More Stuff for LCS

A CGI of the LCS.

SHAH ALAM: With the launch of the first LCS set for Aug. 24, more stuff are now being or have been delivered for the ships of the class. The latest is the underwater monitoring device, which forms part of the ship’s surveillance system.

The surveillance system is called NIDAR by its manufacturer MARSS, a Europe based company, which described it as

an advanced long range surveillance system protecting naval vessels and land-based defence installations from air, surface and underwater approaches.

As part of the NIDAR system, the Sonardyne Sentinel IDS diver and subsurface detection equipment is also installed.

A Sonardyne IDS system on board a ship

The release from Sonardyne.

Sonardyne has supplied its diver detection sonar technology, Sentinel, for a fleet of offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) under construction in the Far East.

Two ship-fit Sentinels have now been tested and delivered with more to follow, as part of a wider contract to equip each OPV with a fully integrated force-protection capability.

Working with MARSS Group’s NiDAR long range maritime surveillance system, the Sentinels will provide complete underwater domain awareness by detecting unauthorised divers and subsurface vehicles approaching the OPVs and the assets they protect.

Sentinel detects, tracks and classifies underwater threats at up to 1,200 metres range For this contract, the Sentinel sonar heads will be deployed from the OPVs using through-hull technology developed by MARSS. Controlled and monitored by Nidar, the sonars can be lowered automatically to establish an instant, 360 degree monitored zone around large naval ships at anchor, or the entry to a port or harbour.

A screenshot of the NIDAR page.

MARSS first announced the NIDAR contract back in 2015.

The multihull contract, with delivery expected from 2015 to 2022, will include the design, integration, delivery, installation and commissioning of the patented NiDAR™ 360˚ surface and underwater anti intruder security system to protect the Royal Malaysian Navy’s Second Generation Patrol Vessel Littoral Combat Ship fleet (LCS).

“MARSS established a strong working partnership with the Royal Malaysian Navy and Boustead Naval Shipyard to design and deliver a comprehensive world class vessel security system that redefines what can be achieved for maritime domain awareness leveraging Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) equipment,“ said Rob Balloch, SVP of MARSS Group, adding “MARSS is establishing an engineering presence in Malaysia to support our customers as they implement force protection technologies across their assets.”

NiDAR™ delivers enhanced situational awareness and increased reaction time by integrating multiple sensor and data feeds to generate a long range 360 degree perimeter security shield around a vessel. Operating autonomously 24 hours a day NiDAR monitors, detects, tracks classifies and alerts decision makers to multiple air, surface and underwater threats in the vicinity of a vessel. This provides vessels with the most complete security picture supporting correct decision making and enabling an effective response in critical situations.

The LCS major equipment detailed. RMN graphic

As maritime surveillance system is part of the overall LCS self protection system it has not figured in any RMN’s announcement so far.

The multi-layered capabilities of the LCS. RMN graphics.

The LCS is likely the first RMN ship to be fitted with such a system with the Kota Kinabalu naval base becoming the first shore station to be equip with a comprehensive self protection system.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2201 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. @ Marhalim,

    NiDAR is not actually an underwater surveillance system per se.

    It is more of a compiler of surveillance data from various sources, radar, sonar, FLIR, ESM, etc etc, and presents them in 1 situational picture. It can be installed in platforms as small as speed boats to frigates.

  2. Marhalim,

    How Many Kilometers for the Sonardyme


    I dont think it will work beyond 1000 meters

  3. Really comprehensive awareness system for our LCS I must say..

    No wonder about the overall cost.

  4. Marhalim,
    Regarding the RMN’s LCS, I’m no engineer but is it possible to increase it’s length to, say 120 meters, the extra 9 meters in between the front 57 turret and the bridge (more VLS?) and in between the stack and mast (more NSM @ 30mm RWS?) and hence also more accomodation,fuel and supplies?

    I am no engineer either but I am guessing it can be done. That is almost the size of the Balharra though.

  5. The US Navy is moving out from LCS due to its limited operational usefulness after operating some ships for quite some time now. Maybe their needs could be different but should RMN too find it to be limited in operational capabilities, it would costly and timely for us.

  6. At some point in future, SSMs may not be produced in non-VLS launch models. Considering the long lifespan of the ship, extra space for VLS will be useful.

    NSM is a young missile and there is currently no VLS model. But it’s possible that the non-VLS model will be dropped in future due to lack of demand.

    You don’t need 9 meters to accommodate extra VLS unless you wanta a huge number of cells. But the extra space will be useful as a “mission area”.

  7. ZekMR,
    its a common equipment on luxury yatch and tanker. Certainly not the contributor “about the overall cost”.

  8. Mr. m,

    What heavy armament and top notch surveillance plus self defence equipment to do with merely a yatch dude,

    Enough with overdosed politicking please.

    He is correct, the NIDAR was adapted for commercial purpose, luxury yacht and oil tankers. Its all there on the MARSS website which is linked on the post.

  9. I don’t think anyone here is arguing about the overall cost of the tldm gowinds with its ASW centric design that has towed sonar arrays. It is only about 30% more expensive than the Kedah class OPV but is bigger, a full fledged frigate that is fully armed and with ASW as its main capability, i don’t think many would argue.

