Colours Broken Into Shades

A Mark V SOC launching a ScanEagle UAV. US Navy picture

SHAH ALAM: Colours Broken Into Shades. RMN will take delivery of the 12 Insitu ScanEagles 2 drones gifted by the US, next month. Confirming the delivery, RMN Chief Admiral Mohd Reza Sany said they expected the squadron specifically set up to run the drones will take a year to train with them before it become fully operational.

The ScanEagle squadron will be based at the Sepanggar naval base in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Mohd Reza was speaking to the media after the welcoming ceremony for KD Keris on January 17.

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ScanEagle is launched from the flight deck of the Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce . US Navy

Mohd Reza said the decision to operate the ScanEagles from RMN vessels or from land will be made during the one year period. He also said that they had not decided to limit the areas where the ScanEagles even though the drone squadron is based at Sepanggar. “We can use the drones around the country and its not limited to Sabah and Sarawak or the ESSCOM AOR.

A ScanEagle being recovered while operating from a US Navy vessel

He said if there was a need for the ScanEagles to operate in Selat Melaka and other areas in the peninsular, the RMN will deploy them. RMN stood up the drone squadron on November 21, 2018 when it was first announced we were getting six ScanEagles. In May, last year, the number were raised to 12 as Malaysia had opted to take an option for six more ScanEagles.

On May 31, the Pentagon announced that Malaysia is getting 12 Scaneagles (four systems). I was told that Malaysia was originally offered six drones with an option for another six. I was told that we had exercised the option so we are getting 12 drones. It is likely the extra ScanEagles were bought for Malaysia under Pentagon’s other security cooperation funds instead of just from the MSI.

Contractor Jermaine Ofoso-Anim launches a ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle from the flight deck of USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3). US Navy

Apart from Malaysia, three other SEA countries are also getting the same drones, namely Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2200 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Finally: although it’s telling that the RMN’s first UASs are being payed for by the U.S. taxpayer. Left to our government; who knows when short range UASs in sufficient numbers will be ordered. The army is also in dire need for similar systems; not only for general surveillance but also to perform target locating for the G-5s and ASTROS. No point having the “firepower” (which many are fixated on) if we can’t locate targets and can’t integrate our strike and ISR assets into one.

    Whilst short range systems like Scaneagle can be service operated; longer endurance ones ideally should be operated by a tri service UAS command; set up to ensure that no one service dominates and that all intel/data/imagery is made available to those who need it in a timely manner without any bureaucratic red tape.

  2. Thank you uncle sam for the gift, and shame on MINDEF and MENHAN highlighting this as one of their major achievement for their 2019 scorecard.

    On MALE UAV for TUDM

    Right now as our budget is tight (especially for TUDM, to spend on LCA/LIFT, MPA, UAV, Helicopters, Ground Radars), the best bet to have a proven MALE UAV capability cheaply is to go for US EDA route. Our neighbours are rapidly deploying their own MALE UAVs, we need to get the capability quickly too. Now is not the time to do trial and error for this, not with our limited budgets. IMO just get EDA of say 12 MQ-1 Predators, without its armed capability for free from USA. Operate this for 10 years, learn everything from this, and use all the experience to either buy or even develop our own MALE UAV come 2030.

  3. With 100km range and 22 hours endurance it should be good enough for the services. There are commercial version, so plenty of upgrades and support. A good start and hopefully we will soon reap the benefit of identifying coastal encroachment.

  4. @ azlan

    On the tentera darat UAS/UAV.

    Right now for artillery target and location, the army under Rejimen Artilleri Diraja (RAD) has just 1 dedicated regiment which is the 61 RAD with the arthur WLR. This cannot support all the RAD units (current and future additional units) operating on both east and west malaysia.

    For the UAS, can RAD use the Fulmar X, which is currently used by MMEA? It has the advantage of long endurance (8 hours), dedicated launcher and retriever systems, and a low system cost.

    Say a dedicated new 62 RAD regiment to operate 3 batteries of Fulmar X to supplement 61 RAD in west malaysia

    Another regiment, the 63 RAD to be set up in east malaysia with a combination of Fulmar X and WLR batteries to cover east malaysia.

  5. I see no reason why the Fulmar or Camcopters can’t be used for the purpose. The trick would be to first get the systems in numbers and then integrate them so we can have a strike/recce capability. Ideally the UASs would also be able to share in real time imagery with RMAF fighters to enable precision and timely strikes to be conducted. I’m not sure however if Fulmar and Camcopter can be fitted with EW payloads like the ones the RMAF received from Saab. It’s 2020 and the fact that the army doesn’t have a single UAS to its name is preposterous.

    Currently the Russians are the leading practitioners when it comes to the tactical use of UASs and combining them with strike assets. In the Ukraine the appearance of UASs was followed by accurate arty/MLRS fire within minutes; together with effective jamming of radios and GPSs: for which the Ukrainians had no effective means of countering.

