps the extra money is to pay for that privilege

  10. Marhalim,

    Actually, IMO, the CMS fitted on the LMS is not really necessary if multiple effectors are not fitted. As I was made to understand, the only automated weapon on the LMS is the Chinese 37mm gun while the SSM is FFBNW. The 12.7mm GPMGs are pintle mounted and not RWS. Nevertheless, my estimate for fitting a 2D surveillance radar and a CMS for multiple gun control on the OPV would add approx. RM15 to RM20 million per ship.

  11. If the Navy is happy with the size of the vessel, I would install a 2D radar with simple CMS (e.g. from SAAB) to control 1 x 30mm RWS (MSI or Leonardo) plus 2 x 12.7mm RWS (Hitrole from Leonardo, possibly). Other than that, I believe installation of a Comms Surveillance system for intelligence gathering could be fitted. A VTOL UAV would also be nice to have depending on the RMN CONOPS for these ships, of course.

    Also, based on your comment that no FFBNW arrangement for the Chinese LMS, why the heck is a CMS being installed to just control a 30mm RWS???? Waste of money, IMHO.

    Reply
    An ELINT capability will also be useful

  12. My estimate of the costs for my particular wish list (with representative equipment selection) is as follows:

    2D Radar (GEM Sea Eagle) with CMS (SAAB 9LV) – RM 20 million
    ESM/ELINT (SAAB Integrated ESM/ELINT)) – RM 8 million
    2 x 12.7mm RWS (LEONARDO HITROLE) – RM 8 million
    UAV – RM 2 million (very canggih VTOL type….)
    Total RM 38 million per ship

    I believe the RMN could have all these in the same 68 meter LMS platform for the same price as the MMEA 83 meter OPVs. Main issue is how much profit the yard wants to make. If at nett of 15%, I guarantee you that this can be done.

  13. @ Api69

    Thank you for your take on the LMS.

    So for about RM 38 million @ USD 9 million, a reasonable radar+CMS+RCWS combination could be bought.

    What about the hull+engine combo? What do you think a 68m bare hull + engines would cost? What I know is that 50-60m Offshore fast crew supply ships could be had for about USD 10 million @ RM 44 million.

  14. Api69 – ”why the heck is a CMS being installed to just control a 30mm RWS????”

    The CMS is to ”control” or integrate weapons [including those not yet fitted] and sensors, as well as whatever mission suites/modules are added at a later date. Irrespective of whether a ship is fully armed or not; a lack of CMS will mean that all the various systems will have to be operated independently from the bridge and CIC.

  15. Off topic…

    Interesting times ahead.

    Qatar emir is coming to Malaysia tomorrow (Sunday)

    Reply
    I doubt anything will come out of it

  16. Re: Qatar emir visit.

    I mean how saudi would react to this? Would the 7billion dollar saudi investment in malaysia be threatened? Why are we inviting the Qatari emir in the 1st place? What is malaysia getting out of this?

    Reply
    I have no idea what’s the government intends to do with this

  17. You can’t punish every single friend of your enemy. Don’t see the US penalize us for recognising Palestinians and vice versa. Qatar knows well not to expect us to do anything at the expense of relations with the Saudis.

  18. Qatar knows well not to expect us to do anything at the expense of relations with the Saudis. As for the Saudis, they can’t punish every single friend of their enemies. Don’t see the US penalize us for recognising Palestinians and vice versa, or punish countries that recognise Iran.

    Until now, no one really knows what their quarrel is about. Knowing the Arabs it’s probably something petty and stupid.

  19. In view of the rather strange arrangement for the MMEA OPV and RMN’s LMS, can I make a crazy suggestion that we swap the operators when they arrived? Haha…

  20. … – ”I mean how saudi would react to this?”

    The Emir of Qatar’s visit will have ZERO consequences with our relations with Saudi …. The Saudis fully understand we also have dealings with Qatar and we try or best to be chums with everyone. Any actions taken by Saudi as a result of the visit will also effect them as they have investments here and value or need our continued support/friendship – people overlook that Malaysian/Saudi relations benefits not only Malaysia but also Saudi ….. It’s not a one way street.

