MMEA OPV, Part…

SHAH ALAM: MMEA OPV. As mentioned in the previous posts, the MMEA is getting three new build OPVs. The basic design of these vessels was outlined in the interview with the MMEA DG last April. As for the builder it will likely be the JV of two subsidiary companies of two public listed companies, TH Heavy Engineering and Destini Bhd as stated in the previous posting.

Destini will also be involved in the construction of the three 80-metre OPV program for APMM. It appears that TH Heavy was cognisant of the claims that it had no prior shipbuilding experience and therefore had entered a JV with Destini – the builder of the NGPC for the OPV program. Last July when confirming it was in talks with APMM for the OPV program, it stated that the status of talks was in a flux. TH Heavy and Destini signed an agreement for a JV for the OPV project on 27th October, 2016, according to its announcement to Bursa KL on the same date.

Damen 1800 OPV
Damen 1800 OPV

So what OPV will the JV built then? Previously I mentioned that a German designed OPV was the favourite for the project. It was correct until TH Heavy got the job to built the OPVs.

Damen 1800 OPV, from the rear.
Damen 1800 OPV, from the rear.

TH Heavy, I am told, has selected the Damen 1800 OPV for the MMEA program. It is the earlier 1800 OPV design and not the latest OPV 2 with the Sea Axe hull. It is likely that they will incorporate some of the features of the OPV 2 for the MMEA variant. As the JV company will be designated as the main contractor, Damen as the design authority and technical adviser, will  serve as the principal sub-contractor for the programme.

Damen OPV 1800 Sea Axe
Damen OPV 1800 Sea Axe

Personally, I like the Sea Axe Hull design it looks much more purposeful and modern. But I guess that MMEA prefer a proven hull/design instead.

OPV 1800

Description

EXCELLENT POWER / SPEED RATIOS
– Much less power installed than in typical corvettes.
– Hull design is more economical at patrol speed.

FACILITIES FOR LARGE HELICOPTER
– Hangar, flight deck and service space for single helicopter up to 11-tonnes
– Lights and visual aids for day and night operations
– Avcat re-and de-fuelling system – HIFR optional.

ECONOMIC PROPULSION PACKAGE
– Four diesel engines with two controllable pitch propellers. Running only two diesels at patrol speed reduces fuel consumption and extends range
– Alternative propulsion packages are available such as twin diesels or diesel-electric.

Length (meter)
83
Speed max (kts)
22
Crew
46
Beam (m)
13.7
Propulsion
4×2350 kW, CPP

SMASH 30mm gun at Aselsan stand. Contracted for the NGPC.
SMASH 30mm gun at Aselsan stand. Contracted for the NGPC.

From the CGI, the Damen 1800 OPV is designed to be fitted with a 76mm gun. It is likely that the MMEA OPV will only carry a 30mm gun which will be cheaper than the bigger one. It could also carry another two 30mm guns aft based on the CGI but I am guessing that will be replaced by 12.7mm guns on the MMEA OPV.

TH Heavy Engineering facility at Pulau Indah, Port Klang. This is the likely location for the OPV build.
TH Heavy Engineering facility at Pulau Indah, Port Klang. This is the likely location for the OPV build.

So how will it be build then? I have no idea as the contract has yet to be signed. But hopefully, we adopt the same method that Indonesia took when building the first of its two Sigma 10514 frigate. For the build, two modules were built and fully tested in Holland while another four were done in Indonesia while the integration and fitting out were completely done in country.

Of course, we could go full monty and go down the LCS route by assembling the whole ship locally with steel cut in Holland but I hope cooler heads will prevail. At least for the first OPV, of course.

— Malaysian Defence

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