KM Kukup 2011

PC Sri Sabah when she was operating as KM Kukup with the MMEA. Malaysian Defence picture.

PETALING JAYA: A week before 2011 raya I got the chance to board and check out KM Kukup, a former Kedah class patrol vessel, now in service with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA). Kukup is based in Port Klang, MMEA district region 4. Kukup and her sister ships, 14 of them I believe, are now called the Sipadan class after small islets across the country.

The barrel of the main gun is lashed on to a railing

Kukup, like other ships of the class, is almost as old as the country itself. Her crew are much younger than the ship which could barely muster 10 knots now-days, which is not good if they happen to encounter those 4 engine speed boats used to smuggle cigarettes and other stuff. For those fleeting encounters, Kukup and its sister ships have to rely on other MMEA assets to give chase as those speed fiends will run circles around them.

From August 1, MMEA is the sole maritime enforcement agency in the country taking over from host of bodies from marine police to customs. A huge undertaking for an agency sorely needing a boost especially in terms of funding. So for now the agency has to rely on assortment of old vessels like Kukup to do the dirty job as they wait for new vessels to be ordered.

A view from the Kukup forecastle

The bridge of Kukup was off limit to nosy reporters but one can see from the forecastle that it is now equipped with a flat screen monitor. Apart from the sole 40mm Bofors gun, there was no other gun or mounts seen deck. Although I had my doubts, the captain insisted that the Bofors was still workable so I guess we have to trust him on that.

KM Kukup nameplate

Bofors plate on Kukup 40mm gun

A close up of the Kukup bridge

With no huge capital outlay available for MMEA in the near future, I am guessing that Kukup and her sister ships will still be around when we celebrate the 70th Merdeka celebrations. A horrible thought indeed.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2227 Articles
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  1. Like I said in a earlier post, the MMEA has new aircraft, new electro optical sights and new remote controlled turrets – all it needs are new ships…

    Now that the MMEA is finally the sole agency responsible for maritime security, what has happened to the Marine Police unit and the PDRM special operations unit?

    Marine police are now responsible for inland waters – lakes, rivers and dams. Their job starts from the water edge to 1.6km inland. Ungerin remained with Marine police. The platoon size unit is tasked for responses to district police in case of emergencies on waters including seas.

  2. These ships should be in museums by now…

    They can buy big ticket items like the CL-415, but no money for recapitalisation of 15 old boats? What, malaysia don’t have any shipyards that could build a proper patrol craft? Nigeria has bought 2 of this beautiful 38m patrol craft from a shipyard in penang (or more precisely, from a middlemen in singapore who then contracts the penang shipyard to build them)

    Or still have really no money to buy ships? Go to south korea and ask them nicely to donate their nice 37m PKM boats to us (they still have more than 70 of them)

    Front guns are bofors 40mm with cabin for all weather, rears are 2x 20mm vulcans gatling (can be removed for APMM as it is way too much overkill).

    Ermmm… If i am the home security minister…

    MMEA is under Muhya….

  3. Granted, they are old boats. But the navy did operate just as old a assets not too long ago. If you noticed the kind of rust, poor state of maintenance/appearances and defects that they currently in, it would have been unacceptable in the navy. Ask Dato Amdan whether he ever had RAJA JAROM, an old US LST in such poor state while he was in command. Mind you back then the LST is even older than these PCs today.

    There is a cultural issues here. In the navy, ship’s crew are responsible and tend to keep their ship ‘shipshape’ and ‘tip top’ because their lives (or at least their CO, XO and Buffer’s career) depends on it, this is not the case with MMEA. Naval rank and file were brought up to take pride with a clean and efficient men o’war. They generally maintained it themselves, at least a level 1 and often level 2 maintenance. They were also regularly inspected. There is Officers of the Day rounds daily, Duty officers Fleet Ops rounds on public holidays, Duty CO rounds on weekend, work-up, Operational Readiness Evaluation from time to time, Audit, Inspection, Spot checks and the list goes on…..

    If a RMN ship appearances is half as bad as those pictured, the CO would have been removed from command – that much you can be sure of.

    In the Custom, Marine Department, Fisheries, Marine police etc it is a different ball game. The task of maintaining their boat lies with maintenance department who just subcontracted it out. I was even told that the maintenance dept. responsibility is to overseer the work of the contractor. Thus the crew are simply not used to and have very little or no knowledge about maintaining a seagoing vessels. Try and ask the CO if he knew the differences between a primer, undercoat, overcoat, anti fouling and non skid paint and where, when and how to apply them.

    I used to command a squadron of this type of boats and it broke my heart to see the state that they are in today.

    Sad but cant always blame it on the moneyman.

  4. “Yet the govt has the bucks to spend billions to buy a small number of stealth warships.”

    The irony is that the NGPV project was supposed to replace patrol vessels like this.

  5. For close inshore work in the Straits of Melaka, a larger version of the Jerong class built by Hong Leong Lurssen would be ideal and relatively inexpensive.


    Excellent post! Thanks for the insight on how the RMN tends to its vessels. Question for you – has the RMN’s syllabus/procedures with regards to the upkeep of vessels been adopted by the MMEA? Aren’t most ship Captains in the MMEA either former RMN or have been trained by the RMN?

    Ree, The NGOPVs were intended to replace the Sabah and Kris class operaated by the RMN and they did indeed! problem was the government did not have sufficient funds to allocate when the MMEA was formed.

  6. @Azlan

    The boat that i suggested above is basically a jerong class hull with a modern superstructure. Its a bit shorter at 38m compared to 44m for jerong and it is build in the same yard, although it is no longer called the HL Lurssen…

  7. What we need is a standard, home-grown patrol craft to gradually replace the assortment of old ex-marine police, marine/fisheries, customs, etc craft. I am certain such a PC is well within the design and construction capabilities of local boat and shipyards. Take inspiration from the USN’s pre-WWII “Plywood Derby” competition for motor torpedo boats and have our own run-off. As for design various Scandinavian (eg CB-90), Israeli (so what!) and Korean (the PKMs are nice, “…”) can be looked at for ideas. Many weapon and navigational systems for small craft are available for guick adaptation/adoption. The standard design can then be built by two or three yards over a number of years as the old boats become too much of an effort to operate safely and effectively (as they seem to be even as we discuss).

    The problem has always been that we are fixated by the yards it-selves rather than the products…

  8. In one of my quiet moments, as a mental exercise, I started to write down a design statement for what I called an MSSC. This was way before I joined this discussion board:

    “The Multirole Small Surface Combatant (MSSC) is conceived out of a requirement for a relatively simple, cost-effective yet swift and adequately armed and functionally equipped craft that could be used by naval forces in the patrol and strike roles and by civil maritime agencies for surveillance and enforcement duties.”

    In common with my *physical exercises*, that was how far I got!

  9. @Azlan, Thanks for the interest. You’re right in the beginning MMEA CO’s and top leadership was mostly from the navy. PM rationale was that only the navy have the right seagoing culture and experiences to set MMEA on a right footing.

    At that time MMEA were literally set up and driven by the navy. The navy even released their experienced, trained and those who volunteered to join the MMEA causing a temporary shortfall in manpower. I was told by the firSt ‘DG’ (a civilian guy before MMEA was officially set-up) that the navy was the only agency that really supported the establishment of MMEA. There was very strong resistance from other agency in particular from ones in blue uniform due to ‘turf war’ and wanting to keep the ‘perjawatan’ (meaning some guy wanted to keep his star).

