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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If the requirements fits DSME corvette to a T, does it mean TLDM has ditched the MCM modular concept and return to conventional based fit out for LMS batch 2?
Given our previous problems, it should be the ship we know how to build
The main thing that TLDM need to explain is – what is the real mission for the LMS batch 2?
Do they basically want a missile corvette? IMO, a missile corvette in the traditional sense (small ship to covertly attack larger frigates in a hit and run tactic) has no place in future naval warfare. Situational awareness nowadays is so high that it is nearly impossible to do a hit and run tactic. If its main function is to be a patrol boat or OPV (judging form the fassmer and damen offerings), just forget it and leave this to MMEA.
I always feel that the LMS main mission should be a fast maneuverable fighting ship to excel against insurgents and non-state actors on swarming Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FIAC). With its main playground in selat melaka and sulu sea. Equipped with all round EO sensors. Equipped with all round RCWS, and small missiles like the CM-501GA.
My opinion on the next 10 years for TLDM (to 2030, to be done on the same level of budget as previously, around USD2 billion of development budget per RMK)
1. Forget about NGPV Kedah batch 2 or whatever it is called now. Leave OPVs to MMEA. Getting fit for the task and budget OPV (1800 ton or bigger at USD60 million or cheaper) for MMEA would be much more value for money for the rakyat. This would also free the TLDM budget to buy other things, like more frigates and submarines.
2. No to batch 2 of LMS 68. Reset the LMS to a new design altogether. Revisit why we need the LMS. What is the reason and mission of the LMS? How can we reset this? What mission does it need to do, and what mission it should not do? What should a LMS rebooted be as a ship?
3. Pass all Kedah class and LMS 68 to MMEA by 2030.
4. Also revisit the reason and mission for MRSS. IMO we have no reason to do large scale amphibious landing, and the actual need is IMO a sea bridge to quickly transfer mechanised battalions/regiments to and from east malaysia and west malaysia. A large fast RORO adapted should be a better ship for the mission rather than a LPD.
5. TLDM needs to get its 6 new frigates by 2025, either salvaging the Gowind programme or getting a new design altogether. TLDM need to look at additional frigates of the same type, at least 3 more (for a total of 9) by 2030. So that we could afford to have 3 ships of the same capability to be always at sea to defend our EEZ. So by 2030 to have a fleet of 2x Lekiu, 2x Kasturi, 9x new frigates.
6. We need to get at least 1 more scorpenes by 2030 for our at sea deterrence and second strike capability. We need to leverage the availability of the hot assembly line in India, to piggyback on that programme to get pressure hulls for our new submarine. Assembly can be done in sepanggar as it is not to dissimilar to our refit process.
7. Enlarge our auxiliary fleet size. Get more OSVs (used), replenishment tankers, floating bases.
I hope next year the contract for the LMS batch 2 will take place.
Lets not question the RMN decisions. They must have studied the threats, the requirements to fight such threats n the ships required.
Lets just follow the decision of the RMN
” Lets not question the RMN decisions ”
As i recall, we are a democratic country.
At least tell us the mission requirement of the LMS.
If it is mainly for patrol purposes, our (you and me) tax money paid would be better used to buy cheaper but similarly performing patrol vessel for MMEA.
I really cannot see why TLDM needs to have something like the lurssen or fassmer OPV80 or even the damen as we now have a dedicated coast guard agency.
BTW to add to marhalims article, AFAIK there has been no offer of the SIGMAs for the LMS requirement. The actual DAMEN offer is for the stan patrol 6811.
My personal preference would be a damen FCS5509 with armoured bridge and accomodation area, 2x CS/AN3, 4x CS/LM6 HMG, with 2 flat TEU mounting 32x CM-501GA/CM-501XA missiles/loitering munition and 8x C-705
What are you talking about the RFP is completely different from an offer from a shipyard. And I am not basing my story on the story from Singapore last September. Damen if they got the RFP, they would have to offer something from its Sigma line for it
” Damen if they got the RFP, they would have to offer something from its Sigma line for it ”
Again, it depends on the specifications wanted by TLDM in their RFP. BTW, why isn’t these RFP details revealed to the public?
