Sarawak Coast Guard On The Rise

MMEA OPV
A CGI of the first of class MMEA OPV to be named KM Kota Bharu.

SHAH ALAM: Sarawak Coast Guard on the rise. It appears that the Sarawak Coast Guard (SCG) proposed just late last year is set to be stood up soon. With an initial outlay of RM90 million, the SCG will have three patrol boats and 50 personnel for its launch. Bernama reported on June 22 that Sarawak chief minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg as saying the recruitment of personnel and procurement of the patrol boats are under way.

He said the SCG, which was mooted in October last year, is to address various issues including encroachment by foreign and local fishing vessels as well as loss of revenue from the state’s vast sea resources. When announcing the setting up of the SCG last year, he said RM90 million had been allocated under the state’s 2020 budget for the procurement of three patrol boats and recruitment of 50 personnel.
He said the formation of the coast guard unit was made possible through amendments to the state’s Fishery Ordinance 2003.

I am guessing the SCG will concentrate on waters around 12 nautical miles (territorial waters) and up to 24 nautical miles (contiguous zone).

Each coastal State may claim a contiguous zone adjacent to and beyond its territorial sea that extends seaward up to 24 nm from its baselines. In its contiguous zone, a coastal State may exercise the control necessary to prevent the infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea, and punish infringement of those laws and regulations committed within its territory or territorial sea. Additionally, in order to control trafficking in archaeological and historical objects found at sea, a coastal State may presume that their removal from the seabed of the contiguous zone without its consent is unlawful.

Tanjung Pinang 2, one of the Malaysian flag ships owned by icon Offshore Bhd. Picture used an example of an O&G ship.

Apart from newly built patrol boats, Sarawak should also consider leasing many of the oil and gas ships laid idled by the drop in activities due to the low oil prices. These repurposed O&G vessels could be fitted with water cannons as their primary weapons as it will not be prudent to arm them with big calibre guns like a 30mm RWS if they are only leased for short term basis.

Aselsan SMASH 30mm gun to be fitted on the MMEA OPV. It is already fitted on the MMEA NGPC.

For O&G vessels bought outright for the SCG, they could be armed with anything they feel was needed to the job of course. Some might feel the SCG is duplicating the job of the MMEA, police and RMN in protecting the waters off Sarawak but let’s be honest here, their presence there are not that much to begin with. But I guess there is also the political dimension for the formation of the SCG as the state government must be seen to do something especially in the wake of intrusions of China vessels off its waters.

— Malaysian Defence

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102 Comments

  1. so its operating on state budget??this will be interesting….will navy or MMEA involve in training or early set up?

    i think this more to political move but still better than nothing.

  2. @ Marhalim

    “With an initial outlay of RM90”

    I think you meant RM90 million, not RM90.

    I am a bit conflicted by this. I am from Sarawak, so for me this is good news but at the same time I feel that some of the duties will overlap with MMEA and might create conflict on who does what.

    IMO it would be preferable it a MMEA regional command be setup somewhere near the coast like Bintulu or Miri, and Sarawak contributes to MMEA fleet with condition that the Sarawak-funded vessels are to be permanently there.

    Reply
    I fixed the error, thanks

  3. ASM – “”some of the duties will overlap with MMEA and might create conflict on who does what”

    Not necessarily so.

    Before the SCG is up and running there would have been a clear delineation as to what the MMEA abs SCG (even with just a handful of boats) will do to ensure there is no role duplication; as well a mechanism for both to lease and coordinate.

    As Marhalim said : “I am guessing the SCG will concentrate on waters around 12 nautical miles (territorial waters) and up to 24 nautical miles (contiguous zone)”

    The plus point is that the SCG can do certain things to free up whether MMEA assets are there: enabling those assets to concentrate elsewhere.

  4. ASM – “IMO it would be preferable it a MMEA regional command be setup somewhere near the coast like Bintulu or Miri””

    The MMEA already has a administrative/operational presence in various parts of the state. I knew an ex RMN guy who was in charge of one of the MMEA bases there (I forgot where). It all boils down to funding and the availability of assets – without which it’s pointless to set up another regional command.

    Of course we can also point out that if there was funding for the MMEA to have more assets in the area; there would be no need for a SCG.

  5. We already have MMEA overlap with Marine Police. This just adds another overlap on top of the current overlap. WTH!

    RM90mil isn’t much to go with as seed money for 3 boats plus staffing. And what about facilities? A shed by the seaside? Why can’t they integrate with MMEA but sponsored by Sarawak state government with the purpose for Sarawak usage. I hope we get more details on this proposal.

  6. @Azlan

    As you said,it would be pointless to have a command without assets, which I agree and therefore my suggestion of having Sarawak fund some of the assets purchase (boats primarily) and have them operate primarily in Sarawak coastal areas.

    Apparently this idea isn’t a new one. It was reported around November last year (2019) that Sarawak was training personnel for its own Coast guard and also to complement the MMEA. This is from The Star

    https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/11/22/sarawak-to-buy-boats-for-state039s-coast-guard-in-2020

    Interestingly, it was PM 7 who suggested the idea.

    Reply
    I think PM7 was being sarcastic about it when asked about what they going to do with China’s incursions into Sarawak waters. Note in the latest story, the CM said they found a loophole under the state Fisheries law.

  7. A great decision. But to be more effective the state coast guard must work closely to coordinate their patrolling with the MMEA, Marine Polis n the RMN. In other words have a means to co ordinate so that the maximum benefit can be obtained.
    The creation of the state coast guard can really relief the heavy stress put on the other 3 services. They can also be called upon to help relief the other services when foreign intrusion happens.

  8. Questions-

    Is this the first time in Malaysian history that a state will have its own law enforcement agency? Aside from those inspecting hotel occupants of course.

    Heard a story that years ago, the police or another agency bought patrol boats that rusted for years by the pier because no personnel were ever provided to man them. Was this true?

    Reply
    Perhaps. There was a news story that came out fairly recently that a number of boats assigned to PGA units in Sabah were not used as they had no authorised personnel to man them. I am guessing the boats were sent there shortly after the Lahad Datu incident and during that time Marine police personnel were TDY to man the boats for patrol duties. But as the situation calm down and the police felt it was impractical to patrol in open boats in the seas, those who were manning the boats were sent back to their original units the boat were left to rust at their jetties. It must be noted the PGA units found the way to overcome the lack of boats by using likely hiring, fishermen boats for their patrols. One added benefit of using fishermen boats they blend in with the regular marine traffic, which was impossible if they used their regular open top boats

  9. Lee – “The creation of the state coast guard can really relief the heavy stress put on the other 3 services””

    Assuming that adequate funds are allocated for the SCG to perform its intended roles. On paper the unit can complement the MMEA but in reality this remains to be seen.

    What the SCG has going it is unlike the MMEA it it only required to operate within state waters and only in a few areas which see a regular foreign presence. Of course apart from routine patrolling and law enforcement at sea the SCG can also perform SAR. Naturally a lot depends on it having the right assets for its operational environment – too small a boat will limit its use to calm sea conditions and too large a boat will be superfluous.

    Lee – “In other words have a means to co ordinate so that the maximum benefit can be obtained””

    We can safely assume that thought and planning has been given towards joint coordination with the MMEA. We can also assume that initial assistance will come from the MMEA and that both will share facilities.

  10. I would like to correct the misinterpretation of what is a ‘coastal state’ in the article above. Coastal states as it is referred to in the Law of the Sea is not the same as a ‘state’ or ‘negeri’ in the Malaysian context. It refers to countries who are state parties to the Law of the Sea. The provisions of the territorial sea and contiguous zone therefore does not apply to states in Malaysia which means that they do not have jurisdiction over these areas

  11. Why is there no effort to find out about the real reason for this rather than the sensational assumption that this is a MMEA clone for sarawak?

