Dive From Station LIMA or The Last Dance Before Refit

PAT (right) waves for the Photex from KD Tunku Abdul Rahman. RMN

SHAH ALAM: IT appears that the country’s first submarine – KD Tunku Abdul Rahman – remained operational even as it is due for its second seven-year refit programme. PMX announced in his 2024 budget that the allocation for the Defence Ministry next year include the allocation for the submarine refit programme.

We know that Tunku Abdul Rahman remained operational as it conducted a diving sortie from Station LIMA or Pulau Layang-Layang with Armed Forces chief TS Mohammad Ab Rahman on board. Apart from Mohammad, the submarine also had RMN chief TS Abdul Rahman Ayob and RMN Submarine commander First Admiral Razib Tahir.

The PAT looking at a map of one of the islets in the Spratlys. RMN

The PAT and his entourage flew to Station LIMA from the RMN Sepanggar naval base in Kota Kinabalu on board RMN’s AW13 MOH. The release by RMN dateline November 1 did not say how the PAT and his entourage got onboard Tunku Rahman from Station LIMA. Tunku Abdul Rahman then sailed from Station LIMA to Kota Kinabalu underwater.

RMN release below:

ππ€ππ†π‹πˆπŒπ€ π€ππ†πŠπ€π“π€π 𝐓𝐄𝐍𝐓𝐄𝐑𝐀 𝐉𝐄𝐋𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐇 π™πŽπ πŽππ„π‘π€π’πˆ π“π‹πƒπŒ πƒπˆ πŠπŽπ“π€ πŠπˆππ€ππ€π‹π”, 𝐒𝐀𝐁𝐀𝐇
Kota Kinabalu, 1 Nov – Panglima Angkatan Tentera, Yang Berbahagia Jeneral Tan Sri Datuk Seri Mohammad bin Ab Rahman telah melaksanakan lawatan kerja rasmi selama dua hari ke Pangkalan TLDM Kota Kinabalu (PTKK). Turut menyertai lawatan ini adalah isteri beliau yang juga Pengerusi Jemaah Tertinggi BAKAT ATM, Puan Sri Datin Seri Ramlah binti Dawi.
Ketibaan beliau disambut oleh Panglima Tentera Laut, Laksamana Tan Sri Abdul Rahman bin Ayob serta Panglima Armada Timur. Laksamana Madya Datuk Hj Muhammad Ruzelme bin Hj Ahmad Fahimy selaku tuan rumah. Lawatan ini merupakan lawatan ulung beliau ke perkhidmatan Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia (TLDM) setelah mengambil alih tugas secara rasmi sebagai Panglima Angkatan Tentera ke -22 pada 7 Sep 23 yang lalu.
Sebelum memulakan program lawatan ke Stesen Luar Pantai TLDM iaitu Stesen LIMA TLDM, beliau terlebih dahulu telah menerima tabik hormat daripada 106 warga The Navy People di Stesen Udara Kota Kinabalu. Beliau kemudiaannya telah melaksanakan pemeriksaan Kawalan Kehormatan Utama (KKU) sebelum menaiki Helikopter Operasi Maritim AW139 ke lokasi operasi.
Usai ketibaan di Stn LIMA TLDM, Panglima Angkatan Tentera telah diberi taklimat singkat berkenaan program selaman bersama KD TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN. Sepanjang program selaman ini, beliau telah diberi taklimat pengoperasian kapal selam oleh Panglima Angkatan Kapal Selam, Laksamana Pertama Mohd Razib bin Tahir. Kenangan mengikuti penyelaman bersama aset TLDM ini turut dipatrikan melalui β€˜Photo Exercise’ (PHOTEX).
Seterusnya, Panglima Angkatan Tentera turut melaksanakan lawatan di Tapak Operasi Skuadron 601 dan diberi taklimat berkaitan peranan Unmanned Aerial System dalam meningkatkan penguatkuasaan tugasan sebagai Intelligent Surveillence and Recognisance atau lebih dikenali sebagai ISR di perairan Sabah. Dalam kesempatan sama, beliau turut diberi taklimat keseluruhan berkenaan pengoperasian Markas Pemerintahan Armada Timur di Zon Maritim Sabah.
Sebelum bergerak pulang ke Kuala Lumpur, Panglima Angkatan Tentera yang disertai isteri telah menyantuni warga The #NavyPeople dalam Majlis Ramah Mesra di Dewan Sepanggar, PTKK. Majlis ramah mesra ini dijadikan platform utama bagi memberi ruang dan peluang kepada warga untuk mendekati ikon tertinggi dalam Angkatan Tentera Malaysia ini.