  6. @…
    “MINDEF and MENHAN highlighting this as one of their major achievement”
    Come now, that’s par for the course of our glorious PH politicians today.

  7. IMO what russia is doing in donbass and syria as to the use of UAS for directing artillery fire is the benchmark for other armies to follow. Also the widespread use of ESM to support locating enemy locations. It is something we need to study and implement within our own forces.

  8. UAS for directing artillery fire has been around since the 80s if not earlier. The Israelis probably have the most advanced such kill chain right now, reportedly aiming for TOT from detection by ISR assets in under a minute.

    IMO additional UAVs for non-piracy focused tasks are nice to have in the current economic environment.

  9. Clarification to my above comment – I mean artillery UAVs are “nice to have”, according to the classic prioritisation method of:

    1) Must Have
    2) Should Have
    3) Nice To Have

  10. Chua,

    In this day and age they are an absolute must have. Just like how in this day and age no fighter should go into an engagement relying only on its onboard sensors.

    When it comes to the RMN and UASs the first thing that comes to mind are “anti piracy” (which you alluded to) and detecting foreign incursions but it goes beyond that. Just like a helicopter; an embarked UAS extends and complements a ship’s sensors and when fitted with a ESM payload provides added value.

  11. UAVs are the immediate future and this donation is the right opportunity for TLDM to pioneer the usage, SOP, and know-how of UAV use. Once they had done the legwork, the other branches of our Armed Forces can learn from them and adapt their way of working. No need to reinvent the wheel.

    Not really as the ScanEagles are short range drones which cannot be armed. The ones Azlan was pointing out for artillery spotting is similar but need to br employed differently as our jungles and seas are completely different. Furthermore the Army and its services have always do things differently.
    . The drones being sought by RMAF are weapons capable and fly at much higher altitude, so its employment and tactics are completely different from the ones mentioned above.

  12. @ ASM

    The LMS 68 is just that, and remember it is not designed to counter other warships. Yes it is too lightly equipped, but IMO uparming them should be towards countering fast boat swarms and such, that means more guns and plenty of small missiles.

    @ azlan

    for the LMS, probably there should just be 3 modules, 1st is the anti surface module, 2nd is the MCM module and 3rd is the HADR module.

    For the anti-surface module, this should just be a weaponary option extension to the current ship crew. Just like a fighter pilot having an option to carry AShM instead of AAM. The anti surface module should just be a mount for vertical launch short range missiles plus a few small anti ship misiles; mounted on 2x TEU flat modules placed side-by side. No additional crew would be needed for this module to operate. Ideal weapons for this IMO is the chinese vertical launch CM-501GA, to counter swarms of fast boats and also for helicopters and drones. For AShM would be the C-705. Each TEU flat module would carry 18 CM-501GA plus 2 C-705 for a total of 36 CM-501GA and 4 C-705 missiles.

    For the MCM module, this IMO should have its own dedicated crew. Best benchmark for this would be MCM Denmark. Actually we dont exactly must use only the LMS 68 for MCM. Other ships such as LPD or even Oil and Gas OSV (Offshore Support Vessels) would be a possible mothership. IMO we could buy a few (2-3?) used large OSVs and induct them as auxiliary ships like KA BM6 or KA TA. It would be a useful ship for MCM, Paskal support, Diving Support, resupply and ESSCOM presence missions. So basically MCM operators are standalone, and the ships crew does not need to be MCM experts. A major MCM operation would probably consist of 1x MCM Squadron, 1x OSV and 2x LMS 68.

  13. “short range drones which cannot be armed”
    It would be prudent to learn how to walk before we can run. Its better to perfect our observatory skills with the UAV usage first before we move onto combat with weapon bearing UCAVs. And yes while trees and seas are different, the skies are the same. The SOP for deployment and operating could be quite similar even with different types of observatory UAVs.

  14. … – “countering fast boat swarms and such, that means more guns and plenty of small missiles”

    Assuming we indeed face such a threat; the key world be early warning to provide sufficient or some level reaction time. If it happens at night those manning crew served weapons will need NVGs.

    It also makes a world of difference if the incoming boats are intending to attack the ship and get away or are on a one way trip ….

    For me the LMS is a jack of all trades; whether with or without modular loads. People have lots of ideas about it but the reality is that the overall shortage of hulls means they will perform a variety of roles; similar to other RNN ships. In terms of seakeeping they are a major jump over the FACs.

  15. … – “countering fast boat swarms and such, that means more guns and plenty of small missiles”

    Assuming we indeed face such a threat; the key world be early warning to provide sufficient or some level reaction time. If it happens at night those manning crew served weapons will need NVGs.

    It also makes a world of difference if the incoming boats are intending to attack the ship and get away or are on a one way trip ….

