Maritime Utility Helicopter Tender

Leonardo AW149. A possible candidate for the tender. CC.

SHAH ALAM: Maritime Operations Helicopter Tender. By the time you read this, representatives of companies interested in bidding for the RMN maritime operations helicopter tender would be reporting to their bosses of the technical requirements.

Yes the search for the RMN utility helos has restarted with a field visit (Sept. 11) at the Kota Kinabalu naval base. Only companies which had send their representatives for the field visit would be eligible to bid for the tender, reissued on Sept. 6 and closing on Oct. 16.

Leonardo AW149. A possible candidate for the tender. CC.

The original tender was cancelled shortly after it was published.

The tender for the RMN maritime utility helicopters (MUH) has been canceled. The tender which was supposed to close on Aug. 19 (wrongly listed as July 15 on the advertisement) was canceled according to the Defence Ministry e-tender page. It did not state the reason for the cancellation

An armed Airbus H145M. Airbus

For the newly reissued tender only companies with the MOF field code for helicopters and suppliers of parts and components will be eligible to bid after going for the field visit.

I believe this means only helicopter companies or their local partner will be able to bid for the tender. I am guessing that the government will not want a repeat of the MD530G debacle. That said stranger things has happened in the past.

An Italian military HH-139 or AW139 equipped with specialized equipment. Wikipedia

For the cancelled tender, companies with suppliers field code was also eligible to bid as it was added to the bid documents apart from the two field codes.

A Bell S-76C of Hevilift Group operating from Labuan airport for the O&G industry. Malaysian Defence.

If you recalled I previously wrote that

RMN chief Adm. Reza Sany said they were looking for three utility helicopters, to be based at ESSCOM AOR for troop transport and utility roles. He said the budget allocated for the program was RM220 million.

Hong Kong based Government Flying Service (GFS) Airbus H175. Airbus

As it is I still believed that the helicopters I wrote in an earlier post would still be competing for the tender. Lets hope this time around RMN will finally get the helicopters they wanted, some 24 months from now.
* Fixed the title to MUH
— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2200 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. My take; utility and general hauling choppers should be standardised to one model for all the service branches as much possible, much like US Army, Navy, Customs & Border, some Coastguard teams are using Blackhawk variants as their utility chopper. I hope with the direct tender by the vendors this can be achievable. Our chopper fleet is too small to be economical in handling the various models currently.

  2. What can I say but setuju! Sdr Joe is right. We have too many different types of assets doing similar roles. Am waiting for some actual word from Tun M and/or Mat Sabu (as always, he mentions he’s seriously studying the matter in hand) on whether Malaysia is going Russian or politely downplaying Putin’s off of a mixed bag of goodies led by their MiG35. It sounds serious so I’ll try and damp down my anticipation of any new asset buys. The worst news so far (to me this year) was the cancellation of the M109 Paladins. Here’s to any good news 🍻☕🍵🥂 for our Armed Services!

  3. The industry kinda already pushes government to acquire more less the same kinda helicopter. Bomba,MMEA and police is moving towards leonardo, whether it is the AW139, AW149 (which is enlarged AW139) or AW189(single engined version of AW149). There is already regional MRO hub in malaysia so no doubt this will be the main consideration for whatever government agencies looking for helicopter.

    So other than prolly Mi-171Sh/Mi-172 for bomba and/or the army, we’ll see more leonardo helicopter being procured in the future

    The AW189 is a twin engine helicopter, the civilian version of the AW149

  4. Still on the Type 071e LPD. As you can see from the picture above, one of the task for the LPD is to be a support ship / submarine tender for RTN’s new S26T submarines.

  5. The swap/trade in for the Migs can work. Let’s trade in the Mig 29 and get Putin’s 35, for example. It will be back to the old days. In 15 years when the Sukhoi and Hornets retire, get the first batch of Tai and when Mig 35 retire in 30 years, the second batch, The timeline is possible.

  6. @Tom Tom
    There isn’t any necessity for Mig35. The LCA/LIFT which yet to be selected, should have covered the Mig29 role as airborne patrol and interceptor. Better to trade the Migs in for more MKMs, but that’s another story.

  7. Off topic.

    The BMT new ELLIDA design shown at DSEI 2019 seems perfect for RMN MRSS program. A ship designed as a hybrid of amphibious-tanker auxiliary ship. Though the first design is a 195m ship, maybe we can go for a smaller variant.

    And like the brits & norwegian, we can let korean dsme built the hull for us. Surely that will cut some costs i believe.

    Just my 2 cent.

  8. Tom Tom – “The swap/trade in for the Migs can work”

    A lot of things can work “on paper”. Firstly, unless forced to, there are reasons why the RMAF doesn’t want anymore Russian aircraft; with the exception of a few more MKMs. Secondly, the MiG-35 offers vast improvements over our Fulcrums but does it suit our operational requirements and what level of modifications will be needed?

