Retender for NCO Phase 1B (1), Updated

Armstrong Marine 15 meter landing craft. Armstrong Marine. USed for illustration only

SHAH ALAM: Retender for NCO Phase 1B (1). The Defence Ministry has reissue a tender for the the Phase 1B (1) of the NCO project. An advertisement for the same tender was issued on Dec. 21, 2018 and closed on Feb. 19 this year.

The reissuance of the same tender – advertised on Sept 17, 2019 with the closing date of Oct. 15, 2019 – meant that the previous exercise had failed to find the right bidder.

The inside of the ACV300 Command Control enabled for NCO.

I was told at LIMA 19 that the ministry was still going over the bidders documents and a decision on the tender was several months away. Two months after LIMA 19 I was told that two companies had been shortlisted for the project. Late last month, I was told that ministry was about to reissue the NCO Phase 1B (1) tender again as it did not find a suitable bidder for the project. Hence I was not suprised when it did reissued the tender, yesterday.

Mobile X-band link fitted on Land Cruiser Prados part of the NCO system.

As reported previously -the Phase 1A – developed by the Armed Forces with Sapura Secured Technologies as the lead vendor – costing some RM2 billion is already operational.

Soldiers of the 12th RMR on the move during an NCO exercise. TD picture.

Phase 1A is the proof of concept stage while Phase 1B which was to start from 2017 to 2023 is the implementation part of the project. Among others under Phase 1B will be the introduction of tactical data link to the RMAF’s F/A-18D Hornet fleet and later the Su-30MKM.

Two Army vehicles, a Landrover and Isuzu DMax pickup on board HMAS Adelaide landing craft at the National Hydrographic Centre.

Anyhow, there was also a tender for two medium assault craft for the Army. I previously wrote that based on the specifications, that this was likely be part of the Army’s experimentation on the proposed amphibious brigade. I assumed wrongly as I have been told that the these landing craft were meant for the Regiment Gerak Khas (RGK).

Armstrong Marine 15 meter landing craft. Armstrong Marine

The RGK is also getting new watercraft – eight RHIBs and 30 two man foldable canoe – based on the tenders issued out almost at the same time as the medium assault craft. Only the two man foldable canoe tender advertisement stated that it was meant for the regiment. As you are probably aware the regiment has its own Special Boat Service squadron, the likely user of these watercraft.

GGK Special Boat Service Squadron personnel during a parade early this year. BTDM

Any how, I was told the amphibious capability remained in the ministry’s wishlist. The amphibious capability was previously suggested by the Defence Ministry as part of the lessons learnt from the Lahad Datu incident but was shelved as the military wanted other capabilities. I was told that the idea was shelved as no new funding was to be allocated for the proposal even though the previous defence minister was quite keen on it.

Armstrong Marine 15 meter landing craft. The landing craft is powered by three outboard motors Armstrong Marine

According to the specifications released, the two landing craft should not be less than 15 metres long with a beam of four meters. It should have a top speed of 45 knots and operational speed of 30 knots and fitted with three 300hp outboard motors.

Damen Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel 1604. It has two diesel engines and water jets. Damen

The landing craft should be able to carry a vehicle of up to 2000kg, carrying capacity of 5000 kg and eletrically powered bow door.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2186 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. If AAV-7 makes less sense without LPD, having landing craft is even less so.

    Not really as it could be used from shore

  2. @ marhalim

    In the bigger scheme of things, I don’t think we should have a dedicated brigade just for amphibious operations. We have an army that is postured mainly to defend our own territory, not to fight on foreign soil. A brigade for doing amphibious assault would not be a good investment. On the other hand, if setting up a something like the Swedish coastal rangers (Kustjägarna), a defence force specialized in operating in brown water environments, that would be viable. Probably the new 13th Brigade in ESSCOM could be molded to be something like that.