    Okay after a day of looking for the facts.

    Basically this is a glorified jabatan perikanan enforcement agency all but in the name. It will operate under the ammended Sarawak Fisheries Ordinance 2003 law. Although a lot of news with gung-ho talk of taking back “coastal rights” and enforcing them, actually its jurisdiction is only in the realm of fishing rights, not more than that. So it will basically just looking out after illegal fishing vessels. Anyway good luck on confronting chinese fishing militia on your own though🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    http://lawnet.sarawak.gov.my/lawnet_file/Ordinance/ORD_CAP.%2054%20watermark.pdf

    http://www.theborneopost.com/2019/10/02/taking-charge-of-fisheries-industry/

    http://www.malaymail.com/amp/news/malaysia/2019/10/01/sarawak-cm-says-state-to-have-own-coastal-guards-to-ward-off-illegal-fisher/1796003

    http://dayakdaily.com/sarawak-to-regain-coastal-rights-to-set-up-own-enforcement-to-stop-all-encroachments/

  12. Wow! Maybe MMEA RMP RMN RMAF and other federal agencies should stand down and let Sarawak handle things their own. That would save a lot of federal budget aint it?

    This looks like a half cooked decision at best. 90 million ringgit burnt just for a political stunt with no depth or meaning. Seriously, 90 millions just to scare some poor fishermen away? Or is it?

    A few things to ponder:

    Are the 90 millions just for the SCG ships? What about crew training? Ships maintenance? Basing? Command and control systems? Outsourced? To whom? Another gravy train?

    To whom does SCG reports to? The Chief Minister? The Governor?

    And I think most at of us here are forgetting about the continental shelf and The State of Sarawak claims to it. The state goverment has been claiming that the whole continental shelf is state waters. Why would this be relevant? Coz this provide legitimacy to the claim that the oil and gas rights are wholly owned by Sarawak and not Malaysia. You see, almost all the operating oil and gas platforms are further than the original state waters. So are they going to patrol out to their continental shelf? They should be. Based on the claims that is. But how much more they need to spend?

    And what about SCG’s armament? Will Sarawak be the only state in Malaysia allowed to have an armed state law enforcement agency albeit only at seas? Will other states like Johor follow suits? Dont forget the debacle of a uniformed federal agency that bought sub-machine guns only to find out that permits to carry and use was rejected by the RMP. Will the same happen to SCG or SCG will just stick to water cannon and not much else. Thatvwond do much against China Coast Guard. The real instigator that brings this strange establishment.

    Honestly, if the Sarawak State Goverment has so much money, why dont they just donate some ships to MMEA. Up to MMEA specs of course and do away will all this nonsense. What does Sarawak really wants?

  13. the best way to maximise your returns from the maritime fishing resources is to actually build up your own fishing militia.

    rm90 million could buy you around 50 class C2 fishing vessels, that can actually give a monetary return and create jobs for the people of sarawak.

  14. IMO this is just a rm90mil political statement that sarawak controls the fishing resources in their state, not the federal government. it will not have the guts to go against the chinese fishing vessels and the Chinese coast guard. It will not actually increase any fish landing numbers in sarawak, as i dont see any serious plans to increase the number of fishing vessels and fisherman in sarawak. It will also not have the same effect of law enforcement capability compared to say sarawak donating 3 opvs to MMEA for the same amount of money.

    in the end, it will be just a very expensive political statement.

  15. Agreed with three dots that this SCG is to be a DoF sea enforcement unit, I think DoF still have authority to regulate sea fishing activities under Fisheries Act 1985.

    I don’t see it as an issue for Sarawak to put resources under DoF to help guard fishermen rice bowl, when the locals sees that the numbers of illegal foreign fishing vessels kept rising. To me its wrong when CM framed this soon to be fisheries protection unit as SCG.

  16. “What does Sarawak really wants?”

    My answer is to quote Marhalim “…the job of the MMEA, police and RMN in protecting the waters off Sarawak but let’s be honest here, their presence there are not that much to begin with. But I guess there is also the political dimension for the formation of the SCG as the state government must be seen to do something especially in the wake of intrusions of China vessels off its waters.”

  17. ….. – “Why is there no effort to find out about the real reason for this rather than the sensational assumption that this is a MMEA clone”

    For the very simple reason that no firm info has been publicly released as to the “real” reason; thus “ assumptions” as to the general roles the SCG is intended to perform.

    Doesn’t mean nobody here isn’t interested in finding out more or going deeper into the complexities, challenges and peculiarities involved. Doesn’t mean all are in favour as to the creation of the SCG; which wouldn’t be needed if the MMEA was adequately funded/equipped.

    Cengeh – “

  18. @Cengeh

    Both RMN and MMEA were stretched thin by lack of assets especially now with the ongoing Ops Benteng. IMO the Sarawak gov wouldn’t want to spend on something like unless necessary, but if you weren’t living in a cave this past year there have been a spate of maritime incursions in the waters of Sarawak by Chinese vessels. Not to mention the West Capella stand-off too. By the looks of it the intrusions will continue for a while.

    The SCG can help relieve the pressure off the MMEA and RMN so that they can deal with the Chinese incursion. Training will be probably be provided by the MMEA and in terms of weaponry what do you expect to have? Anti ship missiles and torpedoes? Obviously water cannon and machine guns.

    And SCG doesn’t report to the governor. The governor has no power, it’s just a title. Don’t be such a tool. Lastly Johor has its own military unit – the Royal Johor Military Force, in case you conveniently forget.

    Right now details are sparse and more would probably be available as the agency goes active. So better just to wait for further announcements instead of going off here and there

  19. @…

    I don’t think it’s meant to go against the CCG, that’s obviously MMEA + RMN job. They are there to support MMEA, not replace it.

    And RM90 million is not just for boats, but for training, personnel and equipment. Obviously you can spend all RM90 million on the just boats but who will man them?

  20. @ ASM

    ” there have been a spate of maritime incursions in the waters of Sarawak by Chinese vessels. Not to mention the West Capella stand-off too ”

    The so called SCG is not the answer to the above problem, nor it should pretend to be so. Immediate solution to that problem is to quickly create a MMEA base in bintulu that can accommodate OPV ships. Get stopgap used OPVs like korean Pohang or Ulsan class ships. Accelerate the confirmation of a batch 2 of the Damen 1800 OPV so that we can have at least 6 of them by 2025. Give a long term approval for new OPVs for MMEA. Get low cost MPAs for MMEA to be stationed in Bintulu.

    Then the state government also must seriously help to increase the number of local fishing vessels plying the waters of sarawak. Boat grants, fishing subsidies, training for youths to take up fishing as a career. Start a move to modern purse seiner (pukat jerut) and trawler (pukat tunda) vessels. Defending a resource we dont even extensively exploit is a waste by itself.

    Traditional pukat jerut boat
    http://i.ytimg.com/vi/_d4HzZ3TUkI/maxresdefault.jpg

    Modern purse seiner
    http://products.damen.com/-/media/Products/Images/Clusters-groups/Fishing/Sea-Fisher/Sea-Fisher-2608/Sea-Fisher-2608-Purse-Seiner/Top-Image/Damen_Sea_Fisher_2608_Purse_Seiner.jpg

  21. @…

    “The so called SCG is not the answer to the above problem, nor it should pretend to be so. Immediate solution to that problem is to quickly create a MMEA base in bintulu that can accommodate OPV ships. Get stopgap used OPVs like korean Pohang or Ulsan class ships. ”

    You must’ve missed my other comments.
    I already said what you’ve said, but in more general terms. the SCG is meant to complement the MMEA and not take over its role, and I think it would be useful for the Sarawak gov to help fund MMEA for more assets with emphasis for patrols in its area.

