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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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this is good news seeing NGPC already in sea trial and hopefully more to come.
Marhalim, any update about LCS?
Nothing much on the LCS although the project team has overseen factory tests of the towed array sonar machinery and the ship’s screws from their contractors
Congratulations to MMEA and destini for the first NGPC. Hopefully the whole program will be on time and on budget.
What the MMEA need to be now is a more effective enforcement agency. The MMEA is not a second navy, but an agency to uphold the law on the seas, as well as to ensure the safety of those that plies them.
The recent sinking of tourist boat in Sabah does not bode well for MMEA. We do not need a tragedy as big as the south korean ferry sinking (which led to the disbandment of the south korean coast guard) for MMEA to further enforce the safety and law of the seas.
Look for example the US Coast Guard. Non Americans would see them as a second navy, but in reality it is deeply involved in safety of the seas; enforcing ship safety codes, icebreaking lanes in winter, maintaining navigation bouys and lighthouses, search and rescue (remember the TV series baywatch?)
Coast Guards are a second navy because they have an important role in maintaining sovereignty.
Yes, the functions you described are important. But you can think them as a peace time navy that is cheaper to operate than the navy ships that are intended more as a battle force.
A coast guard is used when you want to be less educated escalatory in disputed territory, because it is a civilian agency. Sending a navy ship signals being more assertive but can also prompt the other side to militarise its presence.
Ideally a coast guard and navy are well integrated so that duplication of effort is reduced, and navy can be quickly summoned if additional capabilities are needed in a hurry. We had this discussion before- someone here suggested that the MMEA be drastically upgunned so that it can take on large civilian vessels. I argued that it is impractical to have such firepower on every MMEA vessel. When situations arise you will need more than firepower to solve the. What you need might be aviation or a boarding team or a big gun, and getting them there quickly is more important than whether they belong to the MMEA or navy.
Indeed, given that all the intrusions into our EEZ are carried out by Chinese ships which are not PLAN; ideally it would be the MMEA that intercepts them. On weapons my take is that if an MMEA ship meets a threat that can’t be dealt with with a 20 or 30mm auto cannon; then the MMEA ship should’t be there in the first place. Non constabulary type roles should not be the MMEA’s job.
As they did in WW2 USNCG ships would have performed escort work and other roles under the overall direction of the USN had the Cold War turned hot. Quite a few USNCG ships have/had Harpoon and Phalanx as in addition to its peacetime duties; there was also provision for the USNCG to supplement the USN in times of war. To all intents and purposes the USNCG is indeed a ”2nd navy” as you pointed out.
Glad to see that ‘Maritim Malaysia’ still being used as the main identity on the hull, and additional ‘Malaysia Coast Guard’ as secondary.
Thanks for the ‘picture’ you have been asking for previously Encik Marhalim.
“The LCS, estimated to be worth RM 9 billion, will also be equipped with stealth capability which reduces radar reflection to minimise visibility and detection. The ships, to be built by Malaysia’s Boustead Naval Shipyard in Indonesia, will also be capable of rapid launch and recovery of boats.”
I thought we only ordered MRSS but also LCS?
You better asked the people who published this report about this, I have no idea whatsoever about it
The superstructure seems awfully high for a boat that size.
Won’t this have an effect on its seaworthiness?
Yes, it does look a bit top heavy. Maybe it’s just me but SMASH also looks a bit clunky compared to other similar systems.
I think they add an extra deck to comply with the 40 men crew requirement. As for the SMASH I think we will have to wait until its installed to see how it looks