Back in the Saddle Again

The latest picture of KD Jerong. RMN.

SHAH ALAM: Back in the saddle again. KD Jerong, the lead ship of the six class FAC of the same name has completed its refit, the RMN announced on April 11. The refit include the installation of a completely new propulsion system. The “repowering” project include the installation of new main engines, gearboxes, shafts, propellors and generators was conducted as part of a routine refit for Jerong at the Weldan Marine Services Sdn Bhd yard in Sandakan, RMN chief engineer Rear Admiral Mohd Shaiful Adli Chung wrote in a post in the RMN Facebook page.

The latest picture of KD Jerong. RMN.

SEKALUNG TAHNIAH : KD JERONG KAPAL KELIMA SELESAI REPOWERING
SANDAKAN, 11 Apr – KD JERONG yang merupakan salah satu kapal di Skuadron Fast Attack Craft (FAC) kelas Meriam merupakan kapal kelima selesai menjalani repowering melibatkan sistem kuasagerak (propulsion system) secara total. Repowering ini adalah projek penggantian kesemua jentera utama, kotak gear, shafting, propeller dan set janakuasa dimana ianya sebahagian skop rutin refit KD JERONG di Limbungan Weldan Marine Services Sdn Bhd.
Hasil inisiatif repowering ini telah membolehkan sebahagian aset di Armada TLDM diberi nafas baharu dengan peningkatan keupayaan beroperasi, jangka hayat lebih panjang, supportability yang lebih baik dan memberi ROI yang tinggi kepada TLDM/Kerajaan. Di antara ROI yang dimaksudkan adalah seperti penggunaan minyak yang jimat kerana menggunakan teknologi moden, MTBO (Mean Time between Overhaul) yang lama, kadar pelepasan karbon yang rendah, kos alat ganti akan datang yang kompetitif dan sebagainya.
Inisiatif repowering terhadap FAC telah bermula sejak penghujung tahun 2017 setelah ianya diluluskan oleh Pengurusan Tertinggi TLDM. Inisiatif tersebut adalah cetusan idea warga Navy People di mana sebelum ini, pendekatan sedemikian boleh dianggap MUSTAHIL untuk direalisasikan. Justeru, warga Navy People wajar berbangga dengan inisiatif ini dan disaran terus berinovasi untuk meningkatkan keupayaan operasi Armada TLDM, khususnya dalam aspek Man, Machine and Method (Process).

KD Jerong. RMN

It is interesting to note that the Rear Admiral wrote that five ships had undergone the repowering project though it has only announced the two other FACs involved, KD Baung and KD Ganas. Another FAC KD Perkasa is getting a completely new hull together with a new propulsion system, the culmination of the Obsolescence Programme (OP).

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

The OP was initiated to ensure the FAC fleet remained in service for the next 15 year – as mentioned in the Defence White Paper 2019 – as the RMN’s 15-to-5 transformation plan is slowly rolled out. It must be noted the immediate past RMN leadership had cocooned most of the FAC, mine hunters and other high maintenance vessels so as to ensure funds flowed to new build ships instead. However with the LCS seemingly stuck with no solution in sight, the RMN had to rely on its old warships again.

KD Pendekar
KD Pendekar, one of the four Handalan class boats at LIMA 19. The Handalan class FAC is among the boats to undergo the OP.

The RMN currently operates 14 FACs – six Jerong class, four Perdana class and four Handalan class boats. The FACs mostly purchased in early/late 1970s, the Perdanas from France, Handalans from Sweden and the Jerong were built locally by Hong Leong Lurrsen shipyard in Butterworth.

KD Gempita, a Handalan class FAC during operations in early 2016. RMN picture

The Jerong were classified as FAC-G (Skuadron 6 FAC) as it was not armed with missiles, only the 57mm (forward) and 40mm (aft) guns while the Perdana and Handalan(Skuadron 2) were classified as FAC-M as the boats were armed with the MBDA Exocet MM38 anti-surface missiles, apart from the 57mm (forward) and 40mm guns (aft).

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

19 Comments

  1. Well hopefully the fact that these FACs which are overdue for retirement are being given a new lease of life – albeit for peacetime low intensity duties – won’t lead to the politicians delaying the funding of the LMSs.

    A major problem also faced by FACs – on top of range and endurance – is seakeeping beyond certain Sea States. Ultimately we got our money’s worth; they’ve served for more than 4 decades and we’ve long utilised them for operational conditions they weren’t designed for.

  2. @Azlan

    Could we not use these vessels’ design as blueprints for CG ships? Proven design, with some minor updates here and there I think our shipyards could build these quickly and in large numbers for close to coast patrols, around say 60 – 80 nm?