    For me the LMS is a jack of all trades; whether with or without modular loads. People have lots of ideas about it but the reality is that the overall shortage of hulls means they will perform a variety of roles; similar to other RMN ships. In terms of seakeeping they are a major jump over the FACs.

  16. As a fast way to incease the fire power it would be great to replace the 50 cal with a 50 cal gatling gun.

  17. Firepower is not a panacea. Never has been.

    To defeat swarming attacks (assuming we ever face them) would require getting several things right. A mini gun is great for laying down volumes of fire but at times the threat might require short, controlled accurate bursts. A mini gun for sustained fire would also require lots and lots of ammo. To cover boarding operations, a mini gun isn’t suitable.

    Plus/minus factor.

    On modular loads; a lot is possible on paper. In reality given our perpetual funding shortage, the lack of will on the part of the government, lack of any meaning support from the local industry, the lack of hulls and shifting priorities; I’m highly skeptical that we’ll get it right. Even assuming we find that such an approach actually suits us; itself not a guarantee as shown by various navies who have not embraced this approach.

  18. @…

    I respectfully disagree. A combat vessel must be capable of engaging other warships when deemed necessary. You can’t pick and choose who to face in battle, so even if you can’t take the enemy head on at least you have the means to defend and retaliate.

    Do correct me if I am wrong, the LCS and LMS are supposed to form a Hi-Lo mix, with LMS being the workhorse while the LCS forming the tip of the spear. The LMS should posses some sort of anti ship capability, at least larger calibre cannons and torpedoes.

    OTOH, any plans to upgrade the NGPVs, or will they remain as only gunboats?

    The plan is there but no money has been set side for it

  19. @ ASM

    Allow me to change your perception.

    In an all out war, unless you are going for kamikaze style dash, a small, slow ship like the LMS should never be anywhere near proper combatants like frigates and destroyers.

    If you are really building a fleet to really go against, or at least give a bloody nose to an adversary naval flotilla, that now includes aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, frigates and other major combatants, Hi-lo mix of LCS and LMS is really not the answer. The most potent way forward (especially for South China Sea) is probably similar to how Vietnam is currently building its naval fleet. The tip of the spear should be the submarines, while the LCS is the workhorse, with the support of strong maritime surveillance, aerial maritime strike and air cover from TUDM. Majority of the day to day peacetime patrolling missions to be the primary mission of the coast guard, supported by TLDM.
    My Ideal fleet for TLDM to 2030 would be:
    3x Scorpene (1x Scorpene to be bought in RMK13)
    9x LCS Gowind (3x LCS to be bought in RMK13)

    My Ideal fleet for TLDM to 2040 would be:
    6x Scorpene
    9x LCS Gowind
    4x Type 31 (6500 ton Frigate to replace Lekiu and Kasturi classes, we need large frigates to counter the proliferation of large frigates plying the south china sea)

    NGPVs and MMEA OPVs should only be used for peacetime patrol and policing, and to stay out of major wars as much as possible. Why IMO the NGPVs should be handed over to MMEA, and no OPV batch 2 for TLDM should be considered. Why no missiles? because missiles and other advanced armaments increases the complexity of the ship, increases operational costs, and increases maintenance cost too as it needs to be constantly upgraded to be useful. All which is not needed on peacetime patrols. 90% of peacetime missions is to counter and chase away foreign paramilitary ships and civilian fishing vessels encroaching our EEZ. This would not require firing missiles or torpedoes. MMEA IMO should be given the number of large OPVs wanted in the Pelan Perancangan Strategik Maritim Malaysia 2040 (PPSMM 2040), which is at least 20 vessels. With a total 13 TLDM frigates plus 20 MMEA OPVs by 2040, it will enable Malaysia to put around 11 large ships at sea 100% of the time for peacetime patrolling and enforcement duties.

    The LMS, whilst a fighting ship, should not be going against Frigates, Submarines and such. It must be a specialized ship to fight in and own the littorals, denying enemy approach to malaysian shores. Yes it must be able to engage other ships, but that would be other FACs, PVs, amphibious and auxiliary ships, fast small boats and such. The high end would probably be small corvettes. But as it is, i dont think the LMS 68 design is even suitable to be something I wrote above. Do we need a different ship design for follow up LMS batch 2 to be the fighting ship it needs to be?

  20. Our forum members here basically covered all that needs to be said. Am still expecting MenHan Mat Sabu to reply to the tirade let loose by the Indonesian Deputy Foreign Minister with regards to their 5 missing countrymen. Perhaps it’s prudent to inform the Indonesian side the security curtain containing the Moro pirates works when the locals engage with the security forces. When they put profit before security, shit happens. The boat towkay and his Indonesian crew are both to blame for being greedy. Now all 3 , M’sian, Indonesian and Filipino security forces are forced to look for the 5 crewmen. Mat Sabu ought to answer quickly and not be too quick to apologise.

