A mock-up of the VL MICA .

SHAH ALAM: LOI for MRSS soon? RMN chief Admiral Kamarulzaman Badaruddin says the navy will make public the chosen design of the MRSS at the upcoming DSA 2018 exhibition. He declined to name the design however. “It will be a surprise for the show” he says.

Kamarulzaman says by making public the design it will confirmed the government’s commitment to the RMN 15 to 5 plan. “I hope this will lead to the signing of the contract by LIMA next year,” he told Malaysian Defence when met the National Hydrographic Centre, on Apr. 4.

A latest graphic of RMN 15 to 5 outlines a potential MRSS design

Yes, the chief did not say anything about an LOI. However as an LOI is a percusor to a contract it is likely that it is how the chosen MRSS design will be revealed. Even if I am wrong and no LOI is announced at the show the fact that the Chief says he hoped for a contract to be signed within 12 months showed where the program is going. As for the design to be chosen, your guess is as a good as mine.

A close up of the MRSS model shown at PT PAL booth at Indodefence 2016.

Previously, Malaysian Defence had reported that Boustead had signed an MOU with PT PAL to offer a variant of the Makassar class for the MRSS requirement which had been put forward since 2005. Even at LIMA last year, Boustead together with PT PAL showcased a variant of the MRSS which they were offering. Note, since then Boustead has not said anything on its offering, not a good omen of its chances of being selected.

PT PAL booth at LIMA 17

The case for MRSS has gotten stronger following the announcement of the 2018 budget.

Damen Enforcer LPD 10000

Apart from the MRSS, Kamarulzaman confirmed that the contract signing for the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) will be conducted at DSA. He did not say how many missiles or the value of the contract. As you are aware, on Apr. 9, 2015, Boustead’s Naval Dockyard Sdn Bhd awarded Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace the contract the supply the equipment (launchers and etc) and integration of the NSM with SETIS, the combat management system supplied by Naval Group for the LCS.

A Damen design modified for a LPD role

As I had mentioned before this was not the contract for the missiles though it finally sealed the NSM selection for the LCS. MBDA has also been awarded the contract for the launchers and other equipment of the VL MICA SAM for the LCS though it also has yet to sign the contract for the missiles.

Live firing with NSM missile from corvette HNoMS Gnist outside Andøya in Northern-Norway

Kamarulzaman says the contract for the VL MICA missiles will not be signed at DSA 2018 due to documentation issues. He did not say when it will be signed.


The contract for NSM missiles was necessary as the first of class LCS, Maharaja Lela, was scheduled for the sea trials in October, this year. Delays in signing the contract will affect the delivery schedule of the missiles which is likely to impact the commissioning of the first LCS.

A Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) is launched from the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) during missile testing operations off the coast of Southern California. The missile scored a direct hit on a mobile ship target. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zachary D. Bell/Released)

They could afford delays into the MICA delivery as Naval Group has test fired them on the Egyptian Navy Gowind 2500 corvette.

— Malaysian Defence

If you like this post, buy me an espresso. Paypal Payment

About Marhalim Abas 2147 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. if Boustead get the MRSS then it will be fun to watch. with LCS and LMS they sure are competent to get MRSS too…hehe

    i hope the MRSS chosen will be a good design and with better company. i hope its Damen Enforcer LPD 10000 since Destini shipyard look good so far with its MMEA.

    Mr Marhalim,any news on our navy LMS?

  2. Great news!

    It is a good indicator that the MRSS program is on track. If the LOA is signed in 2019, the 1st MRSS can be delivered in RMK12, exactly as per planned in the 15 to 5 plan.

    BTW any news on the LMS progress?

  3. Well, I hope they choose Damen Cause it was larger Space than Makkasar Class.

    Secondly, Should Army Need to Make a Desicion to buy CAMM Or Aster due to Singapore has Aster 30 ?.

  4. Does Naval Group join the bidding? Might as well let the NG win and form a strong bond with them.

  5. As the old cliche goes : ”having something is better than nothing” to replace Sakti and Mahawangsa. Having said that; I hope that the RMN won’t have to make too many trade offs in build quality and DC due to the budget allocated for the programme. I also hope that whatever MRSS is selected will share some level of commonality to what we already have or have ordered.

  6. Maybe the surprise is ….its going to be a Chinese design!!

    Marhalim, when is the decision due for the MPA?

    One thing at a time…

  7. For MICA Navy, It is the best Choice To keep These Aircraft and missile for Short Range Attack as It was Suitable for Maharaja Lela Class. And The Army, Which They Should Gone For New CAMM Or Aster 30 as They Need To Focus On Any Counter Attack From Mid Range Enemy Fighter. Since Singapore has Aster 30 Long Range SAMs.

    For The Navy, MRSS Should be Damen Enforcer 10000 Since The Larger Space inside the Deck and Even Impossible to use C-RAM To Protect from Any Attack.

