Further Update of MMEA OPV

A CGI of the first of class MMEA OPV 1800.

SHAH ALAM: Further update of the MMEA OPV. As reported previously, the first of class MMEA OPV, built by the THHE Destini JV, is expected to be launched late this year. Work on the three ships are progressing well, I am told, with 54 per cent work already completed.

The target I am told is for the first OPV to be launched late this year at the THHE Pulau Indah Fabrication Yard near Port Klang.

TH Heavy Engineering facility at Pulau Indah, Port Klang where the MMEA OPVs are being built.

As reported previously, the MMEA OPV is derived from the Damen 1800 OPV design modified to suit MMEA requirements especially in increasing the number of personnel. The crew areas are designed like the Kedah-class fitted with attached bathroom facilities even for junior ratings.
The first MMEA OPV undergoing final assembly at THHE yard at Pulau Indah, Port Klang.

The extra manpower requirements meant that the hangar capable of storing a medium-twin size helicopter of the original Damen 1800 OPV design will not exist on the MMEA OPV. The ships however retain the helipad for the same helicopter. The OPV is expected to be equipped with a VTOL UAV though a final decision has not been made. The type chosen is expected to be a stand alone system with little integration with the OPV system.
A partial view of the OPV engine room. The MMEA OPV is fitted with four diesel engines, three generator sets and one emergency gen sets, all by Carterpillar. The ship can go 16 knots with only two engines and cruise with only one generator set running, high mechanical redundancy and economical as well.

Aselsan SMASH 30mm gun to be fitted on the MMEA OPV. It is already fitted on the MMEA NGPC.
It is armed with a single 30mm RWS and a number of machineguns. A number of water cannons are also fitted around the ship for fire fighting as well as the non-lethal option in certain enforcement scenarios.
Forward and aft CGI of the MMEA OPV

The MMEA OPV, designed with high mechanical redundancy, is fitted with four Caterpillar diesel engines, powering two screws; three generator sets and a single emergency generator set. The ship can cruise up to 16 knots with only generator set running.
A side view of the MMEA OPV

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2200 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Great news to start the week by!

    BTW any indication of a batch 2 for both the NGPC and OPV?

    None of that unfortunately. They cannot figure out what to do with APMM and marine police yet, so I guess we will have to wait

  2. Salam Tuan..
    Is there any problem if we just scraped our RMN NGPV programs and just buy thos 1800 Damen as our next NGPV? With bigger guns ,SAM or ASM should be better or even cheaper then Kedah?

    In the first place, we must ask whether the RMN want the ship in the place. Anyhow for RMN use it may need to be further militarized, it could be done of course

  3. good news…been waiting for this news about OPV since may…hope 2nd batch of OPV and NGPC will be place next year…

  4. Our fishing resources are being plundered by foreign fishermen.

    Our fishermen, oil and gas personnel are being harrased by foreign law enforcement agencies in our own EEZ.

    Our people lost at sea and rescued by thai and vietnamese fishing boats in our own waters!

    And still our leaders cannot decide? This is not rocket science! You are not elected to just do nothing.

    Please enpower MMEA to do more.

    For MMEA, please buckle up your SAR skills. On the recent SAR mission in terengganu it is a shame that your assets are so close to the survivors yet they did not see the survivors, thai fishing boat saw them and rescued them instead.

    @ pracxis

    My thoughts on OPV

    Basically let MMEA do all the OPV taskings. TLDM budget freed from not needing to buy Kedah batch 2 can be reallocated to bring forward Gowind batch 2 and Scorpene batch 2 builds.

  5. Tuan Marhalim,

    Can RMN or even MMEA considers buying a ship from Russia? Vietnam did it by buying naval ships by both from Nato and Russian shipyard and im sure its not a big problem in case of system integrations?

    Yes they can buy them but its unlikely.

  6. Off topic

    TLDM ships KD Perak and KD Pari is now in lapu-lapu city, cebu for malphi-laut 22/19 exercise.

  7. @Pracxis
    Damen 1800 cannot be armed with SAM nor ASM. As for Russia, settle MH17 issue first!

    It can be, actually but not the current MMEA variant

  8. Off topic

    One of the latest and largest sail training ship in the world, the KRI Bima Suci will be visiting malaysia in its asia pacific and australian tour.

    In malaysia, it will pick up 5 malaysian trainees to join the ship.


    Soft power diplomacy at its best. It is also a sign of a country that appreciates its maritime history.