  21. ASM – “MHO the armament is too light for a warship””

    First ask what’s the purpose of a main gun in a vessel of this type and when fully fitted out what roles is it intended to perform? Only when those questions are answered can it be said for certain whether the gun is indeed too “light” or not.

    ASM – “And are we sure that our use of Chinese made sensors would not render us vulnerable to them””

    This is a question that’s been asked many, many times. If the Chinese wanted to jam or disrupt the sensors and comma; they would do it; irrespective of whether they are sourced from China or elsewhere.
    The Keris is fitted with a basic sensor fit and until it’s fully fitted out it will be used for a variety of peacetime duties. It’s not as if we’re deploying a Chinese made SSK against a surface group or using high end Chinese sourced equipment to target them

  22. “4x Type 31 (6500 ton Frigate to replace Lekiu and Kasturi classes, we need large frigates to counter the proliferation of large frigates plying the south china sea)”

    A large frigate is not necessarily the best way to counter another large frigate. The notion of matching size for size applies to coast guard vessels on sovereignty patrols and matching speed for speed applies to fast boats countering intruders, but not to most aspects of naval combat. Large frigates are intended to fulfill specific needs, such as ASW or area air defence for high value assets, long range or high speed. Do we have a requirement for these? Consider also that small frigates have their advantages- we can get more for less money, work within manpower constraints and dock them in more varied locations to complicate enemy targeting.

    You started by suggesting an asymmetric response in submarines. I would suggest moving further in this direction with ASMs launched by long range fighters and coastal batteries. We can have both for less cost and more survivability than with a force of large frigates.

  23. ASM – “combat vessel must be capable of engaging other warships when deemed necessary”

    It must have some means of self defence but it shouldn’t be placed on a situation where it comes across much heavily armed opponents. The main gun on the LMS serves mainly as a self defence option and to engage the types of threats the LMS is expected to meet – this is unlike the case with the main guns on the Lekius or LCSs which serve a variety of functions. It’s for this reason why I disagreed when people said the MMEA’s OPVs should be armed with a larger calibre gun : if a MMEA OPV finds itself in a position where it’s 30mm isn’t sufficient; it should be there in the first place ….. And why I also disagree when people are quick to claim that the 30mms are too “small” : not necessarily so.

    Yes the unexpected does happen but we can’t cater for every possibility. The MPSSs have a main gun for self defence and in times of tension or conflict; should always have an escort, Do we armed them with SSMs to cater for the event that they might not have escorts? Is it a practical move?

    As you mentioned; the LMS is intended to be part of a high/low end mix. Nobody’s disagreeing that it should be fully fitted out. Ultimately just because it has entered service not fully fitted out doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a useful role to play.

  24. Piracy in lahat datu continues to recur, where are the maritime maritime security vessels, bilateral cooperation of 3 countries not working, TNI AL is not able to catch up with pirates who cross our maritime boundaries Malaysia’s marine security and the Philippines should be able to play an active role in protecting the sea so that piracy is not repeated

  25. What are the core and maximum potential complement numbers of the LCS?

    … “countering fast boat swarms and such, that means more guns and plenty of small missiles”

    Who poses such a threat to us currently?

    Chua “UAS for directing artillery fire has been around since the 80s if not earlier. The Israelis probably have the most advanced such kill chain right now,”

    … “IMO what russia is doing in donbass and syria as to the use of UAS for directing artillery fire is the benchmark for other armies to follow”

    Then Israel holds the benchmark for using drones in a SEAD role. They used Mastiff very effectively in the Bekaa Valley. Today, Harpy and Harop have radar detectors.

    The SAF acquired Mastiff in 1977. Since then they’ve acquired every significant Israeli UAV- Scout, Searcher, and now Heron and Hermes- that much they’ve revealed. What’s more significant is they took the UAVs out of the army and put them under dedicated RSAF units that support all the services. There was a “Tactical Air Support Command” at some point which has been succeeded by several commands existing today, one of which is a UAV Command.

    Off topic, I’ve been trying to post a link to David Boey’s blog, he’s recently put up excerpts from his book on a war between My and Sg.

    LYM “As a fast way to incease the fire power it would be great to replace the 50 cal with a 50 cal gatling gun.”

    Raw firepower’s greatest advocate, again.

  26. Of course. I advocate firepower. In the stages of a firefight the first thing n immediate response is winning the firefight. If one is outgunned its advantage is lost. The Americans started the Vietnam war uding its m14. Great rifle but like our SLR is semi auto. The VC meanwhile uses the AK a fully automatic weapon. So they discovered that they can win the firefight. Thats why they look at Eugene Stoners design.
    You may not agree as usual but I belief in what they taught me at the infantry. Win the firefight

  27. What I’d like to see is greater adaptability on the LCS and future choices. For example, it was previously here that the LCS structural limits will not allow for any more VLS cells beyond the 16 cells for Mica. It should be anticipated that 16 short range SAMs are very possibly insufficient and that funds might be available in future to add more. The same would apply to other kinds of defensive or mission equipment and the respective magazine depth.