    But overtime, things have changed. I was told the resistance became too strong. Other MMEA guy was telling the ex-navy guy this is not a navy. They are no longer the majority in there and it is after all under the PM department, not KEMENTAH so they do things differently. They don’t even want to be trained by the navy anymore (they have their own training establishment now). I guess the ex navy guy finally yield.

    As far as handing over concern, it was complete – lock, stock and barrel. All spares, drawings, training etc was provided.

    By the way, to put things into perspective. there is still 2 PC left in RMN. They still work and being task for all kind of Ops including OP PASIR. Both 40mm gun still fires and they can do a lot more than 10 knots with a lot less rust.

    The guys in blue resisted mostly due to the fact that they took almost 30 years to get their assets, boats and bases included, only to see them handed over to the newbies…

  10. The current Perajurit issue has details of a planned JDAM and Sidewinder X buy for the Hornets. Negotiations it seems are ongoing.
    The beauty is that these can also be used by the Super Hornets – maybe someone should point this out to the Defence Minister – the whole concept of commonaliity and reducing one’s logistics footprint. It would be nice if a journalist or one of our tame mainstream defence mags – ADJ, Tempur and Perajurit – would ask our Defence Minister the million ringgit question – just what exactly can the Typhoon do that the cheaper Super Hornet can’t????


    Thanks for the info. What is Hong Leong Lurssen called now? The design you mentioned, should more than suit the MMEA’s needs and also the RMN, for close inshore work in Sabahan waters. Rather than a Vulcan, an OWS with a 12.7mm and a 40mm AGL would be more useful. I’m not sure however if FACs or similiar sized ships still have a place in the RMN’s doctrine and whether the entry into service of the LCS will lead to the retirement of the Handalan, Perdana and Jerong class.
    It’s a bit of an overkill and expensive using a Kedah or LCS for routine patrols around the Sabah islands.


    Excellent description! Logic would dictate the MMEA and RMN share a common design but logic and common sense does not always figure in the scheme of things, as far as our politican are concerned, unfortunatly. Our joke of a Defence Minister is so mesmorised with the Typhoon that he publicly said that other ongoing requirements may be delayed, AGAIN, to fund the Typhoon! Someone must have whispred in his ear that the Typhoon is ”stealthy”..

  11. MMEA lacks credible support infrastructure for their hand me downs and their operational needs.

    Together with their here nor there existence prior to Aug 1

  12. Jentayu,

    Thanks for the feedback. You comment that ex-RMN men are no longer the majority and no longer have a monopoly in decision making in the MMEA is very interesting.

    A few questions if you don’t mind –

    [1]I would imagine that the folks that mantain the former Marikh and Mystari are still ex-RMN men?

    [2] From the time they entered service till the time they were handed over to the MMEA, did the Kris and Sabah class, including the 2 still operated by the RMN, ever receive any new equipment? Maybe a new navigation radar, radios, GPS or something else? If I’m not mistaken they were originally delivered with a Decca navigation radar.

    [3] What do RMN crews carry on the PC for self protection – Steyrs and Glocks? There was a photo of an SLR still being used for line transfers.

    [4] When RMN personnel were selected to transfer temporarily to the MMEA, did they have a chance to decline the transfer or was in compulsary?

    [5] Wasn’t there a place in Sarawak, either Tanjung Antu or Sungei Antu that was used by RMN boats in the past?

    [6] When the PCs leave Semenanjung for Sarawak and Sabah, which is the first port of call or the first refueling stop in East Malaysia and vice versa?

    [7] Do you know if any MMEA people were sent abroad for specialised engineering, navigation, etc, courses?

    Thank you.

  13. I’m proud to read about the Navy’s personnel selflessness in creating the APMM. They put the needs of the country before their own service and their own personal interest. If you cannot sacrifice your hardware for the country how do you sacrifice yourself?


    Those ships made by the former HLL does not cost a lot. Maybe in the single digit millions. As for its new name, well im not affiliated to them in any way, so i think with a few calls around you should get it…

    The minister fixated with typhoon LOL! Going to waste more billions for a few super expensive fighter when other stuff is more important?? If combined with the LCS, the super expensive PARS 8×8 APC, thats how many billions wasted on so few items???…

    MPA – South Korea bought 4x CN-235MPA for USD94mil.

    Fighters – Recent air show in Turkey has the Turkish AF Commander highly impressed with the JF-17 which cost only USD15Mil per plane…

    Ships – The Denmark Absalon multi purpose frigates costs the same as one of our Kedah class OPV’s

    AFV’s – Turkish Otokar Yavuz APC: $2.7-3.2 million, The price of FNSS Pars IFV: ~$3-4 million (and why we overspend by USD2bil for “local assy and QC checks” when the FNSS price already includes those, i don’t know…)

    On the good impression of the JF-17 at the Turkish show, everything is impressive at a show, that’s why they called them shows. Only when you are in knee deep in the mud only then you know whether its really good stuff. That’s why they want to retire the Fulcrums and they choose to ignore offers of more Flankers.

  14. Azlan,
    I have always favoured what I regard as light strike forces for inshore work in Sabah/Sarawak and in the relatively quiet waters of Selat Melaka. In this I am inspired by the coastal forces of WWII especially USN PT operations in the Pacific theatres.
    I consider light strike craft to be of some 70-80 feet long, weighing less than 100 tons, armed with an automatic cannon on the f’csle, and an RCWS or two midships plus an AGL on the afterdeck (somewhat as you envisaged). This would be suitable for an RMN light strike platform but the armament fit can be revised suitably for MMEA purposes. (A naval version of the Hellfire ATGW or equivalent can be ftted on RMN craft.) The propulsion system may drive waterjets or screws at speeds around 40-50 knots. The craft can be operated by a crew of up to about 10. A nav/attack system designed for small surface combatants should of course be fitted.

    The CBH 90 is already in service with the RMN and this could be easily adopted by MMEA either locally built or imported directly. They could be armed with the guns you mentioned, the Hellfires and the Nemo mortar.

  15. @marhalim

    Flankers are not good?

    Why RSAF after some exercise with IAF’s MKI suddenly wants to buy F-15’s?

    My point is… We already have the Flankers. If it is not good, why IAF is so in love with it, and why China is mass producing them? The JF-17 is way better than early F-16’s, which compared to MiG’s and Hawks that we have IMO it is more than enough for our requirements. We need equipments than are useful in daily operations, like supporting OPS PASIR and Gugusan Semarang Peninjau.

    Thats why i have stressed so many times that we need to prioritise our spending. The budget is not infinite. Those billions going to be wasted on more fancy toys are better spent on more equipment like more patrol crafts for MMEA, more CB90 for ops PASIR and spratlys, MPA aircraft, AEW aircraft, better personal equipment for soldiers etc etc…

  16. The CB-90 might be a bit too small to perform the roles the 2 PCs and Jerong class are doing.
    Trials were conducted on the SAAB LEMUR OWS some years ago but at the moment they are only armed with GPMGs or SS-77s, probably fire from bipods as I have seen any mountings on our CB-90s. The Swedish Hellfires are meant to be operated from land but are transported by CB-90s, which is a pity as the laser guided Hellfires fired from CB-90s would be ideal against light targets.


    It was also in the interest of the RMN to assist in the formation of the MMEA as the MMEA was meant to take over a number of roles the RMN was reponsible for.

