FCS For Laksamana Muhammad Amin

KD Laksamana Muhammad Amin together with its sister ship at LIMA 19. Note the 76 mm gun, SAM quad launcher amidships and twin 40mm Oto Breda aft. Zaq Sayuti.

SHAH ALAM: Back in December 2021, Malaysian Defence reported that corvette KD Laksamana Muhammad Amin – pennant number 136 – was undergoing a refit at the Grade One Marine Shipyard in Lumut. She is undergoing the refit as part of the RMN’s Obsolescence Programme where her machineries and engines are replaced with new ones.

Malaysian Defence described the corvette refit as OP Plus as she is also getting a new hull as part of the work. She is also getting a new Fire Control System (FCS) to enable her to fully utilise her 76mm main gun (forward) and twin 40mm gun, aft. Last time we heard about the ship was when she caught fire though it was extinguished quickly.

A graphic explaining the OP Plus for KD Laksamana Muhammad Amin. RMN

A tender for the supply, deliver, install, integrating and commissioning of the FCS for Muhammad Amin was published on September 26 and closes on November 2. I delayed publishing the story as in the past the ministry had the tendency to cancel tenders without any reasons.
KD Laksamana Muhammad Amin (136) being taken out from GOMS covered facility where the refit programme was carried out in December 2022. Note the newly painted hull and superstructure. GOMS

Anyhow, the RMN estimate the cost of the FCS (lump sum) is RM14 million. The specifications called for the FCS and its associated work to be conducted by a local company using only local workers. The winning bidder will also have to grant the Intellectual Property rights of the FCS to the government.
A view of the front end of KD Laksamana Tun Pusmah – 137 showing her bridge and the 76mm gun. RMN

Some of the specifications (edited for brevity):

The current 76/62 MM OTO MELARA gun and40/70 MM OTO BREDA gun required FCS in order to be fully
functioning. The FCS is required to control/perform remote firing and will enable the ship to verify targets accurately beyond visibility during day/night.
One (1) complete system with two (2) EOTS.
The system shall be configured for the following tasks:
Primary Task. Anti-surface Warfare (ASuW), Naval Gunfire
Support (NGS) and Surveillance.
Secondary Task. Anti-air Warfare (AAW), Search and Rescue
(SAR), Navigation and Sector Surveillance
Three (3) unit operator consoles.
Firing. It shall be able to conduct firing including correction on static and moving surface target with speed up to 55 knots with the accuracy of gun fire targets up to 20 km and effective range to hit target at 15 km.
Surveillance. It shall be able to perform sector surveillance, target acquisition and tracking.
The FCS shall be able simultaneously engage multiple targets by using both guns.
Naval Gun Fire Support. The FCS shall be able to perform operation as follows: Direct shore bombardment. In-direct shore bombardment
Network Centric Operation (NCO) and NC2ATM. The system shall be ready to transfer and receive data and information in the format required by NCO and NC2ATM with dedicated compatible gateway
made available for future growth. The system shall also prioritize interoperability, information sharing, collaborative targeting and network security. The system shall effectively contribute to the network-centric warfare environment, enhancing operational efficiency and effectiveness.
Maximum range: At least 20 km.
All gun functions for 76/62 MM OTO MELARA gun and 40/70 MM OTO BREDA gun shall be controlled and
managed through FCS.
Tenderer shall carry out Setting to Work (STW), Harbour Acceptance Trial (HAT) and Sea Acceptance Trial (SAT) of the equipment/system on board ship including Live Firing Trial (LFT) to validate the
performance in accordance with the operational requirement in the presence of the Government representatives. Acceptance Test Protocols (ATP) shall be provided one (1) month prior to the
commencement date of the trials and to be approved by the Government. Accuracy of the FCS during LFT shall at least 80% hits on target. SAT including LFT shall be carried out not more than 2 times
and RMN will not bear any cost if additional SAT and LFT needed.
All copyrights and intellectual property rights for equipment supplied by this Tenderer shall be the property of the Government. Tenderer shall not at any time or during the expiration or
termination of this contract in any way whatsoever question or dispute
the rights of the Government. Intellectual property rights under this clause shall rest with the
Government independent of all liens, claims and encumbrances. The Source Code developed and used must be the property of Government and may not be used by any party.
Indigenous Product. System equipment shall be locally design, develop, and re-structure middleware including source code, fabrication and setting to work in country by Malaysian engineer/technician.

Home Minister DS Saifuddin Nasution with the SCS CMS. Note the CMS featured is a mock-up of the operational one. SCS

Based on the specifications, Systems Consultancy Services Sdn Bhd (SCS) is likely to be the front runner as it had provided a locally-developed combat management system previously.

