MSA in First Joint Exercise?

KD Kedah leading two Keris class LMS during a photo stage of OSTEXEast 1/23. RMN

SHAH ALAM: RMAF CN-235 MSA, it appears, is participating in its first joint exercise, OSTEXEast 1/23, organised by the RMN’s Eastern Command. It must be noted that RMN and RMAF had not officially announced that the MSA is involved in the on-going exercise – likely ending within the next few days.

Eastern Command in its social media post on the exercise did state that RMAF aircraft – the Hawk, EC725 and CN-235 – are also involved in the exercise. Both the Hawk fighter jets and EC725 helicopters are regular participants of the exercises in the past. This is likely the first time that the MSA will be involve though. In the past, RMAF Hercules also took part in similar exercise, dropping PASKAL operators and their gear with parachutes but it is unlikely they will used the CN-235 for an equivalent manner.

A RMAF EC725 helicopter in a winching exercise with a RMN submarine at OSTEXEast 1/23. RMN

Eastern Command has shared a picture of a EC725 helicopter winching down someone to one of the RMN submarine. It is unlikely they will share a picture of the MSA in the exercise, however. The aircraft like other surveillance aircraft will be flying well above and way from the fleet using its maritime surveillance radar, signals and electronic intelligence and FLIR camera to collect data.

Hence, if the MSA is involved it is likely be used to share the data collected to RMN ships and even submarine involved in the exercise as a precursor for actual operations. This is of course needed as the CN-235 MSA is a new capability in the armed forces. While RMAF may already figure out what it can do, its sister services may not. Who knows, it might even be able not just obtain and share simple data but also firing solutions to RMN ships and submarines.

RMAF CN-235 MSA M44-03 at its hangar at the Kuching RMAF airbase. US Navy

As Malaysian Defence posted previously the MSA/MPA missions and exercises are classified, hence we will be lucky if we get confirmation of its involvement in the exercise.

Anyhow, Malaysian Defence can confirm that the third MSA – tail number M44-01 – is still in Bandung as it was photographed there, a week ago. Unfortunately, I cannot publish it here for reasons.

— Malaysian Defence

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9 Comments

  1. Sorry Marhalim, I have already asked but do you see the possibility that if the RMN were to get the Ada class corvettes for LMS batch 2, the versions might be scaled down slightly. It’s because the Adas displace 2200 to 2300 tons which may be too big? Your opinion?

  2. I prefer the Ada-class even if it’s too big as the production of the ships for export is continuing. So, we can take advantage of that knowledge for our ships. No idea if it will be scaled down. Turkish STM shipyard which offered the Ada, also offered a 85-meter LMS which is fine of course but they are not building one now, so we will be the first customer. Anyhow, as I wrote previously, the RMN had issued RFI/RFP for a 75 meter to 85-meter ship and the 85-to-99-meter ship. They also asked a rough order magnitude of the cost, so they will also know the price.

  3. Even if the RMN played very safe and sticks to the 99m 2200 ton Ada, some changes will still be needed, like the naval gun from 76 to 57mm and Harpoon / Atmaca to NSM as per the stated requirements. Is that correct?

  4. Yes if MY pushed for 57mm they may well have to offer that gun. But since Turkey already built a copy of the 76mm gun it is likely that it will be used on the Ada class offered to MY. Same to Atmaca really if they also offered it as friendly prices.

  5. If we look at the LCS custom build a bigger/smaller ship then what’s available off the shelf on the market are an expensive & risky endeavours.

    Let’s not do that again.

  6. zaft,

    Whatever we buy will be based on an existing design and it’s extremely unlikely that the level of modifications performed will be as extensive as done on the LCS for both operational and financial reasons. So no we won’t ”do that” again…

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