  17. It may not catch four engined speed boats, but doubt that those boats can outrun 40mm projectiles (3P fuses?)..hehe. Of course, of course, rules of engagement and all that bla bla bla crap. 😛

    The 3P round is for MK 3 gun version. The one fitted on the PC is probably the MK 1 version made in the early 60s. As I mentioned in the post I doubt the gun can be fired, due to several reasons.

  18. …..,

    It’s not so much to do with the actual capabilities of the MKM but the product support and the initial problems faced in integrating non-Russian gear. To date, no one except the IAF, the RMAF and Sukhoi knows the actual flight chracteristics of the MKI/MKM as the IAFs MKIs at Red Flag and Waddington was not flown to its true potential. IMO the true pontential of the MKM will also be realised when it is fitted with an AESA, a data link and when the RMAF eventually gets its AEW aircraft. The RSAF decided to get F-15s long before it had trained with the MKI’s as the F-15 provides it with a long range strike capability to hit disstant targets if required[read Gong Kedak, Butterworth, Teluk Sepanggar, Jakarta, Sulawesi, etc].

    As it is, the F-15s have a better radar, a network centric capability that is missing on the MKMs, a better ergonomicly designed cockpit, proven ordnance and flight components with a higher MTBF. The PLAAF got its Su-37s because it had no other alternative, period. As a longstanding operator of Russian aircraft and with a need for a long range interceptor/strike platform, it was only natural that the IAF would have selected the MKI – what else could it have got?

  19. Q: How to say that what “…” said above is so wrong and so misguided without being rude?

    Ans: Let me provide 3 basic facts that should set the context.

    1. At a relative level, the regional threat levels (for air warfare) have gone down over time. The RSAF has been a tertiary air force since 1987 (when RSAF acquired the E-2Cs). You might argue that the threat levels have gone so far down that the RSAF has down sized from 7 fighter squadrons to 5 fighter squadrons. In fact, the RSAF has ‘transferred’ or given away F-16s (while keeping our F-5s, which are now due for retirement). At around US$900m(?), the Su-30MKM brings interesting capabilities at an interesting price point. And that does not match the RSAF’s missile and bomb buying budget. So I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry when I see posts like yours.

    2. RSAF has not bought single seater F-16Cs since Peace Calvin III (or since around 2000). Please note that from Peace Calvin IV onwards, the RSAF has only bought double seaters (or bomb trucks).

    3. The Indian Air Force is only now acquiring tertiary capabilities (and IMHO, have still some way to go in developing their purple capabilities). Right now, they hold the world record in crashing fighter planes. It seems that the greatest threat to Indian pilots is their planes. In one crash, the Indian pilot managed to switch-off their Su-30MKI’s fight computer (which tells you about man-machine interface).

    “If it is not good, why IAF is so in love with it, and why China is mass producing them?”

    Two more points.

    One, India has an ongoing Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft competition to acquire more aircraft and these are not Flankers.

    Two, might I remind you that China does not regard the J-11 (Chinese Flankers) very highly and prefers to build more J-10s.

    “The JF-17 is way better than early F-16′s…”

    Haha… Pakistan made a very clever purchase but I think you don’t understand what they are doing. Pakistan is buying more F-16s and also the JF-17, with Chinese AWACs. In other words, they are acquiring tertiary capabilities and they are also acquiring the JF-17 in large numbers to counter the numbers present in the Indian air force inventory.

    RMAF on the other hand, have neither the numbers nor the tertiary capabilities mentioned above.

  20. OPSSG – ‘RMAF on the other hand, have neither the numbers nor the tertiary capabilities mentioned above.”

    Very true indeed but no one is suggesting otherwise. Malaysia’s threat perceptions are a weeee bit different from that of Pakistan and India, would you not agree? And having much more operational reponsibilities on account of being a much larger country than Singapore, the MAF has to also focus on other areas. Apart from funding limitations, threat perceptions and the governments priority on national development, another factor that has played a part in limiting the number of fighters operated is that for several decades the priority of the RMAF was supporting the army’s 21 year old counter ibsurgency campaign, not dealing with marauding fighters in our airspace. I would however be the first to agree that the MAF is underfunded and overstrecthed, and has faced neglect from the government [we only have a single infantry brigade in Sabah which is more than 10 times bigger than Singapore]. In short, the MAF is not being provided with the the right tools or the right numbers to do its job.


    The problems with the MKM are not so much with the actual platform but due to the logistics support and initial problems caused by the integration of non-Russian gear. IMO the full potential of the MKM will only be realised when it get an AESA [as part of a future upgrade], a data link and when the RMAF eventually gets an AEW platform. At present only the IAF, the RMAF and Sukhoi know the full flight chracteristics of the MKI/MKM as the MKIs flown at Red Flag and Waddington were not flown to their full potential.

    The RSAF begun planning for a long range MRCA platform long before it trained with the IAF’s MKI’s. The F-15s provide the RSAF with a long range strike capability to hit distant targets if required [read Teluk Sepanggar, Gong Kedak, Sulawesi, Jakarta, etc]. As the IAF was already a longtime operator of Russian aircraft and it needed a long range multi-role platform, it was only natural that it would go for a MKI’s – what else could it have got?

  21. Below is a list of the top 6 SEA countries ranked by their defence spending to provide context to this discussion. The defence spending data is from SIPRI*, the Total Fighter Fleet** size data is extracted from Flight International’s ,Dec 2009, “World Air Forces” (keep in mind that this is not the most accurate of sources) and the #No. of Troops (active/reserve) are extracted from the IISS’ “The Military Balance 2010”.

    1. Singapore
    **Total Fighter Fleet in 2009 = 99
    (i) F-16C/Ds = 60 (other sources suggest higher numbers)
    (ii) F-15SGs = 4 (20 on order)
    (iii) F-5S/Ts = 35

    #No. of Troops (active/reserve)……….: 72,500 (active) and 312,000 (reserves)
    2009 GDP (nominal) …………………….: US$182.23 billion (IMF data)
    *Defence Spending as a % of GDP …: Between a low of 3.9% to a high of 5.1% (from 2000 to 2008)
    *2009 Defence Spending……………….: US$7,966 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2004 Defence Spending……………….: US$6,661 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2000 Defence Spending……………….: US$5,997 million (at constant 2008 prices)

    2. Indonesia
    **Total Fighter Fleet in 2009 = 39
    (i) F-16A = 7
    (ii) Su-27/30 = 7 (3 on order)
    (iii) Hawk 209 = 25

    #No. of Troops (active/reserve)……….: 302,000 (active) and 400,000 (reserves)
    2009 GDP (nominal) …………………….: US$539.37 billion (IMF data)
    *Defence Spending as a % of GDP …: Between a low of 1.0% to a high of 1.4% (from 2000 to 2008)
    *2009 Defence Spending……………….: US$4,908 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2004 Defence Spending……………….: US$4,840 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2000 Defence Spending……………….: US$2,970 million (at constant 2008 prices)

    3. Thailand
    **Total Fighter Fleet in 2009 = 97
    (i) F-16A/Bs = 50
    (ii) F-5A/E = 47
    (iii) Gripen C = 0 (other sources suggest that it is 6 +6 on order)

