Motherships Needed

Damen 71 meter accomodation barge. This barge was designed to serve the offshore wind industry though with modifications it could easily served as a mothership for the coast guard.

SHAH ALAM: Motherships needed. The Malaysian Coast Guard has a need for at least two large vessels to serve as “motherships” for its small patrol boats to boost its maritime enforcement duties.

MMEA director general Adm. (M) Zulkifli Abu Bakar says the “motherships” if acquired could be stationed at the Beting Patinggi Ali, off Sarawak and the east coast of the peninsula so they could served as floating resupply platform for smaller patrol boats.

He says to Bernama

Small patrol boats can obtain food and fuel supplies from these vessels without having to return to shore, and it would save time and cost. He said MMEA had about 250 boats for patrol and monitoring in the country’s waters.

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KM Perwira at LIMA 17, She is only 38.2 meters long.

Despite the numbers, most of these patrol boats are less than 50 meters long which meant that they are almost unsuitable for duties in the South China Sea.

A service barge. Similar barges are widely available for an outright purchase or lease.

When top Coastie re-tweet the story, I replied to him saying that probably they could also used service or derrick barges as the floating resupply base. Such platforms are already widely used in the oil and gas industry to service and resupply oil platforms though for the coast guard’s needs certain modifications will need to be carried out.

Hercules, the service barge used by the US in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq tanker war in the 1980s. US Navy picture.

Sea base platforms is not a new a thing even in Malaysia. In the Sulu sea, we already operate the Tun Sharifah Rodziah and two converted container ships, KA Tun Azizan and KA Bunga Mas Lima as a mobile patrol platform as forward resupply platforms.
ESSCOM sea basing platforms (from left) Bunga Mas Lima, Tun Rodziah and Tun Azizan. RMN picture

Of course, we could also buy new or converted ships to serve as the resupply platforms. For this article I am using pictures from Damen Shipyard as the company’s website is a treasure trove for such marine vessels.

Damen 71 meter accomodation barge. This barge was designed to serve the offshore wind industry though with modifications it could easily served as a mothership for the coast guard.

We could also get Damen to modify their landing ship design to serve as the mothership platform. The 120 meter platform (below) could carry four patrol ships, supplies and could also be armed with container-based weapons modules.
Damen 120m landing ship. Could be easily modified to serve as a mother ship.

I readily admit that other shipyards could offer better ships than the examples above but their design collection are not as accessible as the Damen ones. And I am not a good graphic artist!
A CGI of the T26

Anyhow, it was reported yesterday that BAE Systems has been awarded a contract by the UK Defence Ministry worth £3.7bn to manufacture the first three ships for the Type 26 Global Combat Ship programme.
A rear CGI of the Type 26.

This is interesting to us as the ship was offered to us some 10 years ago as a replacement for the cancelled Lekiu batch 2. The offer was declined as the ship was too expensive and big for our needs. The offer was made as the RMN was at that time was finalising its requirements for the second generation patrol vessel which end up being called the LCS.
A CGI of the Belharra frigate. DCNS

Personally I prefer the looks of the Belharra frigate, which is also too expensive for us.

— Malaysian Defence

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15 Comments

  1. Better make a few small artificial island in SCS and build a small depot and barrack to resupply and guard the island. No need to build a large island like the Chinese did.

    Reply
    We already did..

  2. I wonder why TLDM don’t operate landing craft? Not that we have an “invasion” but I’m guessing, maybe as a low cost to own and operate logistic vessels. I remember reading this article of a Sarawak shipyard building some landing craft for an Arab navy. I’m also guessing that it’s possible to convert such craft into a mother ship.

  3. What will make the Type 26s – like the Type 23s – really quiet sub hunters will be the electric motors/electric drive. That unfortunately also drives the cost up. Whilst the RMN indeed has no need for ships with too large or heavy a displacement the fact remains that having extra space offer more flexibility whether it comes to future upgrades or having larger hangars.

    Long before we had sea based platforms in the form of oil rigs and ex MISC ships; we were using Saktis,and ex USN LSTs as tenders for FACs as well as CB90s. Granted the FACs offer much better sea keeping, range and endurance than the Vosper built PCs [Sabah, Kris and Kedah class] but they also had limited range, endurance and seakeeping; in line with the original roles they were intended to perform : coastal patrols and limited sea denial.

  4. The Belharra front’s reminded me of Admiral Beatty’s early dreadnoughts,A sight that ones hv to get use to nowadays.As for motherships,I prefer the Tn Rodziah concept.Light it up like a Christmas tree and the Chinese will take notice of it.

  5. I don’t believe we run out of idea our main problem is we run out of money

    Reply
    Its not really about the money but lack of ideas…

  6. Meh – ”Better make a few small artificial island in SCS and build a small depot and barrack to resupply and guard the island”

    What China is doing now – albeit on a much larger scale – we started doing 30 years ago. Way before the Spratlys became an international concern and at a time when the average Malaysian had even heard of the Spratlys.

    edliew – ”I wonder why TLDM don’t operate landing craft?”

