Old is Gold

KD Pendekar
KD Pendekar, one of the four Handalan class boats at LIMA 19. The Handalan class FAC is among the boats to undergo the OP.

SHAH ALAM: Old is Gold. As the MMEA is set to get a new ship launch at any time, the RMN can look forward to the elixir of youth, turning an old ship into a new one. The ship is question is KD Perkasa, pennant number 3511. Perkasa is the second of the four strong Handalan class, bought from Sweden in 1976 and commissioned three years later.

According to RMN chief engineer, Rear Admiral Mohd Shaiful Adli Chung Abdullah, Perkasa is being fitted with a new hull under the Obsolescence Programme (OP), an initiative undertaken to allow the FAC fleet to continue in service for the next 15 years. Work on the Perkasa is being conducted at the Geliga Slipway in Kemaman, Terengganu. The initiative was undertaken to mitigate the impact of the delays with the LCS programme, he wrote in a posting in the RMN official Facebook page .

KD Pendekar
KD Pendekar, one of the four Handalan class boats at LIMA 19.

The OP is the culmination of the FAC fleet upgrade programme as it combined the two other aspects of the initiative – repowering (changing the powerpack, propellors and generators and the fitting of a mini Combat management system.
KD Gempita, a Handalan class FAC during operations in early 2016. RMN picture

Mohd Shaiful stated that the repowering programe is on going with three FACs being fitted with the new power packs. The first ship to undergo the programme is KD Baung.
KD Ganyang
KD Ganyang, the fourth boat of the Perdana class FAC. TLDM

And it appears that the Perkasa and the other FACs that had undergone the SLEP programme, will have to wait for another year to be fitted with the new mini-CMS as it had been postponed to 2022 according to Mohd Shaiful. He did not say why though. It is likely this was due to budgetary reasons even though the military got RM2.3 billion for main asset maintenance (for spare sparts and services) under the 2021 budget.
German corvette Erfut of the K130 class.

This is the reason the RMN decided to upgrade the FAC fleet; funding for maintenance under the Operational Expenditure (OE) are always available, though it fluctuates every year. Getting completely new ships will need to come from the Development Expenditure (DE) which is hard to come by with the elephant in the room (LCS) in the way.
KD Paus, one of the six Jerong class FAC. TLDM

Industry sources told me that it was unclear how many FACs will be getting new hulls like the Perkasa. I was told that it depends on the survey of the hulls themselves. It is interesting to note that the Perkasa and the other three Handalan class FACs are the youngest hulls among the 14 strong FAC fleet. Both the Jerong and Perdana class are older by some ten years. Baung which was the first to undergo the repowering programme was commissioned in 1977.
An undated picture of Handalan class FACs when they were still armed with the Exocets.

It must be noted under the SLEP – apart from the hulls (unclear how many for now), power packs and mini-CMS, the FACs will retained their main guns, the Bofors Mk 1 and 2s though I am not sure whether their B guns, the Bofors 40mm L70s will be retained.
KD Jerong, the lead ship of the 6th Squadron FAC (G). RMN

All of the navigation radars and electro optical turrets, upgraded within the last five years will be retained. Other items which are salvagable, according to Mohd Shaiful will also be retained
A Gumdoksuri class FAC. Used for illustration purpose only

Anyhow, Mohd Shaiful also wrote that RMN is getting six Maritime Operations Helicopters in his posting. I checked and it appears that he is wrong, they are only getting three MOH. And yes it is the Leonardo AW139. The contract is expected to be signed soon.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

24 Comments

  1. One of the options looked at years ago when the Lakamanas became a big problem; was new hulls. It was decided that it wasn’t economically worthwhile in the long run.

  2. new hulls??

    probably total replating of the hull plus repairs to the internal structure.

    Or they are really building a new ship but using the excuse of “OP” to use the busget from OE.

    Actually I would love to see KD Hang Tuah to be put through something like the OP. It is a significantly important ship for our country to be kept alive and operational, even as an OPV.

    Anyway if this is good enough for TLDM, why not refit/reconditioned as new Condors to replace PDRM Sankey and V150s? Condors are have the same drivetrain as Unimogs, which is still built and used (a new batch has been bought also) for PGA and also the same drivetrain as Barracudas.

    PDRM PGA currently has 5 skuadron kereta perisai, seems like sabah will have a battalion of kereta perisai with the numbers they are floating about. Around 100 Condors would easily recapitalise all the PGA fleet

    http://skuad69pdrm.com.my/wp-content/gallery/perbarisan-sambutan-hari-kemerdekaan-yang-ke-59-tahun-pada-31-ogos-2016-dataran-merdeka-kuala-lumpur-yang-dibarisi-oleh-persatuan-skuad-69-pdrm/3.JPG

  3. Back to the Handalans.

    So what is the current plans for the TLDM fleet?