    The last thing we need is for politicians to again force the RMAF to get something ill suited for it : this will be a regressive move in that we’ll be making the same mistake again, with long term consequences. The RMAF is willing to wait many years more before it can get a Western MRCA and in the meantime its priority is the LCA, which will have some level of combat capability.

  9. It is official.

    The Royal Navy Type 31e frigate would be the Arrowhead 140.

    IMO FPDA countries such as New Zealand and Malaysia would benefit by using the same arrowhead 140 design for their future frigates. Common design would simplify cross maintenance of ships, for example UK and New Zealand ships deploying for long term operations in the far east could use spares and maintenance in

  10. Joe, I know getting more MKMs is a better option. However it will not happen. How many years has this been around? Getting MKM spare parts or more MKMs in exchange for the old Migs? It has not gone anywhere in 10 years and will probably never happen. Putin’s plan is second best but is a goer not a goner.

  11. @ tom tom

    Why it is still not done is a combination of political, diplomatical and lobbying from interested parties of typhoons and rafales. Whatever the reason is, it still does not change the fact that right now the MKM is still the best bet for TUDM top end warfighting capability for decades to come.

    Not really, the MiG-35 offer only came about recently. More over the government has other things to consider as well. Furthermore with the DWP still not tabled in Parliament it will be bad sport to decide on major defence purchases now.

  12. The Type 31e frigate or Arrowhead 140 is based on Iver Huitfeldt which is based on Absalon. So, Arrowhead 140 and Iver is close sister. No need expensive R&D so the frigate price tag quite cheap.

    UK already put a tight budget for defence sector, with price tag £250 mio for a single fully armed 6000-7000 tons frigate, she can be considered a good choice. Fremm price tag about $500-600mio/unit.

    If…if….if….RMN LCS project face uncertainty, I suggest RMN spin the money to this frigate.

    AFAIK, No FPDA nations till now show their interest to this frigate. It is the TNI that already eyeing to get iver huitfeldt. TNI seems hold the Sigma PKR 105 project and focus to iver huitfeldt to replace their 50 years old van speijk. With additional budget $1.3B next year they can easily get the Iver.

  13. @ marhalim

    Yeah i understand the MiG-35 offer is new but I am specifically replying to tom tom on why after 10 years we still did not consider additional MKMs as an option.

  14. @…
    “The Royal Navy Type 31e frigate would be the Arrowhead 140.”
    I did predicted that as much earlier so I’m not the least surprised. Now to see what kinda armaments & systems it will carry.

    @Tom Tom
    ‘Never look at a Russian bear by its mouth’. There are many strings attached and repercussions we wouldn’t know until its too late as Turkey found out.

    On hindsight, we really should have seek to trade in the Mig29s when we were buying the MKMs. Oh well.

  15. @romeo
    “No need expensive R&D”
    The expensive R&D for Maharajalela had already been done by us. 2nd batch would naturally be much cheaper if they followed on closely after the first.

    “LCS project face uncertainty”
    Any uncertainty would be coming from us, not DCNS. In that scenario, even Arrowhead or IH would face the same problems (ie likely not having AA missiles upon commissioning of 1st unit).

  16. @romeo

    I might be mistaken. But….

    I think the brits can ask for low price because the usage of surveillance radar, sam, 30mm gun and other stuffs in the arrowhead 140 is taken from the upgraded type 23. That’s some money.

    Im not sure on how we should proceed with our future frigates (if we will).

    For sake of commonality, better to add more gowind, but dont think the price can be reduced significantly. From just gowind 2500 sale to egypt and uae, its already 400 million. For us, without tot cost at most i can only see we paying the same 400 mil usd each.

    If the arrowhead 140 can really be built for 250-300 million usd each, then maybe we can go for the smaller variant arrowhead 120. This for the sake of saving money.

    We can reuse the 76mm from kedah for future frigates, at least saving a few mil usd per ship.

    Just my 2 cents.

  17. It’s always best if the armed forces get what they choose but I’m afraid it it doesn’t happen all the time. The RAN wanted Arleigh Burke for the AWD but got the Navantia instead. The RMAF wants Western but may get Russian instead. It’s just a fact of life for Malaysia. Many might disagree with me but something is better than nothing. It better to trade in the Mig while we can rather than them gathering dust anyway!

  18. People, lets be realistic. Beggar cant be chooser.

    What options MY has to upgrade air defence?
    RMAF as user preffers western jet. So, the closest cheap, reliable and user friendly is the legacy hornet. There are only second hand hornets and kuwaiti’s hornet is the most possible to be acquired. Rafale, gripen,F-16, super hornet, and other western jet are considered expensive or not user friendly.

    The other available now is Mig35 with trade in and barter trade option. Like it or not this option is fit with the ministry of finance and defence requirement. It maybe not the best for RMAF but it can be the second best

    If there is another option, SU30SM /SU35 is better then Mig35. But, the Russia maybe will only accept trade in with cash or barter with cash for payment.

