Sea Trials for First NGPC

SHAH ALAM:The first MMEA New Generation Patrol Craft (NGPC) is currently undergoing sea trials as part of the work-up for her commissioning into service.

The trials are being conducted in the waters around Port Klang though it is likely that the ship – bearing the hull number 4541 – will sailed further into the Malacca Straits and even elsewhere as part of her trials.

MMEA first NGPC – 4541 – anchored at Destini shipyard in Port Klang. The hull of another NGPC could be seen still on land.

The pictures of the NGPC were taken while she was anchored at the Destini shipyard in Port Klang during the Chinese New Year holidays. From my vantage point, I could spot two more NGPC hulls being constructed at the shipyard. These hulls could be launched later this year from the look of it.

The launcher for the Thales Fulmar X mini-uav is fitted to the front deck of the NGPC.

From the pictures its also likely that MMEA is also testing the Thales Fulmar X mini-UAV, which was procured by Destini for the NGPC. The launcher could be seen on the foredeck, the same spot where it was placed on the model which was displayed at DSA 2016.

The aft deck of the NGPC.

It also appears that the builder have yet to install the ship’s weapons – the 30mm Aselsan SMASH remote weapon system and pintle-mounted machine-guns. It is likely that the guns will be install in the near future as the organiser of LIMA 17 is already claiming that the ship – the first of six and MMEA’s latest ship, KM Pekan, will take part in the event at Langkawi. There is even talk that the NGPC will be commissioned at LIMA.

SMASH 30mm gun on display at Aselsan stand at trade show last year. Contracted for the NGPC.

With LIMA 17 just 49 days away, the pressure must be on the MMEA’s team testing the NGPC and the crew of KM Pekan. I am not sure whether participating in LIMA is a good idea especially for the NGPC as she will have to sail there prior to her commissioning. Sending a completely new ship for an event is not a very good idea in my opinion, even though it could be claimed that its part of her trials and subsequent commissioning. The same goes for KM Pekan despite the fact that she had been commissioned into service.

A model of APMM NGPC at Destini Bhd booth at DSA 2014

As for the pictures, I do not claim these are the first images of the NGPC to be published in an open forum. As 4541 had been launched for almost 30 days now and has sailed in open waters for her trials, its likely that her pictures had been published in one form or the other. But this are the first pictures of her taken by Malaysian Defence which was the first to exclusively reported the NGPC program.

A full size Fulmar X mock-up at Thales booth at Farnborough air show. Thales.

Previously we had to rely on the CGI or the model displayed at DSA 2016 exhibition. Last year I wrote that the official launching of the NGPC was scrubbed off as the invited VIPs could not confirmed their participation.

NCPC keel laying ceremony on Nov 18, 2015. APMM picture

With so many official events lined up during that period (the second and third week of December) including the ascension of a new King, it was elementary that the official launching was scrubbed. Nonetheless, due to contractual obligations, Destini launched the ship with little fanfare.

An aft view of the NGPC model at Destini Bhd booth. The upper deck where the two guns are located will also be used to fix the net to recover the Fulmar UAS.

Indeed with the contract of the MMEA OPV still to be awarded at that time, launching the NGPC was probably the best way demonstrate their capabilities.
Personally I am not enthused over an official launching ceremony. Look what had happened to the last two ships that were launched. They have yet to be commissioned into the navy.

— Malaysian Defence

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