Its just a RFP its not yet a tender. As for the specifications its obvious from the ships I mentioned
…. – “I always feel that the LMS main mission should be a fast maneuverable fighting ship to excel against insurgents and non-state actors on swarming”
At the moment and for the foreseeable future we don’t face any “insurgents” or non state actors using “swarming tactics” ..
What we face is cross border incursions by non state actors trying to enter our waters or shores in order to kidnap individuals for monetary gain. Their aim is to avoid contact with security forces and get in and out as fast as possible.
If it’s a repeat of 2013 you’re concern about I really doubt we’d see a repeat. For one the Kirams are unlikely to do again what they did as it play into our strengths. Secondly landing 100 plus people undetected (as opposed to 4-5 people in a kidnapping raid) is harder to do compared to pre ESSCOM because we have considerably beefed up our presence in the area. Thirdly the Filipinos have also beefed up their presence in the Tawi Tawi area and the islands of Jolo
and Basilan – much harder now for large groups of men to leave Filipino waters undetected.
I won’t go into details of how the LMS’s should be designed or armed as its subjective; down to personal preferences. On roles: the LMSs are intended for scenarios which don’t call for a larger LCS; whether in a full conflict scenario or against threats in a more benign environment ; ranging from sea denial to MCM to ASW or assisting other agencies for tasks such as SAR or routine patrols.
These are the tasks the Chinese built ones were supposed to handle (is fully fitted out) and tasks the next batch are intended to, on paper.
Fast and manoeuvrable are always nice/useful; depending on the operational circumstances. In addition to lower operating costs and manning levels; the LMSs also have a shallower draught – useful in the event they need to operate in certain areas.
.. – “ missile corvette in the traditional sense (small ship to covertly attack larger frigates in a hit and run tactic) has no place in future naval warfare”
Depends on circumstances/requirements.
Certain navies might not need or be able to afford anything larger or more substantial. The IN for example; has large combatants but still has Khukris and Koras (16 Urans) to perform as pickets or in certain circumstances which suit them. The Israelis have no need for large combatant; multi role corvettes fulfil their needs. Same with the Swedes. Various navies with large combatants (i..e. Bundersmarine) still see the need for FACs for the littoral sea littoral role.
Like FACs; the traditional weakness of corvettes is their modest weapons load out (if faced with air power and heavier surface opponents) and sensors (limited range); as well as sea keeping (yes stabilisers can be fitted to offset things to a certain extent) and endurance. Some of these factors however can be mitigated when ships like these operate in conjunction with other assets.
I m thinking on Saab Kockums Visby multi role corvette, why never suggest to our navy…. And odd think is why every time gov appointed to a local shipyard to build a ship and then went down the project….
I guess the reason the Navy hasn’t (or doesn’t want) to pass the Mekos to the MMEA as it may give the bean-counters the idea that MMEA could do the Navy’s job, and thus reduces the Navy’s budget. And there’s service rivalry too, although MMEA and the Navy are in under two separate ministries, like the Police and the Army.
Ideally, in my view anyway, the Navy’s vessels should primarily consists of frigates and corvettes (and subs as well) and all patrolling duties be given to the MMEA, with Navy coming in during times of emergency (like now).
Well, ideally the LCSes should have been completed on time and budget, and should have been in service by now….
First of all, how is the RMN going to do its job if it passed over six of its main combatants?
After donating several used ships japan looks like ready to export their lethal ship. Now, they are offering their DDG to indonesia navy .
Iver, Sigma omega and now japanesse 30FFM……
30FFM is a frigate though. They have not signed for the Iver yet and I believe it will take a huge discounts on the price by the Japanese to get the contract signed. I believed as like any savvy buyer Indonesia is casting its net wide to get the best price. Hopefully its not the middlemen that’s pushing the proposed deals
Yeah sorry I was under my own assumption that the MEKOs should be passed over to the MMEA. Haha.. Obviously TLDM has its own plans for the MEKOs and see the MEKOs to be part of its future fleet.