  19. @ joe
    “The expensive R&D for Maharajalela had already been done by us. 2nd batch would naturally be much cheaper if they followed on closely after the first.”

    That”s the problem, isnt it? When the 2nd batch will be exexuted?
    When it is due then will the gowind still fit for RMN future requirement? The trend is other SEA nations getting a bigger ship. Like it or not detterent factor must be considered.

    “I think the brits can ask for low price because the usage of surveillance radar, sam, 30mm gun and other stuffs in the arrowhead 140 is taken from the upgraded type 23. That’s some money.”

    The brand new fully armed iver price tag is about $340mio. This Arrowhead is her close sister.

    “If the arrowhead 140 can really be built for 250-300 million usd each,’

    It is £250mio not $250mio.

  20. @ romeo

    On the Arrowhead 140

    No FPDA nations show their interest in this ship because up till a few days ago, this is not the confirmed ship for Type 31e Frigate! Not that it is, we will definitely see some interest in this from other countries. I believe the Arrowhead 140 will be a suitable candidate for New Zealand’s replacement for its ANZAC frigates which will be decided around 2025.

    The original 15 to 5 focuses on Kedah Class OPV after the 1st batch of Gowinds are completed, then it plans on Batch 2 gowinds, piecemeal like 1 ship per 5 years far past 2030. This is not a suitable plan as there will be variation between ships build so far apart. My alternative 15 to 5 builds the batch 2 gowinds immediately after the 1st batch is completed. After that is complete, then the Arrowhead 140s, as a replacement for Lekiu and Kasturi classes.

    BTW the Type 31e ceilling price is £250 million, which is about USD308 million. That is plenty of difference with our Gowind ceilling price of USD440 million. If we are going to have the Arrowhead 140 as our future frigate, we could also salvage guns from our Laksamana corvettes (76mm and 40mm twin DARDO), Kedah class OPVs (76mm). Why I also suggest we get some used Pohangs for MMEA, so we could salvage the guns from that ship (76mm and 40mm twin DARDO) for the Arrowhead 140 frigate in the future.

    The main advantage of Arrowhead 140 is its large size for its cost. If you want a smaller frigate, might as well stay with the Gowinds. IMO the gowinds are perfect for its main intended task, which is for ASW in the south china sea. I see the Arrowhead 140 more as the new capital ships for the navy, replacing the Lekius, for SLOC protection and escort of malaysian merchant fleet, for air defence and for long endurance presence missions.

  21. @Tom Tom
    “something is better than nothing”
    I did raise that point up before but got heckled by senior commenters here and being called names so just a word of caution. But in the RMAF context we do have something better: the MKMs & Hornets. So any reason for Mig35 as a necessity is beyond me.

    “rather than them gathering dust anyway!”
    This I wholeheartedly agree, but we must be sure what we want from a trade-in deal, instead of desperation / political machinations. Whether RMAF wants the Mig35 must be considered.

  22. @romeo
    “When the 2nd batch will be exexuted?”
    Likely (or unlikely) we will get some news after the 1st batch has been completed. Yeah, not ideal but that’s how we operate.

    “SEA nations getting a bigger ship”
    That is inline with their maritime strategy, it may or may not suit ours or we might have a different way to compensate. Whatever we buy now should fit into the overall strategy and what additional capabilities the new assets could give us, not the other way around.

    “replacement for Lekiu and Kasturi classes”
    If just for 2 ships, better not to ToT here. Just wouldn’t be economical if we only require 2 frigate leaders and no follow on orders. My take on Gowind Flight2 should have half their numbers configured for dedicated ASuW with towed sonar & VLS ASROC coupled their existing light torps. Their onboard choppers shall have dipping sonar and should be standardised model to the utility chopper going to be selected as in this article.

    None of the utility helicopters in the running for the tender are suitable for ASW. In fact I have been told that even the AW159 is actually unsuitable for ASW. That’s the reason the Royal Navy used the Wildcats for patrol and anti surface warfare. For ASW they used the Merlin or AW101.

  23. @joe

    You were heckled and called names because you always make unsupported claims, to put it simply you’re “talking out of your behind”. I don’t think you’re a troll because trolls are deliberately winding people up, you genuinely believe your own made up stories and delusions. So i disagree with others calling you names because of that.

  24. @ joe

    ” But in the RMAF context we do have something better: the MKMs & Hornets. So any reason for Mig35 as a necessity is beyond me ”


    ” If just for 2 ships, better not to ToT here ”

    It is for 4 ships. Read back my take on 15 to 5. We dont need ToT. Just need to build the 4 ships locally and thats it.

    BTW what you meant by ASuW? ASuW means Anti Surface-ships Warfare. ASW is Anti Submarine Warfare. All of the current 6 gowinds are configured for ASW. Usually multi role frigates, like thr lafayette or even lekiu for example, does not have towed sonars.

