Kuala Lumpur: Pak Lah in his speech (read by his deputy) at the launch of the fourth PV announced that the government will fund the construction of the second batch of the Kedah class. He did hedge his bet on the project however by stating the project will only start in 2010 when all six Kedah class boats are delivered.
The navy brass had always wanted the second batch to be built as a follow-up order but things had been dicey when the first batch ships were repeatedly delayed mostly due to the troubles of the original contractor, PSC Naval Dockyard. As Malaysian Defence had written extensively on this issue, there is no need to repeat them here.
One thing remained constant though, although the two boats had been commissioned, the fate of the four Kedah class built from the ground up locally remained a mystery. Although, the first built boat, Perak was launched in 2006 last year, there is no word of its commissioning. Meanwhile the RMN website had given the KD prefix to Terengganu (the second locally built PV) but there is no word officially whether or not this is correct.
The third-local built PV (fifth in its class) , Kelantan, was launched in Lumut on Monday. Whether or not the second batch are built, Malaysian Defence feels that it is much better for MINDEF to fund the full armament suite of the in-service ships first. We all know the teething problems with Kedah and Pahang, but as long as the full combat suite are not fitted we will never be sure that they have been fixed or not despite claims of the contrary by the navy. The navy brass also has the view that funding the second batch was more important than fitting the full combat suite for the first batch.
Malaysian Defence would like to suggest that we commissioned Terengganu, Perak. Kelantan and Selangor (?) first and at the same time, fitted the two lead ships with their missiles first as we wait for the construction of the second batch. During these lean times, we may get a cheaper price for the missiles (RAM and Exocets) and ensure that the patrol boats are fully capable meeting future needs. And at the meantime, the navy and the builder, Boustead, make plans for a trouble free construction of the second batch.
Govt To Go Ahead And Build Second Batch Of Patrol Boats
LUMUT, Nov 24 (Bernama) — The government is to go ahead with the construction of the second batch of the new generation patrol boats for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) once the first batch of six boats has been delivered to the RMN by early 2010, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Abdullah, who is also the defence minister, said the role of the RMN and other maritime agencies was becoming more challenging following increased threats to safety of navigation in the world’s sea lanes.
He said the recent hijacking of MISC vessels by pirates in Somalia waters was an indication of how important it was for the RMN to empower itself in terms of assault vessels to face such threats.
— Malaysian Defence