    Speaking of LCSes and Damen boats, the government recent plea of asking gov employees to “wakaf” part of their salary is an indication that they won’t be ready anytime soon. Well..maybe we’re getting the JF-17 after all…

    Reply
    No lah, wakaf or endowment is a common practice among Muslims to help their communities. Most of the early mosques and religious schools were constructed and sustained using wakaf money. I admit that the message could have been made better

  3. On vsl design to be build fast & large number spreadout to local shipyards, MMEA can use NGPC or OPV ones, while RMN can do the same thing using Gagah or Keris’s.

  4. ASM – “Could we not use these vessels’ design as blueprints for CG ships”

    If you’re referring to the FACs; no we shouldn’t. They are not designed for patrols – they were designed for sea denial of a limited duration in a littoral environment. Something slightly larger with better sea keeping is needed.

  5. @ASM

    “Could we not use these vessels’ design as blueprints for CG ships?”

    Not necessarily a bad idea but given that MMEA already had Bagan Datuk class (NGPC) in 300 tone range, IMO it would be better to get more NGPC unless MMEA requires 30+ knots small patrol vessels. With the first 6 NGPC cost at around usd15 million each, we might get the second batch at lower price.

  6. Don’t think JF17 can make it to the final list with the latest sanctions made by US to Russia, as JF17 uses RD93 engine.That leave the TA50, The Tejas and dark horse L15 of China as none has any Russian equipment,imho

  7. Luqman,

    Priority should be not only in getting the MMEA more assets but also improving its shore support infrastructure (a major limiting factor) and eventually retiring the many different aged hulls it has.

    At minimum a hull for littoral short duration patrols should be the displacement and have the freeboard of the 2 South Korean RMN training ships or the NGPCs. Anything less simply doesn’t have the range, endurance and seakeeping.

    Kamal,

    It really remains to be seen. If we really wanted JF17 there could be ways around it; the Americans are very selective enforcing CAATSA. The decision to include JF17 and Tejas was politically driven. I doubt very much either will be selected.

    To all intents a purposes the most suitable LIFT contender is M346 – bear in mind whatever we get will be our LIFT platform for the next few decades. No point getting MRCAs in the future if we have a LIFT incapable of effectively preparing pilots to transition to MRCAs.

    Whether we decide priority should be on a LCA (the F/A-50 appears to fit the bill) or a LIFT remains to be seen. Compromises will have to be made and wrong ones will haunt us at a much later date.

  8. @Marhalim

    Being Muslim myself so I do know what wakaf means, but as you said it yourself telling gov employees to “wakaf” a part of their earnings don’t provide a very positive message about the financial situation of the country.

    Any news of LMS 2nd batch?

  9. Azlan,
    Yes, we tend to forget how one asset were design and built for. Any idea of the current LMS sea state operating level?

  10. “KD Perkasa is getting a completely new hull together with a new propulsion system”
    Correct me if im wrong, but doesn’t that make it a wholly brand new ship? If so, then why still call it KD Perkasa or are they retiring the old vessel and transferring the name to a new pennant?

    Reply
    I have no idea really but its really what RMN decides that matters

  11. What is situation status on Maharajalela class frigates? Gagah samudera should be good candidates to replaced the aging FAC… Keris class? if can build locally also under can be considered too..

  12. Poor country is one thing but if the country knows how to plan and prioritise defence is another…plus seriousness in building up the countrys defence is another thing….

  13. The country is not cash strapped per se; it’s the MAF which is cash strapped.

    Ed,

    I believe it’s up to Sea State at the very least. On the suitability of assets it not we tend to “forget” but sheer necessity requiring us to use them for roles they were intended – the Vosper PCs and FACs come to mind.

  14. I might say for LMS at sea state 3 is too modest…the least is sea state 6 or 7 is much appropriate….

  15. @Marhalim

    US Navy released some footage of its Super Hornets flying alongside our Flankers last week. Seems to be quite recent, were there any exercises involving us and them these past few weeks?

    Reply
    Yes there was a Passex with the fighters from the Theodore Roosevelt carrier

  16. On the topic of sea state keeping, i was wondering on how much sea state can the 500 tonne Damen stan 5009 (that was frequently pitched by @…) can handle but cannot find any open source information other than “superior sea keeping” or “best sea keeping at high speeds”. If indeed the stan 5009 not suited for sea state 6 or 7 then no wonder RMN is looking for 1400-1800 tonne range of ships

  17. RedSot – ” might say for LMS at sea state 3 is too modest…the least is sea state 6 or 7 is much appropriate…”

    Does it get to Sea State 7 in the South China Sea.

  18. Luqman,

    No idea sorry but to put things in perspective; seas here mostly get rough during the monsoon. There is a L breaker at Tanjung Gelang and during the monsoon it was common for FACs not to be able to put to sea. Seas can get rough in the Straits of Melaka but not to the extend as they do in the South China Sea.

    Seakeeping is due not only to displacement buy also factors like the overall design, freeboards, etc. You can have a 7,000 tonne frigate which will still roll and pitch badly in the North Pacific or North Atlantic.

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