    IMO the CM used the wrong terminology to describe the new agency and its role.

  22. “Will the same happen to SCG or SCG will just stick to water cannon and not much else.”

    Inconceivable that they will operate without some form of small arms. The patrol of fisheries is not a benign business. Foreign fishermen have sunk coast guard vessels and killed coast guard officers with makeshift spears. Rammings, stabbings, chases and other resistance do occur.

    http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20161009000240

    You can define your mission set but who you encounter in practice is beyond your control, whether violent fishermen, smugglers or armed intruders. To go about the business (intercepts, boardings, searches, arrests and seizures) without some form of small arms cover is silly.

  23. @ ASM

    ” IMO the CM used the wrong terminology to describe the new agency and its role ”

    IMO even the SCG name is blatantly wrong. But Penguatkuasa Perikanan Sarawak does not have the same grandiose political ring to it right? More so when most of the rakyat wouldnt care less to actually understand what this is all about. And the name will enable politicians to brag to sarawakians that now sarawak has its own coast guard and does not need to depend on the federal government on maritime defence, however not true that really is.

    I am looking forward to actually see how the new SCG will react to the Chinese Coast guard ship that is always parked about 80km from Bintulu at Beting Serupai. So in the future if the chinese coast guard ship is still there, whose to blame for it then, the SCG or MMEA?

    Reply
    I think they will defer such incidents to the MMEA and RMN.

  24. @…
    As mentioned in The Star 22 Nov 2019 (as well as Marhalim himself) “It will complement the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and marine police in coastline protection duties.” so they will probably defer to the MMEA when it comes to dealing with CCG.

    Regardless of politicians bragging or not, having such a unit is an idea worth pursuing and help relieve the pressure off MMEA. So far none of the mainstream Sarawak politicians I know of ever talked of taking over defence matters from the Federal side.

  25. ASM “As mentioned in The Star 22 Nov 2019”

    I mean this generally and not specific to your comment. The local media is not a reliable guide to defence matters. If facts and figures can be wrong (real example: how many Flanker squadrons we have), what more statements of future intent. To be fair, statements from the government are not always clear.

    … “http://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/covid-19-indonesia-signals-potential-major-increase-in-defence-spending”

    Just noting it’s about the same as SG’s defence budget. Not a meaningful statement since mileage varies.

    If Indonesia is on a roll, I would expect them to get more MPA before long. Reasoning is the navy and air force are seeing substantial growth, they are starting from a modest baseline in the MPA field, and they will want to increase maritime domain awareness at minimum and potentially other combat capabilities.

  26. @ asm

    ” It will complement the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and marine police in coastline protection duties ”

    If you go through Sarawak Fisheries Ordinance 2003, the enforcement powers is only related to fisheries. Its powers then are just limited to riverine and inland waters. A far cry than the bandied ” coastal protection ” tasks it is purported to be doing

  27. @…
    “A food for thought. Why we cannot afford to reduce our defence spending further, notwithstanding the current Covid-19 situation.

    http://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/covid-19-indonesia-signals-potential-major-increase-in-defence-spending_

    Well, that is what I want to say about malaysia defence capability. DWP already said that the defence budget is about 1% of gdp. That is the policy and it was decided based on economy situation not the “real threat perception”.

    The china factor had drive many asean nations to speed up their defence capability. Looking at all closest neighbours, they are all on buying spree which makes ATM aquisition look very slow. The long unfinished gempita and LCS project which absorb plenty of money also contribute in slowing ATM to procure more hardwares. The 12 variants of gempita and locally built LCS finally proven uneffective financially.

    IMO, the DWP should be revised. The 1% of gdp for defence budget is not enough. The threat perception should be made clearer. SG defence budget is beyond $10Billion and indon will join soon if their next year defence budget is approved. MY defence budget at $3.5billion only 1/3 of theirs.

  28. @…

    Right. At the moment details are sparse about the exact role it is going to play alongside MMEA and the marine police, therefore IMO it’s best to withhold judgement until more information becomes available.

    I suppose you’re not quite happy with the Sarawak having its own “Coast guard”, for lack of a better word and this is all political rubbish. That might be true, but I think the Sarawak government would’ve preferred to spend money on infrastructure projects (esp the Pan Borneo highway) instead of forming something like a Coast guard (or fisheries enforcement, whatever floats your boat). My guess is the Sarawak gov has raised the issue to Federal a few times, but nothing much was done, judging by the number of incursions last year. I suppose forming its own “CG” is the best compromise to help the beleaguered MMEA.

  29. @ AM

    The important take on this is that even with covid-19 situation, they are not reducing or even maintaining their defence budget, but actually planning to increase it by quite an amount. They seem to take the SCS situation much2 more seriously than us.

    we cannot afford to reduce our defence spending in the near future, and we cannot afford to waste it on vanity procurements.

  30. @ romeo

    I believe all 257 gempita already been completed, but without much fanfare. Why such a milestone is not celebrated widely is beyond me.

    Which brings us to batch 2 of the gempita. i am all for batch 2 of gempita to create a gempita mechanized brigade. I am not a fan of the 6×6 plan, as i dont think the high cost of that gives a substantial increase in capability when compared to say getting the cheaper JLTV for example for the cavalry regiments.

  31. @…
    “Why we cannot afford to reduce our defence spending further”
    Well that depends on how our economy recovers from COVID19, if going by DWP budget set at 1% of GDP. In order to do that as soon as possible, the Government will have to cut where rakyat don’t really feel the pain: defence budget & other “non-essentials”. But where is the point recovery when we could now focus on defence and other “non-essentials”? That is the chicken & egg question.

    And we cannot compare with Indonesia as their citizen have a higher nationalist attitude thus are more accepting of large defence expenditure & mega national projects (ie capital relocation) even when their chasming income gap is growing wider with the majority still poor. Anak tak makan takpe, janji tentera kuat.

  32. Increasing defence budget is sure fire way of getting an unwanted attention from the Opposition (Pakatan). Rumours of snap election is on the cards so it’s unlikely the present gov will want to do anything that will cost them popular support.

    And good luck explaining these matters to the “Kita nak perang dengan siapa” and “Kami pencinta keamanan” groups…

  33. ASM – “ I suppose forming its own “CG” is the best compromise to help the beleaguered MMEA.””

    Agreed. As mentioned previously the SCG is intended to complement the MMEA; not infringe on its turf or anything like that. Ideally there shouldn’t be a SCG but ideally the government should adequately fund the MMEA – if this was done there would be no need for a SCG.

    Ideally it’s the MMEA and not the RMN that should be the main agency in dealing with foreign intrusions in the Spratlys. Ideally it should be the several battalions of the PGA as the main agency in
    ESSCOM; not the army. Ideally there would be no Marine Police and only the MMEA. Alas it is what it is.

    Back to the SCG; it really remains to be seen as to how much investment the Sarawak government is able or willing to make over the next few years.

    The question of how the SCG will be able to deal with Chinese intrusions should not arise at all as the SCG will perform tasks that don’t require the MMEA; enabling the MMEA to focus on things such as Chinese intrusions. Stuff closer shore; whether SAR or anti smuggling can be performed by the SGG; lessening the strain on a MMEA is under resourced to begin with.