    Recently china and vietnam has also bought their own large sail training ships.



    Australia is building one to replace its sail training ship Young Endeavour, which is a sister ship to KLD Tunas Samudra.

    US Coast Guard uses one as its main training ship, USCGC Eagle


  9. @ joe

    The idea of arming OPVs with SAM of ASM is something like asking police cars to be armed with 30mm gun and anti tank missiles.

    It is not needed for its peacetime day to day task of patrolling the EEZ.

    In serious conflict situations, an OPV, even armed with SAM and ASM has very small chance of surviving. OPVs will sit out of a serious conflict to save them from being destroyed. Want well armed ships? Get proper frigates like gowinds instead.

    There will be a need for both OPVs and Frigates. But there should be a clear difference in capabilities and use of both, and we need to make sure not to over spec the OPV to do something it cannot.

    In malaysia’s situation, a fleet of around 20 OPVs (with MMEA) and 12 Frigates (with TLDM) will give our seas and EEZ at sea deployment of around 10 OPVs and Frigates at all times. We need to consolidate both MMEA Pelan Perancangan Strategik Maritim Malaysia 2040 (PPSMM 2040) and TLDM 15 to 5 plan as a comprehensive malaysian maritime defence strategy.

    Opting for high spec OPVs like Meko 100, even with planned cost reduction, the target cost is USD150 million each (compared to the original cost of USD300 million each). To fulfil the original 15 to 5 plan for 12 more Meko 100, that would cost USD1.8 billion. The same number of Damen OPV1800 would cost about 1/3 of that at USD636 million. Getting 12 L&T Vikram class instead just costs USD384 million! Both ships can perform the same tasks as the Meko 100 could. Money saved could be used to buy more Submarines and Frigates instead.

  10. Pracxis,

    Vietnam has long operated Soviet/Russian gear. Why on earth would we buy Russian naval gear when we don’t currently operate any and doing so would only add to the already large logistical footprint we have?
    As it is, the 5/15 which was intended to reduce the logistical footprint won’t be the “5/15” any longer.

    Incorrect, buying Russian would lead to major integration issues ; no added value to the end user or the taxpayer given the small quantities we buy (like the MKMs for which the various suppliers of parts has to work with the aircraft’s OEM to enable integration and certification – took time and money for a mere 18 air frames). Even integrating Western stuff to other Western stuff can be a problem; let alone Russian to Western stuff.

  11. @…
    Agree with you which is why I’m telling you that you have mistaken the person whom suggesting Damen to be fitted with SAM & ASM. 🙂

    As for the OPV, it depends on what TLDM is intending for. If the purpose is purely peacetime patrol, then either Damen 1800 or downgraded Kedahs (if price can be made comparable) could be viable. The current Kedahs are overspecced for the current role and underfunded for its intended role (fully fitted frigates). As you said, if they wanted more frigates, better buy more Gowinds.

  12. … – “. It is also a sign of a country that appreciates its maritime history”

    It’s “also a sign of a country that” has the political will to allocate funding for such ship.

    We also “appreciate” our
    “maritime history” but if we ever get something to replace or complement Tunas Samudera; it has to be privately funded – like Tunas Samudera – given that funding is tight and whatever funds are available are being used for assets with a operational utility.

  13. @ azlan

    Tunas samudra, like the young endeavour is a gift of the british government to malaysia and australia respectively.

    The 111m length bima suci (which is like 4 times bigger than tunas samudra), was bought for the same cost as a single LMS68. Currently indonesian navy has 3 sail training ships, bima suci, dewa ruci and arung samudra. One of the biggest proponents of sail training is italian navy, which has more than 2 dozen sail training ships.

    If the political will is there, the government can more than afford to have a big sail training ship, either with TLDM or even MMEA on par with our regional neighbours.

  14. ….,

    Yes it was privately funded. That’s what I said didn’t I? Only I didn’t say it was funded by British Aerospace as part of an off set deal for contracts under the 1988 MOU – wasn’t a “gift” per see.

    Funding for her upkeep wasn’t from the RMN’s budget. Unlike similar ships in other navies she’s not a commissioned naval ship. Like RMN ships however she has uncensored T.V. satellite channels. In 2013 I boarded her briefly and the officer on watch allowed me to flip through the channels. The TNI-ALs Dewarucci was at the Penang Fleet Review in 1991 and a similar ship from Chile docked at Lumut in the 1990’s..