    Anyway my take on 15 to 5 will give the navy (within the existing 5 year budget)
    1. Gowind (9 ships)
    2. Scorpenes (6 subs)
    3. Arrowhead 140 (4 ships)
    4. LMS
    5. MRSS
    By 2040, with all OPVs passed on to MMEA (with MMEA to have at least 20 large OPVs by 2040)

  25. @Marhalim
    “None of the utility helicopters in the running for the tender are suitable for ASW.”
    Eh? You mean the EC225/EC745 is not in the running for the utility chopper tender? I know you excluded the used ones, I mean how about new ones. This model don’t fit TLDM requirements?

    If you read the candidates story you will know that only medium light twin helicopter are being sought.

  26. @Neb
    Many are doing that here but that is your point of view and I respect that.

    Ah I see. I was thinking ASW is anti-surface, which the Gowinds are well equipped for (Mica for AA, NSM for ASu, 57mm for others). As for anti-sub role, I see the hull sonar, light torps and any onboard Lynx are the only tools to counter subs and IMHO it is not sufficient really for a dedicated sub hunting role. For that we need to ‘see’ deeper and farther with towed and dipping sonar, & able ‘reach’ farther with ASROC. So far we don’t have ships that performs that role and we should bear in mind more and more regional countries are buying subs.

  27. @Marhalim
    “medium light twin helicopter”
    Haha, I see. In my mind EC725 is a medium chopper, as much a CH53 Super Stallion is in the heavyweight category. Coming back to TLDM choppers, they already have Lynx (Leonardo) and Fennec (Airbus Heli), so depending on which manufacturer we go to for the utility chopper, the ASW one should follow on from the same manufacturer. Eases a lot in terms of servicing, spares, training.

  28. Oh, and FYI AW101 Merlin is categorised as a medium-lift chopper despite having the comparable size and takeoff weight of the EC725. Just saying.

    It’s what the manufacturer called them but we must read through the lines to discern the difference

  29. @…

    Yup kinda agree with you on the 2040 rmn fleet.

    With 6 scorpene, we can have 1 patrolling south china sea and another 1 on other duties (intelligence gathering etc…) at all times.

    But rather than having the 4 arrowhead, maybe we should just went with having 12 sgpv.

    On a side note, if vl mica contract does goes south, maybe we can just buy the searam with ram block 2 missiles. Each sgpv having 2 searams, one at front and another one at the back. No need to worry about changing all those wiring and exhaust system of the vls. With the ram block 2 having almost 14km range and dual passive radar, infrared seeker, seems almost like the mica solution.

    What do you guys think of the searam?

  30. For me, the onboard triple tube torps are at best a self defence option because if a contact is in range of those torps, it’s also well within range of engaging the ship with a torp of its own – a reason navies came up with ASROC, SILEX and IKARA (long retired).
    For engaging targets at short notice unguided rockets are useful; why the Swedes still have them and why the Russians still maintain the RBU series.

    A ship will strive to engage a contact as far away as possible; dependent on actually detecting a contact in time and maintaining a fix on it: as well as having a helo with decent range and endurance (weather will also be a vital element); whilst also being loaded down with a pair of torps and other gear.

    There is no question that Lynx and Wild Cat are simply not up to the task; which is why the RMN has zero interest in configuring it’s Lynxs and why few others have done so.

    In an ideal situation there will also be MPAs to assist to assist the ship and its organic helo – ASW is time consuming and the MPA can stay in the area longer than a helo. Ideally the MPA will also be networked with the ship.

    I don’t believe in the term “game changer” as it’s an overused cliche but if sub launched
    V- SHORADs (which were actually first introduced in the 1970’s) gain wide acceptance: things will get tricky for low flying helos and MPAs but not for USN
    P-8s which will have the ability to detect and engage sub surface targets from a high altitude.

  31. @ joe

    All of the gowinds will have a towed array sonar, the thales captas-2.

    Basically it has all the required ASW equipment needed except for the ASW helicopter. But as it is, it will be a great tool to track foreign subs with its towed array sonar.

    One of the interesting feature of captas is the multi-platform operation capability with two frigates in the same area.

    @ nihd

    Searam is too short ranged for a proper VL MICA solution. I would prefer the CAMM as an alternative for the VL MICA.

    SGPVs are just right-sized for ASW taskings in our EEZ. But for operations beyond our waters, for example repeating the OPS Fajar taskings in the indian ocean, it is quite small for that. While we do need the SGPVs, IMO we also need some of the larger frigates for taskings that need long endurance and long time on station, with the ability to carry many RHIBs for VBSS missions and USVs for surveillance.

    @ azlan

    We cannot afford merlins or romeos for out ASW helicopter requirements. I dont think merlin can fit in the gowind hangar anyway. Indonesia went for dauphin fitted with ASW suites. Korea and Philippines went for wildcats, mainly because that fits into their small frigate hangars. Rather than nothing, i would prefer some of our super lynxes to be fitted with asw suites, and replace that with proper ASW helicopter post 2030.