  34. Back on the MMEA future procurements.

    Looks like MMEA is really serious on getting a ship with the mothership concept, now named the Multi Purpose Mission Ships, (MPMS). 3 ships to be bought for around RM1.05 billion or around RM390 million each.

    http://www.navalnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/LIMA-2019-Muhibbah-new-Multi-Purpose-Mission-Ship-proposed-to-MMEA.jpg

    The ships is to have a hull length of 100m, able to carry 5x 12m FIC and 2x RHIB, helipad for AW139 and an endurance of 30 days.

    I am all for these type of ships. The only issue to me is why does it need to be costing RM390 million or about USD90 million each? Plenty of idle oil & gas Offshore Support Vessels (OSV) that can easily be converted into the MPMS without costing the taxpayer RM1.05 billion.

  35. @ azlan

    ” Stuff closer shore; whether SAR or anti smuggling can be performed by the SGG; lessening the strain on a MMEA is under resourced to begin with ”

    SCG jurisdiction is just on fisheries matters, not more than that as per written in the Sarawak Fisheries Ordinance 2003. So it does not do SAR or anti smuggling mission. The politicians vaguely suggests that the SCG could actually do it all for political mileage, when in reality SCG is no more than a fisheries dept enforcement section. And media repeatitions without in depth research on the topic just reinforces the political statement.

    http://lawnet.sarawak.gov.my/lawnet_file/Ordinance/ORD_CAP.%2054%20watermark.pdf

  36. @ASM
    It is no coincidence that large defence buys coincide with a period of political stability and docility from the Opposition. With both sides now snapping at the heels of each other, I don’t think there will be chance of anything significant to materialise as precedent has shown that any new government could cancel or modify deals done by their predecessors. Now with the economy in turmoil, anything non-beneficial to rakyat is politically suicidal. The economy needs to get ahead first.

  37. @ ASM

    ” And good luck explaining these matters to the “Kita nak perang dengan siapa” and “Kami pencinta keamanan” groups… ”

    Easy. Just inform that with less budget for defence, we are going to accept that just 80km from Bintulu is now no longer malaysian and sarawakian seas, and we need to surrender all oil and gas platforms in sarawak to china, and we need to close all oil and gas facilities in bintulu as we no longer own those oil and gas fields. Lets see what is the reaction.

  38. “Lets see what is the reaction.”

    Their likely reaction: “No more oil & gas? Cool!

    This will reduce our long dependence on fossil fuels and lower the carbon & pollution emission footprint of Malaysia. How great is that for our environment & health! Plus no more oil leaks to harm sea turtles!

    Finally we can force the Government to seek alternative energy solutions like renewables power generation and quicken the move towards hybrid & EV vehicles. This Government is useless and incompetent for not pushing a rakyat-friendly national EV car with 500km range sold at RM30,000. Yes, they must be removed for their incompetency.

    What about China you say? Who cares, we must focus on saving the sea turtles. China isn’t harming them right?”

  39. joe “It is no coincidence that large defence buys coincide with a period of political stability and docility from the Opposition”

    Not exactly. The government will do what it wants.

    Since the 2004 election, the opposition has been ascendant and made fresh gains in every election since then. Yet the government went ahead with every deal that has come to pass.

    The Scorpene and LCS buys went ahead despite the opposition protesting loudly. As they should have- it is the duty of the opposition -any opposition- to protest when the government of the day exploits defence procurement for self-interest.

    joe “Their likely reaction: “No more oil & gas? Cool! ”

    This is doubtful. A major sticking point between the federal government and the Sawarak BN-friendly government is the failure to return them the agreed 20% of oil revenue. If they want the money they obviously won’t want to give up its source.

  40. The main problems currently facing the nation are mainly as follows:
    1. Security in the Sulu sea and South China Sea
    2. The refugee issues from the Rohingyas
    3. The encroachment of fishing vessels into our waters
    Many years ago during the height of the Vietnamese refugee problem the RMN was taxed to the limit. Its fast attack crafts n patrol boats had to be deployed all the time to patrol n stop the refugees from coming in. Boats were deployed all the time. Servicing n maintenance were put off n many times boats operated with only one generator or engine working.
    The RMN then had no choice but to request for additional funding n made use of the money to purchase tug boats to patrol our waters n intercept the refugees.
    These tug boats gave a chance for the boats to be relieved n sent for the much needed servicing n maintenance n the crews a rest.
    We should relook at our problem now n maybe buy back tugs or any other classes of ships to patrol the waters off Langkawi to stop the refugees relieving the RMN ships n MMEA ships to do other duties. We dont need a fully armed ship to patrol for refugees

  41. @…

    “Although a lot of news with gung-ho talk of taking back “coastal rights” and enforcing them, actually its jurisdiction is only in the realm of fishing rights, not more than that.”

    Apparently you’re not happy with the setup of the Sarawak Coast Guard. Or is it the name that irked you?

    “So it will basically just looking out after illegal fishing vessels. Anyway good luck on confronting chinese fishing militia on your own though”

    So if the Chinese fishing boats go into the area of jurisdiction under SCG, who’s to be blamed? RMN, then MMEA right? Why is it always so leaky? Now that there’s yet to be an SCG boat, why is it that nothing is done towards the Chinese ship outside of Bintulu?

    90 Million is peanuts, no doubt. But after seeing all the billions burnt for little to no return in the name of national service, you want the Sarawak Government to donate it to the federal government? For what? To feed more Amin Shah?

  42. @ hornet lover

    Well i am not happy with the establishment of the SCG as this is what I feel as another step to undermine the integrity of Malaysia. How it is packaged and told to the people is way different from what the actual powers and jurisdiction of this force. There is a conscious decision from the sarawakian politicians to sell this as an answer to the assumed ineffectiveness of curbing the chinese encroachment and as a thumb in the nose towards the federal government when the SCG actually has no jurisdiction in the EEZ, where the chinese coast guard is loitering. Territorial waters is only up to around 25km from the shoreline, while Beting Serupai is 80km away from Bintulu.

    ‘nothing’ is done now because we are not powerful enough diplomatically and in our maritime forces to chase away the Chinese Coast Guard Ship. Law of the sea actually prohibits foreign ships from “loitering” in EEZ without the coastal country permission, which is why US Navy ships doing freedom of navigation always passes by, and never loiter. Now what we need to do is to also have 24/7/365 presence at all shoals in our EEZ, and that means more OPVs and ships like the proposed MPMS. I would also propose a ship like below which would have low operating costs while still can be on station for a long time and can be seen from afar due to its tall masts.

    http://pbs.twimg.com/media/EDjz3GvW4AANmF_.jpg

    http://igm.bg/en/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/GreenPeace_Rainbow-Warrior-1.jpg

    http://media.apnarm.net.au/media/images/2012/11/29/SUP271112NADWARRIOR1_t1880.JPG

    http://cdn.xsd.cz/original/10abc47ca0e53437b5f0f54fbdafd40f.jpg

    http://yachting.entropia.mc/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/GP02J83.jpg

  43. @Hornet_lover

    You’re a Sarawakian too? 😀
    I guess his beef is probably with the name which doesn’t portray the function of the upcoming agency accurately. And politics to exert Sarawak “independance”. However it’s my belief that the decision to create a “coast guard” wasn’t done on a whim, and would’ve used the money on Pan Borneo highway judging by their priorities these past few years.

    I guess that the frosty relations between Sarawak and federal, or rather, LGE previously convinced the Sarawak gov that ex-Federal gov wasn’t interested in doing anything about China’s (and other foreign) incursion in its waters. In having its own patrol unit Sarawak could at least take care some of lesser offenders (Vietnamese and Indonesians probably) on its own if MMEA/RMN is unavailable instead of just hopelessly looking.