    #No. of Troops (active/reserve)……….: 305,860 (active) and 200,000 (reserves)
    2009 GDP (nominal) …………………….: US$263.97 billion (IMF data)
    *Defence Spending as a % of GDP …: Between a low of 1.1% to a high of 1.5% (from 2000 to 2008)
    *2009 Defence Spending……………….: US$4,117 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2004 Defence Spending……………….: US$2,673 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2000 Defence Spending……………….: US$2,702 million (at constant 2008 prices)

    4. Malaysia
    **Total Fighter Fleet in 2009 = 59
    (i) Su-30MKM = 18
    (ii) F/A-18D = 8
    (iii) MiG-29 = 10
    (iv) RF-5E= 9
    (v) Hawk 208 = 14

    #No. of Troops (active/reserve)……….: 109,000 (active) and 296,300 (reserves)
    2009 GDP (nominal) …………………….: US$192.95 billion (IMF data)
    *Defence Spending as a % of GDP …: Between a low of 2.0% to a high of 2.6% (from 2000 to 2008)
    *2009 Defence Spending……………….: US$4,078 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2004 Defence Spending……………….: US$3,691 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2000 Defence Spending……………….: US$2,122 million (at constant 2008 prices)

    5. Vietnam
    **Total Fighter Fleet in 2009 = 202
    (i) MiG-21 = 146
    (ii) Su-22 = 38
    (iii) Su-27/30 = 18 (8 on order)

    #No. of Troops (active/reserve)……….: 455,000 (active) and 5 million (reserves)
    2009 GDP (nominal) …………………….: US$92.43 billion (IMF data)
    *Defence Spending as a % of GDP …: Between a low of 2% to a high of 2.5% (data from 2003 to 2008)
    *2009 Defence Spending……………….: US$2,073 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2004 Defence Spending……………….: US$1,370 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2000 Defence Spending……………….: No data shown in SIPRI database

    6. Philippines
    **Total Fighter Fleet in 2009 = 0
    (i) S-211 = 13 (S211 is not classed as fighter aircaft, as its not even an AJT)
    (ii) OV-10 =11 (ground attack and not usually classes as fighter aircaft)
    [Note: I believe the actual working inventory may be lower]

    #No. of Troops (active/reserve)……….: 120,000 (active) and 131,000 (reserves)
    2009 GDP (nominal) …………………….: US$161.19 billion (IMF data)
    *Defence Spending as a % of GDP …: Between a low of 0.8% to a high of 1.0% (from 2001 to 2008)
    *2009 Defence Spending……………….: US$1,424 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2004 Defence Spending……………….: US$ 1,275 million (at constant 2008 prices)
    *2000 Defence Spending……………….: US$ 1,270 million (at constant 2008 prices)

    In fact, Trefor Moss, writing for Janes had on 18 Jan 2010 said:-

    “The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) of 2010, by far the most advanced military force in Southeast Asia, are the outcome of a long-held policy of allotting defence up to 6 per cent of GDP. While defence spending has dipped below this level in recent years – it was 4.3 per cent in 2009, an allocation of SGD11.4 billion (USD8.2 billion) – this remains very high by regional standards. As the Indonesian defence minister recently lamented, Singapore (population less than five million) spends more on defence in real terms than Indonesia (population 230 million)… The SAF not only enjoy a clear capability advantage over other Southeast Asian militaries, but it is also now close to becoming the ‘Third-Generation’ armed force, which recent procurement and reforms have been designed to produce.”

  22. I would like to add 2 points on sortie generation for further consideration by fellow blog participants:

    (i) With tanker support (from KC-135Rs and KC-130s) and 5 fighter squadrons (3x F-16C/D squadrons, 1x F-15SG squadron and 1x F-5S squadron – all 5 squadrons are BVR capable), the RSAF can potentially generate more sorties (with much more capable aircraft) than most other SEA air forces. With the largest defence budget in SEA (see above).

    (ii) The RSAF’s airpower generation command, is structured to out sortie generate any other air forces in SEA. IMHO, total sorties generated (before attrition) is usually calculated with reference to the formula below:

    Total sorties per day = fleet size x availability* x No. of sorties flown**.

    eg. 1: RSAF Total Sorties per day = 99 x 0.8* x 4**
    ……………………………………….. = 316.8

    The above example is an indicative calculation(in fact, there’s some under-counting of the RSAF fighter fleet). The calculation would depend on different assumptions* used by different members and in the above simple examples have not factored in fighters of ‘allied’ or partner countries.

  23. OPSSG,

    AS Singapore has vastly different threat perceptions than its neighbours [as it is in a much more vurnerable position] and has a bigger economy – which results in a bigger defence budget – something would be very terribly wrong if the SAF did not have superior capabilities than its neighbours!
    So what is the point you’re trying to make? Also some of the links and comments you posted, have been made here before, by yourself previously.

  24. While you raise many good points OPSSG, there are so MANY other variables that go into power projection calculations. It would be impossible to explain, in such a limited forum, how ‘power’ works in the real world. Anyway, how did we get drawn into discussing aircraft, when we started with a post on the MMEA?

  25. I’m sorry OPSSG, did i hit your nerves or something?

    I did not mean at all to say what you are thinking i’m saying about RSAF… I know that RSAF has not been adding anymore F-16’s and is giving away some to RTAF (i did not say RSAF bought more F-16’s, i said F-15’s). Anyway this thread is about patrol boats!

    All i’m saying is that, Malaysia already have the Flankers. Why we need to spend billions to buy the MMRCA (Note India is still procuring Flankers as their main fighter, the MMRCA buy is to offset the delay in their Tejas LCA, to replace the MiG-21, Mig-27, jaguars in their inventory. They are even undertaking an upgrade for the MKI with further reduction in RCS, and major upgrades to the radar) when it can be better used to buy equipments that can be used to better protect our borders like patrol boats, soldier personal equipments etc etc, which is what this topic is about (APMM patrol boats). That is my main point, which is about using the money for the proposed typhoon buy in part to buy more patrol boats!

    If malaysia need to add more fighters, IMO, let it be the cheap and cheerful kind that can be bought in meaningful numbers, not super duper expensive and small in numbers…

    PLA-AF is buying more J-10’s because it is cheaper to build, as is why the USAF bought more F-16’s compared to the F-15. Well it has been said that in dogfight scenario the J-10 is better than the J-11, but mission wise, the J-11 has more range, bigger weapons load than the J-10. (which brings us to the J-20, but that is not the scope of this topis is it?)

    Also I understand perfectly what PAF is doing… And I do understand the capabilities of the JF-17. The JF-17 is meant to replace the J-7 airguard, A-5 fantan and Mirages in PAF, with benchmark capabilities to be better than early F-16’s. Which is IMO just nice to replace the F-5s, MiGs and hawks…

    Now back to the patrol boats…

  26. APMM patrol boat (PB)..I eyeballed this class of PB docked at shipyard next to Kuching waterfront a few months back, and it made me wonder how they measure up against determined criminal activities in our maritime area. Just 1 main gun hope they got heavy automatic weapons onboard as backup. No latest development on APMM “wish list” lets hope KM Kukup and its brethren did not have any serious mishap/sinking accident (reminds me of KD Sri Terengganu). Get a new PB lah better solution, no point armed these veterans to the teeth yet incapable to maximise the stated potentials. Kalo Nigeria dapat beli PB dari kita punya shipyard, kita tak boleh buat 1 spesifik untuk APMM?