Note to self…never assume
I am not sure what lies in the future for the Kedah class but obviously until when RMN get more than enough hulls it cannot simply hand over or retire its ships even the ones that it should be doing so like the Laksamana class
Yes, everything depends on each countries circumstances, also depends on how future threats should be countered.
IN by far is the biggest player of its area. Its small corvettes are to fight other smaller navies around india.
Israel has no other potent maritime enemy around it. Egypt is now a friendly country towards israel, and Greece is also an ally. Its main naval strength is their nuclear armed submarines.
Sweden is surrounded by narrow littoral waters dotted with small islands that is hard for any large ships to fight. Almost every part of its waters can be targeted by shore-based anti ship missiles, which the swedes deploy in numbers. Its main naval strength also comes from its ingenious submarines.
Bundesmarine FAC? Yes they use them, if you are stuck in the 80s that is.
So now lets talk about malaysian maritime circumstances.
We are a country that is straddling on the busiest maritime route in the world (selat melaka and south china sea). A regional power wants to totally control and make south china sea its territory, which is against UNCLOS rule. What we really need is for us to really have control of day to day maritime safety and security of our waters and EEZ, and push back the regional powers claim on SCS. Right now we need to take care of “grey” conflicts, which while not a full blown war needing our armed forces, yet it is not a normal peacetime situation also.
That IMO calls for a stronger coast guard. Using white hulls to maintain our presence in our waters and EEZ would be less escalatory than having our navy doing day to day patrols.
Our navy should be our potent deterrent and a credible second strike capability should any conflict escalate to a full blown war. IMO our navy should concentrate on beefing up its underwater warfare capability, both with more subs, and with TAS equipped frigates. Corvettes have minimal defence against attacks from the air and can be easily tracked with multiple situational awarenss tools.
” First of all, how is the RMN going to do its job if it passed over six of its main combatants? ”
First of all, what is this “job” TLDM needs to do with the MEKOs? Those MEKOs job is just offshore patrolling, nothing more, and for now and the future should be a task primarily done by MMEA. Ideally IMO (point to stress to other readers – this is just my opinion, not official TLDM stand) is for TLDM to have its 6 frigates by 2025, plus 3 more of the same by 2030, porting over its manpower to those frigates and passing the kedahs to MMEA starting 2025-2030.
Because of the SCS situation, Indonesia is looking at bigger frigates (5,000 ton and above) instead of building more SIGMAs. DAMEN is offering a new design (DAMEN OMEGA 6,000 ton) for this requirement, and with japan in the fray, this could be very interesting to follow. Singapore too is looking at a bigger frigate in the shape of the future MRCV.
ASM – “I guess the reason the Navy hasn’t (or doesn’t want) to pass the Mekos to the MMEA”
– The RMN doesn’t want to hand them over because no immediate replacements are available. It needs every hull it has.
– The Kedahs are a bit of an overkill for the MMEA. Operating them will also take up quite a bit of the MMEA’s budget. Not to mention the fact that they’re getting older and as they get older in the coming years; more maintenance intensive.
ASM – “ And there’s service rivalry too, although MMEA”
Plans to raise the MMEA were actually first made in the late 1980’s. At first the RMN opposes the idea for the reasons you mentioned but later agreed as the MMEA was suppose to take off some the stein from the RMN. In predictable fashion the government failed to ensure the MMEA had the funds it needed.
ASM – “should primarily consists of frigates and corvettes (and subs as well) and all patrolling duties be given to the MMEA, with Navy coming in during times of emergency’
The plan is to have frigate sized combatants (Team A) backed up by LMSs and Kedahs. As it stands the 5/15 is dead; almost zero chance of follow on Kedahs as the RMN is focusing on LMSs.
For me; why have both LMSs and Kedahs when it makes sense from a commonality/support perspective to have a common
hull to perform roles not needed by frigates.