    IMO I would’ve preferred that a separate regional command be established somewhere in Miri or Bintulu and the Sarawak gov provides some funding to obtain additional MMEA ships but with condition that these vessels main priority areas Malaysian territorial waters on the Sarawak side.

  44. @…

    And I think you might be overthinking on Sarawak trying to “undermine” Malaysia’s integrity. Mainstream Sarawakian politicians have not been harping on the issues of separation; those are primarily the S4S people and I can confidently said that their support among the local populace are spotty at best. Granted the past 2 years relations between Sarawak gov and Federal had been tense but they were primarily caused by a very belligerent and recalcitrant LGE…..and a flip-flopping PM7. Things weren’t that bad before that.

    Personally I am inclined to think they have discussed this matter with MMEA and RMN. After all the current Chief himself is from Sarawak, so they probably had consulted with him first.

  45. @AM
    The MKM, Scorpene, PT-91M buys were made before 2004 when the Opposition were distracted & disarrayed and they weren’t able to mount any opposition to these deals.

    The AV-8 & LCS deals were signed in 2011 back when the transition from Badawi to Najib was still fresh and Tun M was a friendly. Things only soured in 2012. So again, there was no credible opposition to these deals that time. LGE only started making noise back when we already received the subs with his famous ‘we bought a sub that cannot dive’.

    Now both sides are parity with each other, expect no stones left unturned in recriminating any “non-essential” large multi-billion RM purchases if ever the sitting government dared to make such buys.

    Things are so quiet now on the LCA & MRCA intended buys so that speaks volume on the touch-n-go situation the sitting government faced. With a possibility for snap elections, any large outlay that wouldn’t directly benefit the rakyat could be turned into an offensive tool with far larger devastating effects than the weapon itself.

  46. @ASM
    “Things weren’t that bad before that.”
    Things were that bad because BOTH Federal and state governments were from the same bloc lah!

    When Federal changed hands, PM7 used his tried & tested ‘powers of persuasion’ to grapple with Sarawak government & putting them into a submission hold in order to force them to yield & comply. The same things he did Musa Aman’s Sabah government and previously with Kelantan, Terengganu, & Penang. In this case it was using LGE to imply Sarawak are powerless to handle China incursions without Federal authorities. The difference is, Sarawak had the money & state autonomy to carry out their needs with minimal Federal support.

  47. @ ASM

    ” In having its own patrol unit Sarawak could at least take care some of lesser offenders (Vietnamese and Indonesians probably) on its own if MMEA/RMN is unavailable instead of just hopelessly looking ”
    Indonesian and vietnamese fishing vessels never venture into the malaysian territorial waters. They are mostly seen fishing in the EEZ. Those fishing less than 25km from the shore are mainly local fisherman in small boats. So can you see why this SCG is set up rhetoric on catching foreign fisherman bothers me? Almost everyone reading the news and even this article will assume it can partly solve the illegal foreign fishing vessel problem when in reality it is actually out of its jurisdiction to do so.

    ” IMO I would’ve preferred that a separate regional command be established somewhere in Miri or Bintulu and the Sarawak gov provides some funding to obtain additional MMEA ships but with condition that these vessels main priority areas Malaysian territorial waters on the Sarawak side ”
    Yes, that is IMO should be the best path for this situation.

  48. ASM: “LGE previously convinced the Sarawak gov that ex-Federal gov wasn’t interested in doing anything about China’s (and other foreign) incursion in its waters. ”
    “Granted the past 2 years relations between Sarawak gov and Federal had been tense but they were primarily caused by a very belligerent and recalcitrant LGE…”

    A very creative take. If anything, it has been the government’s treatment of Sarawak over the past SIXTY years that has embittered anybody. LGE was in government for less than two years. If the GPS parties exiting BN is a gesture of distancing from Malaysia, it should be noted they did it right after the 2018 elections, not at some point later in PH’s term. If you want to blame someone, you should start with every PM in the past few decades. Funny that you are blaming someone who was only FM for less than two years.

    “Mainstream Sarawakian politicians have not been harping on the issues of separation; those are primarily the S4S people and I can confidently said that their support among the local populace are spotty at best.”

    The ruling party in Sarawak has itself consistently made noises about budget allocations and the failure to return the agreed oil revenue. But this is empty vote-winning rhetoric, considering they never left BN all those years, and pledged their cooperation with PN soon after PN came to power.

    “IMO I would’ve preferred that a separate regional command be established somewhere in Miri or Bintulu and the Sarawak gov provides some funding to obtain additional MMEA ships but with condition that these vessels main priority areas Malaysian territorial waters on the Sarawak side.”

    In theory, this is a good idea. In practice, the fact is that revenue is collected by the federal government and state budgets are allocated back to the states by the federal government. A ringgit more that a state government allocates to a federal body is a ringgit less that the federal government allocates to that body.

  49. “The AV-8 & LCS deals were signed in 2011 back when the transition from Badawi to Najib was still fresh and Tun M was a friendly”

    These two deals in particular were roundly criticized for being overpriced. As said, the government was quick to go ahead with signing off on the deals despite the criticism.

    LCS itself caused a stir when the price was initially revealed at RM 6 billion. There was another stir when it was later revealed to be RM 9 billion. Everyone noted how many more times our AV8 costs more than the FNSS Pars and even exceeded the cost of many MBTs.

    “The MKM, Scorpene, PT-91M buys were made before 2004 when the Opposition were distracted & disarrayed and they weren’t able to mount any opposition to these deals.”

    These deals were less criticized because they went ahead quickly and few details were made available to public. Of course, with the Scorpene, things got louder once more details were known about the consulting fees paid to a certain company, the commission paid and of course the two death sentences handed out without establishment of a motive.

  50. @AM

    Sarawak has not been at loggerheads with Federal for the past 60 years, at least not publicly. It was just recently that there had been what seem like a public feud between the Sarawak gov and Federal, in particular the FM in response to some of the statements that he made.

    And how does GPS exiting BN = distancing from Malaysia? BN doesn’t own Malaysia. In my view GPS is better off being neutral and finds a way to form a working relationship with whatever party that holds the Federal seat instead of jumping from one coalition to another (like Sabah). In any case this discussion on politics has strayed off the main topic on the Coast Guard. So let’s leave it at that.

    Despite the reservations mentioned by some readers I am of the opinion that the SCG (or whatever term others find suitable) will complement the MMEA and not replace it, and can help take the pressure off MMEA for it to concentrate on the bigger fish in the water at the moment. I don\’t think that having a CG is signal of asserting independence from Malaysia, just like Johor with its RJMF.

  51. @ASM
    “These two deals in particular were roundly criticized for being overpriced”
    I wonder when did that happened. Certainly PH didn’t went to town as they did with their Scorpene allegations. Certainly the noise regarding the purchase price wasn’t politicised enough back then. Even those who were in the know like … do agreed the AV-8 variants and development cost does justify their pricing and it could be lowered for followon batches provided no new variants. None brought up the issues on project delays for both AV-8 nor LCS nor the fact that only DEFTECH & Boustead seem to be the only beneficiaries from defence projects.

    Certainly any deals made today will be scrutinised and politicised to the hilt. So unless one side were to give, I don’t see this ending for any big buys from the sitting government.

  52. joe “Sarawak has not been at loggerheads with Federal for the past 60 years, at least not publicly.”

    The ruling party is not at loggerheads, they only make a big show of it.

    “It was just recently that there had been what seem like a public feud between the Sarawak gov and Federal, in particular the FM in response to some of the statements that he made. ”

    There is nothing recent about the grumblings of some people there, but these are not the people in power. What’s more recent is the ruling party started complaining more since 2014, after a new CM appeared in Sarawak and BN’s historic decline in the 2013 GE.

