KD TAR undergoing refit

SHAH ALAM: KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, RMN’s first submarine is undergoing its first major refit. Based on the pictures taken by the RMN during the visit of its chief, Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Badaruddin, it is an extensive one though nothing official has been announced on the things to be replaced on the submarine.

By all accounts – a refit or overhaul – extends a submarine’s life by repairing its hull and modernising its combat capability. It involves examining, repairing and even replacing parts of the hull; replacing worn-out cabling and piping ; and replacing or upgrading major weapons, sensors and communication systems.

Boustead DCNS Naval Corp Sdn Bhd, 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.

Kamarulzaman (second right) walking inside the hangar where the refit is being conducted. Note the open front end of the submarine.
Kamarulzaman (second right) walking inside the hangar where the refit is being conducted. Note the open front end of the submarine. RMN picture.

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).

Kamarulzaman (second from right) taking a look on the submarine.
Kamarulzaman (second from right) taking a look on the submarine. RMN picture.

The contractual refit period for each submarine is 18 months from the respective start dates. BHIC, is 73.15% owned by the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT).

KD Tunku Abdul Rahman at its welcoming ceremony in 2009.
KD Tunku Abdul Rahman at its welcoming ceremony in 2009.

It is expected that once KD Tunku Rahman refit was completed, KD Tun Razak will undergo the same programme.As only one submarine will be operational during this time period, no submariner’s training could be conducted, according to a DCI blog. Even at sea days will be limited.

KD Tun Razak preparing to leave Kota Kinabalu base for her 2016 maiden voyage from 5th to 12th January. RMN
KD Tun Razak preparing to leave Kota Kinabalu base for her 2016 maiden voyage from 5th to 12th January. RMN

It was for this reason, RMN has always call for an extra submarine or two so its underwater service could be operated optimally. As usual funding is the big hurdle.

Meanwhile, during the visit to the Kota Kinabalu base, Kamarulzaman also accepted the Bunga Mas 5, the auxiliary naval ship gifted by MISC Bhd. Previously Bunga Mas 5 was used by the RMN to escort Malaysian ships in the pirate infested Gulf of Aden. It will now be used as another floating base to augment the Tun Azizan ship already based in ESSCOM.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam


  1. Additional 2 subs, even with lower capability than the scorpenes is okay. We have experience with agostas. 2 used agostas from Spain for training/limited operational tasks should be doable, no?

    Btw what do you mean by “also accepted the Bunga mas 5”?

    No idea on the role of Bunga Mas 5 yet.

  2. Aquire other 2nd hand agostas for training/limited capability ops ? This can be covered by our 1st sub, the Agosta that we buy from France. Yeah we know where is it now.

    The other option maybe can order from DCNS a “Scorpene Lite”, assuming have money to spare. Of coz the best will be Scorpene v2.0.

    I dont think the Agosta laid up in Malacca could be returned to sea. Yes if they did not splurge on the refit equipment, we could have buy at least one more Scorpene but not now.

  3. I.always like the midget Andrasta.It uses the same CMS as Scorpene.

    Get one andrasta. At least when one scorpene is in tne docks the submariners can train on the andrasta.

    We cannot buy only one Andrasta as we will end up just like the present situation. At least 3 is a better option.

  4. The Andrasta is a very new paper concept and we will be bearing the development cost and risk. You guys never learn.

  5. The refit is 100 percent necessary; we should be worried if either of the
    boats were not subjected to a refit.

    DCNS is still producing parts for Agosta 90s but I doubt that it’s producing parts for first generation Agosta; like the one we used. Anyhow, using 2 different kinds of designs – irrespective of whether for training – is to create a logistic nightmare.

    Subjecting both boats to an upgrade, which amongst other things would include a software upgrade to SUBTICS, an MESMA module and a towed sonar would make sense. Having 4 boats would mean that one would always be ready to put to sea but the reality is that neither the financial or political situation allows for the purchase of additional Scorpenes.

    Before asking where the Otomats on the Laksamanas are still operational; ask whether the fire directors,CMS and radars are operational.

  6. The andrasta design has been around for almost a secade. To me its a scaled down and simpler version of the scorpene, there is nothing risky in its design except being smaller than most conventiinal subs

  7. I think DCNS should offer substitute Scorpene for the refit duration…they make some money and we dont have have a hole in our
    fleet cover. Scorpene ‘light’ with standard torp. and sensors only…better than 18 months of nothing. And that service can be extended to other scorpene user refitting their subs. How different/personalised is our scorpene compare to the others anyway? (other than the missile/torp systems)

    No ship builder has ever substitute a ship or sub undergoing a routine refit period. They will not do that even during the warranty period. The systems inside the Scorpene is completely different than lets say the German or Swedish sub. More importantly unlike a surface ship, a mistake inside the torpedo room could be very serious and could even result in the loss of the vessel. Thats why the US Navy uses the same torpedo and its associated systems for both the attack and nuclear submarines so technically the torpedo room sailors could cross platform easily.

  8. Sgway: Even though the Andrasta CONCEPT has existed for a long time, it has never been built. Why should we be the guinea pig when other options exist?

  9. If it was standard practice for yards to provide the cable user with a replacement whilst a ship/boat was in refit; the yards would soon be out of business!!

    The Scorpene is “light” because it is optimised for shallow/littoral water ops as opposed to diesel boats built for longer lasting ops in deep waters like the Kilo, Upholder and Oberon. Given our operational requirements, we don’t need a boat with longer range and endurance the way the Japanese or Australians do.

    It is to be expected that follow designs offered by DCNS will have improvements in software, optronics and other areas, i.e. SUBTICS on our 2 boats have improvements over SUBTICS fitted on the Pakistani Agostas. All improvements can be retrofitted on an existing design without any major hassle as long as it’s approved by the OEM. The Indians in the 1990’s looked at fitting Exocet to its 209s but found it was too problematic and not worth the effort.

  10. Is it true that The Ship Interface Template Set (SITS) to be installed in RMN Kota Kinabalu Naval Base for Submarine rescue cooperation and interoperability between the US Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy?

    Yes I reported this on Jan 6, the post is here Mortars and Submarine Rescue. If you read it somewhere else its probably a translated version of that story.

  11. If i may ask..why did msia buy only 2 subs considering that it will not be sufficient due to our maritime area n this re fit?


  12. Even if we had the cash and we ordered 5 Scorpenes for staggered deliveries over say a 7 year period; I doubt if we could have raised the needed manpower or establish the needed support and training infrastructure to operate the 5 boats within the time needed. It’s for this reason that many have questioned how Vietnam will operate its 6 Kilos in the near future.

    Having the needed trained manpower is one thing, having the needed support and training infrastructure is a completely different matter. One reason we put off buying SSKs in the past was not only the cost to buy them but also the cost to operate and maintain them.

  13. Some may like to know that like our submarines, USS George HW Bush was commissioned in 2009. She is undergoing a planned refit now.

  14. mofaz,

    So what? All machine parts have finite life spans. A surface vessel or submarine is no different from your car in that sense.

  15. Came across this Samsung Lithium Ion submarine battery capability picture. Seems like it is designed as a retrofit for even the scorpene. Would it be worthwhile to implement it during the refit?


    I was told the refit was just that, no upgrades whatsoever. Anyhow I don’t think DCNS will allow any non OEM stuff on their boats. I don’t think we have the expertise to do it on our own.

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