— Malaysian Defence

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  1. Who on earth wants to give up all the IP for the FCS to the govt, and cannot use them ever to sell to other parties for just RM14 million??

    lain lah the govt contract is FCS for laksamana + FAC which will run for more than a dozen ships, but this FCS tender only for 1 ship and the govt wants all the IP exclusive to them??

    Its like i want to buy 1 bigmac for RM14, and with it i want all the IP for bigmac only for me and McD cannot sell bigmac anymore to anyone else.

  2. What’s surprising? We after all are adroit at getting the best value for what we spend and everything we do is well thought of in terms of long term tangible value for the armed services and taxpayer. Others should learn from us.

    We’ve spent so much cash over the years on a class which the RMN recommended against [it was told to shut its gap]: a class ill suited for our requirements and presented commonality issues] and which as they aged gave out a host of issues [from hull fatigue to a tracker which has unresolved issue to block obsolescence of various components].

    Hopefully nobody comes up with the “why don’t we arm the class to the teeth with missiles and torps” drivel.

  3. ” The FCS is required to control/perform remote firing and will enable the ship to verify targets accurately beyond visibility during day/night”

    This is puzzling because any tracker should be able to enable the targeting of any unobserved target in any weather condition as long as it within “maximum” or “maximum effective” range.

  4. There’s a whole lot of IP type really. Ranging from total ownership that would barred anyone else of using it to licencing right to make unlimited copies or the right to make modifications to it without the need for sellers consent.

    A lot of military contract worldwide do include clause in their contract that would enable said military to make unlimited copies of said IP for self use but it doesn’t really barred the sellers from selling the same thing to others military.

    Case in point is the MEKO. It’s not like Germany stop selling the meko despite BNS buy the “IP” for it.

  5. Akmal,

    We don’t know the back story. For all we know the company is more than happy to grant IP rights because it adds to the coffers.

    The real question is how this exercise benefits the end user and taxpayer in the long run.

  6. Fighterx – ”Used to be a corvette packed with ASM, SAM and tropedo,”

    One that never worked as advertised and was constructed for the Iraqi’s navy’s requirements. One we got due to national interests; despite the RMN’s objections.

  7. Costs blnot withstanding, is it possible to refit new SSM missiles? The SSM were taken out for cost and obsolescence reasons. Where Kedah class FFBNW is in name only, these ships had the missles removed. So it should be possible to add back 2 SSM launchers as part of rehull, repower, etc program?

  8. It is not FFBNW lah it was fitted for but not paid …They never bought the SAM and SSM for the Kedah class so there is no need to remove them in the first place. See my earlier articles on the Kedah class.

  9. Kel,

    It was the Perdanas and Handalans which had their MM-38s removed; not the Kedahs. As was discussed at various points here over the years the Kedahs were designed from the onset for a 16 cell RAM and 4 MM-40s but those were never fitted. The Laksamanas also had their Aspides and Otomats removed.

  10. “These” refers to the Laksamana class… As correction on Kedah class, it should be plug and play rather than FFBNW. Laksamana class came with missiles which means it should techincally be possible to refit 2 SSM to recapitlise RMN’s missile fleet, costs not withstanding? Given no new missiles will be joining the fleet until 2027?

  11. Nope, as seen from the specifications there is no mention of a FCR to control the missiles, surface radar to find targets or even a data link system to allow of off-board targeting and detection. Even the FCS is only meant to control the guns.

  12. So other than the EO sensor and navigation radar, there is no other sensor. No fire control radar or air/surface search radar?

  13. Kel – ““These” refers to the Laksamana class”

    Well you should have said so then and the Kedahs never had any missiles which were “removed” …

    Kel – “possible to refit 2 SSM to recapitlise RMN’s missile fleet, costs not withstanding”

    The radar and CMS are not operable; both would be needed for ASMs. Even if both were operable; certification and integration would be needed as both are compatible with Otomat.

    Also, priority for the RMN is to conserve scarce resources for the LCS, LMS and other things [some of which will soon need replacing] which it sees as more pressing. It has no intention to spend any more on the class beyond what is needed to keep it operational for a few more years on order to perform routine patrols.

    Kel – “correction on Kedah class, it should be plug and play rather than FFBNW”

    An article appeared years ago which indicated that RAM could be installed and made ready in 24 hours – “plug and play”. As is well known the class from Day One was integrated and certified for RAM and the MM-40.