  15. @…
    If there’s political will, I’d rather they put that money into TLDM more useful assets like getting those MRSS or ASW choppers that we needed. Fancy ships can wait until we solve our more urgent issues.

  16. She is a commissioned naval ship. She is a special one, the only one designated ‘Kapal Layar DiRaja’ KLD Tunas Samudera.

    As a sailing ship the operational costs are minimal. Diesels are only needed for electrical generation and to maneuver the ship in and out of ports.

  17. Whether it’s a barque or a “historical” ship frigate operational; these consume resources. Yes others can maintain historical flights and ships but we are not “others”; we have our unique set of problems and not only funding but resources are tight.

    No doubt there are various things the RMN world like to do but its focus is to channel whatever scarce resources are towards assets with an operational utility.
    Funding for Samudera’s upkeep was from the Youth and Sports Ministry.

  18. @…
    “As a sailing ship the operational costs are minimal.”
    Fuel cost is much lower, but the manpower & upkeep costs are much higher. The sails for these boats aren’t cheap if used frequently. As Azlan mentioned, we have other higher priorities with so little money.

  19. I wasn’t only talking about the costs of sailing her – if want one’s to look at it from that angle, of course she’s much cheaper to operate compared to say a FAC or a corvette. Like all ships however she still consumes: she needs to be crewed and maintenance/checks have to be performed; even if she is under utilised. Her hull for example requires very regular checks.

    I’m not suggesting we do away with her or that she’s a huge drain on resources, no. What I am saying is that given its present commitments and the facts that finances are very stretched; it’s understandable why getting another ship similar to Tunas Samudera is the last thing on the RMN’s mind; unless another entity is willing to fund it.

    It’s for the same reason that the RMAF – despite its interest in preserving history – can only do so much with its retired aircraft and has struggled even to maintain its museum, which has a very limited budget to begin with.

  20. IMO barque can be used operationally as a training vessel, as a complement to conventional training ships. The low cost of operations of such ships is a bonus. The need for all of the crew to work as a team for the ship to sail at its full potential can be a lifechanging experience for a naval trainee that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Any ships need to be fully utilised. If we do get a new sail training ship, if not for TLDM, probably for MMEA, it should be fully utilised, the best is for training new sailors. Sails are not expensive. One set can last more than a decade. Annual operating cost of such ship is probably the same as the cost of a week or two sailing of the lekius.

    BTW new logo for thai frigate HMTS Pinklao. The last remaining operational cannon class frigate after philippines BRP Rajah Humabon retired.



    Well its just a soft spot that i have with sailing ships. Nobody need to agree on me on this.

  21. @…
    Sails of tall ships are inherently expensive as big canvases are not being made in quantities like back in the sailing ship days. Moreso for large one piece canvases. While I don’t disagree on your reasoning for continued existence of large tall ships (in fact I agree mostly!) but we have to see it in context to the state of our TLDM. Are they in shipshape? Do they have sufficient ships for the roles they are expected to do? Are they sufficiently equipped for the right response to any situations? Are they sufficiently maintained? Would there be funds to upgrade them and prolong their useful lifespan? Are there sufficient inducement to retain staff and to sufficiently train new ones?

    If it were passed to MMEA, then the same questions applies to them.

    I know the feeling of being sentimental. I wished we could have heritage fleet of airforce jets that could still be flown like Sabrejet, Skyhawk, Mig-29. I’ve been to one of these heritage airshows in US and the experience was an awesome feeling just by climbing aboard these historical planes, and hearing the stories from their jocks.

  22. IMO sail training does not need to be seen in a strictly heritage standpoint. As for sail making, one of the largest sail loft in the world is just nearby in Phuket Thailand.

    A qoute on why sail training is a valuable tool as a teaching instrument for navies and coast guards.

    ” Despite the importance of learning the lines, learning to sail is not the primary purpose of this vessel. Anyone who has spent time in this environment knows that a ship under sail is arguably the greatest vehicle the world has ever known for transmitting lessons in leadership, teamwork, cooperation, coordination, communication and the importance of doing something right, exactly right. You can fool the world in some disciplines, but the sea will slap you silly the moment you get complacent or try to bluff what you don’t know. The trick with sail training is to put all of that across without losing limbs ”

    Good reads on USCGC Eagle



    Still on the topic

    See tunas samudera’s sister ship young endeavour welcomed chilean navy tall ship esmarelda to australia recently


    IMO all this can happen and what we need is just the political will. It does not cost a lot anyway. Well lets put it at that and move on to other topics shall we?

