SHAH ALAM: More OPVs and NGPCs in the future. The MMEA plans to acquire up to eight OPVs and 14 NGPCs as part of its capitalisation programme, Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin said today. However plans for the new ships will depend on the funding by the government, with the requirements to be discussed with the Finance Ministry and announced when it was appropriate.
The design and shipyards for the new OPVs and NGPCs will not necessarily be the current ones – THHE-Destini JV and Destini – he said without the explaining further.
The two projects will be the main programmes for the MMEA in the near future apart from the three Multi Purpose Mission Ship (MPMS) already approved for funding for approval for the next RMK. Each MPSSs will act as mother ship for at least six interceptor boats and other MMEA assets from drones to helicopters, allowing them to stay at sea for a longer period of time.
Hamzah was speaking after witnessing the delivery of two New Generation Patrol Craft (NGPC) – KM Tok Bali (4544) and KM Kota Kinabalu (4545) – to MMEA at the Destination Marine Services shipyard at Port Klang. The two are part of the six NGPC order worth some RM400 in 2015. The first three ships – KM Bagan Datuk, KM Sri Aman and KM Kota Belud were delivered in late 2017 and early 2018. The last NGPC – KM Lahad Datu (4546) – is set to be delivered within one month time, according to Hamzah.
Unlike the first three NGPC, the three patrol boats will not be equipped with the Thales Fulmar UAV.
The minister did not explained the delay in the delivery of the NGPC – work on Tok Bali, Kota Kinabalu and Lahad Datu were completed late 2018. It is understood that the contract and those of the OPV were placed under scrutiny by the previous government. It is also interesting to note that the current PM was the Home Minister during the last 22 months prior to his elevation to the current post.
Hamzah and delegation also visited THHE Fabricators at Pulau Indah nearby to check on the progress of the OPV project. Hamzah said the first OPV is expected to be handed over to the MMEA this October with the other two ships expected next year. It is likely the first OPV will only be launch this October with commissioning expected in the first quarter of next year.
Like other projects, the work at the THHE yard was only resumed early this month after being shut down due to the lockdown ordered by the government to prevent the spread of Covid 19. Work also slowed down since mid-2018 as the then government put a brake on progress payment.
— Malaysian Defence