  32. @…
    “All of the gowinds will have a towed array sonar”
    I see, I wasn’t aware of that. Thanks. Yeah it is fully equipped for detection.
    Though detecting is one thing, killing that sub is another. Its light torp would range ~13-14km while say a Blackshark has a max range of 40-50km. In that case, Gowind Flight2 would be perfectly suited if the towed sonar remains and half the VLS is dedicated for ASROC.

    SeaRAM would be costly as it comes with it own integrated radar system and being deck mounted it is cumbersome as a replacement for VLS Mica (more clearance for it to fire, heatshielding at its surround, and trading 16 VLS missiles for 11 RAM). Plus it would compromise the stealthiness of the Gowind hullform.

  33. Joe,
    Helicopters are not about who’s doing is bigger. EC725 has a loaded weight of 6 tons and can sling 5 tonnes or 4 tonnes cargo in the cabin. The load ratio is 45%. Merlins can only do 4 tons but can hover at max longer than any other frame out there.

    The tender is calling for sub 4-6 tonnes frame. End of story.

  34. @m
    Okay, point noted. I wasn’t going any further since Marhalim had mentioned that, other than it would be better if the ASW and utility choppers could share same maker.

    That’s what the RMN air wing people wanted but as there is a pressing need to have a utility helicopter in ESSCOM and no funds for a helicopter capable of doing utility and ASW, it was felt that buying a utility helicopter that would not be capable for other duties was paramount. Yes this will mean the RMN in the future will have four (including the ASW one) helicopters to contend with.

  35. …..

    The limitations of the Super Lynx are such that the RMN would rather wait longer. Fitted with a dipping sonar and carrying a pair of torps; a Super Lynx will have very limited range and endurance (a vital factor in ASW). Which is why the vast majority of Lynx and Wildcat users have not gone down this route.

    The hangar on the LCS can accommodate a Cougar but certainly not a Merlin which was never even considered.

    I was told that the Super Lynx and the Wildcat do not have the legs to carry torpedoes and the the dipping sonar at the same time. So one need two Wildcats, one armed with torpedoes but without the sonar and the other one with sonar but not torpedoes to do the search. The next best thing is of course the SeaHawk but that’s even more expensive than the Wildcat and little or more less the same endurance

  36. Nihd,

    I’ve always been fond on RAM but as a secondary system to deal with leakers. I’ve always felt that a CIWS )whether gun, missile or a combo) should
    have been placed in the “B” position. Sure it compromises the ship’s RCS but improving the ship’s survivability fads outweighs any concerns about a slight rise in its RCS.

    As it stands the first form of defence against aerial threats will be MICA, followed by chaff and the 57mm (I’m going on the basis that the only soft kill option we’ll have is chaff). Unlike the 57mm for which the ship has to be manoeuvred deal with threats coming from certain positions; MICA provides 360 degrees protection.

  37. Marhalim,
    Curious to know what affordable choice do the navy have for a “helicopter capable of doing utility and ASW”?
    Another thing is, will we ever know why the navy not considering the Brunei S-70 as the Seahawk version would be a good follow up, unless it’s not one of the future ASW candidate?

    The most affordable helicopter that can do both is the Seahawk though you need two types. The ASW version with its dipping sonar drum in the cabin its likely not to be used for other stuff, it can do SAR of course but it cannot winch people in. So you need to buy the other type as well for utility. But considering the budget for the utility helo tender they cannot have the cake and eat it too. Yes the Brunei Black Hawk could have been used for the same role but it was never considered though as it is a navy-led deal

  38. @ marhalim

    If the super lynx and wildcat have short legs, and romeos are similar, then what other ASW helicopter are the best for our Gowinds say if cost are not an issue?

    The Seahawk can do it, it can carry torpedoes and the dipping sonar for ASW for some two/three hours unlike the Wildcat. As for other candidates if no money is no object are the Merlin and the NH90. The NH90 is likely to fit the LCS

  39. @Azlan

    So for future upgrades, maybe during mid-life upgrades for sgpv, a ciws at b position is a good addition. For example, maybe the rheinmetall 35mm millenium gun. Just because GAPU do uses the oerlikon 35mm gdf, so same pipeline for ammo.


    Do the navy wants/need the 2nd batch of sgpv or any further frigate to be bought with complete asw equipments (torps, hms, vds, asw heli)?

