SHAH ALAM: Moving on RMN. In 2014, South Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd (DSME) announced it had signed a contract with a Malaysian shipyard for the supply of six missile corvettes to the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN). The announcement was originally published in a South Korean newspaper though it was quickly picked up by other outlets. Malaysian Defence also ran a story on it, complete with a denial from the RMN that it had signed a contract for the ships.
Unfortunately the post on Malaysian Defence was among the batch of stories that went missing after the server crashed two years back so I cannot link it here.
DSME missile corvette model displayed at LIMA 2015
Anyhow, if I recalled correctly the local shipyard was supposed to be set up in Pekan, Pahang. Further digging also showed that the company may well be be the successor to the bankrupt shipyard, NGV Tech Sdn Bhd. As you are aware NGV Tech was the original contractor to the two training ships built to a DSME design.
Another angle of the DSME missile corvette at LIMA 2015.
The missing post also stated that the RMN had no plans to buy a missile corvette at that time. And this has been proven correct as this was last the time we heard about the deal even though DSME took part in LIMA 2015 several months after the announcement. The company displayed a model of the ship at the show though if I recalled correctly, Defence ministry and RMN officials avoided the booth religiously.
A model of the missile corvettes proposed by DSME for RMN at LIMA 2015
For the record the model of the DSME missile corvette displayed at LIMA 15 was fitted with a 76mm main gun, four anti-ship missile launchers, two 30mm guns and various sensors likely also from South Korea.
A picture of Gagah Samudera during her sea trials in October, 2016. via Nazir Darus, Twitter
The ship according to DSME has a length of about 85.5 m, a breadth of 12.9 m, a draft of 3.8 meters and a displacement of about 1,800 tons. It has a crew of 60 sailors, an endurance of more than 20 days and a top speed 26 knots.
And unlike the smaller KD Keris, the China made LMS, the DSME ship has a landing pad for a helicopter though it is not equipped with a hangar for one. So why I am looking back on the story then, did RMN signed a contract for the ship, finally?
KDB Darulaman, a Lurrsen OPV design. US Navy
No, of course not but I remembered the DSME missile corvette after I was told that RMN had sent out RFPs to various local and foreign shipyards on the second batch of the LMS project. The specifications and requirements in the RFP fit the DSME missile corvette to a T, which was the reason I remembered the ship.
A CGi of the Damen Sigma Corvette 8313. Damen
Other designs that fit the bill are the Lurssen OPV80 series, the Damen Sigma corvette 8313 or the 7513 and the Fassmer OPV80, though I admit the ships are on the high end of the cost scale.
Of course an Australian, French, Italian, China, Japan or a Russian ship that is similar to the above designs would also fit the bill. The million dollar question is which one will be chosen, when and how many ships will RMN get. Your guess is as good as mine. If I had some RM10 billion to spare I would choose the Sigma ship.
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