  27. Maintenance is the key word here. Many of our local shipyards can do a very good job repairing both the boats structures and also the engines. The hull of the boat if constantly maintained can last a long time but not its engines.Maybe reinvesting in a new set of engines may be cheaper in the long run too. Its also good for the many capable local shipyards too.
    It will allow our aging boats to operate longer, cheaper and benefit our local yards too.

    I think its better to replace them ASAP rather than just replacing the engines.

  28. Since we’re on the subject of patrol boats, the current issue of Perjurit has an article about KD Perak which capsized in a heavy storm in 1984 near Natuna island. The problem here is that the hull was never designed to operate in such sea condiitions.

    When Vosper was contracted to provide the RMN with PC back in 1961, they added stabizers and an AC. For our operational requirements the PCs had to have enough fuel to reach E. Malaysia. All in all, the contract for the PCs was a blessing as they were the RMNs backbone during the Confrontation and manage intercept and sink an number of Indonesia vessels near the Singapore straits.

    Back to jets for a moment.

    According to the current Perajurit, a U.S. company has installed digital cameras on 2 RF-FEs. They have also received a small avionics upgrade. When discussing the MRCA requirement we tend to forget that a lot also depends on how much political pull and influence the local agents have. Everyone know who is the head of the company that represents SAAB and the Gripen? As for the JDAM and Sidewinder X it seems its a go, together with NAVFLIR which has been ordered.

    Who does Gripen? On the JDAM and X, I will wait for the DSCA announcement first.

  29. YM Lee,

    The hulls of the 31 metre PCs are just not designed to operate in rough sea conditions beyond a certain sea state. There were designed for close in shore work and have a very low free-board – no amount of maintenance or new engines will change this.

  30. Marhalim,

    I have been told, but can confirm it, that the head honcho for the local outfit pushing the Gripen is Syed Mokhtar Bukari.

    P.S. Hope we won’t be sued……

    Can or cannot? We are only saying that they are agents, nothing else..

  31. @Azlan, thats a long list and I’ll try to answer without giving away too much 😉

    1. At least 1 of the CO and some of the crew is ex navy. I dont know about the ratio/composition. But as I said they adopted a different approach to maintenance nowadays. So who the crew is no longer matter.
    2. Yes they were upgraded here and there basically on making them ‘fit for purposes basis’, nothing extraordinary. By the way, the navy made little distinction between SABAH and KRIS Class. Well sometime we spoke abt Maybach and MTUs (their engines) otherwise they were just PCs.
    3. Mixture of what you’ve mentioned as well as other types plus some GPMGs. Those days we even use the Sterling SMGs. After the SLRs was retired from service, they were only use as gunline.
    4. The transfer was permanent almost completely voluntary except for the top leadership who were selected. The guy who joint APMM have to retire from naval service. They are not seconded.
    5. We use to come alongside just about anywhere possible depending on the tasking. In Sarawak, Kuching was quite a popular stop. So does Miri. I remember went all the way up river to now decommissioned RASCOM (Rajang Security Command).
    6. Depend on their tasking, last and next port of call. We used to have a SQN of PC in Labuan (then Sandakan) so ordinarily there is no real need to cross over. From Kuantan they can made a tour of the GSP then stop in Labuan if endurance is what you have in mind.
    7. In the beginning Yes. In fact the navy gave them some of their own allocation/place as MMEA does not really have much yet. The senior leadership level went to US, Europe etc to study the best model/practices to adopt.

    I would like to add that it was quite painful for us to let go almost half of our assets (in term of numbers) but orders were orders. While the MMEA been beating the drum abt being the sole enforcement agency (whatever that means) the navy were still expected to enforced the law out at sea. So today its catch 2-2 for the navy. Still have to carry out the good ol’ law enforcement function plus ever increasing amount of OPS (eg. there was no Gulf of Eden, Ambalat, Middle Rock, increasing PRC assetiveness in SCS back then) with only 2/3 of the original numbers.

  32. It should be noted that in addition to the patrol boats, the MMEA operates AS365N3 and AW139 helicopters and CL-415MP amphibious aircraft. Although insufficient in number, with the right equipment they can greatly assist the sluggish patrol boats. Does anyone know if the patrol boats are directly linked (communications, sensors, etc.) to the aircraft? And are the aircraft armed?

    The pilots and observers carries handguns as does some of the sailors.

  33. Jentayu,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my numerous questions, much appreciated.
    It’s always a pleasure speaking to someone who has served before in the MAF.

    I would think that the RMN is facing the same problems a lot of other navies are facing – being asked to do too much, but being underfunded and neglected by its political masters and having a general population who are mostly indifferent or ignorant as to what the RMN actually does, daily and year after year, to protect our national interests at sea. Unfortunatly, not many are aware also of the RMN contributions during the Konfrontasi. The book ”Tiger Territory” has lots of interesting info on the early days of the RMN and its contribution to the naval effort durring Konfrontasi.

    Do you know anything about the Riverine Patrol Craft that were operated by the RMN in the rivers of Sarawak against the NKCP – as to how many where operated and for how long? I’ve been told that these were locally built in Penang. Also, I realise that this may have been way before your time in service, but do you know why the Perkasa class was retired so early after entering service?

  34. cheap and reasonable patrol boats in the 30 – 37.5 metre range are available for what can be considered of pocket change in MAF’s context.

    Yemen ordered 10 x 37.5 metre patrol boats from Austal for a mere USD$55 million.

    While Algeria ordered 21 x 35 metre patrol vessels from OCEA shipyard for around USD$8.5 million per ship.

  35. UAE has been buying this “CB90 on steroids” to better equip its forces with littoral combat capability. It is bigger in size (24m)to the CB90 (16m). I like the way UAE has been developing its forces in the littoral arena, compared to what malaysia is going to, which is the US navy way… there will be 24 in total, 12 with missiles, 6 with 120mm mortars and 6 with 17mm cannons.

    W/O heavy armament, it could be an ideal patrol boat for APMM,with reasonable range and the speed for interception if needed.

  36. Can’t make a direct comparison with the UAE as Malaysia has a much longer coastline, deeper waters to operate in and the sea conditions likely to be faced in the South china Sea are much more severe than what the UAE navy faces in the Gulf. The RMN still needs vessels of 1500 to 2000 tonne displacement for the sea-keeping and endurance they provide. The question that none of us can answer is whether the RMN still has a future need for vessels in the 30 odd metre category like the Handalan or Perdana or whether its intention is to stick to vessels the size of the Kedah or future LCS.

    Given that the LCS has been designated the LCS, it will be very strange or silly if it is not fitted with a mine/obstacle avoidance sonar like those fitted on the Kedah class and the Scorpene ……

    VR is saying that CBH 2000 is suitable for MMEA duties since its roles are more towards enforcement of the laws at 12 nautical mile limit which is our official border. I am guessing here that these boats could also be suitable for patrol up to 60 nautical miles in SC sea. Anyways from 100 miles onwards up to the EEZ its already the Navy’s domain.
    The CBH 2000 is suitable; as it could easily be manufactured here and the UAE has shown that it can be fitted with short range ASM, AAM and mortars.
    Alas the basic design will not be suitable for ASW and mine-hunting. It be can be used for mine hunting if fitted with electric motors for slow trawling of mines with ROV and sweeps.