    Doing OP with new hulls to all of the handalans means that those ships are as good as new. Surely will be good for 30-40 years with normal refit cycles. The jerong and perdana should be good for 15 more years.

    Another thing.

    If we can build new Handalan hulls, it means that we could actually build more of the Handalan class ingeniously.

    Also we can add newfound hydrodynamic research to improve the efficiency of the hull form, like this stern hydrofoil.

    http://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2020/11/dutch-navy-to-test-hull-vane-hydrofoil-on-hnlms-zeeland-opv/

    http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/mv-themis-hull-vane-retrofit-improves-opvs-performance/

    Also why is this vice-admiral not already a datuk? what he has done on the sustainment of these old ships with the limited available resources should be applauded and appreciated by the nation.

    Reply
    He is a Datuk, but I have stopped using titles for military people already, for some time now. Their rank is good enough. For politicians, I am abbreviating their titles. Same professional titles as well unless they are medical doctors

  4. “being fitted with a new hull”
    As in building a new ship and porting all the equipment over? Why not make more of them for both TLDM & MMEA?

  5. off topic

    On the old PDRM Sankeys, Shorland and V150s.

    Sultan of Johore is a known collector of automotive vehicles. When those Sankeys, shorland and V150 is retired, surely he would be delighted if those can be used for his JMF force.

    http://www.mstar.com.my/lokal/semasa/2016/05/09/jentera-bomba-sultan-johor

    http://www.themalayapost.my/sultan-johor-terima-jentera-klasik-bomba-berusia-32-tahun/

    I would love to see the Sankeys fully restored and in painted JMF livery.

  6. … – “If we can build new Handalan hulls, it means that we could actually build more of the Handalan class ingeniously”

    Well we’ve built Jerongs which are a Lurssen design.

    The FACs are only operated because no replacements are available. The RMN has long decided it wasn’t any more FAC sized vessels in account on inherent limitations of ships this size. At minimum it sees the need for something like the LMS and training ships; with regards to displacement – why the 5/15 has no place for FACs.

    Unlike the FACs; they can put to sea during monsoon and high sea states; have better range and endurance and the sensors are not affected by the low freeboard and vibration (a common issue with FACs). Note that like the Vosper PCs (prior to delivery stabilisers were added but seakeeping remained a major issue); we use FACs (2 of the classes have stabilisers)for ops they were not designed or suited for; extended patrols in the EEZ; rather than patrols of short duration in a calmer littoral environment.

  7. … – “Sankeys, shorland and V150 is retired, surely he would be delighted if those can be used for his JMF force”

    The JMD is tasked with protecting the royal family and their residences and varied state buildings. They operate in a urban setting against low level type threats and have various 4×4 and other vehicles suited for the role. Even if nobody in the government or army objected to the JMF having armoured vehicles; I can’t really see why they would want ex police armoured vehicles.

  8. I agreed with the RMN if their retrofit and upgrading those FAC. I suggested RMN should consider replaced the Bofor 57mm main gun with small calibre gun like 30mm or at least fitted with light anti ship missiles with some simple sensor and cms with affordable prices. In future all this hull might replaced with corvette sizes.

  9. @ azlan

    ” They operate in a urban setting against low level type threats ”

    Which is what the Sankey or even the ferret and shorland is ideal for.

    ” I can’t really see why they would want ex police armoured vehicles ”

    Because the sultan is an automotive buff (he collects fire trucks and even commissioned bespoke prime movers for himself) and has deep contacts in UK to be able to maintain such vehicles. It would be used mostly for ceremonial duties in JMF settings so no issues.

    Well its my opinion anyway the sultan might think otherwise.

  10. Fadiman – “should consider replaced the Bofor 57mm main gun with small calibre gun like 30mm or at least fitted with light anti ship missiles”

    The time for that has long passed. The intention is to spend the bare minimum on them in order to keep them operational
    for a few years more (new engines, etc) and for them to some ability to defend themselves (CMS); nothing more.

    If we’re going to add missiles to anything; would make much more sense and value for money to add them to the LMS.

    Fadiman – “In future all this hull might replaced with corvette sizes”

    The intention is not to have anymore FAC sized vessels on account of seakeeping, range, endurance and other issues. A ship the size/displacement of a LMS or the Korean training ships offer much more operational utility and competed to a FAC which is originally intended for limited sea denial in a littoral environment; hence its size.

    We bought the FACs during a period when our operational requirements were very different and when we had less financial and other resources.