  28. LYM – “You may not agree as usual”

    And there are legitimate reasons for that.

    It’s not just “firepower” but a combination of various factors …… If winning boiled down to only or mainly “firepower’ then things would be so much easier and many armies which had a firepower advantage over their opponents would have achieved better long term results.

    Your mention of the mini gun for the LMS fails to take into account the drawbacks involved and why a mini gun may not be the answer. It depends on the circumstances : type of target, early warning, the intent of the target, etc. Plus/minus factors in using a mini gun over a GPMG.

    You mentioned the VC and the AK47. The VC lost or came out the worst from most of the tactical engagements they were involved in. The Germans in WW2 had a firepower advantage in the form of the MG42 and later the MP44; in the long run it made no difference. The Brits in the Falklands didn’t have fully auto SLRs but the Argies did. The Argies also has 155mms which outranged the Light Gun: did it make a difference?

    It’s not just “firepower” that “wins” the firefight ….

    …. – “ widespread use of ESM to support locating enemy locations””

    To be expected, hardly surprising and nothing new.
    They’ve been doing it for decades and have integrated it to a degree not done by anyone else. There are EW elements attached organically from military district level to regiment right down to battalion level.

    What’s really impressive is how they’ve managed to integrate strike and recce assets to perform as one; that’s makes the key difference.

  29. @ AM

    The very reason why I wanted the Type 31s as the Lekiu and Kasturi class frigate replacements is because the Gowind design is a corvette stretched into a light frigate. There is a reason why belharra frigate is not a stretched gowind design. To have a frigate more oriented towards air defence you will need a bigger hull. The Type 31 can be that hull, with projected cost that is cheaper than or at least comparable with the gowinds.

    For our lead frigates that would be fit for the names of jebat, kasturi, lekir and lekiu, it would be fitting if these 4 frigates would be bigger and have plenty of command and control facilities benefitting its status.

    By 2040 a total frigate fleet of 4 type 31 and 9 gowinds would be a very capable force for TLDM. This would be supported by MMEAs fleet of 20 large OPVs.

  30. If another type of frigate is chosen than it will not be 15 to 5 will be 15 to 6..while you at it why dont you ask rmn to plan for 15 to 8..another 2 type will be corvette from fully armed kedah class n missile boat as a variant from lms..

  31. Your idea of 4 type 31 frigates, 9 lcs does sound delicious but lets get real here..its not gonna happen..Mmea to operate 20 large opvs? I doubt we will get more than 10..

  32. @ firdaus

    It can be done. This plan is to 2040, not 2020.

    It would be like this:

    RMK11 2016-2020
    – 4x Gowind
    – 3x Damen 1800 OPV MMEA

    RMK12 2021-2025
    – 2x Gowind
    – 3x Damen 1800 OPV MMEA
    – 3x used South Korea Pohang class corvette MMEA

    RMK13 2026-2030
    – 3x Gowind
    – 6x L&T OPV MMEA
    – 3x OSV Rescue/tow ship MMEA

    RMK14 2031-2035
    – 2x Type 31 (guns harvested from laksamana class)
    – 6x Kedah class transferred to MMEA
    – Lekiu class sell to 3rd country
    – Kasturi class retire

    RMK15 2036-2040
    – 2x Type 31 (guns harvested from Pohang class)
    – Pohang class retire.

  33. Off topic

    Bangladesh is buying a number of AH-64E’s. They’re also looking for 8x MRCAs from the US, and want them to be new builds and have two engines.

  34. @ firdaus

    This alternative plan could still be called 15 to 5 as:
    1. Gowind
    2. Scorpenes
    3. LMS
    4. MRSS
    5. Arrowhead 140/ Type 31
    No more OPV under TLDM.

    But that is IMO irrelevant anyway as a new plan could always be had. The 15 to 5 also conveniently forgotten the gagah samudera class, and in fine print a new hydrographic ship to be bought but not counted in the 5. As is KA Tun Azizan while KA BM5 and BM6 counted in the 15.

    This alternative plan could be had within the current USD2 billion for TLDM and a proposed USD500 million for MMEA for each 5 year rancangan malaysia

    The costs
    Each gowinds cost USD466 million
    Type 31 cost around USD330 million
    The Damen 1800 OPV cost USD56 million
    The L&T OPV cost USD31 million. This OPV is longer and heavier than the kedah class at 97m long and 2140ton displacement.