    As for the 1500-2000 tonnes issue, the navy actually needs a corvette ala the Laksamana or Super Vita or Goteborg classes. These could be around 70-80 metres and be below 1000 tons. It will be cheaper hull, armed with a 76mm gun, RAM for AA, four ASM launchers, two triple torpedo tubes and a towed array. Actually this type of ship is my personal choice for the recapitalisation of the navy based on our current budget allocation. We actually cannot afford frigates or LCS at our current budget.
    Can my dream corvette survive an encounter with a Chinese destroyer? Perhaps not but my guess is that a LCS will also not survive such encounter. So what’s the answer then? Don’t go to war and at the same time build boats you can afford to manufacture and run optimally

  37. Re: “Can my dream corvette survive an encounter with a Chinese destroyer? Perhaps not but my guess is that a LCS will also not survive such encounter. So what’s the answer then? Don’t go to war and at the same time build boats you can afford to manufacture and run optimally…”

    It would be unreasonable to expect any ASEAN member to be able to stand alone in a conflict with China. Malaysia is no exception. What we need to be doing is forging alliances with our neighbors when and where we can, and developing a credible deterrent (albeit limited) to any potential aggressor. Can we defeat the PLA in a ‘total war’? Definitely not! But can we make the PLA think twice before pursuing a more limited objective? Absolutely!

    “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Einstein.

  38. Marhalim,

    The problem is that though patrol boats or corvette sized vessels would suit our operational requirements, for certain tasks or roles we still need something larger – the size of the Kedah or LCS – that can’t be avoided given the size of the EEZ and the need to deploy across the SCS to East Malaysia.
    Off course the problem here is the cost of building, equipping, manning and operating frigate sized ships in numbers. Thats why I still am of the opinion that FAC sized vessels or something slightly larger still have a role to play, being cheaper to build and run. According to some navy chaps I spoke to, the sea keeping of the Laksamana’s are all right as long as the sea does not get too rough. And the RMN went public in the late 90’s saying that the design of the Kasturi – the low bow and reeboard – was a problem if anything more than Sea State 2 was encountered. Again the million ringgit questions are whether the RMN still sees a need for FACs in its future force structure and whether is still has need for vessels similiar in size to the FACs but maybe slightly larger than a CB-90, for routine patrolling work that may not always require a Kedah or LCS. IMO it will be a bit of an overkill using a Kedah or LCS to patrol the Sulu sea against the possibility that Philippine pirates/bandits might cross over.

    As for the MMEA, whilst CB-90s or newer versions of the CB-90 would be more than ideal, there would still be a requirement for something slightly larger – perhaps something similar in size to the boat that was given to the MMEA by Japan. CB-90s can’t operate in very rough sea conditions, they only have the range and endurance for short patrols, and there is simply no room aboard if the MMEA were to detain people at sea or to rescue people.

  39. Erm, marhalim on the same wavelength as me on this?

    Yup i was talking about MMEA on the CBH 2000 boats. It would be a suitable boat to patrol the 12nm seas, and also for the navy to beef up ops pasir and spralty kind of senario’s.

    For the Navy LCS, as i previously posted on NGPV and SGPV topics, my fave ship is the south korean PKX gumduksuri. Fairly heavily armed (1x 76mm main gun, 1x twin 40mm 4x SSM, SAM), fast, quite long range for SCS patrols and most importantly USD40mil (actually 37.7mil) per ship, less than 1/7th the cost of 1 of the RMN’s proposed LCS/SGPV. If it is good enough for ROK Navy…

    With the planned budget for SGPV (USD300mil each for 6 ships?) RMN could get the 3 nakoda ragam’s (around USD600mil?), 18 PKX (40×18 USD720mil, to replace all FAC’s and add a little more. With 18 ships to build, the build can be spread to 2-3 shipyards in malaysia, giving more shipyards the experience/TOT of building a modern navy ship), 3 LPD’s similar to Makassar class (50×3 USD150mil) and still have USD330mil to spare on upgrading the kedah class ships for ASW warfare… Which is to me a more better way of maximising the value of the money spent. As we all agree malaysia has a long coastline (and a lot of hot spots like sipadan, spratly, selat melaka), which IMO can be better covered by 18 additional PKX (not to mention the nakoda ragams, LPD’s) rather than just 6 more SGPV/LCS.

    As for any encounter with chinese destroyers in SCS (or with TNI-AL in sipadan waters), the PKX presence would signal our interest of that area, any contact we should immidiately send MKM’s for air cover, plus additional PKX’s to the area in 4hrs (at top speed, distance 280km’s from base). Any 1st shots would be easily returned fire by the PKX, any further escalation the MKM should finish the job…

    OK now back to the MMEA boats…

  40. ……,

    I’m aware of the points you were trying to make, though I may be on a different wavelenght. All the ideas you put forward are good ones and are very valid.

    I was merely pointing out the problems in sea keeping the RMN has had in the past and was questioning if FAC sized vessels or even corvettes still have a place in the RMNs future force structure – ships that would include the Gumduksuri [this is a question none of us can answer]. Also, as the RMN has a requirement for a medium range SAM to provide better AD coverage, stuff like ESSM will not fit on something the size of the Gumduksuri class. Yes if the Gumduksuri is good enough for the ROKN it should be good enough for the RMN but in the ROKNs scheme of things the Gumduksuri is intended to perform secondary roles, with the KDXs doing the more serious stuff. Now it can be argued that the likelihood of us being in engaged in a conflict is very slim and that the main threats we face are from pirates, terrorists and illegal fishing.

    Yes, the CB-90s or CBH 2000s are more than perfect for the MMEA to patrol with the 12 nautical mile limit. But what would happen if there is a need to deploy in a heavy storm or the MMEA is called to perform a rescue at sea or to transfer detained people – is there room on the CB-90s or CBH 2000s? Granted a tradeoff has to be made and we don’t always get what we want or need, so perhaps large numbers of CB-90s and a few larger boats should do the trick?

  41. “…”, the PKX is an interesting proposition: perhaps a more value-adding buy than the Kedah NGPVs! But I want to harp on the PB issue further.

    If the PB is to be standard for the MMEA as well as the RMN (with appropriate armament and equipment changes), than the CBH 2000 (per UAE) does not seem suitable. It has a rather tall superstructure giving it a high silhouette quite visually obvious, thus unacceptable, in combat. (It looks more like a tugboat than a naval vessel!)

    A stretched version of the CB-90H (with proportionate broadening of the beam) is better, in my opinion, i.e. if we are to use this design as our basis. Below-deck arrangements could be reconfigured for crew accommodation and mission-related spaces. The foredeck should be redesigned to enable placement of an automatic cannon, particularly for the RMN version. This could mean deletion of the landing doors at the bow.

    While we do need the larger units, it is tactically unsound to respond to inshore threats with vessels larger than PBs/FACs.

  42. GhostriderWan,

    Trials were conducted previously with a Giat 20mm gun and the SAAB LEMUR OWS, there is no need for the deletion of the ramp or a redesigned fore deck on the CB-90.


    I found out where the Bofors MK1 on the Hang Tuah came from. It was from the Mahawangsa, which unlike the Indera Sakti, had originally 2 fitted.

    On the RMN longer range SAM preference, a six cell ESSM launcher can be fitted to a vessel the size of Gondoksuri. This was shown by the Danish Stanflex 300 which was offered to us for the NGPV programme. Of course they choose the Kedah class. Granted the Stanflex 300 design is about 20 years old now, I still think it is the perfect solution for our conundrum in looking for a single hull for a multi-tude of roles. The Stanflex 300 is used as FAC, patrol, mine hunting and mine laying. In my opinion the decision for the Fit but not equipped With feature of the Kedah class was merely to placate the bean counters by the conniving former shipyard owner so they can choose the German design. The only reservations I have with the Stanflex 300 is that the hull is GRP. Some navies have moved away from using GRP due to its alleged combustibility.