  23. … – “IMO sail training does not need to be seen in a strictly heritage standpoint”

    Of course not. Such a ship would have various roles; training cadets, being used for youth programmes, etc.

    …. – “Well its just a soft spot that i have with sailing ships. Nobody need to agree on me on this“

    You’ve put in effort to explain or convince others on the utility of sailing ships but nobody was in disagreement in the first place.

    It’s a matter of priorities and given the situation the RMN is facing; perfectly understandable why replacing or complementing Samudera is last on the list of priorities.

    As it stands, we don’t even have a likely timeframe as to when the long overdue for replacement and increasingly expensive and troublesome to maintain FACs and Laksamanas can be replaced. We have 4 LMSs that will be the only ones of their class and probably won’t be fully fitted out. On top of that in the near future certain other things will time expire.

    If we ever get another sailing ship; ideally it will be funded from elsewhere. Samudera was funded by British Aerospace (a cynic can say that the Malaysian taxpayer still paid for her, indirectly) and funding for her upkeep was from the Youth and Sports Ministry because she was also intended for youth programmes including Rakan Muda.

    … “Well lets put it at that and move on to other topics shall we?”

    We can do that.

  24. @…
    Capacity of Young Endeavour is what, 25 cadets? And a lot of their time spent learning how to sail a tall ship rather than operate a modern vessel.

    Compare with the training cadet complement of a modern training ship like Gagah Samudera? With the opportunity to learn to operate radar and OPV weapons?

  25. @ Chua

    Young endeavour and tunas samudera are relatively small ships. The young endeavour carrying about 25, the tunas samudera 30+ cadets due to rearrangement of its layout.

    The KRI Bima Suci and USCGC Eagle could carry around 150 cadets.

    The gagah samudera class could carry about 60 cadets.

    Sail ships will make cadets understand more on how the winds and currents of the sea can affect the handling of the ship. This can still affect modern ships in critical phases like docking or maneuvering in shallow waters for instances.

  26. Chua – And a lot of their time spent learning how to sail a tall ship rather than operate a modern vessel“

    Learning to operate a sail ship forms a very important element of any cadet’s career. A lot of what they learn; whether it’s the teamwork, leadership skills or challenges of being at sea, will be very useful.

    A training ship like the Gagah Samudera serves a different purpose – it comes at a different time of a cadet’s career and is intended to teach him/her different things. Assuming any cadets or midshipmen undergoing training on the Gagah Samudera had previously spent time on the Tunas Samudera; they would be better prepared and have more exposure.

    BTW, at various naval colleges/schools around the world; the first sea experience cadets get is on a sail ship; to learn the basics of seamanship, navigation, etc.

  27. @…
    Training on tall ships is basically going back to the basics of seafaring. Learning how the sea conditions, tides, winds truly affects the ship, something which not easily learnt on ships that relies only on its own engines and of course the camaraderie of working with each other, in tall ships there’s zero automation so each must rely on the other to unfurling sails, hence building trust. Basically its like the Pasukan Pengakap to TDM.

    Other than Young Endeavour, Sydney alone has other large tall ships for sail like James Craig & HMB Endeavour replica. James Craig alone can take in 80 crew members.

  28. “the tunas samudera 30+ cadets due to rearrangement of its layout.”

    The ship usually sails with 24 trainees and 8 professional crew. They are formed into 3 watches, each of 8 trainees and 2 crew. I believe 30+ is actually the total number aboard.

    “Funding for Samudera’s upkeep was from the Youth and Sports Ministry.”

    “Funding for her upkeep wasn’t from the RMN’s budget. ”

    Not sure if funding is entirely from the Youth and Sports Ministry, since a portion of the voyages per annum are allocated to the ministry and a portion to the navy.

    The first CO of the ship, Commander James Wong has a published biography. Prior to Tunas Samudera’s commissioning, he spent time aboard Young Endeavour to learn sailing ship operations. He mentioned that he was not allocated any time to train her next CO, who had no experience in sailing ships. The new CO had to be sent back to the Young Endeavour to learn what knowledge had been lost. They even had to recall past crew to complete a tall ships race that Tunas Samudera was taking part in.

  29. @ am

    Thanks for sharing the info.

    IMO all prospective officers in the navy would be good to be exposed to experience sailing the tunas samudera to get at least a basic working knowledge of sailing tall ships.

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