    For comparison
    Kedah class OPV cost USD300 million
    LMS 68 cost USD63 million
    Indonesia BAKAMLA 80m OPV USD16 million

  35. On paper yeah great..need to be more realistic with our leader who is more focusing on education and health which is the end of the day, they the one that will give the funding

  36. Off topic

    In the light of the recent coronavirus crisis, a capability IMO that we need to develop is the ability to repatriate our citizens from virus infected locations.

    This would probably be with the army CBRN and medical teams, with kementerian kesihatan. Our A400M and our future MRSS need to be able to be quicky reconfigured to transport and isolate possible virus carrying people home.

    We also need to increase the numbers of isolation wards in our hospitals.

    If an outbreak like the coronavirus or such happens on malaysian soil, we need to have a solid plan for quarentine and medical help. We have IFV and APC with NBC overpressure system to prevent viruses from entering, but what about vehicles/ambulances that can prevent the virus from going out?

    A rapidly spreading virus like the latest coronavirus is a serious threat to our national security and wellbeing, IMO more so than all the climate change things that people are avocating.

  37. A Happy n Prosperous CNY to all. I’m just glad we have here a sane and intellectual forum that’s not virulent ly anti this or that country. The guys south of the border can learn from this setup. Thanks to the Admin here.

  38. …. – IMO more so than all the climate change things that people are avocating

    2 different things ……

    The virus spreads rapidly and easily and it kills rapidly. Making it worse is that we still don’t know the cause

    Climate change happens slowly but it effects everyone eventually in one way or the other and we know the cause.

  39. …. – “ plenty of command and control facilities””

    ‘Plenty” of C2 facilities takes up space that could be put for better use; such as a larger bridge, better DC facilities, etc.r It’s not as if we’re going to be coordinating a whole task group in conjunction with land and air sets in a protracted high intensity environment. Do we need space and facilities for C2? Yes but it shouldn’t be overblown and at the expense of other things.

    …. – “To have a frigate more oriented towards air defence you will need a bigger hull””

    Not necessarily “bigger” but longer and with a deeper draught; to accommodate longer VLS cells and for the added deck space and below deck space.

  40. Firdaus – ”who is more focusing on education and health which is understandable.”

    He is also very focused on other things …

    AM – ” I would suggest moving further in this direction with ASMs launched by long range fighters and coastal batteries.”

    Having ”ASMs launched by long range fighters and coastal batteries” by their own isn’t very useful unless we develop a strike/recce capability in the form of MPAs, UASs, radars, etc, to operate in conjunction with those missiles; for target acquisition and OTHT.

    AM – ”Do we have a requirement for these?”

    We don’t for the reason that we do not see ourselves operating in a high intensity state on state war – rightly or wrongly; it boils down to actual operational requirements.

    For our present requirements; based on threat perceptions and geography; we don’t need the range or endurance or the capabilities offered by a combatant displacing 4-5,000 tonnes. Even if we do someday buy a combatant displacing 4-5,000 tonnes; it’s not the combatant per see that will make the difference but us having the needed escorts, helos, MPAs and ISR assets to work alongside the ship that makes the difference.

  41. @ azlan

    Regarding the Type 31, I am comparing this to the LCS Gowinds.

    For our future plans, you don’t just base them on our present requirements, but on our future perceived threats. You cannot plan to buy ships in 2030-2040 just based on current needs. If you see my plans overall, the escorts, mpas, asw helicopters, subs, isr assets, awacs are all there.

    The navy original 15 to 5 plan wants a fleet of 12 LCS Gowinds with inconsistant build schedules. My plan has 9 LCS Gowinds and 4 Type 31 are build sequentially to 2040.

    Anyway below a great read on the basis of the Type 31.

  42. …. – “For our future plans, you don’t just base them on our present requirements”

    Granted but the trick is to first try to meet present requirements whilst at the same time trying to foresee how future requirements might evolve. The problem is; even meeting present requirements is a major problem.

  43. To read the whole article above. Replace the last 3 digits of the Url


    @ azlan

    To meet the current requirements would be with the LCS Gowinds. Which IMO we need 9 before 2030 to have at least 3 on operations at sea. As you said the current gowind design is not suitable to be fitted with more anti air missiles. But you say the Type 31 is to big for our requirements at 6500 tons. So what do you suggest and have in mind that can be had for the same cost or less than our current LCS Gowinds? The superb cost per tonne that the Arrowhead 140 design gives is one of the reason why it was choosen for Type 31 rather than the stretched khareef class corvette.

  44. A stretched LCS based on the current design. That’s the most practical and realistic option I can think off.

    We simply don’t need the range and endurance of a 6,000 frigate so if it’s the ability to carry say 32 VLS we desire; I can’t see why we can’t do it with something displacing less than the 6,000 tonnes.
    Something like Ops Fajar is rare occurrence and whether it’s along the periphery or well within our EEZ: a RMN ship is never more than 2-3 days sailing time to the nearest port/base. It’s for these reasons, together with financing, threat perceptions and the fact that not all RMN bases or forward operating bases have jetties that can accommodate a ship beyond a certain size draught that we don’t have a requirement for a combatant that size or displacement.