    What would really annoy the Saudis if we suddenly decide to allow Malaysians to be Shia, welcomed a visiting delegation from the Syrian Baath party, developed a strategic partnership with Iran or critisised the level of human rights [or lack of it] in the ”Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” – which of course we’ll never do.

    AM – ”The specs are definitely gold plated.”

    Indeed and we have a history of doing so. The MKMs, Kedahs,
    A-109s, PT-91s and others were all gold plated.

    AM – ”Until now, no one really knows what their quarrel is about. ”

    It’s about power and influence, including the need to further weaken and isolate Iran and ensure no country comes close to contesting the influence Saudi and the UAE has in the region.

    The Arabs have never been united and despite all the talk about Arab and Muslim unity; no such things exists [at least not for a few hundred years] – Arab history is full of examples of them scheming and plotting against each other for their own interests. As the Emir of Qatar once told journalist Robert Fisk : ”If I didn’t host a U.S. base in Qatar my Arab brothers would have invaded me a long time ago”.

  21. @ AM

    ” Until now, no one really knows what their quarrel is about. Knowing the Arabs it’s probably something petty and stupid. ”

    That is exactly why I am worried. Inviting the Qatari emir does not exactly shout “neutrality” in the current scenario.

  22. @ AM

    ” Until now, no one really knows what their quarrel is about. Knowing the Arabs it’s probably something petty and stupid. ”

    That is exactly why I am worried. Inviting the Qatari emir does not exactly shout “neutrality” in the current scenario.

  23. Hornet_lover, if you can make the suggestion, I further suggest that MMEA takes the LMS and keep the OPV.

    RMN can get a proper replacement for the FACs and MCMVs with all the capabilities they are supposed to have and commonality with the rest of the fleet.

  24. … – ”Inviting the Qatari emir does not exactly shout “neutrality” in the current scenario.”

    Not inviting the Emir or going out of our way to not be too friendly with Qatar merely to please Saudi also ”does not exactly shout “neutrality” … If we were really ”neutral” then we wouldn’t be too friendly to both Qatar and Saudi. At the end of the day; if Saudi accepts that we have cordial relations with Iran and have dealings there; why would they be displeased with the Emir of Qatar visiting Malaysia; especially when it’s a known fact that we are closer to Saudi and the UAE. It’s not as if relations with Qatar will take the place of Malaysia/Saudi relations. We also have very close relations with Turkey and Turkey/Saudi relations are not good given that Turkey is close to Qatar and has a policy over Syria that differs from what Saudi wants. Yet Saudi does not expect us to not be too friendly with the Turks.

    Hornet_lover – ”In view of the rather strange arrangement for the MMEA OPV and RMN’s LMS”

    The OPV’s displacement and the way it’ll be fitted out reflects the MMEA’s operational requirements. Similarly, the way the LMS is fitted out when it enters service and how the RMN plans to fit it out in the future is a reflection of the RMN’s operational needs. I won’t go into comparisons and pricing in relation to other designs and what we could have bought but the MMEA’s OPVs will be a welcome addition to what is currently operated and is long overdue.

    Ideally having all the OPVs homeported at the same location would simplify logistics; rather than say having one based at Labuan, one at Langkawi and the third somewhere else. My only complain is the 30mm gun. Yes the MMEA shouldn’t be in a position where it needs a larger calibre gun as it’s intended to perform peacetime constabulary – low threat – duties but with a hull of that displacement, a 30mm gun is a seaman’s eyesore … Similarly, due to various factors I would have preferred at minimum a 57mm on the LMS.

  25. Still on the Qatar visit.

    – discussions on defence and intelligence.

    – a pledge of usd50 million donation to malaysia.

    Btw, 1 item that might be interesting for malaysia… Qatar army’s 12 soon to be retired 155mm G5 howitzers. Identical to our current in use howitzers. Malaysian army please go and have a look.

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