    “And how does GPS exiting BN = distancing from Malaysia? BN doesn’t own Malaysia. ‘

    I said it is a gesture. BN is dominated by peninsula-based parties and therefore by (superficially) ending ties with BN and announcing a new bloc of Sarawak-based parties, they burnish their popular image. After PN came to power, they quickly announced cooperation with but not reentry into PN, because doing the latter would look rather silly and contradictory.

  53. Indonesia defence budget was cut this year due to Covid 19. As for next year, this is cover the shortfall this year. It is by no means guaranteed! This is on the assumption their economy recovers next year. It wont.

  54. @AM

    Those are my comments, not Joe’s. Seems that people got confused as the thread grows longer and longer.

    And yes I suppose you\’ve a point there.

    Some additional details regarding the SCG:
    – it is based on Western Australia and Northern Territory model
    – the boats will be based on Marine police types
    – built in Sibu
    – 12 men/boat (initially)
    – “retired” admiral is managing the training

    https://sarawakvoice.com/2019/11/10/sarawak-coastal-guard-modelled-after-australias/

    https://dayakdaily.com/sarawak-coast-guards-vessels-to-be-built-by-sibu-shipbuilders/?fbclid=IwAR2DjfsktfhcV0pTBjcE46aVs5rJgVnTugDMThwc4Z8ucWAAtDPVB7ThdQM

    So the SCG is not going to tackle CCG, obviously. That has been made clear. If they can stand against the Naval militia that would be a good start.

  55. @ ASM

    I reiterate that the SCG jurisdiction is just within internal waters of Sarawak.

    Lets talk with real hard facts, not assumptions. Lets take from the Sarawak Fisheries Ordinance 2003, which the SCG is getting its powers from (please go through the law i posted the link before). I cut and paste it below:

    “inland waters” mean riverine waters and the waters of any
    lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, dams and all other waters within
    the boundaries of the State.

    BTW, I presume you meant the chinese fishing militia, not the naval militia. After reading the Sarawak Fisheries Ordinance 2003, do you think the SCG can even lay their fingers on the chinese fishing militia? Do you think that the chinese fishing militia would even venture far enough to fish in Sarawak inland waters?

  56. ASM “Those are my comments, not Joe’s.”

    Indeed, my mistake.

    “So the SCG is not going to tackle CCG, obviously. That has been made clear. If they can stand against the Naval militia that would be a good start.”

    SCG boats with a crew of 12 will be dwarfed by most Chinese fishing vessels. We can’t hope that they can “stand against” the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia – which operates within reach of CCG support- but the extra eyes they can contribute is a good thing.

  57. @…

    I won’t dispute what you said but based on the CM remarks there will be some amendments to Fisheries Act. Let’s see what those amendments going to be and how they define the SCG operations.

    ” BTW, I presume you meant the chinese fishing militia, not the naval militia. Do you think that the chinese fishing militia would even venture far enough to fish in Sarawak inland waters? ”

    I stand corrected. What I meant was the chinese fishing militia.
    Of course based on the current definition, they wouldn’t go that far. However since the Fisheries act will be amended, that may change.

  58. AM – “the extra eyes they can contribute is a good thing”

    Precisely my thoughts.

    The MMEA is so over stretched and under resourced that even a couple of SCG boats might provide some relief.

    The question is how big those SCG boats will be and their sea keeping. If they’re of a certain size displacement (60-70 foot, low freeboard and say 3-400 tonnes); their use will be limited to inshore areas; which probably is the intention anyway.

    Ideally there would be no need for a SCG but then ideally the MMEA at this juncture would already be equipped with several OPVs and MPAs; enabling it be the main agency in safeguarding our claims in the Spratys; with the RMN playing a supporting role.

  59. @Azlan

    Based on some info I got online (last year news), initially the boats will be similar to the ones used by the Marine police. Not sure which one since the Marine police have quite number of different types, but I suppose they probably tend to the large ones as they need to be able to carry at least 12 per vessel.

    What’s interesting is that in one interview, the CM did not discount the idea of expanding the SCG to “full-fledged security force”. He didn’t elaborate on that idea, however, and obviously it depends on available funds.

  60. “What’s interesting is that in one interview, the CM did not discount the idea of expanding the SCG to “full-fledged security force”. ”

    I’ll never take the media and politicians at their word alone. Many people have said things like AUGs and AV8s are bound for export, that our domestic guided artillery rounds…

    So until I see it being done in fact rather than in speech…

  61. O/T

    –> Nothing to do with SCG, more of general inquiry.

    Some of the designs coming out from Russia seem quite decent (Krivak IV and Gorshkov classes). How do they fare compared to European designs like Gowind and FREMM? And has the RMN ever considered these ships ?

    Reply
    No lah

  62. @ ASM

    very long explanation needed on that but basically russian ships has different everything, and unlike russian aircraft like Su-30MKM which has western (french) pilot interface like the head up display, multifunction displays etc. Not to mention CAATSA.

    we are better off imo to have chinese ships with interfaces and combat management systems that was developed from french and italian systems and has western engine design rather than purely russian ships.

  63. ASM – “has the RMN ever considered these ships”

    Designs like Kashin, Krivak, Udaloy, Sovremmeny, etc, were built to the Soviet navy’s requirements. Even SSKs like Kilo (and Whiskey before that) are intended for extended open blue water ops – unlike Scorpene which is intended for use in a littoral environment.

    We have never shown a serious interest in Russian naval hardware for the reason of zero compatibility with what we operate and the fact that adding non Russian stuff will require costly and time consuming integration/certification. As it is; even integrating Western to Western stuff can be a headache.

    In short; unlike others which have a long history of operating Soviet/Russian stuff; there is no pay off in us doing so.

  64. ASM – “. How do they fare compared to European designs like Gowind and FREMM””

    We can safely assume that newer Russian designs have – to be expected – many improvements including a higher electronic/ automated content and lower manning levels (compared to Soviet designs) but with regards to areas such as how maintenance intensive, DC standards and built quality; we can only guess. Of course there’s nothing stopping a customer from ordering a Russian design and specifying higher standards in certain areas.

  65. Russian ships are bare bones on the inside and less integrated than their European and American contemporaries. The Russian are barely managing to get hulls in the water, they don’t have the funds to develop more modern components and control systems. What’s obvious is that the funds prioritize weapons fit and firepower.

  66. “Why??

    there is no Sarawak state police, there should also be no sarawak state coast guard.”

    A “gift ” maybe..or perhaps..saje mengada2

  67. “We can safely assume that newer Russian designs have – to be expected – many improvements”

    Russian ships..beautiful externaly..but lets take a look inside..the gauges,sonar etc..still looks like a soviet era techno.

  68. Irrespective of where or what certain ships/components/systems are based on; ultimately we need to avoid getting stuff that has minimal or no commonality to what we already operate and stuff that requires integration/certification.

    More so given that the RMN is an under resourced navy with limited resources to begin with; one that has long been saddled with maintenance/support issues; thanks to a longstanding policy of buying from multiple sources with little regard to commonality.

    The LMS is a case in point. Due to a lack of funds; the main components are Chinese; stuff that has zero compatibility and stuff that will require integration/certification for us to add Western stuff. As it stands the modular payloads which are needs are available from Western sources and unless we want the LMS’s to have standalone systems (a big no in this day and age); integration/certification will be required.

    The good news is that even before the 5/15 was announced the RMN made it a priority to reduce its considerable logistical/support footprint and has made some progress in this area.