    Us going for a 6,000 tonne combatant would mean that something very drastic would have had happened to change our operational requirements in such a major way. And off course to work alongside this combatant we’d also need escorts, helos, MPAs and fighters.

  45. Personally I’d like a larger design. Who wouldn’t?

    Looks more impressive, better range and endurance, extra deck and below deck space for future growth, larger hangar (more space to store ordnance and spares and more room for maintenance) and a enables a larger weapon fit out.

    Yes we certainly can look at alternatives and look at all the positive aspects that a particular design – even if there’s no requirement for it – offers but ultimately it all boils down to threat perceptions, funding and operational requirements.

  46. @ azlan

    The LCS Gowind as it is, is a good ship. But I don’t think the gowind design can be further stretched into a 4000 ton frigate. The base design is designed for 2500 ton, a length and width of 102m and 16m, and a low top speed of 25 knots. The maharajalela itself is stretched into 3100 ton, a length and width of 111m and 16m, and a top speed of 28 knots.

    France did instead of stretching the gowind, created a totally new design in the Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire (FTI – Intermediate Frigate). It displaces 4250 ton, a length and width of 122m and 17.7m, and a top speed of 27 knots. Then comes the cost. The FTI costs Euro760 million each, something IMO is not an affordable ship.

    The Type 31 aka arrowhead 140 displaces 6500 tons, with a length and width of 138.7m and 19.75m and a top speed of 30 knots. The Type 31 has an all inclusive (or fully equipped) ceilling price of £250 million or around USD330 million. Adding say USD120 million more per ship could equip this to a higher air to air warfare standard (say having thales NS200 radar instead of NS100, and say 64 CAMM missiles. Actually the Arrowhead 140 was designed to fit 32 MK41 or low cost ExLS, each one could fit 4 CAMM so theoretically it can carry up to 128 CAMM missiles). And that will still cost lower than our LCS Gowinds. Regarding its size as something too big, i dont see 138.7m is going to be a problem, as even the planned MRSS will be more than 160m in length.

  47. Given that it has to have the space to carry a certain amount of men and equipment plus a deck with 2-3 landings spots; it’s given that a MRSS has to be of a certain length, displacement, draught and size; different with a combatant.

    As they say : quantity has a certain level of quality in it. Rather than a handful of large ships that are superfluous to our needs; I’d rather have a larger number of smaller combatants but better armed and having more deck and below deck space than the LCS.

    If you say the Gowind can’t be stretched fine. It can be any design but it doesn’t have to be 5-600 tonnes to have a 32 VLS cell and more space compared to the LCS. At least this will be more practical for our needs (given not all jetties have a jetty large enough or waters deep enough to take a 5-6,000 tonne ship). Funding is also an issue; running a 5-6,000 tonne ship will cost and fitting it out too. Steel is relatively cheap but what goes into and onto the steel is not.

    For us to go for a 5-6,000 tonne ship will mean that our threat perceptions and operational requirements have significantly changed. At present we simply do not need the range and endurance a 5-6,000 tonne platform offers or the capabilities it has. We can have better capabilities – over the LCS – with a ship displacing less than 5-6,000 tonnes and it will be more practical and affordable to run.

  48. @…
    I understand that you insist RMN should have a combat ship with 6000 tonnage. There is a crazy china claim on SCS and the neighbour are starting to adopt this full frigatel/destroyer type on their defence asset.
    Let’s settle the problem one at a time. Like it or not even 15 to 5 which not mention about 6000 combat ship is still have problems.
    Now, the problems are not getting smaller. The OPV for MMEA could be delayed. There is finamcial problem with the shipyard.

  49. @ azlan

    ” We can have better capabilities – over the LCS – with a ship displacing less than 5-6,000 tonnes and it will be more practical and affordable to run ”

    So please mr azlan, tell me what is that less than 5-6,000 tonnes perfect ship of yours and lets compare it with the Type 31.

    @ romeo

    Do not put my suggestion out of context. I for one wants more LCS Gowind (total of 9 ships) before 2030 than even the actual 15 to 5 plan. If we plan properly, like TLDM not to buy expensive OPVs and continuing and maintaining even the current 2019 level of funding for MMEA to 2040, we can actually have all thr things in my plan that i have written here before.

    As for the MMEA OPV, the builder themselves say and committed that they will meet the target date, so unless it is not met, like the LCS Gowinds, why do you worry about the MMEA OPV?

  50. ….. has got a point. We do need frontline combatants that are better armed than the LCS and for that they have to be bigger.