    The next best thing is just to improve on 10 PARA amphibious operation skills and capabilities. They have been training for amphibious landings nearly annually with USMC in Lahad Dato. For that we really need to have our MRSS. No need to talk about enhancing amphibious capabilities without confirmation of the MRSS.

    On the landing craft tender. 2 small landing craft that can barely carry a single hilux is obviously not for setting up an amphibious brigade. It is probably to be used as logistics craft to support remote observation posts in ESSCOM.

  3. retender due to govt want lower cost ??

    really hope we get amphibious capability this time….been long needed…among other too

    I was told of another reason but it’s libellous so I am not repeating it here

  4. Am sounding like a moron for wondering aloud, if we need an amphibious capability, and if it’s to operate within our own borders, will that mean crafts like light ferries operated by JKR in Sarawak? They operate ferries that transport both people and vehicles albeit not in the size of the Penang or Langkawi. We probably don’t need foreign expertise to build those.

    FYI its likely it could done here without any foreign help. I used the picture of a US made landing craft based a Google search and not an indication that it will be purchased from overseas.

  5. We have a sarawak-based shipbuilding company that built LSTs for Emirates navy so landing craft wouldn’t be that difficult

  6. Granted the engines will be foreign but there is absolutely no reason why a local company can’t design and construct a landing craft. No reason at all.

    BTW I have a photo of troops disembarking on a landing craft – taken in the 1970’s or 1980’s – but have no idea where it originated from. At first I assumed it was part of the aid package from Australia which included the riverine patrol craft employed extensively in RASCOM but it wasn’t. MARA shipyard also constructed a few riverine patrol craft.

  7. During the second emergency due to the very active river ambushes by the communist in the Rejang security area, the navy operated several armoured landing crafts that were built by Hong Leong Lursen yard in Butterworth.
    Such crafts are not rocket science

  8. I second dundun’s comments. We probably don’t need the likes of Boustead or Destini to build these riverine/coastal boats and LSTs. We should be having a conveyor belt construction capability for smaller crafts of this size

    It’s a very niche field actually. We don’t need a specialised yard to do this

  9. Is the TDM landing craft buy related to TLDM intent to get MRSS? If yes, shouldn’t they wait and see if their landing craft would suit the MRSS well dock?

    I don’t think its related. They are small enough that they will fit into any ship TLDM buys

  10. Lee,

    Those and the ones made by MARA shipbuilding came way after the Aussies delivered ones; first based at Sungai Antu on the banks of the Rejang but later relocated further north. We also used them to move arty and Land Rovers along the Rejang.

    Like I said; the engines and some other components will be foreign but the actual hull can be designed and constructed locally. Absolutely no question.

  11. ….. – the 2nd KD sri langkawi is also an ex-usa LST”

    Yes I’m aware but thank you for pointing that out. One of those who brought her back from the U.S. West Coast worked in the same company as me. The highlight of the trip for him was the stop over at Subic; the metal on display.

    All 3 ex – USN LSTs of course did the occasional amphibious exercise but most of their time were spent transporting stuff and acting as tenders. Years ago I also corresponded with a guy who was on Langkawi (the former Counterguard if I recall correctly); apart a handful of beach landings to deliver stuff at Labuan; also hardly did amphibious training.

    The photo of the landing craft I spoke about was actually army operated and never did operate from any of the 3 ex USN and 1 RN LSTs.

  12. I see. So more like a shore to shore transport for remote landings that has no nearby ports. Curious why vehicle tonnage is less than half of max load.

  13. @ azlan

    I was responding to you saying you are not aware the ex-usa LSTs having any landing crafts. I am just explaining that they did have landing crafts.

  14. ……

    Yes I’m aware of that thank you…
    I’m also aware of what I said.

    I’m surprised they did have landing craft because by and large (from what I’ve read on open sources and from talking to people who served on them) the 3 ex-USN LSTs and the ex-RN spent a lot of doing things apart from amphib exercises.

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