Combat Boats In Camo

CB90 214 being towed into water after completing her routine refit in early March 2023. Note her camouflage scheme. RMN

SHAH ALAM: The RMN, it appears, has decided that its fast combat boat fleet will from now on be painted in a camouflage scheme. Two of the Combat Boat 90 HEX (CB90) which had undergone the refit and repowering programme, recently, has been in a green and grey camouflage scheme. The CB90s were previously painted in an all-grey finish.

The first one to be delivered back to the RMN was CB90 -212 – had undergone a routine refit and repowering at the Kinabalu North Shipyard and Maritime Sdn Bhd, in Kota Kinabalu where she was painted in the new camouflage. The second was CB90 -214- which underwent the same work at the Sandakan Jaya Teknik Sdn Bhd, Sandakan.

CB90 212 being prepared for tests prior to delivery to RMN after undergoing the refit and repowering programme. RMN

According to the RMN Eastern Command’s Maintenance Supervision Unit, the camouflage scheme will give a more aggressive (lebih garang) look to the combat boats which are used for variety of roles from interception operations as well as search and rescue; patrol; medical evacuation; transport and utility work.
A CB90 being loaded on board Bunga Mas Lima in 2016. BM5

To me at least, the camouflage paint does not make them more aggresive than before. To me the best way to make the CB90s or other FICs look aggresive, is to mount as many guns as possible on them. This “dont thread on me” aggresive look are the image of the heavily armed riverine boats of the US military – which are also variants of the CB90s.
A Riverine Command Boat (RCB), assigned to Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.7, conducts a security patrol. US Navy

It is likely that all CB90s will also be painted in the new camouflage scheme when they undergo their routine refit programme. I have been told the second batch of the Gading Marine Fast Interceptor Craft (FIC) will also be painted in a camouflage scheme.
The six FICs procured for the RMN under the UOR for Op Benteng. TLDM

The FICs which were delivered courtesy of Ops Benteng will also be painted in camouflage when they undergo their refit.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2192 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Nope on both counts. I think it will be delayed as the Turkish election is set for May 14. Don’t quote me on this of course

  2. We had previously for a brief period in the 1980’s painted the locally made RCPs and a class of FACs in a camo scheme.

    A navy that paints its ships in a camo scheme to blend in with the coastline is the Swedish navy.

  3. Gading marine FIC is not a variant of the CB90

    Sultan of Johore personal CB90 is painted in a distinctive splinter camo scheme too.

  4. pretty sure polis marin also had their boats in blue camo before
    Also for the firepower thing unless we’re doing routine river patrol on communist infested rainforest like the american did in vietnam war A HMG with a couple of GPMG at the aft is enough

  5. Hulubalang … “Gading marine FIC is not a variant of the CB90”

    Interesting to speculate as to whether Gading Marine used the CB-90 as the basis for the FIC’s design.

    I would also be very interested to know how the FICs compare in performance and maintenance compared to the CB-90s.

    Unfortunately the few RMN people I’m still in touch with are unfamiliar with the FICs or are not in position where they would know. From talks with friends/acquaintances who had personal experience with the CB-90: there were no major complaints about it. A reliable jack of all trades so to speak.

  6. As I replied, I didn’t say it was a variant of the CB90. I don’t think LomoOcean had the CB90 design in mind when they built the boat. Otherwise, it will have a ramp for beach landing. RMN had that capability in mind when they specified the FIC, but somehow, that was lost when they selected the Gading boat.

  7. Nazem,

    They should and there were such plans years ago but alas won’t happen with the CB-90s. A OWS is also useful in that it has a stabilised day/night sight which can be used for surveillance. Also won’t happen but lightweight ballistic panels up to 7.62mm would be useful given that boats might come under direct small arms fire.

  8. I believed the CB90s are uparmoured with a ballistic cabin glass as it is a standard design. But how much of that remains after the all refits is beyond me

  9. That boat looks incredibly flimsy and barebones. I agree with Marhalim, this doesn’t look intimidated at all. I’m ashamed to be even call this a combat boats for our NAVY.

    I hope this nelayan boat serves them well nonetheless…

  10. Many years ago, due to the seriousness of attacks on watercrafts including against both marine Polic3 n Navy patrol crafts, the Navy bought 4 if I am not mistaken armoured crafts from Lurssen Werft, Butterworth. These were armoured to survive a riverine ambush conducted by the SARAWAK insurgents.

  11. Norman – ”this doesn’t look intimidated at all.”

    Does it really have to be intimidating? Note that it performs various roles and roles which might require it to look intimidating are merely one role. It’s not as if RMN FICs are operating in an environment similar to U.S. riverine forces in the Mekong delta.

    Norman – ”I’m ashamed to be even call this a combat boats for our NAVY.”

    Norman – ”I hope this nelayan boat serves them well nonetheless…”

    Irrespective iof whether you’re ”ashamed” the crews which actually use it have very little complains with the CB-90 and it’s their opinions which really matter.

  12. Lee – ” These were armoured to survive a riverine ambush conducted by the SARAWAK insurgents.”

    These were the ones I mentioned in my first post; the ones with a camo scheme – designated ”Riverine Patrol Craft”. They had metal plating and at some point had a 20mm gun on the bow. Hong Leong Lurssen made 9 of them. As late as the early 2000’s there was a single example berthed at Lumut. A friend of mine as a newly inducted Lt. took it to Penang for disposal.

    Lee – ”These were armoured to survive a riverine ambush conducted by the SARAWAK insurgents.”

    The ones used in RASCOM were Australian supplied RCPs and RCMs.

  13. Norman – ”I’m ashamed to be even call this a combat boats for our NAVY.”

    CB90 are pretty much the gold standard for combat boat. You aren’t going to find anything better than that.

  14. Azlan ➤ Certainly the crews would ‘have very little complains’ either should the boats had slighlty beefed up armaments on board, so there’s that? Best of luck to them defending themselves with standard issue M4 carbines.

  15. Zaft ➤ “CB90 are pretty much the gold standard for combat boat. You aren’t going to find anything better than that.”

    I have no qualms with CB90.

  16. Norman,

    As has been explained to you; not all the roles the CB-90s/FICs perform require them to be heavily armed [look up on the roles they perform] and the FICs at minimum will have GPMGs. Not a perfect solution but not as if they’re unarmed or are armed with .22s.

    Also, it’s not as if they’re operating in the Mekong Delta against heavily armed insurgents; look at the context.

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