  8. For the armys GBAD.

    Right now in 2 of our neighbours has long range GBADs, vietnam with S-300 and singapore with aster 30. Both vietnam and singapore also has SPYDER-SR systems too. Others have medium range GBADs like indonesia with NASAMS, thailand and myanmar with KS-1.

    Our most potent is the JERNAS, as it is still quite a recent buy, probably not in the near future that we are going to get a replacement for that. The ideal one would be VL Mica as a commonality with the navy.

    But as marhalim say, one thing at a time.

  9. I prefer the UK method, where GBAD only based on short range missiles while the royal air force obtain air superiority.Given that our defense budget is not as the same league as the UK where they can afford more than 100 typhoons, a compromise between hi lo mix should be considered as for air superiority both quantity and quality is needed.

  10. @ kamal

    UK has multi layered warning in the form of friendly NATO countries. Any potential boogey would need to overfly countries such as norway, netherlands, poland or france to even arrive in UK airspace. We don’t have such luxuries. That is why the priority is different, unlike NATO countries bordering russia.

    Back to the MRSS

    With the MRSS program on track, 2 more items need to be prepared to enable the MRSS to be fully operational.

    1. Amphibious infantry force. As it is now a speciality of the 10PARA, would they be assigned as a part of the normal complement of the ships?

    2. Helicopters. Some to the airforces EC725 as a detachment to the MRSS?

    IMO our amphibious forces should not be set up in the conventional “storm the beach front” type of force. But we need to make it into a enduring littoral operations force, supporting troops on security operations in islands and shores. Something useful in ESSCOM type situations. Probably for the navy ships that can become a command center and can support CB90 and RHIB boat operations. Hopefully the new MRSS has this designed in mind.

    As for the MRSS surprise. I hope it is something not previously seen as a contender. This is one of my favourite design. The Remontowa Stealth Logistic Support Vessel.



    I think when the chief says it will be a surprise it doesn’t mean that the chosen design will be a surprise one. More likely he want to keep the suspense for the show. My take is that it will be one of the usual suspects

  11. The shape of the MRSS in the latest RMN graphic looks more like a Damen to me.

    …LIMA 2019 will be interesting…..perhaps announcement and contract for MPA and MRSS.

    …….(drumroll please) and maybe MRCA in LIMA 2021??

  12. kamal – ”I prefer the UK method, where GBAD only based on short range missiles while the royal air force obtain air superiority.”

    The UK also has long range/early warning radars based up north and should it deploy in a expeditionary role; it will always be operating under a strong air umbrella.

    …. – ”thailand and myanmar with KS-1.”

    The RTAF use to have ground based, non mobile Aspides to protect Bangkok. Not sure if these are still operational.

    … – ”should not be set up in the conventional “storm the beach front” type of force.”

    It won’t as we are unlikely to face such a scenario. Should the unit be deployed from ship to shore [via means other than landing craft] it will be by helicopter. Of course the number of helicopter landing spots on the MPSS [2-3] and the number of helicopters the RMAF has and can allocate for the op will also determine things. In most cases – if indeed the unit is deployed by sea – we’ll probably see the unit deployed rapidly deployed from ship straight to a pier.

    …. – ”would they be assigned as a part of the normal complement of the ships?”

    Not as a ”normal complement” per say but as the selected unit to be deployed by such means. 10 Para is the only army unit we have that regularly trains for amphib ops [CARAT, etc].

    …. – ”But we need to make it into a enduring littoral operations force, supporting troops on security operations in islands and shores.”

    The unit should be the main element responsible for operations in a littoral area and can also be used to garrison the Spratlys which at present is done by PASKAL.

    …. – ”can support CB90 and RHIB boat operations.”

    Based on what we’ve done over the past few decades with the Saktis, Langkawi, Jarom and Banggi; we can safely say that should a need arise the future MPSS will perform as a tender for smaller ships/craft.

  13. …. – ” Some to the airforces EC725 as a detachment to the MRSS?”

    Nuri pilots had to be rated to deck land on a ship and actual ”x” number landings were done in like with this. Over the years of course the RMN got its own helicopters and Nuri squadrons were busy doing other things. The question however is at present how often do Cougar and Nuri pilots actually get to land on RMN ships? Once the MPSS’s enter service the Cougars and Nuris will have to maintain proficiency and to do so will have to make regular practice landings; as these are the only medium lift assets available.

  14. @… “The ideal one would be VL Mica as a commonality with the navy.”

    VL Mica is not even a medium range SAM.

    If you want commonality, NASAM is the only choice really.

  15. On the contrary..We are alike to UK.We are surrounded friendlies all 4 corners.well for UK actually the less friendly is Russia while we don’t have any…in theory. Rather than spending almost USD 1 b on medium or long range hand would rather add it up for mrca

  16. @ kamal

    Are our “friendlies” share their air defence picture with us like NATO does?

    Remember also that china has build dozens of artificial islands that could support jet fighters just less than an hours flight time from labuan.