  69. AM – “. What’s obvious is that the funds prioritize weapons fit and firepower””

    Indeed. Based on doctrine and operational operational requirements. Things – naturally – have changed : Russian ships have more contemporary designs (hulls with reduced RCS and IR signatures) and other overall improvements. In contrast with Tier 1 NATO the Russian navy still sees a need for frigate/corvette size combatants and a nuclear/diesel sub mix.

    We also have to factor in that naval wise; priority has been given to the sea based nuclear deterrent (this is an area where the Russians can maintain parity or even superiority at sea – unlike in other areas). Also despite the importance placed on sea power; Russia for centuries has been a land power with priority placed elsewhere.

  70. JunTau – “Russian ships..beautiful externaly..but lets take a look inside..the gauges,sonar etc”

    This applies to older ships built during the Cold War era which are still in service. Newer ships, although they might not look as sleek as Western equivalents have caught up with the times.

    Also note that the Russians (the Soviets before) place functionality above everything else. This is refracted in everything that has been produced; from the T-34 to MiG-27. When the West got its first look at a Foxbat (the one that defected to Japan) they were surprised at its crude finishing including the use of rivets but performance wise it was amazing.

    As I pointed out earlier; there is nothing from stopping a potential customer of Russian equipment from specifying certain things; where a cockpit ergonomic improvements for a fighter or higher DC standards for a ship.

  71. the issue about russian ships is not just about the firepower and the dc standards.

    as for firepower those russian ships as them in abundance.

    what they really lack is any form of advanced integration of combat management systems that we take for granted in the west, as well as things like targetting datalinks (that we have since the 70s with link11), user friendly interfaces for radars and such. Which is why even countries that mostly uses russian hardware like algeria is moving towards westernised naval ships.

  72. @Azlan

    way off topic but interesting stuff nonetheless…

    ” This is refracted in everything that has been produced; ”

    reflected, you mean. Refracted usually means angle change when light transition from one medium to another. Just being pedantic sorry.

    I wonder whether the Soviets use of vacuum tube electronics instead of solid state was a deliberate choice. Vacuum tubes are more resistant to EMP as they require high voltages to operate (starting in the hundreds). If I am not mistaken the MiG-31 is not allowed to operate with its radar on below a certain altitude as the radiation is enough to kill a person. And supposedly it’s the world first phased array radar.

  73. … – “as for firepower those russian ships as them in abundance””

    Because they saw overwhelming firepower including coordinated synchronised attack’s from ships, aircraft and subs as a way to deal with U.S. carrier groups and make up for other deficiencies they suffered from. They also didn’t have (and still don’t) worldwide network of bases that the West enjoyed. Another point is that their capital ships during wartime would have been primarily on the offensive; seeking out U.S. carriers and interdicting NATO shipping.

  74. ASM – “reflected, you mean””

    It was a typing error.

    ASM – “And supposedly it’s the world first phased array radar””

    Well the Soviets pioneered various things. Even in doctrine and operational art a lot of things they did was unique to them and is still practised in the Russian military.

  75. Azlan: “We also have to factor in that naval wise; priority has been given to the sea based nuclear deterrent (this is an area where the Russians can maintain parity or even superiority at sea – unlike in other areas). Also despite the importance placed on sea power; Russia for centuries has been a land power with priority placed elsewhere.”

    For that matter, the role of the Russian navy is less forward or “expeditionary” than some others. In the event of a major European war, the Russian surface fleet will fight on the defensive and on the periphery of the land campaign. As much has to do with geography as with prioritization of resources- the Russians have far less assured access to open seas. The Russians also use geography to their advantage- by keeping SSBNs in patrol areas that are semi-enclosed by the Russian land mass- and have designed many classes of second line ships primarily for the task of defending these areas. Overall, a very different structure from many navies and the classical understanding of a “balanced” fleet.

    “Of course there’s nothing stopping a customer from ordering a Russian design and specifying higher standards in certain areas.”

    Specifying higher standards is one thing, whether the yard and the wider system can deliver on those standards is another. The problem with asking people to do things that are new to them is it leads to a higher risk of overruns and delays.

    ASM “Some of the designs coming out from Russia seem quite decent (Krivak IV and Gorshkov classes). How do they fare compared to European designs like Gowind and FREMM?”

    There are public visuals showing the Gorshkov class’ internals, including the CIC- which unfortunately reflects a standard passed several decades ago by other countries. It is more understandable if second line, primarily defensive ships such as the Buyan class corvette are built to such standards. Less so when we’re talking about 5,000 ton frigates fitted with Russia’s best weapons and potentially members of high end task forces or escort groups.

  76. ASM “I wonder whether the Soviets use of vacuum tube electronics instead of solid state was a deliberate choice. Vacuum tubes are more resistant to EMP as they require high voltages to operate (starting in the hundreds).”

    Simplicity and serviceability are good things as long as they don’t affect performance. The MiG-25 was meant to be rugged, operated from miserably remote locations and maintained by conscript personnel. The Soviets may have been able to build more modern electronics in the 60s, but probably weren’t up to the task of keeping them in operation in the field, thousands of miles from the factories that produced them.

    The original MiG-29 was intentionally designed without a fly by wire system and had very basic weapons systems. While this kept the airplane simple, it imposed a high workload on the pilot. As such, fly by wire and other improvements were introduced on later versions.

    Although introduced at the same time, the Su-27 had fly by wire from the start because it was a higher value machine built in lower numbers, intended to be operated from bases with better infrastructure.

  77. AM – “ intended to be operated from bases with better infrastructure”

    Yes. The Fulcrum was originally intended to be a short range higher to operate along the battlefield or as a point interceptor whilst the Flanker was (until airfields in Norway and other places were captured) to operate from the Kola peninsular to escort bombers along the Norwegian Sea.

    AM – “The problem with asking people to do things that are new to them is it leads to a higher risk of overruns and delays”

    As has happened before but not only with the Russians but also with Western companies.

  78. …. – “the issue about russian ships is not just about the firepower and the dc standard“

    Of course not. The issue really is Soviet/Russian ships are a reflection of their requirements and how naval power fitted in their overall scheme of things.

  79. … – combat management systems that we take for granted in the west, as well as things like targetting datalinks”

    They had them as far back as the 1960’s; essential for their long range missiles and for their long range fighters.

    Whilst their computers were definitely not as capable as Western equivalents during the Cold War; things have changed

  80. AM – “classes of second line ships primarily for the task of defending these areas””

    Like Petya and Grisha.

    For littoral and open water ASW the Russians still see a need for unguided rockets; something only still mainly maintained in the West by the likes of Sweden (for close in littoral work).

    Naval wise Russia’s priority is its nuclear sea deterrent; the only area where it can maintain parity. In naval others areas there is less intent to allocate resources; compared say to the navy or Air Force. But then again it can be pointed out that this expected given that Russian naval power is intended to do different things on a different manner compared to NATO ones.

    One thing that hasn’t changed for centuries is that Russia is still mainly a land power.

  81. AM – “, including the CIC- which unfortunately reflects a standard passed several decades ago by other countries””

    Maybe so but is this actually due to the inability of the yards or due to end under requirements and budgets? Contemporary designs ;including ones not ordered yet) clearly show designs spotting
    “LO” features and we can safely assume that as part of natural profession they have also made improvements electronic/computer wise.

  82. AM – “Simplicity and serviceability are good things as long as they don’t affect performance””

    And as long as they fulfil the key requirements of a user in line with doctrine. Soviet stuff emphasised functionality. Something which could be produced in mass and operated in field conditions and maintained by conscripts. As long as it did the job it was intended to do – this was something that worked very well for them in WW2.

    The Soviets were practical in that they expected their tanks, fighters, etc to only last for so many days had the Cold War turned hot.