    On the MK1 on the Hang Tuah, more importantly does it work?

  43. Marhalim,

    I hope they work. Last LIMA, SAAB was awarded a 10USD million contract to provide spares for our Mk1s. I still can’t figure out where the Marikh and Kasturi class got their Mk1s though. We can’t have bought them new as SAAB ceased production years ago.

    On the SAMS, if only a 6 cell VLS can be fitted on a vessel the size of the Gondoksuri, we are better off going of a 21 round RAM. RAM is shorther ranged but as they say quantity has a quality of its own. On the GRP hull, I have no idea about combustibility issues with it. All current or most minehunters designs are still GRP hulls, the Mahahimurus were the first in the region.

  44. The CBH 2000 is not really a small boat. Acutually it is a larger version of the CB90.


    Length o.a. 24,25 m
    Beam mld. 5,10 m
    Depth mld. 3,10 m
    Draught: -(disp. 43 tonnes) 1,11 m -(disp. 48 tonnes) 1,18 m
    Speed Max load: +38 knots Loaded: 35 knots

    Other information

    Crew: 3
    Passengers: 42
    Fuel oil: 1×5000 litres
    Fresh water: 1×350 litres
    Construction material: Aluminium, AlMg 4,5 Mn

    It can carry 45 passengers + crew inside and can carry more on the rear deck.

    Is it tall? It is not taller than the KM Kukup. And can it do things that larger ship can? Look, we are talking about replacing the KM Kukup here, and scale the capabilities similar to the KM Kukup. BTW MMEA still have all those other bigger ships like the PZ class and all the jabatan laut ships right?

    If this CBH 2000 not your cup of tea, then MMEA can get the 38m Nigerian patrol boats build by the former Hong Leong Lurssen… ______________________________________________

    As for the ESSM, even the jebat has only short range missiles. If still want some missiles on the gumdoksuri, replace the rear twin 40mm with a SEARAM launcer, although IMO its better in the real world operations to have the twin 40mm as it can also be used to hit surface targets (shells are cheaper than missiles).

    ESSM can also be mounted as marhalim said, with Mk-48 mod 0 launchers x3 ( giving a total of 12 ESSM with on deck size of 6.84m wide, 1.27m length) or with the stanflex module Mk-48 mod 3 ( giving a total of 12 ESSM with on deck size of 3.66m wide, 2.71m length).

    But IMO better spend money to eqip ESSM on Jebat, Kasturi and Kedah ( i think the ESSM missile is also compatible with the aspide launchers of laksamana’s) ______________________________________________

    As for the bofors on KD Hang Tuah, i don\’t think it came from KD Mahawangsa. KD Mahawangsa rear guns is still there.

    This is a pic of mahawangsa in late 2008 in gulf of aden

    KD Mahawangsa’s rear bofors Karnival 1MINDEF 23 & 24 Julai 2011

    This is a pic of KD Hang Tuah in labuan 2007

    Another old pic of KD Hang Tuah

    My theory? They are from scrapped Sing FAC’s.

  45. P.S. On the reference to an encounter with a PLAN destroyer – any such encounter [hope it never happens]will depend on a lot of factors, not just the size of the 2 opposing platforms, which is not really an important factor in determining who gets sunk [unless of course guns start blazing and its a 100mm gun against a 57mm]. The INs Kora class corvette for example has 16 Urans, more SSMs than a Type 23, Type 42 or an ANZAC. The 2 Lupos offered to us with the Laksamanas in the 1990’s, though much larger ships which have much better sea keeping and endurance, aren’t much more heavily armed than the Laksamanas, which in turn are more heavily armed than the Kasturis.

  46. Azlan, since my idea of a CB-90++ will not have the troop-carrying capacity the access/steps to the door/ramp will be better utilised for stowage, etc. Also there will be no need to maintain the doors/ramp given that the boat will have a more conventional f’csle/bow (besides some weight-saving).

    “…”, great pics! They show what can be done to a CB-90…

    BTW, have you guys experienced a ride on a CB-90 after partaking of a nasi lemak breakfast?:)

  47. ……,

    The mystery deepens. I was told the Mk1 is from the Mahawangsa but in the pic you gave, it’s still there! They can’t have been from the RSN Sea Wolfs because Hang Tuah was spotted with a Mk1 way before the Sea Wolfs were retired and I seriously doubt we would have ask Kerajaan Singapura for their Mk1s.

    The problem with replacing Sea Wolf with ESSM is that Sea Wolf is not modular. Both ships would have to spend time in the dockyard undergoing some serious work. The intention is to have something more capable and a longer range than Sea Wolf. As ASTER 15 was too expensive for the Lekiu Batch 2s and it hasn’t gone any cheaper, there is only ESSM, which is not a bad missile. As for fitting ESSM of the Kedah class, Marhalim said that the space below the ‘B’ position is already occupied so that would leave only RAM as an option.
    The requirement is for a 16 cell VLS and I’m not sure that can fit on the Gumdoksuri, though as Marhalim said a 6 cell can. It would be nice if funds could be obtained to equip all 17 CB-90s with an OWS.


    I’ve been on a CB-90 a few times but unfortunatly in all those times, it was not moving. At full speed I would imagine that quite a few people would have got thrown overboard these past few years!

    Come to think of it, the MK56 launchers as fitted on the Stanflex 300 did not fully penetrate the deck. Much of it lies on top of deck. So in theory they can fit two MK56 launchers (12 cells) on the B position of the Kedah class. It won’t be pretty but it will work if they put in the money. Or a much easier way is to install single cell ESSM launcher on the sides of the helo hangar like how the Dutch did for their frigates.

  48. @azlan,

    It doesn’t matter if the sea wolf is not modular, as we will be ripping it off the ship! We are replacing non-modular systems with modular ones, so it could not be more harder than installing a modular system in a new ship. A modular system just needs enough clear space for the hardware.

    ESSM has a few types of launcher. If there is no space on the Kedah, we can use the Mk-48 mod 1 launcher (like marhalim said), which bolts onto any flat surface, like the side of the hangar for example. All of ESSM launchers are designed able to be installed without penetrating the deck, if it is flush with the deck, it is just a hole to put the system flush with the deck.


    1x Mk56 can hold 12 ESSM. If 2x Mk56, that would be 24 ESSM missiles…

    Yes you are right the MK56 actually has 12 launchers but for the Stanflex 300 they used the six launchers mod to accomodate the limited space on the ship. For the Kedah class a single or two MK 56 will suffice.

  49. Mk56 specific brochure.

    You can see the launcher is just installed on the deck, no penetration.

    it comes in 3 types: 4, 12 and 36 missile launchers, although the one currently in service is only the 12 missile variant.

    Look at the launcher Physical Characteristics, so if you need to install it an a ship, you just need a similar sized space and thats all it needs.

  50. Yes it can fit the Kedah, assuming the extra weight does not effect the ship but there is also the issue of integrating it to COSYS and the TRS-3D. As RAM is already integrated, it would be best to stick to it for the Kedah. The 4 round Mk56 however would be perfect to replace the Aspide on the Laksamana’s, but then again again integrating issues would come into play. Alenia Marconi of course would be happy to do it for a fee. On the Sea Wolf, a multi million contract was signed last LIMA for spares and to support the Sea Wolf for a few more years. Whether MBDA will continue to provide support for the Sea Wolf after that remains to be seen as it has already started work on an improved version.

