MRSS On The Horizon, Part 2

SHAH ALAM: Days after MRSS on The Horizon posting, I received three comments asking me to check out a report by Jakarta Post that PT Pal will be signing the contract for the ship, this August.

I am unable to post the report here, unfortunately, as it is protected by a paywall and the free version only gave one paragraph which did not mentioned anything on the MRSS. 

Anyhow, the report datelined Feb 4. from Surabaya mainly quoted PT Pal CEO M. Firmansyah Arifin on developments of the shipyard. Only at the very last, he spoke about the  MRSS and said that the contract will be signed in August.

He also said  that the MRSS will be similar to the Indonesian Makassar class LPD and the Philippines SSV, though it will be bigger and fully armed. Basically, it’s the same statement, he had been quoted before apart from the August date for the contract signing.

BRP Tarlac, the Phillipine Navy SSV. PN

It appears that as usual, the other side seemed to know more  about the contract than even RMN Chief Admiral Tan Sri Kamarulzaman Badaruddin.

When I met the Admiral on Thursday he explained that when he tweeted about the MRSS, he was not implying that “the contract is imminent”.

A screenshot of Adm Kamarulzaman tweet on the MRSS on Jan. 26. 2017.

The national news agency, Bernama, also followed up on the tweet which led to a story in a Malaysian news portal that a multi-billion deal was imminent, which Kamarulzaman said was completely inaccurate.

A close up of the MRSS model shown at PT PAL booth at Indodefence 2016.

“The minister was just giving his endorsement that the MRSS will be the next RMN project after the LMS“, he added. The endorsement means that now funding for the project could be secured if funds is available.

Asked whether the design will be the same as the Makassar class or the SSV, Kamarulzaman said it will be a different design.

KRI Makassar. By Koxinga CDF at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0,

On the cost, Kamarulzaman gave a figure that the RMN was looking at, which seemed to indicate that it will be a different design that the Makassar or the SSV. Based on the figure,  it’s likely that the RMN among others want a much higher damage control standard.

Since they are still figuring out the contract, I will not publish the figure quoted by the RMN Chief so as to give them the leeway in the continuing negotiations.

So is a contract imminent? No, based on the conversation with Kamarulzaman. Further to that I had also reach out to other officials at the Defence Ministry, for a better idea on the project and the likelyhood of a contract. I was hoping for more information before writing a post but the story from Surabaya forced me to write about the issue sooner rather than later. I am not trying to discredit the report but I believed that I had to clarify the issue. So what is behind the reports from Indonesia about the MRSS then. I have no idea!

And if not this August when then? A more reasonable timeline will be 12 months from now, according to my sources. And even that will depend on various factors.

* the post has been updated for clarity.

— Malaysian Defence

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