It must be noted that the last refit for Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Abdul Razak was conducted by BHIC’s subsidiary, Boustead DCNS Naval Corp Sdn Bhd. Story on the refit:

Then RMN chief Kamarulzaman Badaruddin (second right) walking inside the hangar where the refit of KD Tunku Abdul Rahman was conducted. Note the open front end of the submarine. RMN picture taken in January 2016.

Boustead DCNS Naval Corp Sdn Bhd (BDNC), received the RM1.232 billion contract to provide the the refit services to KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Razak, it was announced on Nov 16, 2015. The company is a joint venture between Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd’s (BHIC) with French ship builder DCNS SA.
In a statement released then, BHIC told Bursa Malaysia that Boustead DCNS Naval Corp Sdn Bhd, a 60:40 JV between BHIC’s unit BHIC Defence Technologies Sdn Bhd and DCNS SA, had received and accepted a letter of acceptance (LOA) from the Government at a total dual currency contract price of 169.859 million euros (RM799.28mil) and RM432.404mil (inclusive of goods and services tax).

AFAIK, the government has not awarded the refit contract yet. It is unlikely that Boustead DCNS Naval Corp Sdn Bhd will get the job though as I have been told since LIMA 2023 that the company has been closed though no one would say it officially why.

That was the reason, another BHIC company which it fully owned, BHIC Submarine Engineering Services Sdn Bhd (BSES) was awarded the contracts to provide maintenance services to both submarines since January 2021. The latest contract was awarded in March last year and lasts until February, 2024. Previously, BSES was tasked with maintaining the submarine maintenance facilities while the maintenance and refit of the submarines was done by BDNC. BHIC did not respond to my email questions regarding the whole BDNC and BSES issue though.

Based on the above, BSES is likely to be awarded the refit contract even if they call for an open tender for it.

— Malaysian Defence

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16 Comments

  1. Was it BSES or BDNC or generally BNS that was being sued for LAD by the Govt on the last sub maintenance delay issue? Yeah dont give them more contracts.

  2. Lets just hope and pray that their refit will go smoothly this time..Preferably without any or just slight hiccups..Maybe just maybe its about time to plan the next 2 additional units considering singapore already commisioned their state of the art Invincibles class..They bought 4 of them (2 + 2).From average sub operator in the regions now they have arguably the most advance subs in the region almost overnight..Yes their defence spending are mighty compared to us but theres no shame in learning from them on how to bought defence equipment the right way..Not spotless but almost the right way

  3. Fidaus – β€œMaybe just maybe its about time to plan the next 2 additional units considering singapore already commisioned their state of the art Invincibles class”

    β€œIt’s about time” for many things but unfortunately funding doesn’t come from Father Christmas or the Tooth Fairy.

    Firdaus – β€œtheres no shame in learning from them on how to bought defence equipment the right way”

    What β€œlearning”? What β€œshame? They way they approach and handle defence is very different from us. They make it a priority; we don’t. We are comfortable and don’t see the need for any fundamental deep rooted changes.

    Firdaus – β€œtheres no shame in learning from them on how to bought defence equipment the right way”

    What does β€œaverage” in this context mean?

  4. Give it to BNS then, now that its nationalised and owned by the Govt.

    @Firdaus
    “From average sub operator in the regions”
    Incorrect. They were one of the first in Asean to own subs. And they always had more of them. What they buying are just replacements for their ageing fleet.

  5. Yes their defence spending are mighty compared to us but theres no shame in learning from them on how to bought defence equipment the right way..Not spotless but almost the right way (Firdaus)
    Hear! Hear!

  6. KD Tunku Abdul Rahman completed its 1st refit in 2018.

    KD Tun Razak completed its 1st refit in 2020.