    As for the LCS and the ESSM I feel we are all putting the horse before the cart here, as cost overruns might result in the LCS getting something cheaper and shorter ranged than ESSM, like the SADRAL mount for Mistral. Now that would be a wee bit embarassing.

  51. @marhalim

    Mk18/Mk56 that become the stanflex module is the same size. Your oft quoted 6 missile is when it is loaded with the Seasparrow. When using ESSM on the stanflex module, the missile load doubles to 12. It is the same launcher/ same size / same space. Not that 6 missile launcher is smaller than 12 missile. It is because of the different missile. ESSM is smaller than the Seasparrow.

    Do download and read carefully the brochures I posted to understand more about Seasparrow/ESSM launchers, and what is the integation possibilities.

    The one fitted on the Stanflex series was the Mk48 Mod 3 VLS, it is a six pot launcher. The ESSM load out is now fitted on the Absalon class as the Stanflex has been relegated to PG roles only.

  52. ….,

    Yes the Flyvefisken and the USCG uses the TRS-3D. Work will still be needed to integrate ESSM to NAUTIS and the fire directors, and STN Atlas and Raytheon will have to do it and will have to be paid for it. Logic would dictate that the Kedah will eventually [we hope] be fitted with RAM. RAM of course it a shorter range missile but is highly regarded as can be attested by the many navies that use it as a primary or secondary system. The Danes also use the SMART radar which was specified for the Lekiu Batch 2s. During certification tests they found that it was much easier and practical to use than the TRS-3D as it has much less modes than the TRS-3D which has something like 10 modes [trust the Germans to over engineer things!].

    I like the idea of the 4 cell Mk56 launcher though. I know work hasn’t been done on it, but MK56 launchers mounted on trailers for land AD would be an alternative to VL MICA.
    If integration was possible and didn’t cost an arm and leg, the MK56 would also be ideal to replace the Aspide.

    Another thing about the ESSM if they are to be installed on the Kedah class. They need to install a rear FCR as the Kedah class is not fitted with one.

  53. @marhalim

    The absalon ESSM launcher IS also a stanflex module! The difference between a seasparrow and ESSM launcher in the stanflex module is only the twin pack ESSM canister replacing the single pack seasparrow canister, and the missile controller. It is actually interchangeable (ESSM and seasparrow) and ESSM can also be launched from single pack seasparrow canister. So no difference in size of 6 pack seasparrow and 12 pack ESSM vertical launcher. If a VLS is previously have a seasparrow canister on it, it can be swapped with an ESSM canister, no problem.

    easy, in size/system

    2 pack Seasparrow = 4 pack ESSM

    6 pack Seasparrow = 12 pack ESSM

    16 pack Seasparrow = 32 pack ESSM

    If install seasparrow in the VLS, it is called Mk48, if ESSM is installed, it is then called Mk56( or sometimes also called DP48 or dual pack Mk48 ). The designation changes even if the launcher is one and the same, and just missiles are changed.

    Look at this pic of absalon’s stanflex VLS x2.
    One of it is installed with ESSM canister (right), while the other one is empty (left). The empty ones can be installed with either seasparrow single canister or ESSM dual canister no problem. What stanflex VLS module would look like if installed with seasparrow canisters
    Compare the differences between ESSM and seasparrow canisters, and look the VLS is the same and the size therefore is the same.

    In the brochure. Its on top of page 3.

    Oh and why do you need to put a rear FCR? The Oerlikon Contraves TMX/EO FCR is perfectly enough to guide the ESSM to its target. Just look at the pic of this Flyvefisken patrol vessel.

    It only has 1 SaabTech Vectronics 9LV 200 Mk3 FCR on top of its bridge, and it is perfectly capable to guide the ESSM installed at the rear.

    Ok no more comments of ESSM here from me… Lets go back to the APMM patrol boats.

  54. @Azlan

    While RAM is a short range system, as is the seawolf, it is actually a much simpler, smaller and cheaper system than the seawolf, and 1 RAM launcher can fire 21 missiles.

    Advantage of RAM is that is does not need a FCR. It only needs data from the ships search radar to “train” the launcher towards its target, then when it is launched the missile will lock itself to the radar signal emmited by the target, or IR signiture of the target. So it is a fire and forget weapon. So with similar range as seawolf, it can engage multiple target from different directions in a short frame of time, where seawolf can only engage 2 at one time as it is slaved to the 2 specific seawolf ACLOS trackers, and sometimes ACLOS can lose contact with the missile.

    Disadvantage sometimes if there is more than one target in the same direction in close proximity to each other, even if multiple missiles is launched, they will just lock on only one of them… But with more than 300 RAM test launches to date and 95% hit rate, which one do you prefer?

    BTW what if teoretically we install both RAM and ESSM on Kedah to make it an AAW corvette?

    The Kedah class needs a FCR at the rear as currently has one facing the front.

  55. Marhalim,

    Yes you’re right, I forgot about that. With only 1 fire director it can’t engage more than one target at one time. And the only space available is where the Mauser is, forward of the flight deck.

  56. ……..,

    A few navies have indeed done what you suggested and have placed RAM as a secondary system to deal with leakers, just as many others have installed a CIWS as insurance [the ROKN and Bundesmarine are prime examples], the problem is that this is a luxury we can’t afford as it spirals up the cost.

    When we bought the Lekiu, Sea Wolf was one the best point defence systems on the market and tha’s not bad for a system that was designed in the late 70’s. As to which is a better missiles – Sea Wolf or RAM – and which performs better against supersonic skimmers is anyones’s guess. As to RAMs 300 RAM test launches to date and 95% hit rate, thats impressive, but how many has Sea Wolf done?

    To engage more than one target would require additional fire directors – the Lekiu class has 2 as you mentioned in your post. Why do you think ships like the Kirov class, the Ticonderoga class and the Arleigh Buke class have at least 3-4 fire directors? The TMX/EO on the Kedah is meant to provide fire direction for the Mauser and cannot be used to also provide fire direction for missiles.

  57. Azlan,

    >The TMX/EO on the Kedah is meant to provide fire direction for the Mauser and cannot be used to also provide fire direction for missiles.

    The TMZ/EO has CW signal in-beam injection for target illumination (optional). This can be used for Sparrows and ESSM missiles fire direction.

    RMN can also install a 2nd FCR just like the Laksamana class corvette. 1 mast with 2 FCR on it, each facing the opposite directions.

  58. Anon,

    The point I am trying to make is that a single TMX/EO cannot provide fire direction for both the Mauser and a missile at the same time, but yes it can do both.

    But if its ESSM they need a second FCR at the back so it can fire at targets in the rear, as I was told by a couple Boustead engineers, all ex-Navy

  59. Marhalim,

    Agreed. To deal with more than one target will need a 2nd fire director/illiminator.

    From what I was told by a Yarrow salesman many years ago, if only fitted with one fire director, the Lekiu’s Sea Wolf can deal with any one target coming from any direction but would need an extra director to deal with 2 targets simultanously.

    I’m quite sure that with the Lekiu,

    If its RAM they finally installed on the Kedah class, there is no need to install another FCR…

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