    Is a ship range for example the sgpv with 5000 nmi, tells us the number of days a ship can be at sea (endurance) or how far it can go with its amount of fuel? Im still confused on that

    By the time the SGPV or LCS gets its MLU, the GAPU guns will long be retired.
    AFAIK the navy previously just wants hulls by willing to forego all the gold plated stuff, VDS, missiles and helos, things only navies needs. No idea what they want now, probably something new is good enough.
    As for the endurance I am not to sure

  40. Marhalim,

    A few years ago there was talk of Cougars being conf igured for ASW. This makes sense as the RMAF operates it and the LCS’s hangar was enlarged but I have no idea how marinised Cougar is and what ASW gear has actually been integrated to it

    Yes I am aware of that, the Brazilian Navy operates a number of Cougar for anti surface role and has also integrated the Exocet on them. But I have not seen or read any reports of them being integrated with ASW gear. I could be wrong of course

  41. Ideally a ASW configured helo will have a dipping sonar and sonobuoys – internal space is needed as well as the lift capacity. Loaded with torps and ASW gear it must have “x” hours endurance to loiter in a certain area and to get to where it needs to: could be 8 nautical miles away, it could be 25 or more.


    We do not foresee our ships being involved in a high intensity conflict: that’s why they are fitted out the way they are. It’s not just funding issues but also threat perceptions.

    Sure. If we need to we can always add a CIWS to the ‘B’ position or even endure there’s free below deck space in the event we decide to increase the number of VLS cells – something we can’t do with the initial 6 LCSs.

    The stated range is the maximum distance it can go without refuelling, whilst maintaining a certain speed. Of course apart from fuel; any ship’s ability to stay at sea is also dependent on food and water (it’s not uncommon for distillation systems to break down) – reserves are always kept and only released by CO.

    By and large our ships do not spend more than 14 days at sea and there’re never more than 2 days sailing time away from the nearest port/base. These reasons together with our threat perceptions is the reason why we have no need for combatants displacing more than 3,000 tonnes.

    Sure there may be instances where our ships will have to deploy further afield (e.g. Ops Fajar) but chances are it will be rare and even if we do; we’ll rely on friendly ports for replenishment. Tier 1 navies have larger ships with the needed range and endurance but just as important; they also have a fleet train in the form of replenishment ships/oilers. They also rely on bases for replenishment.

  42. @Marhalim
    “The NH90 is likely to fit the LCS”
    Apparently it does. There are reports that Egypt was considering NH90 as it could fit into their FREMMs & Gowinds, plus that NH90 has option for rotor and tail folding. Some reports stated that Gowind hangar could fit up to EC725, though not mentioned if the doors could be closed with the chopper fully stowed.

  43. The tender is for maritime utility helicopter not ASW. It will be used for maritime SAR and patrol. Usually, if it is for ASW then the tender will specifically stated for ASW.

    If there is a need for ASW it would be great if the winner can be equip with ASW system later. The most important for helicopter ASW is range and endurance.
    Here a list of ASW helicopters that considered the best ASW out there and already used by others.
    1. MH60R Romeo
    2. AW 101
    3. S70B seahawk
    4. AS 565 Panther (indonesia)
    5. NH90 NFH
    6..AW159 Wildcat (philiphine)

    I think the best choice ASW for RMN is wildcat, it is based on superlinx.

    The best option for RMN is superlinx 300. R

  44. CIWS at b position? There is no space for that on the gowind!

    The Arrowhead 140 OTOH

    If you want 35mm ciws, turkey has this

    On the cougars.

    It is fully marinized for offshore use. But it is said that it is not designed to land on a heaving moving platform at high sea states. It can land in a storm on a fixed static oil platform, but not on a moving frigate in the same storm.

    On the cost of ASW helicopters. Recent 2019 DSCA notification for south korea puts the seahawk romeo at USD66 million each (which is among the cheapest offered to any foreign country so far). Philippines Wildcat buy is at USD50.5 million each. No idea on the cost of NH90 ASW as most buys is of mixed variants.

  45. This is out of topic.
    The RAF is forced to retire its young fleet of R1 Sentinel fleet. This aircraft can perform much intelligence n surveilance functions including a secondary role of oversea surveilance. With upgrades it can do overwater surveilance as its primary role.
    If ever possible we can acquire at least two or 3 from the British n it will solve our overwater surveilance role plus battlefield surveillance role

    RAF trying to sell the Sentinels is an old story. And they have decided not to sell them for now. They are actually looking for buyers for its four fleet strong BAE 146 aircraft.

  46. @…
    The French NH90 NFH Attack Version was priced at USD60mil (in 2014). My take would be to get the utility either from AW139 or AW149 and at a later date, the ASW from NH90. ASW choppers shouldn’t expect to be cheap due to the onboard systems it has, we just have to budget and save to get them. If TLDM can’t standardise to one model at least they would only have ONE maker to contend with.

    NH Industries is partly owned by Airbus, Leonardo and Fokker of the Netherlands

  47. Romeo – “I think the best choice ASW for RMN is wildcat, it is based on superlinx.”

    How can it be when even the RMN would rather not have it. It doesn’t have the range, endurance and hardly the internal space, for a pair of torps, sonobuoys and ASW gear on a platform already loaded with fuel. As such it can’t be the “best option” ..


