SHAH ALAM: Good Times Bad Times. When the SGPV was still a developmental program, talk among the industry was that the Damen entry was the preferred the choice. The Damen entry, basically the 105-metre version of the frigates bought by Indonesia and Morrocco, in the end, lost out to the DCNS LCS, of course.
Fast forward ten years ahead, we have another Damen design competing for another RMN program, the MRSS. This time around the Damen design, the Enforcer 10000, seemed to be behind the other two competitors instead of the favourite.
The Enforcer 10000 design was highlighted at LIMA 17 though Damen was very careful not to say anything about its potential Malaysian partner. Damen, as you are all aware is working with THHE Destini for the MMEA OPV project.
At LIMA 17 I wrote that
Despite the MOU between Boustead and PT PAL, there is yet no guarantee that they will get the contract to build the MRSS. Facing off against the offering is a contender from China though it is not clear which ship or the shipyard yet.
Even without the MRSS project, Boustead order book is quite impressive. It is building six LCS for the RMN and has also signed for the LMS program with China. Under the RMN 15 to 5 project, Boustead subsidiary, Boustead Naval Shipyard, is also expected to build another six LCS and 12 more Kedah class.
It is this huge potential order book that is making tongues wagging. If and when BNS is given all the options for the new RMN fleet, it surely does not need the job to build the MRSS (though if you ask any businessman they will say otherwise).
It is for this reason, the industry is trying to get the MRSS to be built by another shipyard. That is where the Damen entry comes into play. The talk is that the Enforcer is the favourite design despite all the hype from PT Pal.
However, if the Damen design is choosen, who will be the builder then? As it is nothing is set in stone yet. With money or lack of it playing the biggest denominator, I guess we will have to wait further for the latest developments.
By the way, if we lack the money to buy Enforcer 10000, there is also the Enforcer 8000, the smallest variant of the LPD series. At 121 metres and 7000 tonnes, it is still longer and could carry more stuff than the KD Mahawangsa and KD Seri Indera Sakti.
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