ASM – “ see the MEKOs to be part of its future fleet”
That was under the 5/15; under a different leadership and different circumstances. Various things under the 5/15 are no longer valid. After the LCS; priority is the next batch of LMSs.
The RMN would love follow on subs but given the current climate; their high procurement and upkeep costs means they won’t be ordered anytime soon. They is also the political stigma they carry and misconceptions the general public has.
A force of 4 subs would make a big difference for us from an operational perspective but their successful usage during times of conflict also depends on us having MPAs, surface and other assets work with those subs; directly or otherwise.
…. – “. Its small corvettes are to fight other smaller navies around india.”
As I pointed out; the Khukris and Kora are used for specific roles. Not to ‘fight smaller navies’ as you put it.
My mention of the various examples was to highlight the fact that all depends on preference and needs; and to point out that your : “has no place in future naval warfare” isn’t spot on and neither is the “Bundesmarine FAC? Yes they use them, if you are stuck in the 80s that is” …
Bundermarine FACs are intended for the confined Baltic where anything larger is not needed. Nothing to do with the 1980’s – it’s not an outmoded practice.
….. ‘Israel has no other potent maritime enemy around it. Egypt is now a friendly country towards israel, and Greece is also an ally. Its main naval strength is their nuclear armed submarines.”
Actually; Israel has no need for anything larger due to its operational requirements. It doesn’t need surface units with the range and endurance which frigates or anything larger provides and this has been the case since before Camp David (you mentioned Egypt) which has no connection to the topic.
Israel may indeed have no “potent” (as you put it) enemy but it still has to secure its sealanes; the striking point is that it sees ‘corvette’ size ships; together with smaller FAC size ships capable of meeting its needs.
All the examples you mentioned only reinforces the point that needs vary; irrespective of whether it’s the 1980’s (you mentioned the Germans) or 2020; certain navies still have a need for small size combatants.
… – “That IMO calls for a stronger coast guard. Using white hulls to maintain our presence in our waters and EEZ would be less escalatory than having our navy doing day to day patrols”
Yes you keep saying but the thing is nobody’s saying otherwise…
Nobody’s saying we don’t need a strong MMEA or that the RMN should indefinitely have to assist the MMEA.
Again : until the time when the MMEA is adequately funded/equipped the RMN is the only agency able to partly share the burden. It’s not as if the RMN wants to hold on to the constabulary role.
… – “Corvettes have minimal defence against attacks from the air and can be easily tracked with multiple situational awarenss tools”
Corvettes and FACs have limits against heavier surface units and air power but both should always be operated in conjunction with other assets to minimise their weaknesses. Nothing (even a much heavier armed ship) should be operating alone.
… – “Our navy should be our potent deterrent and a credible second strike capability should any conflict escalate to a full blown war. IMO our navy should concentrate on beefing up its underwater warfare capability, both with more subs, and with TAS equipped frigates”
I really have no conception of what ‘potent” and ‘credible” signifies in this context but i would like a navy which has the number of hulls its operationally needs and can adequately support in terms of infrastructure and finances. Hulls which are fitted out to deal with present threats and the types of threats we are likely to encounter in line with the geo political environment and threat perceptions. Hulls which also have slight room for future growth and all sharing as much commonality as possible.
At minimum the RMN needs its Tier 2 ships to be of a similar displacement to the 4 LMSs and pair of Korean training ships. It has no desire for FAC type/size hulls for reasons of range, endurance and sea keeping.
As for subs; I’d like to have another 2 for the operational
flexibility enabled – with just 2 things are challenging (to put it mildly). Given that subs are not a panacea and that (as shown in both World Wars and other conflicts) their successful deployments is dependent on them working along other assets; in parallel with expending/improving our sub force; there must be a similar move to have adequate numbers of MPAs, helos with the legs and endurance needed for ASW to operate from ships fitted with a decent ASW suite; as well
as other assets; all sharing a common picture (when possible) and all working together to maximise and minimise strengths and weaknesses.
