RIMPAC and Refit

Safety observers from Military Sealift Command’s dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11) monitor and relay real-time communication of each step of the underway replenishment (UNREP) process aboard Royal Malaysian Navy frigate KD Lekiu (F30) during an UNREP, April 7. (U.S. Navy courtesy photo/Released)

SHAH ALAM: RIMPAC and Refit. RMN’s flagship, KD Lekiu is to participate in RIMPAC 2018, the world’s largest maritime exercise. The biennial exercise is held between June and July of even numbered years out of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Lekiu’s involvement in RIMPAC 2018 was revealed by the U.S Navy in a release that said the frigate had been refueled at sea by the latter’s tanker.

Military Sealift Command’s dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11) stand alongside Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) Sailors aboard frigate RMN KD Lekiu (F30) during an underway replenishment, April 7. (U.S. Navy courtesy photo/Released)

USNS Washington Chambers Replenishes Royal Malaysian Navy Frigate, Enhances Partnership

USNS WASHINGTON CHAMBERS, At Sea—Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11), conducted an underway replenishment (UNREP) with a Royal Malaysian Navy ship in the South China Sea, April 7.

The Washington Chambers, a Lewis and Clark-class ship, transferred about 5,000 gallons of fuel to KD Lekiu (F30), a Lekiu-class frigate of the Royal Malaysian Navy.

The ability to UNREP Lekiu allows the ship to increase its range and transit further east in support of this year’s Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC 2018). The U.S. Pacific Fleet-sponsored RIMPAC exercise, the world’s largest international naval exercise, is held biennially in the summer months of even numbered years in waters around the Hawaiian Islands and southern California.

“Ultimately, this event helped the Malaysian Navy prepare Lekiu for success when they participate in RIMPAC exercise later in the year,” said U.S. Navy Capt. John D. Wilshusen, commodore of MSC Far East in Singapore. “It also opens the door for more local events like this in the future, and we look forward to the chance to work with the highly professional Malaysian Navy team again soon.”

Although MSC conducts hundreds of UNREPs a year, these events are inherently dangerous and replenishing a foreign vessel presents its own unique challenges.

“This replenishment event provided the U.S. Navy an excellent opportunity to further improve interoperability with an important partner in the region,” said Wilshusen. “Logistic support is one of the most challenging areas for partner nations to develop mutually supporting capabilities; the unique nature of individual ship construction, operational training, and even language differences can make it a tall hurdle to get across.”

At the beginning of the four-hour UNREP, the Washington Chambers transferred four members of its UNREP/Safety Team to the Lekiu by organic, rigid hulled, inflatable boat.

The Washington Chambers’ UNREP/Safety Team aboard the Lekiu was key to the successful results of the event. The Washington Chambers had real-time communication and a straightforward understanding of each step of the replenishment process aboard the Lekiu.

Underway replenishments of allied partners also present a unique opportunity to strengthen partnerships and exercise compatibility of logistics systems.

“We have worked alongside our Malaysian Navy counterparts for many years, participating in numerous exercises and training events,” said Wilshusen. “Events such as this one give both sides the chance to develop advanced skills and capabilities under controlled conditions, while allowing additional emphasis on safety and procedural compliance that might not be possible in a crisis situation.”

The USNS Washington Chambers is currently operating in the U.S. Navy 7th fleet area-of-responsibility.

MSC operates approximately 115 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

Safety observers from Military Sealift Command’s dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11) monitor and relay real-time communication of each step of the underway replenishment (UNREP) process aboard Royal Malaysian Navy frigate KD Lekiu (F30) during an UNREP, April 7. (U.S. Navy courtesy photo/Released)

RMN has not confirmed this but its looking likely that Lekiu will be in Hawaii for the exercise. In the past, we normally send observers and a small number of troops to participate in the land portion of the exercise.

An undated pictures from RMN showing KD TAR undergoing a dive.

Anyhow, it appears that KD Tunku Abdul Rahman is out of the workshop and its likely already conducting operations. RMN has not come out with an official release but as usual its out there on its official social media.

Another set of undated pictures showing KD TAR at sea recently.

Malaysian Defence had previously wrote about the country’s first submarine undergoing a refit. We also reported that a Boustead subsidiary was fined for an unknown breach of the ISS contract.

