SHAH ALAM: IT appears that Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) has been awarded the SLEP contract for RMN’s frigates, KD Jebat and KD Lekiu. The contract is in two parts actually based on the statement below.
Boustead Holdings announcement to Bursa Malaysia on Sept 7, 2015:
“On 11 September 2012, the Company announced that its subsidiary company, Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (“BNS”) received a Letter of Award from the Ministry of Defence Malaysia (“MOD”) for the supply and delivery of spare parts, maintenance services and training for the 23rd Frigate Squadron Tentera Laut Di Raja Malaysia at a contract value of RM70 million for a period of three (3) years (“Contract”).
The Company is pleased to announce that through the letter from MOD dated 17 August 2015, BNS had received and on 3 September 2015, accepted the extension of the Contract for a period of two (2) years up to 9 September 2017 for the remaining contract value of RM43,448,577.62.”
As noted above in the statement there is no mention of a SLEP – its for maintenance (which necessitated the supply and delivery of spare parts) and training. So technically its simply a routine maintenance contract but as industry sources had told me that it was a SLEP, I am going to refer to it as that. Or to be on the safe side we could call it a maintenance, training and upgrade contract. I believed that after the KD Kasturi saga, no one at RMN and BNS will want to call any mid-life upgrades and extension programme as a SLEP any time soon.
I wrote earlier about the SLEP for both ships which formed the 23rd Frigate Squadron and its apparent that the new contract will allow BNS to install the equipment sought for both ships, which were published in a tender made public on June 5.
A check on the website showed that the tenders are in the evaluation stage. Among the items tendered are the Ship Data Distribution System (SSDS), Electro Optical Tracking System (EOTS), a degaussing system, Electronic Support Measure (ESM) and a solid state navigation radar.
As I mentioned earlier, the SLEP does not include replacing the surface search radar (Sea Giraffe) and air search radar (Thales DA-08) and the Nautis F combat system. These systems are expected to undergo upgrades instead of being replaced with new ones.
There is still no word on whether the missiles and torpedoes on both ships will be replaced or new batches will be ordered. This is particular to the Exocet MM-40 Block II SSM and torpedoes (AS224) only as the Sea Wolf SAM is expected to be replaced as they will be time expired by the end of the decade.
MBDA, the manufacturer of the Sea Wolf no longer produce them so it is unlikely they will be able to extend their service lives which had been done before. As it is the MICA VL – which had been chosen for the LCS – is expected to be the leading candidate as the replacement.
I also mentioned that the project is expected to start next year but it appears that Lekiu is already at BNS for her refit. Whether or not she can wait for the other equipment to be sourced or not is another matter. It will depend on the operational needs of the RMN and the nation.
In the meantime, Lekiu sister ship, Jebat together with KD Selangor will take part in the joint exercise with the PLA Navy scheduled to start on September 18. The exercise which will concentrate on HADR and maritime security is the second joint exercise undertaken by the Malaysian Armed Forces within the next weeks or so.
The Army is conducting Ex Keris Strike from today until September 22 with the US Army. This exercise is taking place in Ipoh, Perak
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