    I agree with you, we shouldn’t spend billions on GBAD, but that does not mean we should not spend on GBAD at all.


    Yes VL Mica is a short range system, but it still have double the range of the Jernas. The cost of a battery is said to be around usd30 million. The NASAMS costs around usd100 million per battery.

  17. Kamal-‘We are alike to UK.We are surrounded friendlies all 4 corners’

    i hope that is sarcasm or you sure are a positive kind of guy.basically having GBAD is good if having enough budget. its a good thing to have a defense in home land.

    MRCA is different to GBAD. different role and tactics. one cannot replace other.

  18. I prefer MRSS design that incorporates a funnel, a cargo crane and LCAC.

    The funnel or two and a cargo crane are likely what ever the design chosen, LCAC is over the top though. Most likely a LCVP or two are the likely choice

  19. So, there are 2 front runners to compete damen and bousted-pt pal.
    Who is damen local partner? No local partner no contract given, right? Obviously makassar class ahead in the competition.

  20. With regards to the MPSS I’m not bothered what the RMN eventually gets. What’s important is that it suits the RMN’s requirements and that specs are laid down by the RMN not the local industry. The actual design/hull; whether a Makassar derivative, one from Damen or somewhere else; is not really important. It’s what goes inside the hull and the assets that will work in tandem with the hull that will make the difference.

  21. Marhalim,
    What does the MRSS do in RMN’s context? Can it also refuel @ replenish ships at sea? Or is it merely to transport equipment and supplies?

    Personally I prefer a vessel around 130 to 150 meters long.

    Its basically an LPD with another name. I have no idea of the exact requirements of the navy but it will not be able to refuel other RMN ships unless those are re-fitted for refueling at sea. As replenishing other ships yes technically it can be done but using ship’s boats are cheaper and faster.

  22. Kamal – ”We are surrounded friendlies all 4 corners ‘

    We are surrounded by ”friendly” countries [several of which we still have unresolved overlapping claims] and one linked to us by the FPDA [not a binding agreement/pact] but the UK is near or ”surrounded” to/by countries linked to it by a binding agreement/pact : NATO. The UK’s early warning network is also linked or networked to ones operated in other NATO countries.

    Aircraft flying off Norway will trigger an alert in several countries giving those countries advance warning but aircraft flying off Vietnam and headed to our direction will not be detected by our radars and will not result in the Vietnamese calling MINDEF. Our ATC or secondary radars are linked to Singapore’s via HQIADS but this doesn’t cover East Malaysia and pales in comparison to what the UK in has terms of early warning.

    Kamal – ”Rather than spending almost USD 1 b on medium or long range hand would rather add it up for mrca”

    One can make the valid argument that what is really needed are additional surveillance and gap filler radars to supplement what we already have and to cover existing blind spots.

    … – ”The cost of a battery is said to be around usd30 million. The NASAMS costs around usd100 million per battery.”

    Does that include early warning systems/target acquisition systems or just the battery? One must also factor in integrations costs, to an existing network.

    zack – ”MRCA is different to GBAD. different role and tactics. one cannot replace other.”

    On a completely different matter; there is a pic in yesterday’s STAR [probably taken on Merdeka Day] which shows an M-4 with a M20A3.

  23. It may be time to upgrade or even move Kuantan naval base to a location with more space for pier and shore side infrastructure.

    An MRSS will be at least 50m longer than the ships that currently use the base. It may not be able to enter or tie up at Kuantan, and even if it can, will surely make operations more difficult. The base is small and even now is operating at capacity with the ships we have.

    We could dock an MRSS at a civil port in an emergency but not being able to call routinely on the East coast does limit our flexibility. Upgrading the infrastructure would also save our other ships a certain amount of sailing time.

  24. AM,

    Apart from size or space; draught is also an issue. Not sure about Kuantan but Lumut has a shallow and deep water jetty. Kuantan is protected by a L shaped breakwater as the sea conditions can get pretty rough.


    At present only a few of our ships have the needed span wire fueling rig for refueling at sea. It’s something we rarely do given that our ships are never more than 2-3 days away from the nearest base/port.

    In the RMN context a MRSS will perform various roles; from acting as tenders for smaller ships/craft, to transporting men and supplies, to moving heavy equipment, etc, – all roles performed by the Saktis, Langkawi and ex US LSTs.

  25. MRSS name

    As it would replace all those MPCSS, i would prefer them to get the MPCSS names plus an old name from the early days of TLDM

    KD Langkasuka (name of ex minesweeper 1958-1967)

    KD Inderasakti

    KD Mahawangsa

  26. … : ship names

    What would you say about the LST names, Langkawi, Jarom and Banggi?

    Though since Raja Jarom was in a collision it might hurt the chances of the name being revived.

  27. Just build it, it takes too long to discuss which company is going to build MRSS, while Indonesia Navy now build the 5th&6th ship . and the Phillipines Navy order the 3rd&4th ship.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.