    With the cost of around usd 460 million, it is around the price of comparable 3000 ton frigates, which is mostly general purpose types with no towed sonar arrays. The only similarly sized frigates with towed sonar arrays are the singaporean formidables.

    Compared to most of the current and future 3000 ton frigate designs, the tldm gowinds are among the top designs when discussed among naval enthusiasts. Some other current designs noted are the algerian meko A-200AN, and also the algerian C28A. There are worries from UK navy enthusiasts that their future Type 31 frigate would not be as good as the tldm gowinds, that is how much the tldm gowinds is a benchmark now for light frigate design.

  10. “There are worries from UK navy enthusiasts that their future Type 31 frigate would not be as good as the tldm gowinds, that is how much the tldm gowinds is a benchmark now for light frigate design.”

    Such sentiments are rather meaningless. For example you could say the Formidables are also “light” as they are of similar tonnage. Yet they are more capable in many ways.

    What use is a “benchmark” when everyone has their own requirements? A major part of the requirements for the Type 31 is to show the flag and operate in low to medium threat environments. One can argue that they are intended for lower threat environments than the Type 23s they are replacing.

  11. AM – ”Considering the long lifespan of the ship, extra space for VLS will be useful.”

    Indeed but is there free space below deck, aft of the VLS? I doubt it. Hence the problem when going for ships with limited deck and below deck space. Would also be nice to have a CIWS aft of the VLS but of course that would increase the RCS but so what?

    … – ”the tldm gowinds are among the top designs when discussed among naval enthusiasts. ”

    The LCS when delivered will be decent ships with a decent capability and are made for our operational needs. If however the day ever comes – I hope it doesn’t – when we’re are faced with the possibility of a high intensity state on state conflict against a peer adversary than we will need ships with a ”heavier” fit and longer range sensors.

    There is also the question of how thorough have we specified DC standards for the LCS? Most people get all ga-ga about the sexy weapons but tend neglect vital stuff like DC standards; unfortunately like everything else; the level of DC standards is all about what we’re willing to pay and how we vital we deem it to be in our overall scheme of things.

  12. AM – ”Yet they are more capable in many ways.”

    They are indeed as the SAF – unlike us – focuses on high intensity state on state conflicts. The Formidables have longer range sensors and their ability – on paper – to deal with incoming ASMs are ahead of the LCS by virtue of having more VLS cells. They can also add the number of Harpoons they carry. At the end of the day, both the LCS and Formidables are a product of not just budgets but also by the respective needs of their users. Also, it’s not just the hardware or the actual platform but the fact that the Formidables will operate in conjunction with other assets – whether sea or air – as part of a networked system/environment.

  13. Safran – ”How Many Kilometers for the Sonardyme”

    Will depend on the type of contact, the noise or acoustic it radiates and sea conditions. Certain types of contacts will be easier to detect.

  14. … – ”There are worries from UK navy enthusiasts that their future Type 31 frigate would not be as good as the tldm gowinds”

    If the Type 31s – like the Type 23s – have an electric drive, they will be much quieter ASW platforms compared to the LCS. I’m not sure what ”not be as good” really constitutes in this context but given that the Type 31s have yet to enter service; it is to be expected that when they do, they’ll have newer or better performing sensors than the LCS.

    The fact also remains that the Type 31s will not be the RN’s primary combatants but the LCS will be the RMN’s primary combatants; as such naval enthusiasts or anyone for that matter shouldn’t be making any direct comparisons between both classes as both are driven by different set of operational requirements.

  15. Regarding the “more VLS cells” issue, I thought the Boustead guy said in an interview that space for more VLS cells are already allocated in the current LCS design. Maybe I am mistaken? If RMN went for the MK41 with its ability to quad pack ESSM, might not even need more cells, or can VL-MICA be quad pack as well?

    Regardless of whether the LCS is benchmark or not, we should be grateful for the improved capability it provides the RMN, especially under current economic duress the nation is facing. TOTL capabilities come with a price tag few countries can afford without severely impacting other areas of nation development.

  16. kerberos,

    Not trying to be too critical but if viewed objectively I hardly think the LCS or the Gowind can be considered a ”benchmark”. Sure, it’s a great ship with decent capabilities and will be a long overdue welcome addition to the RMN but this doesn’t make it a ””benchmark”. Like with fighters and how people tend to place emphasis on the platform [e.g comparing which has a better ”radar” and turning radius] when it’s the systems that will make the key difference; how effective the LCS will be will also depend on how we integrate them [not only via a common network but also in the working arrangement with the RMAF] with other assets, be it sea or air.

  17. As for me i prefer we buy something like the thai frigate or c28a even in a smaller number like 4 compared 2 our current gowind.if we have more money in the future we can add a few more.the less demanding stuff can always be covered by the lekius and kasturi.

  18. Hmm..saf usualy use baseline figures. Going by the stuff they put on the formidable and well past baseline tonnage i think. Especially the top heavy victory.

  19. Marhalim,

    With your ‘connections’, could you please check whether the LCS is really physically ready for launching. Been hearing a lot of rumours that the ship is not ready for launch yet but will be launched anyway.

    It is supposed to be launch next week AFAIK. From pictures of the ship published it looks ready for launch

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