    With experience, the KD Tun Razak refit was completed much more quicker than the KD Tunku Abdul Rahman.

    This time round, it would be a good idea to do capability or technological insert to the scorpenes, especially with the new LIB system.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/F8tFa6KbgAEkcfq.jpg

  7. Indonesia was the first in ASEAN to acquire SSKs in modern times; the pair of Type 209s. In the past it had a few Whiskeys.

    The 1st was Thailand; prior to WW2 it acquired a few Mitsubishi boats.

    The Sings started off by acquiring old boats which were intended primarily as training for platforms; over time they progressed by getting newer more capable boats. We intended initially on the same approach; the 1988 MOU with Britain included a pair of ex Oberons which would have served as training boats. Then there was the Amin Shah Zwaardis saga. I was personally against the Oberon buy back then and was actually in favour of the Zwaardis deal years later but as things turned out we bought new but before getting Scorpene we actually came close to buying a used Swede navy boat to be followed by T-96s from Kockums.

    The RSN acquired boats from Sweden and Germany; both with navies for whom littoral ops is their thing. We acquired boats from a country whose navy by and large does not focus on littoral ops and who used to have blue/deep water SSKs like the Daphne. Personally I would have preferred getting a Kockums or Thyssen design as both companies have more experience in producing shallow water littoral boats but that’s water under the bridge.

  8. Which is why we need ATLEAST one more scorpene. The tempo is too high with only 2 subs. And let’s be honest, since we had the subs, other nations also looking to be equal. Thailand submarine programs are there because of these two ssk we have.

  9. Qamarul – ”Which is why we need ATLEAST one more scorpene. ”

    We need a lot of things; a long list. Resources doesn’t grow on trees; that’s the problem.

    Qamarul – ” Thailand submarine programs are there because of these two ssk we have.”

    As I said before in reference to those who are blissfully unware that there is still lingering suspicion amongst ASEAN states. BTW in 1997 Thailand openly declared it was getting AMRAAM because of reports – way premature ones – that we were getting R-77s.

  10. ” Resources doesn’t grow on trees; that’s the problem ”

    Exactly why we need to prioritise. Spend on items that can really fight (scorpenes) while saving money on others (used RORO for MRSS, OSV for MCM mothership and multi-purpose use)

    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/pac-report-on-lcs-october-9-2023/#comment-879277

    Getting OPVs for APMM without any warfighting pretensions are also cheaper. A Pacific class OPV of Korean Coast Guard is bigger than the Gowind, but costs a bit less than a Keris-class LMS. The Indian Coast Guard Vikram-class OPV is bigger than Kedah-class OPV, but cost just half of the Keris-class LMS.

  11. … – β€œthat can really fight (scorpenes”

    You are seeing things in absolutes as you tend to do.

    Firstly; β€œfight” in what context? Not every role calls for a sub and – again – it’s not written in stone that a sub will always provide the answer or will able to operate effectively.
    Secondly, it’s not given that we’d always need a sub more then say a MPSS.
    Thirdly, we need a variety of things; all complementing each other in the right mix.

    … – β€œ while saving money on others (used RORO for MRSS, OSV for MCM mothership and multi-purpose use”

    Not to knock a hole in your narrative but once again; a Ro Ro can never be a direct substitute for a MPSS for reasons that have been dealt with and if the RMN thought a Ro Ro was the answer it would not have a requirement for a MPSS.

  12. “we need a variety of things; all complementing each other in the right mix”

    the right mix does not only involve TLDM. It also involves APMM.

    I am looking at the right mix, looking at the picture globally and solutions based on a mix of systems, not just individually on platform level. Not everything high end needs to be multi-role, while some low level tasks can be done by multi-role, rather than dedicated ships.

    If what i propose is “wrong”, then show me a proposal that is “right”

    MRSS requirement is dynamic, MRSS requirement 10 years ago is not the same as the requirement now. There is no requirement for a Marine Corps now for example, while “Strategic Sealift” was not the main requirement then, as it is a main requirement now.

    Requirements change, just look at LMS, LCS and even LCA requirements.

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