TLDM has other plans for the Kedahs, once they are fully fitted armed as per originally intended.
30FFM have AAW version with up to 8,500 tons & 160 meters length. It features 64 VLS cells forward for surface-to-air missiles and an additional 16x VLS cells aft, for a future vertically launched surface to surface missile making it basically a destroyer
I know MHI has a bigger destroyer from the same hull but its not known as 30FFM. If it was the bigger design the original story would have said a bigger version of the 30FFM
The Budget 2021 just came out and while defence matter hasn’t yet been release (as of now), it is pointed out that Covid fund amounted to RM 45Bil, that is nearly 3X the sum of entire defence budget in 2020. That huge sum of money has got to come from somewhere….
Personally, rather than new LMS batch, it will be better if we spent money on upgrades and hulls maintenance.
The Laksamanas and Kedahs hulls could be refurbished and re/armed with SSMs (Otomat, NSM or SSK700K), SAM(RAM), and torpedoes. 2 xSSM per ship would be enough. We can opt to do it at Boustead or Daewoo(if BNS underperformed).
Any further saving shall goes to completing the LCS or upgrading the Lekius. We can also retire the Kasturis.
It can be done relatively quickly and we can found ourselves with 8 frigates and 10 missile-armed corvettes.
I dont see the utility of TLDM getting a small corvette for the LMS requirements. I also dont see the utility of those against forces such as china.
1) if it is for peacetime patrols, OPVs of MMEA would be more appropriate
2) if it is for warfare, it is too big to engage FIACs in narrow littoral areas. Against other frigates/fighters it is too small and easily attacked by air and from the surface.
3) a corvette isn’t going to be useful for MCM or HADR, so that is already out of the window.
Which is why I really want to know the exact mission expected from this LMS reboot. As i see it, it would be a waste of precious resources. We need more uncomplicated, basic patrol ships for MMEA, and ships and submarines that can really take the fight to a force that is much more better equipped than us, and also to insurgents and non-state actors.
An answer to those in SB forum.
I am against a corvette in a traditional sense, small hulls fitted with weapons to attack larger ships. But I am for ships with a primary mission of fighting FIACs.
My personal preference would be a damen FCS5509 with armoured bridge and accommodation area, 2x CS/AN3 30mm RCWS, 4x CS/LM6 0.50cal HMG, with 2 flat TEU mounting 32x CM-501GA/CM-501XA missiles/loitering munition and 8x C-705
Actually, from info I gleaned from knowledgeable sources, the DSME ships does NOT fit the RMN LMS requirement to a T. The DSME corvette is too slow and too heavy. The RMN is looking for something around 1500T displacement with a top speed of 29 knots. My search only yielded the DAMEN 8313 as the one that fits the requirement to a T.
My view is with the specs in the RFP, the RMN is looking for a full-on naval ship. Cost per ship would most probably be in the region of 400 – 500 million.
That is basically a corvette in traditional sense.
Fine if we are looking to fight our own neighbours (which we shouldn’t). Not fine fighting a force with superior situational awareness, plenty of air launched anti-ship missile options and with plenty of large frigates and destroyers equipped with plenty of anti-ship missiles
In that case, TLDM might be looking to reboot the SGPV corvette role with another ship rather than continue with Kedah class, as part of their 15 to 5 program. A take on low(LMS), mid (SGPV/Kedah) and high(LCS) tiered fleet.
On the MRSS
looks like US Navy is going to retire all 4 x Harpers Ferry-class LSDs (1995-1996) and 7 x Whidbey Island-class LSDs (1985-1992) by the year 2026.
Would something like the Harpers Ferry-class LSD be an alternative to new MRSS for TLDM? Say a free transfer (US EDA) of two? It would have a high manpower requirement though (400+) but is a fully naval specced ship.
Personally I would prefer this
If Harper Ferry c/w all its LCAC and armaments and modernised,maybe its a good offer to look into if US want to let 1 go to us.