SHAH ALAM: Low Coat Solution for RMN and MMEA. As we are all aware many of RMN and MMEA vessels lacked proper capabilities against air and even surface threats. Most of the ships are equipped with unguided 40mm, 57mm and even 76 mm guns which are aimed locally, the old spray and pray method. Even the Kedah class, built to the fitted for but not equipped concept, have yet to be fitted with its anti aircraft missile system.
Lack of money and competing claims from other services meant that the lack of protection against airborne threats – from aircraft, missiles, guided bombs and even drones – is expected to continue into the near future. As the current vessels are expected to continue service for the foreseeable future, at the minimum we could armed them with VSHORAD missiles to counter air threats, for lack of anything else. There are a variety of these missiles available from manned to remote launchers. At the current Navdex show in Dubai MBDA is displaying one interesting solution to our predicament.
At Navdex 2019, MBDA will be presenting the SPIMM (Self-Protection Integrated Mistral Module), an all-in-one air defence module based on the SIMBAD-RC system and designed to equip ships of all types, particularly those without a combat system (such as supply ships).
The SPIMM module consists of a SIMBAD-RC automated naval turret equipped with two ready-to-fire Mistral missiles and a 360° infrared panoramic system to detect and track air and surface threats. The system is entirely controlled by two operators located in a shelter inside the module, which is also used to store four additional missiles. This ISO standard “all-in-one” module, 10 feet long and weighing some 7 tons, can be easily positioned on the deck of a ship using a crane, and requires just a standard electrical connection.
Designed to protect surface vessels against most conventional airborne threats (anti-ship missiles, combat aircraft, helicopters and UAVs), the SIMBAD-RC and Mistral demonstrated, at the end of last year, its ability to neutralise asymmetric threats such as Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FIAC) by day and by night.
“The SPIMM enables the urgent and rapid adaptation of supply vessels or landing platform docks to cope with new threats, or for using them in contested areas,” says Naval Defence Systems Product Executive Christophe Leduc. “This system illustrates MBDA’s ability to understand its customers’ needs and to quickly come up with effective and functional solutions.”
Such a system when coupled with other containerised weapon systems could easily make cheap, merchant vessels as potent naval assets. This containerised system could also be moved around the fleet as ships are refitted or even retired.
Of course, corvettes and frigates are more sexy but these are mostly left in planning rooms and exhibition halls when the politicians and bean counter goes through them.
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