SHAH ALAM: AS hinted in my LMS piece, I was in Indonesia last week for a business trip. Specifically I was attending the Indo Defence Show and Forum 2016 which ran from Nov. 2 to 5.
I went to the show to look for stories for my other jobs as what I did last month in Manila. For Malaysian Defence its mostly to meet up with contacts, old and new ones.
The trips I made to trade shows around Asean during the last four years had given me a glimpse of what is happening in the regional defence industries. However, directly comparing between the countries would be wrong – apple to oranges comparison – but I found one constant theme though.
When Malaysia goes to defence/security trade shows its just to promote our own defence/security trade shows, for example, Lima 17. This is probably because we have no actual defence products to showcase to our neighbours. Our neighbours do, for example, there is Chaiseri of Thailand while Indonesia’s PT PAL, PTDI and PT Pindad, need no introduction.
Anyhow back to show, the Indo Defence event this year looked much more bigger than the event’s two years ago. As expected the Indonesia defence industries – state owned or otherwise – were prominently displayed during the show.
However as this website is still about the Malaysia defence scene, lets look at what was connected with us. At the Sritex showcase, out and front center was the Malaysian Army digital CBRNe suit.
Sritex as you might be aware is the garment supplier to Jakel, the company that got the contracts to supply the Armed Forces and other government agencies with the digital camo uniforms.
A Sritex representative when asked about the CBRNe suit stated that the product was currently under testing by the “Malaysians”. She did not eloborate further.
And as for the MOU between Boustead Naval Shipyard and PT PAL, I do not have much to add about the deal. I was not able to speak to Tan Sri Ramly Nor personally but a more senior colleague met up with him shortly after the ceremony.
My colleague reported that Ramly “does not look too keen to talk about MOU when I ask him about it, he just said its an MOU”. With that as my guide, I sought the people at PT PAL booth which were festooned with various ship models including the MRSS version that the MOU was based on.
According to the PT PAL engineers, the ship was 150 metres long with a crew of around 170 and accomodation for 500 troops. The well deck could fit two standard size LCUs and it has a hangar which could accomodate two Cougars/Nuri at the same time.
The heli-deck could accept the two Cougars/Nuri landing at the same time as well. The ship,according to them is much bigger than the two SSVs that were purchased by the Philippines Navy bought (123 metres) and the rest of the Makassar and Banjarmasin class LPDs of the Indonesian and Peruvian navies.
I tried to ask further details about the MRSS project but the PT Pal people claimed ignorance. Asked how many ships were being discussed, they said no numbers were known at the point.
As I had reported previously, the MRSS project – four of which being sought under the RMN’s 15 to 5 plan, has yet to be funded and probably will not be so in the foreeseable future.
That said if the Indonesia happened to provide these ships at friendly prices together with a line of credit, we may well see the project move on from the MOU stage. Unless of course, China beat them to it!
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150 metres long ship…that is big..can our navy port take it??
Marhalim, have you heard any new news about MRCA??it’s been quiet..
Our sunken Inderapura was at 159 meter at the full displacement of more than 8000 tons, of course they could they take it. But the question is, will the RMN prefer this ship?
Lumut has a deep and shallow water pier. Similarly a ship the size of the Makassar would have no issues at Langkawi or Teluk Sepanggar. Anything larger and with a deeper beam of course wouldn’t be able to dock at RMN bases.
The RMN isn’t too fussy as long at it gets what it orders on time and as long as the ship meets as many of its requirements as possible.
As for when the MPSS requirements actually translates into a firm the thing to realise is that the Indera Saktis are not in urgent need of retirement to the extent the Laksamanas and FACs are. Indera Sakti and Mahawanga may be 3 1/3 decades old but both are still in good condition and both are sufficient for our lift needs at the moment. Sure, both will need retiring in the near future but there is still time; even if it takes another 2-3 years for a new MPSS to be ordered and another 2-3 for them to enter service.
IMO the MRSS would be a better platform for the TLDM rather than continue using the current MPCSS. What we could do is to sell of the MPCSS to friendly countries (Bangladesh maybe?) and replace them with the MRSS. Another advantage of the PT PAL version of the MRSS is also very affordable. The SSV version for the Philippines costs less than usd50 million each.
The SSV is 123 metres, the proposed MRSS is around 25 metres more in length, with a much wider and deeper hull. And there is also the fact that some of the vessel will need to be build by BNS locally. It will add up to the final cost. By how much, is beyond me.
No doubt, the Indera Saktis will have to be replaced in the near future with a newer, better and more efficient design. This however can wait for a few more years in the event of cash not being allocated as both are still in good condition; unlike the FACs and Laksamanas; and it’s not as if we have pressing requirements at the moment for additional sealift capabilities – which is why the RMN chose to focus on replacing the FACs and Laksamanas rather than the Indera Saktis. It’s a matter of immediate priorities. Selling them off is unlikely. Even though both are in relative good condition buying a new ship will make more sense for a potential customer rather than 3 1/2 decade old maintenance intensive ships.
KD Seri Indera Sakti celebrated her 36th year in service with RMN last week.
any chance RMN will choose Chinese type 071 LPD ?
There is always the possibility.
Why not choosing the Singapore version, just like Thai did?
I do no know why but we have not, AFAIK, seriously look to buy things from Singapore since the 70s.
There are a lot of designs we can buy but obviously the decision is driven by political and financial factors. If we had bought the Singapore design; someone else would have asked ”why didn’t we buy the Indonesian design”? If we had bought a French design’ someone else would claim the Spanish design was better. The Singapore design is great but just because it suits the requirements of the RSN and RTN doesn’t mean it also suits the requirements of the RMN. One shouldn’t automatically assume that just because a particular design is chosen by certain navies; that it will also be the same for others. In the past we bought CN-235s from Indonesia as it was intended to improve relations and also benefit Malaysian companies with contracts from Indonesia [Protons and Aerotigas]. Similarly, if we buy a Markassar variant it will also be driven by political factors.
If it was up to the RMN do you seriously believe it will select anything non-Western? The RMN issues a requirement and submits its choices but the final decision is made by others.
Prolly with the procurement of the LMS, it will open more acquisition from china.
I understand that there are some concern about conflicting interest (as well as possible backdoor signint plants in the equipment). Still, that doesn’t rule out weapon system that can be operated independent of MAF BMS network, things like ATGMs, mortars, etc
Off track…in one of the article i read…the indons are buying gattling gun for its AL..army..navy..they praise the gun as being accurate..but it differs when MAF bought them it has negative feedback….how come?
What negative feedback are you talking about?
Just like how some people question Australia for choosing the Shortfin Barracuda over the Soryu (if it had been chosen, people would be asking why not the Type 214)
There was even a report that Australia rejected the Soryu under “Chinese pressure”. I’m sure the Chinese considered applying pressure, but that would be counter-productive in this case because the Shortfin Barracuda is far more capable and longer legged.
We can only buy if they can provide us with credit first and pay later plan.I doubt Indonesia can do that as they too are short on credit and full of debts like us.
If we buy the MRSS based on the Makassar class, the 150m MRSS will be rather costlier than the neighbouring country that bought the same class but shorter in length.
Its likely to be around US$50 to 60 million, based on my estimates, could be higher still