    Also, irrespective of whether there’s a plug and play angle or not; if something is intended to be fitted with something but isn’t then it is “fitted for but not with” [look it up rather then presenting so called “added value”]; like how RMAF Cougars are “fitted for but not with” an self defence suite.

  14. Ok, so now suppose there are delays everywhere and the Navy wont get new missile ships for an unknown period of time (e.g. beyond 2027). Would the Navy consider installing some low level SAM or rocket systems on the Kedah class? I believe it was mentioned in other posts the LiG Nex1 rocket systems and the Mistral Simbad SHORAd could be systems that can fit the Kedah class without extensive physical / structural work. Or its all-in with LCS and LMS2 until 2030 with no possibility of option B?

  15. Kel – “the Mistral Simbad SHORAd could be systems that can fit the Kedah class without extensive physical / structural work”

    Integration/certification would be needed.

    Kel – “the Navy consider installing some low level SAM or rocket systems on the Kedah class”

    What the RMN would be willing to “consider”, what the decision makers would approve and what funding enables are there profoundly different things. As was explained; priority is the LCS, LMS and certain other things which will need replacing soon.

  16. Kel – “ low level SAM or rocket systems on the Kedah class?”

    As you’re aware [or not] about 7-8 years ago a feasibility study was done and proposed converting a pair for ASuW and another pair for ASW – funding … As it stands even if cash was flowing out of the coffers there are 2 issues when it comes to adding stuff; deck space [intended for RAM in the B and MM-40s amidships] and integration/certification.

    As for the rockets you mentioned; if you’re referring to ASW rockets; the class has no sonar.

    Kel – “Or its all-in with LCS and LMS2 until 2030 with no possibility of option B?”

    What do you think? You’ve been following things closely here; any mention at all of a “option B”? The RMN does not want [neither do the decision makers] pre owned hulls [as this might lead to commonality issues and the usual high sustainment costs associated with aged and high mileage hulls] and there are no immediate plans to arm the Kedahs or LMS Batch 1s [issues involved here]; plus the RMN wants to conserve resources for the LCS and LMS; thus what possible/conceivable “option B” is there, pray tell?

  17. I think he was referring to the laser guided rockets (surface to surface) as manufactured by Hanwha Aerospace and used by the Korean Navy and UAE.

  18. So its a possibility however unlikely that the Kedah class can get some additional firepower. I guess we will need to see what the LCS status update says..

  19. If it weren’t so troublesome from a technical perspective it would be great if we slapped on a few NSMs on the Batch 1 LMSs.

  20. Yes. A Chinese made ship with Chinese made radars, CMS/FCS and other things. A lot of integration needed which in turn entails the sharing of object/source codes.

  21. Marhalim,

    Easier to just slap on Chinese ASMs but the downside is that for the foreseeable future the RMN will have to train people to operate and maintain 3 types of ASMs; plus stock all the needed test/support gear.

    Kel – “So its a possibility however unlikely that the Kedah class can get some additional firepower0

    Everything’s a possibility but if we want to talk about paper possibilities the list will be an extremely long one: as long as all the squandered/ditched plans we had the past few decades; all of which were possibilities and some of which came very close.

  22. Since the Kedah was originally certified for RAM and exocet, why can’t they just install the exocet launchers for the ship? We do have extra exocet missiles (according to Sipri, 50 Exocet MM40 bought in 2 batches), more than all the launchers on the Lekiu frigates and Kasturi corvettes.

    Missiles we have, ship already certified for exocet, so why spent money to certify NSM?

  23. As the NSM is available and it’s a newer missile compared to the Exocets. Although the Kedah ships are wired for Exocet, AFAIK, they were never integrated and certified for them. So why bother integrating a missile which is due to retire soon with no plans to restock them or put up a new missile that will be in service for the next twenty years?

  24. So the Navy only have 3 options to recapitlise its missile fleet. 1) Wait for 5 LCS. 2) Wait for 3 LMS2. 3) Upgrade 6 Kedah class with short range weapons. The Government has committed to Options 1 and 2 but neither programs are making progress. Option 3 is a possibility but there is no money because of Options 1 and 2. That being said, if 5LCS and 3LMS2 can be completed by 2030, its 8 large combatants joining the fleet in the next 6 years. Very little room for delays.

  25. Kel,

    As explained previously; the first 2 options are the ones the RMN is focusing on. The ones it wants to ensure that funding is allocated to.

    Also, as far as the RMN is concerned it’s not only about
    “ recapitalise its missile fleet” but about “recapitalise it’s surface fleet”; both the Lekuis and Kasturis are somewhat aged and as alluded to various things will be inoperable soon in account of support issues.

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