Two RMAF F/A-18D flying over KD Tun Razak in 2017. RMAF.

Meawnhile, Boustead, in an announcement to the Stock Exchange on Apr. 10, stated that it has received a RM44.744 million contract for the maintenance and upgrading of the CMS of KD Jebat, Lekiu’s sister ship.

The announcement:

Its associate company, Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (“BNS”) has received a Letter of Work dated 14 March 2018 from the Ministry of Defence Malaysia awarding BNS a contract for the maintenance and upgrading of Combat Management System for the Royal Malaysian Navy’s vessel at a contract value of RM44,774,642.36. The written acknowledgement was executed on 10 April 2018. The contract will contribute positively to the earnings of BHIC Group for the financial year ending 31 December 2018.

There is no further detail regarding the deal.

*post updated to add Boustead announcement

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2227 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Refueling at sea is very dicey. Both ships have to maintain the same speed and formation; the ability to do so is dependent on the sea state. Kasturi performed a refueling with HMAS Westralia [her Captain spoke of our inexperience] during a KAKADU exercise in the 1990’s and one of the Lekius was refueled by a Spanish ship a few years ago when she was in Australia. Our crews don’t have much experience as we rarely do it.

  2. Interesting, but only 4 Exocet launchers when there should be 8?

    Standard load out actually

  3. “Hopefully they wouldn’t have to meet an alien mother ship like in the movie”

    Maybe we need navalised X Wings. They are VTOL, right?

  4. That maintenance and upgrade of Jebats CMS, the contract cost is probably enough to install a totally new CMS altogether. Hopefully that is the case, like Kasturi and Lekir which the ancient SEWACO was replaced with Thales Tacticos.

    No details of the maintenance and upgrade, it could even be the result of the fire last time. Of course I could be wrong.

  5. Off topic

    RMAF ground radars at Bukit Ibam and Bukit Lunchu are operated by Squadrons 322 and 323 respectively. Which units are the operators of other radars such as Bukit Bendera, Penang, and in the first place where are these radars?

    The one in Western Hill Penang is Skn 312

  6. Anyone noticed those bow riding dolphins with sub? Such a beautiful sight. Great photo!!

  7. Must be fun if you just go to Hawaii to just ‘observe’ the exercise.

    I was hoping the Lekius would also standardize on Tacticos.

  8. @Tom Tom “Interesting, but only 4 Exocet launchers when there should be 8”
    Many navies do that when the ship is not in operations or only training. Saves the life of the missiles, because canister or not, saltwater corrosion is still a factor.

    @AM “Maybe we need navalised X Wings. They are VTOL, right?”
    Yes, full VTOVL capability and X-wings are certified watertight with operational testing in Dagobah. However the support equipment is quite expensive – requires an 800yo Jedi Master for recovery support in case of mishaps.

  9. Interesting..does it mean the 4 unused canister can be used to arm other ships namely the kedah? As the Kedah is fiited for but not with provision for 2 exocet mm40. For aerial air defense maybe the kedah can be equipped with the twin launcher igla?

    Yes the Kedah just need the missile canister launcher equipment to be fitted (the mounting is there already as well as the wirings, I think its for two launchers) on the foredeck just behind the mast. It also need an Exocet missile launcher box in the CMS room as well as integration into it. As for launchers for VSHORADs yes it could be done with the Igla as well as the Starstreak. Guess they need to be marinised for ship based operations first. That was the deal offered by MBDA with their Mistral VSHORAD which are already offered with various types of remote firing posts.

  10. In the 80s I read in a defence magazine (most probably Asian Defence Journal) that beside Thailand Navy, we are the only SEA Navy that is capable of underway replenishment. Why have RMN lost that touch?

    Is it really important we do RAS?

  11. KD Lekiu has been sailing to RIMPAC with Philippines navy ships BRP Davao Del Sur and BRP Andres Bonifacio. But after arriving at Kwajalein Atolls more than a week ago suddenly KD Lekiu went silent on its twitter.

    The latest renzevous of Philippines navy with singaporean, indian and japan navy, which was to be joined by KD Lekiu, seen the malaysian frigate not with the group.

    Any explainations?

    The ship I was told it is due in Hawaii and will participate fully in RimPac 2018. No idea why she went MIA from the group sail. Either she had a technical or was told to keep a low profile.

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