    What I don’t agree with is the need to go for a 5-6,00 tonne platform; given our specific operational requirements; including the fact that a lot of the theaters we operate in require ships of a certain draught and that ships are never more than 2-3 days sailing time from the nearest base/port.

    Navies go for large displacement platforms because they desire a certain weapons fit, range and endurance. We don’t need the range and endurance a 5-6,000 tonne platform offers and even if we go for a 32 cell VLS, more than 8 SSMs, a slightly larger/wider hangar and a larger, longer reaching radar; plus some extra space for future growth; I don’t see why we can’t achieve this with a 3,500-4,000 tonne platform.

  51. let us not fighting about what lies in the future eh?..we should now focus to finish LCS first..4-6 years to complete a ship is outright unacceptable and here we are arguing about second batch of LCS, type 31..Oh and no guarantee LCS 5 and 6 will be build at all..

  52. and no guarantee LCS 5 and 6 will be build at all….uhmmm I thought we already “fennce ring” the budget for LCS?

  53. @…
    Firstly, do we need to project an air defence net over past our littoral territories? IMHO for localised air defence, VL Mica is sufficient to protect the ship and offshore bases.

    Secondly, does it have to be a large ship? A bigger ship would entail a bigger priority target. I would prefer we have 6-8 more Gowinds than 4 Type 31s. A large ship should be truly multimission capabled as like Arleigh Burkes in all matter of air defence, surface & sub-surface defence, and offensive strike plus operations as fleet flagship. Otherwise a ship as large as Type 31 will need its own escorts which we can’t afford.

    Thirdly do we have the manpower and ability to handle a 6000 ton ship? Going from Kedahs to LCS isn’t too big to deal with but doubling the tonnage will lead to massive operational and logistical issues that most likely we will be unprepared for when the crunch comes.

    Fourthly I prefer my Navy to expand. Not to downsize, neither in quantity nor in quality. It should have sufficient ships to conduct operations in 2 theaters protected by its own self-defences (air & sea).

  54. @ FIRDAUS

    4-6 years is not the end of the world. Poland build 1 MEKO A-100 OPV similar to our own Kedah Class, and it took 18 years (yes 18) from keel laying to commissioning. The price of the boat? USD360 million!Ślązak_(2015)

    Anyway from original plans, only 2 LCS to be paid for in RMK11, 4 more in RMK12. But right now we have paid almost in full for 4 LCS in RMK11. So in RMK12 there is only 2 ships left to be funded, plus probably RM1 billion in additional cost that BNS requested due to the delays. Right now we have 4 ships in build at the same time, probably why there are hiccups to the plan. I believe they only have run out of space in the shipyard because of the 4 ships still not in the water, which is probably why keel for ship no 5 and 6 has not been laid yet.

  55. Maybe but they should have done better when the’ve told to deliver the first ship on 2019/2020 and they’ve agreed to it.. jokes aside, i dont know about you guys, but i will still got some sour or bitter feeling even after the first lcs is finally set sail..

  56. @…

    I believe the better approach in looking at the do-ability of your proposed plan is to look at the development budget of the ATM for the respective RMKs. No doubt your planning is sound and logical, and I’d more than happy to see it come to fruition. However, as we all know in Malaysia the politicians have all sort of weird ideas and excuses to torpedo the best plan in the world!

    Anyone have any idea roughly how much development budget will be allocated per RMK?

  57. @ hornet lover

    Yes for the TLDM plan, I actually base it on the actual funds allocated to TLDM which is about USD2 billion per RMK. My plan just assume that the government will continue allocating TLDM USD2 billion per RMK up to 2040. Why i like the Type 31? Because it is a ship that is priced within what our budget is for a frigate.

    Our current RMK development budget for the past 2 RMKs for ATM hovers around USD4 billion. Starting RMK12 2021-2025, my plan assumes the budget to be USD5 billion per RMK divided into:
    Usd2 billion for TLDM
    Usd1.6 billion for TUDM
    Usd1.4 billion for TDM

    To be frank Usd5 billion, or Usd1 billion annually will probably be among the lowest budget of the south east asian countries.

    For MMEA, my plans assumed that it will be provided USD500 million for each RMK. This is in line with the current allocation, which is a bit more than USD100 million annually.

    Some of my writings here. Would need a little tweak to take into account the DWP

    IMO if we plan carefully, pick and choose both new and used equipments, prioritize capability before all other secondary reasons, i believe we could create a strong ATM even with the limited budget.

  58. @…
    Maybe your assumption is the problem. $1 billion/year and $5 billion/RMK.
    If money can be provided anything can be bought.

  59. @ romeo

    So what is the realistic budget the defence should get in your opinion?

    That is already among the lowest in SEA. Singapore buy of 12 F-35B costs USD2.75 billion. Factor in ships, armoured vehicles there is not much you can do with just USD5 billion for 5 years.

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