    If you mean ”landing craft” as shallow draft vessels [with limited seakeeping, range and endurance] originally intended to deliver men and gear from ship to shore; no we certainly can’t convert them into ”mother ships”? How, given their size and lack of seakeeping? Countries that tend to operate landing craft also tend to have the means to deploy them to shore: we don’t.

    There is however photo evidence that we did operate a small number of landing craft in the past. I suspect that these were provided by Australia along with the riverine craft that we operated along the Rejang against the NKCP.

  7. Thanks for news on the T26 and Belh@rra(TM), I was following them too. Expensive ships though.

    Is there any info on the proposed Kedah batch 2, or upgrades to the existing 6 boats? Though I understand it’ll probably be 2025+ by the time we can afford them…

  8. @Azlan – “If you mean ”landing craft” as shallow draft vessels [with limited seakeeping, range and endurance] originally intended to deliver men and gear from ship to shore; no we certainly can’t convert them into ”mother ships”? How, given their size and lack of seakeeping?”
    Obviously I’m talking on assumption. I’m guessing a landing craft would some what work like a barge with it own propulsion. And if it were to be converted into a mother ship, sea keeping, endurance and such that you mentioned, will not be an issue here as I would assume the craft would be anchor.
    This is the news I was referring to http://www.theborneopost.com/2012/10/18/shin-yang-delivers-two-80m-lct-vessels-to-uae-navy/
    I did a further Google on this shipyard and found this https://www.syshippingcorp.com.my/ship-building/portfolio/category/10-80m-navy-ship.html
    Interesting to know such local shipyard with international demand especially on military built.
    Anyway, I’m only talking on assumption 8)

  9. edliew – ”Obviously I’m talking on assumption”

    The main issue with landing craft is their shallow draught which will in turn effect their seakeeping as well as issues with range and endurance. The ”mother ship” will also need adequate deck space to store fuel, ammo, spare parts, extra power supply, etc.

    I don’t see what added value a landing craft would offer as opposed to a converted freighter or tanker to perform as a mother ship. We did use the ex USN LSTs [basically large landing craft] as tenders for the FACs and Vospers but only for short periods. For use in ESSCOM there is a need for a larger vessel with more endurance and space.

  10. edliew,

    Interesting. According to the article they also delivered other ships in the past to the UAE. I was under the impression that the only Malaysian yard to have sold anything abroad to a military customer was Hong Leong Lurssen. W 12.7mm armed patrols boats were sold to Cambodia in the 1990’s.

    ” And if it were to be converted into a mother ship, sea keeping, endurance and such that you mentioned, will not be an issue here as I would assume the craft would be anchor.”

    It would still be an issue as the draught is shallow. It would roll and would not be a stable platform unless the sea was totally calm. An anchor would keep the ship in place but it will not prevent the ship from pitching or rolling.

  11. Azlan “What China is doing now – albeit on a much larger scale – we started doing 30 years ago. Way before the Spratlys became an international concern and at a time when the average Malaysian had even heard of the Spratlys.”

    30 years ago, we were concerned with rival claims by the Philippines. Those pyramidal markers that you see in photos were produced in the 1980s. They were made of reinforced concrete and designed so the Nuri could carry them underslung after the RMN had delivered them to the vicinity of the islands.The Philippines blew up a few and new copies had to be produced. Whether the Philippines ever placed their own markers there and had them removed by us, I don’t know.

  12. AM – ”we were concerned with rival claims by the Philippines”

    More with Vietnam.

    AM – ”Those pyramidal markers that you see”

    We put markers on Amboyna Cay but did not garrison it. the markers were subsequently destroyed by Vietnamese troops.

    In 1999 during Op Seri Petaling we were very concerned with what the Philippines and Vietnam would do. Hawks at Labuan were on alert.

  13. “… it was reported yesterday that BAE Systems has been awarded a contract by the UK Defence Ministry worth £3.7bn to manufacture the first three ships for the Type 26 Global Combat Ship programme.”

    “… the ship was offered to us some 10 years ago as a replacement for the cancelled Lekiu batch 2. The offer was declined as the ship was too expensive and big for our needs.”

    Well it seems the British government is finding the Type 26 too expensive. The original requirement was for 11 ships. This was cut to the 3 that have just been ordered, and another 5 in the future.

    The shortfall in hulls is suppose to be taken up by the supposedly, less expensive and smaller Type 31 General Purpose Frigate.

    http://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/type-31-frigate-unwanted-child-of-austerity-or-bright-hope-for-a-larger-fleet/

    http://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/steller-systems-offers-another-option-for-the-type-31-frigate-design/

  14. Please Malaysia priority to the TUDM TLDM and TDM first.If all the other agencies need aset after the fulfillment of these 3 main agencies.

  15. Priority should be given to the Navy.Airforce and the Army.Due to lack of Budget dan the state of economy now, other agencies should consider not to demand too much, the cost of operation,maintenance and addition of personnels should also be considered.Don\’t be surprised that one day other agencies also wants submarines, jet fighters and tanks

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