    Which is a shame as not only is there no free below deck space to add VLA cells but there is no room aft of the VLS for a non deck penetrating system. Looking the amount of space there and comparing it to the space on the Kedah (which was intended for RAM) I was hoping there would be sufficient space but I guess not.

  48. @ joe

    So far there is no one using the NH90 ASW version in far east and australasia. Both Australia and New Zealand uses NH90 utility version. Australian navy uses Romeo for ASW duties while Kiwi navy uses Seasprites.

  49. Off topic

    1st keel laying of thailand S26T submarine was done recently in wuhan china.

    Ps. Looks like it is going to have AIP system.

  50. @ azlan

    We could add VLA (there is only 2 types right now, VL ASROC and K-ASROC) if we reduce the count of VLS.

    Anyway if we have a proper ASW helicopter we don’t really require a VLA system, anything near would be tackled by the J+S torpedo launcher. Any long range torpedo attack on the gowinds will be defeated by the CAPTAS-2 towed array sonar, which has a build-in torpedo self defence capability.

    The gowind as it is, a stretched corvette design. There is barely any space left to add anything extra other than what it is already designed for. Why i feel that we have a need for a larger frigate class to complement the gowinds, with space for growth potential.

    As for the kedah class, it is designed for the RAM system, and not designed to fit any other VL air defence missiles to complement RAM.

  51. @Marhalim
    Yeah, I’m aware of that. But this relates back to the ultilty chopper selection and which of them suits best TLDM requirements IMHO AW139/149 is the best option. Hence my recommendation for NH90 as a follow on for ASW. If say they go for MH-60R ASW, then it would be a real clusterfrack.

    Yeah, well it was primarily conceived as a NATO chopper (hence the NFH term). Still it has many advantages; it is not nearly as pricey as MH-60R but it has better performance on paper, and importantly it could fit into a Gowind hangar. Only problem is the many issues they are still resolving for the initial users. Better to wait for this to mature.

  52. Off topic
    What is the status of our CL-415? Active use or struggling by $ & spare part? Do they participate the forest firefighting? I read Air International July 2019, talk about Italy forest fire Fighting. We should learn from them n we need more department with helicopter to involve the fire fighting job. Just like flood disaster, ofcz all this need to train how to do it.

    They were grounded until recently due to a lapse in the maintenance contract like several years back. After the prolonged grounding of course the pilots need to requalify again, that is why you have not seen them doing water bombing recently. KPKT Minister recently said they were planning to buy water bombers and helicopters for fire fighting. She is also going to Italy to see aerial fire fighting operations

  53. @ joe

    Whats wrong with MH-60R anyway? MH-60R is a mature design with known operational costs. How do you know the NH90 ASW version is cheaper than MH-60R? The gowind hangar is designed to fit the cougar, so MH-60R is more than capable to fit inside that.

  54. To KPKT minister

    Buy enough fireproof jackets and trousers for the firemen’s first before even thinking of buying water bombers.

  55. …..

    It all boils down to threat perceptions and funding; which determines the displacement of our ships and how they’re fitted out. For the RMN the priority has always been to get sufficient hulls in the water; even if those hulls were not armed for high intensity stuff which the RMN feels is extremely unlikely. It also has to work around a tight budget; steel is cheap but what goes inside the steel is not cheap and everything it asks for will be scrutinised by the bureaucrats at the MOF and EPU.

    I’ve long argued that a larger ship enables not only extra deck and below deck space for future upgrades but also a larger hangar; to enable all maintenance to be comfortable performed inside as well as for extra stuff to be stored.

    …… – “As for the kedah class, it is designed for the RAM system”

    Yes I’m very aware of that which is why I keep stressing that it was designed from the onset for RAM. COSYS from Day One was also integrated with RAM.

    Years ago there was talk of Umkhonto in a non VLS configuration as an alternative.

  56. @ azlan

    ” For the RMN the priority has always been to get sufficient hulls in the water; even if those hulls were not armed for high intensity stuff which the RMN feels is extremely unlikely ”

    Right now it is a catch 22 situation for TLDM. For all the constabulary duties, we now have MMEA, which is not burdened with all the high intensity or deterrance needs. This is what TLDM need to juggle, which capability to be transferred to MMEA, which capability is to be further enhanced.

    ” I’ve long argued that a larger ship enables not only extra deck and below deck space for future upgrades but also a larger hangar; to enable all maintenance to be comfortable performed inside as well as for extra stuff to be stored. ”

    Your words really encompasses what the Type 31e Frigate is all about. A large frigate platform for only USD308 million each. Even if we keep a budget the same as gowinds at USD466 million each, we can equip the Type 31e to a very high standards, at the same cost of our current gowinds. With its large size, maintenace and upgrades would be relatively easier, as is adding future capabilities, when and if we need them in the future. I know the Type 31e would not be the answer to all of our operational needs, but it will be a great addition to be used in concert with our other assets, like the gowinds, LMS and Scorpenes.