  11. Off Topic but in relevance to local development. This is exactly what kind of research our R&D centers and unis should have done:

    https://www.logisticsmanager.com/volkswagon-powers-car-freighters-with-used-vegetable-oil/

    Imagine if we could replace marine crude diesel with palm oil instead, we could be sitting on a renewable resource goldmine if every commercial ship plying their routes switched to biofuels. Moreso if advanced countries start to mandate emission controls onto such trade ships coming into their ports.

  12. My take on this topic:

    – ideally i wanted the guns (either 57mm or/and 40mm) to be transferred to new LMS as primary or secondary gun.
    – this could enable money allocated for original main gun to be use for other equipment ie additional gun or MANPADS or ECM/ESM etc .
    – but this might not happen before 2035 as TLDM still need these FACs to perform the duties of LCS and LMS.
    – i do understand that TLDM is standardising the use of MSI DS30.
    – this PO seems to indicate that TLDM might not order any new batch of LCS (gowinds or other design) until after 2030, a time where we need to start replacing Lekius and Kasturis.
    – For building new FACs, i think its more efficient to build more new LMS like other commenters said due to having more endurance able to operate at higher sea state, and ability to operate helicopters.
    – the 15 to 5 plan is pretty much dead. More like 15 to 7. Let us wait and see what happen until 2040.

  13. @joe

    I am of the same opinion as you. Actually I suggested previously that we should start researching into adapting our engines to use palm oil (or adapting palm oil for use with our engines) , maybe not commercially but at least those of government vehicles, in particular naval vessels. Doing so we could actually reduce the fuel cost and reliance on traditional hydrocarbon fuels.

    I was actually hoping that Yeoh Bin Yee (previous Science & Tech minister) would initiate some research programs to look into this possibility, given her impressive background in chemical engineering but it seemed that she was too occupied with environment instead.

  14. Luqman – “efficient to build more new LMS like other commenters said due to having more endurance able to operate at higher sea state, and ability to operate helicopters”

    Yes. As far back as the early 2000’s the RMN had already decided it didn’t want anymore FACs due to issues inherent with something of that size and displacement.

    Luqman – “i wanted the guns (either 57mm or/and 40mm) to be transferred to new LMS as primary or secondary gun”

    These 40 year Mk1s and L/70s are getting older. Also; the L/70s can only be operated manually. Unless the sea was very calm or the target was extremely close; hard to hit anything.

  15. On palm oil diesel

    We are one of the leading pioneers on this
    http://www.palmoilworld.org/biodiesel.html

    All our diesel sold now is actually a 10% palm oil blend
    https://www.nst.com.my/business/2018/11/435016/malaysias-b10-mandate-use-761000-tonnes-palm-oil

    It is supposed to go up to 20% this year, but already deferred. Why? Palm oil is 2x the price of dinosaur oil per tonne. It is simply not cost effective to burn palm oil instead of dinosaur oil for fuel.

    _____________________________________________

    @ azlan

    ” Also; the L/70s can only be operated manually ”

    Upgrades available for the L/70 to be operated remotely. This one of it, plenty of companies out there offering this type of upgrade to the L/70. In essence, it can now be remotely controlled from CMS.

    http://intercontrol.no/Oppgradering-Marine-01.pdf

  16. … – “Upgrades available for the L/70 to be operated remotely”

    Upgrades have been around for years and years but does it make sense to upgrade something which is 40/45 years old? Plus the fact we are standardising on 30mm as our secondary mount.

  17. 40mm bofors, with the right FCS can be a potent CIWS.

    UK is going for the 40mm on Type 31 due to this.

    We still have plenty of 40mm bofors in reserve, both taken out of our patrol boats, and also retired BOFIs that can be used.

    Both 30mm and 40mm can continue to be used IMO, as we still have plenty of 40mm guns and ammo.

    Reply
    The 40mm Bofors guns ordered by the Royal Navy is the latest generation one.

  18. …. -40mm bofors, with the right FCS can be a potent CIWS”

    With the right ROF, early warning, ammo, FCS, etc.

    …. – “Both 30mm and 40mm can continue to be used IMO, as we still have plenty of 40mm guns and ammo”

    We are standardising to 30mm as our secondary mounts. Our L/70s are close to 45 years old average.
    We will continue using 40mm for the simple reason we have them and they are also on ships which are stated (indefinitely) for retirement or ships we only want to spend the bare minimum on.

    On CIWS; by and large; “most” users have long settled on 20-35mm (same with AA mounts). When it comes to actual efficacy; with regards to non CIWS; there are also advantages with 30mm; which is why many have done so. If I recall correctly many, many years ago Bofors cane out with Trinity; a L/70 with integral FCS offered as a CIWS; didn’t catch on much.

    … “also retired BOFIs that can be used”

    We retired them for a reason and they have been scrapped.

    Reply
    At least two Bofis are rusting away next to the RMR museum in Port Dickson, the last time I went there.

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