    Seeing a Fulcrum and Hornet alongside each other; the external difference is striking but then both were built to different operating philosophies. Same thing when comparing a Leopard and a T-72. One was built to take damask and survive; the other to avoid being hit and to be operated in mass.

  83. On data links; the Soviets has them as far back as the 1960’s without which they would have been unable to fully utilise their long range missiles. Even for long range fighters it wasn’t all GCI but also data links.

  84. “The Soviets were practical in that they expected their tanks, fighters, etc to only last for so many days had the Cold War turned hot. Seeing a Fulcrum and Hornet alongside each other; the external difference is striking but then both were built to different operating philosophies. Same thing when comparing a Leopard and a T-72. One was built to take damask and survive; the other to avoid being hit and to be operated in mass.”

    New platforms indicate that the Russians are moving towards a philosophy more in line with Western practice. They have to, in that war now demands costly, complex platforms and these cannot be expended or discarded after a short period of use. For instance, today’s tank fire control systems make the strategy of hit avoidance obsolete.

    There’s also the fact that they are now a market economy, a smaller country by population and one less mobilised towards war. They cannot commit to the scale of production and the large standing armies seen in Soviet times.

    While they do face financial and technological limitations, there’s also the fact that Russia’s traditional export customers are budget conscious- lower cost and simplicity to keep in service being the main reason they buy Russian equipment in the first place. As such, even if Russia wants to move towards Western operating norms, they have to keep derivatives of Soviet designs in production, because these are the things that sell and finance the development of newer models.

    For prospective customers, like us, there’s the question of whether Soviet operating philosophies match ours. No need to go into details here, but we’ve obviously paid the price for accepting this mismatch before.

  85. AM – “tank fire control systems make the strategy of hit avoidance obsolete.””

    Actually no. MBT FCSs have as you know been around for decades. As it stands the army’s force structure for the next few years will still be centred on the T-72 and T-90 – both designs built on Soviet operating philosophy and doctrine.

    Both based on a principal which the Russians now recognised is flawed; thus the Armata which does not really mainly on ERAs and does away with the carrousel loader whose placement of rounds and charges on the turret sides leaves it very vulnerable. The problem is they can’t afford Armata in numbers.

  86. AM – “there’s the question of whether Soviet operating philosophies match ours”

    Of course they don’t but the same applies to Western stuff also. The trick is to make the right trade offs and determine what best suits our needs based on commonality, support, training and effectiveness.

    Buying Russian MANPADs or other stuff isn’t – obviously – as problematic integration and operating wise as say fighters or frigates.

  87. P.S.

    To gain a better understanding of what has changed and hasn’t; read the “Russian Way Of War” (Grau). There’s a free download out there for the whole book.

  88. “Actually no. MBT FCSs have as you know been around for decades.”

    For much of the Cold War, tanks could not fire accurately on the move at long ranges. It also took time to acquire a target after the tank had stopped.

    The Soviets had pursued hit avoidance via small size in the T-55 and T-62. In fielding the T-64 and T-72, a decision was made to continue pursuing hit avoidance by retaining the small size and making various improvements (gun, armour levels etc) that were accommodated by removing the human loader.

    This was done in the expectation that T-64 and T-72 would face the Leopard 1s and M48s already fielded by NATO, and that hit avoidance would see superior numbers of Soviet tanks survive to close with the enemy given the limitations of tank gunnery at the time.

    I would say that introducing ERA in the 80s onwards was an initial response to the current generation of NATO tanks- Leopard 2, Abrams and so on. And that the Armata is a response to the fact that ERA is insufficient and hit avoidance can no longer be pursued as a viable strategy.

    Another tank that pursued hit avoidance and acknowledged the limitations of contemporary fire control was the Swedish S tank. It was designed without a turret not only to be better concealed and less exposed in hull down positions, but also because it was realised that all tanks had to stop to fire accurately, whether they had a turret or not.

  89. AM – “I would say that introducing ERA in the 80s onwards was an initial response””

    It was in response to what you mentioned and also because the Soviets were unwilling to follow the Western route by going for a heavier tank; one with a higher baseline protection level.

    As you know, it was an Israeli invention (Blazer) and the Russians got samples from
    M-60’s captured in Lebanon. Prior to the Israelis fielding ERA( others of courier had already played around with the idea.

  90. AM – “Another tank that pursued hit avoidance and acknowledged the limitations of contemporary fire control was the Swedish S tank”

    The fact that Sweden – is attacked – withdrew be mainly in the defensive also played a part in the design. Many years ago I had a look at an example in Bovington. It was really ahead of its time – IMO – but tellingly didn’t find any takers apart from Sweden which is expected I guess.

    Of course some 3 decades before the S-Tank the Germans already has Stugs (in various versions). Cheaper to produce without a turret and useful also for infantry support. At various times the Germans actually had more Stugs than tanks. There was also the Hertzer.

  91. AM – “For much of the Cold War, tanks could not fire accurately on the move at long ranges. It also took time to acquire a target after the tank had stopped””

    By the 1960’s stabilisation system were already in place. Granted FCSs were not – obviously – as capable as now by there were high chances of hitting what one aimed at; at the ranges likely to be encountered in Western Europe.

  92. AM – “”The Soviets had pursued hit avoidance via small size in the T-55 and T-62”

    The aim was something which could be produced in mass and cheaply and could be maintained in field conditions by conscripts. The small size was not only to make it harder to spot and hit but to keep weight down. The Soviets would have been moving rapidly and many rivers would have had to be crossed in Western Europe.

  93. It is telling that the Russians have gone for Armata which doesn’t rely totally on ERA. The problem with ERA is that it leaves an unprotected gap when detonated.

    As it stands; unless one is facing lightly armed infantrymen and does not place importance in crew survival; one would not go for a T-72 or a derivative originally designed in the 1960’s and based on requirements now largely ditched by Russia itself.

    With increased protection comes increased weight (no going around this) and problems which come with increased weight can be offset with adequate engineering support – we have seen this time and time again.

  94. AM – “Soviet tanks survive to close with the enemy given the limitations of tank gunnery at the time”

    Largely from experiences in WW2. Not only problems with tank gunnery per see but also related to training and doctrine. Doctrine called for 2-3 tanks to focus on a single NATO tank until it was destroyed; due to a lower level of conscript training and because the NATO tank was better protected.

  95. AM – “. As such, even if Russia wants to move towards Western operating norms”

    They don’t.

    They have adapted and made certain changes . We’ve seen this in Syria and Ukraine. The way they created a strike/recce capability with MLRSs, arty and UASs is very impressive.

    At a higher operational and strategic level how they go about doing things is almost unique to them; i.e. reinforcing success not failure; strikes at multiple axis, heavy density of arty per km, etc.

  96. Back to the topic.

    Looks like some people are not satisfied about my critique on SCG but is posting in other forums (the one that likes to cut and paste my words and make it theirs).

    To me the solution is simply not the right one.

    To say that Putrajaya is neglecting the security of sabah and sarawak EEZ is a simplistic one. In the last 12 months, TLDM has transferred virtually all of our available Kedah class OPVs to East Malaysia to strengthen the patrolling capability there. Putrajaya has been allocating funds to MMEA to buy new ships and 3 new DAMEN 1800 OPVs will soon be operational.

    I have written here about Pelan Perancangan Strategik Maritim Malaysia 2040 (PPSMM 2040) and what we can achieve by just maintaining the current level of MMEA development budget up till 2040. Of course it cannot happen overnight, but by 2030 we can have quite a substantial MMEA operational capability.

    IMO people need to able to differentiate between real capability development, and the politician rhetoric to push a political agenda forward.

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