  57. @…
    “Whats wrong with MH-60R anyway”
    No problem but as pointed by Marhalim above; “The next best thing is of course the SeaHawk but that’s even more expensive than the Wildcat and little or more less the same endurance”. FYI NFH has range of 1000km and endurance of 5hrs.

    The French NH90 NFH Attack Version was priced at USD60mil (in 2014).

    As for fitting into Gowind hangar, it doesn’t mention in any sources that I can find (max is EC725) so I don’t dare to say it a certain can fit inside.

    I am pretty sure the Seahawk is cheaper than the naval version of the NH90 as simply more have been built. Even if its not cheaper it will be cheaper to maintain and support as we will be tapped into the US Navy programme much like the Hornets. The NH90 is about or smaller than the Cougar

  58. @Marhalim
    … have pointed out that cheapest Seahawk ASW is USD66mil. So NH90 supposedly slightly cheaper yeah? Maintenance, yeah it could be cheaper in the long run if we can maximum tap into US supply chain. But considering as many of our services choppers are from either Airbus Heli or Leonardo, in the overall it might still be cheaper to service NH90?

    Yup NH90 is smaller than Cougar, it would fit into Gowind hangar. Seahawk is a tad bit longer than EC725 but it too comes with folding tail & rotor option. Still I can’t find source if it could fit the Seahawk completely inside so I dare not say it, but some might have first hand knowledge so I defer to you guys if you say so.

  59. …..

    Not many are aware that there were plans for the MMEA in the 1990’s but there was opposition from the RMN on the grounds resources would be diverted to the MMEA and that it would end up doing stuff the MMEA was intended to do.

    Which is precisely the situation faced now in that the RMN has no choice but to still perform constabulary type duties; until the government comes around to allocating sufficient funds.

    By right protecting the EEZ against foreign encroachment as well as patrolling in disputed areas (whether Ambalat or the Spratlys) should be primarily done by the MMEA. It’s not a question of “juggling” anything but what the RMN is forced to do.

  60. @ azlan

    What TLDM forced to do now and what it plans for the future is 2 different things.

    MMEA launched its Pelan Perancangan Strategik Maritim Malaysia 2040 (PPSMM 2040) in 2011, way earlier than TLDMs own 15 to 5 plan.

    So why does 15 to 5 plan did not take into account that MMEA even exists? Why do you still plan for OPVs when MMEA can procure much more cost efficient ships than TLDM?

    Anyway for 2019 budget, MMEA got RM469 million for DE. That is quite a lot DE for a year. In my previous write up on MMEA, i based my assumption on a constant annual DE of USD100 million up till 2040, and that amount is able to get most of the target for PPSMM 2040 of
    – 20 large patrol ships
    – 96 medium patrol ships
    – 228 boats less than 20m in length (95 interceptors, 133 RHIB)
    – 15 Helicopters
    – 12 Fixed wing aircraft

  61. ….. – “What TLDM forced to do now and what it plans for the future is 2 different things.”

    Indeed. 2 profoundly different things.

    The RMN’s plans take into account although the MMEA’s capabilities will be progressively improved in the coming years; that for the foreseeable future the RMN will still have to carry much of the burden.

    My understanding on the idea behind the follow on Kedahs is that – as originally planned when the primary combatants would have comprised Lekius and Kasturis – they will perform secondary types roles that do not require a LCS or a Lekiu. Of course like the initial 6 the follow on ones would also perform constabulary type duties until such a time the MMEA can fully asylums responsibility.

    Yes on paper the Kedahs should go to the MMEA but whether the MMEA in the short term actually has the manpower and infrastructure to operate and support the Kedahs (or any other ship of similar displacement in numbers) is a different matter. Whether the Kedahs actually fit the MMEAs requirements is also a different matter.

  62. @ azlan

    If the plan is to pass the constabulary type duties to MMEA, why does the navy plan to build 18 NGPVs starting 2026 up till 2050? That in itself is a proof that both PPSMM 2040 and 15 to 5 plans did not correspond to each other.

    From the latest 15 to 5 book, it plans for
    55 ships by 2050 consisting of
    12 LCS
    18 NGPV
    18 LMS
    3 MRSS
    4 Submarine

    The PPSMM 2040 plans for
    – 20 large patrol ships
    – 96 medium patrol ships
    – 228 boats less than 20m in length (95 interceptors, 133 RHIB)
    – 15 Helicopters
    – 12 Fixed wing aircraft

    So does malaysia really need a total of 38 OPVs (or 50 large ships if add the LCS)? I dont think so. IMO we would be fine having a total of around 32 large ships (20 MMEA OPV and 12 TLDM Frigate) patrolling our waters. Right now we have less than half of that (2 Lekiu, 2 Kasturi, 6 Kedah, 2 ex japan OPV, 2 Ex Musytari).

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