SGPV/LCS or Frigates: The Saga Continues…

SHAH ALAM: AS I had mentioned in my previous posting, the Damen Schelde entry for the SGPV/LCS tender had been the early favourite for programme. And it appears that the Navy seemed to prefer it to other candidates despite the fact that an almost similar vessel is being build in Indonesia for TNI-AL.

The Gowind by DCNS is the other short listed entrant and by all account would have scored a victory if not for its insistence on putting its own system on the ships and other French made weaponsm

The Shipyard is apparently backing the French ship. I was told the reason why but since my source cannot be identified I wont mentioned it here. Suffice to say that its a plenty and one needs cojones of steel to back away from it now especially with many local companies/patrons benefiting if they choose the Dutch ship. So basically its DCNS against the rest of Malaysia then.

Anyhow, the Navy is still expecting the Sigma to be chosen with non-French weapons and some French systems on board as its LCS. I am told one of the non-French weapon slated for the ships needed export clearance from the US and it had been cleared already.

By the way, this is the last time, I will be calling the ships as LCS. After this I will call them, frigates. A rose by any other name will still smell as sweet, as the Bard once said.

And notwithstanding the design chosen, the cost of the ship will be much higher than the one announced earlier.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2147 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. We might as well call the Kasturi and Lekir light frigates after they are done with the SLEP. Seen the pics of Lekir in action firing the MM40 Exocet Block II in OSTEX 2011. I thought the ship is still in dockyard in Lumut for the SLEP, did i thought wrong?

  2. There seem to be a factual disconnect/typos in para 3. Care to explain more? tq

    Which one?

  3. If the cost is double , its going to be a major problem for BN. Unless they think they can get away with it.

    So probably the announcement of the winner will be made after the elections.

    Dont forget ,MMEA becoming the Royal CoastGuard or something similiar. They need all kinds of new assets.

    Now we have 3 maritime commando units. Freaky.

    LCS this project is not. The LCS is a stealth catamaran with massive capabilities.

    U r right Marhalim. Call it right , it should be a frigate with multimission capabilities.

    By calling SGPV/LCS it has open all sorts of accusations..

  4. RMN play with new toys that required US approval and definitely NSM..kiss good bye to Brahmos maybe for our future MKM missile..

  5. Zamyra,

    As has already been explained to you, on a number of occasions, EVERYTHING and ANYTHING from every country requires export approval NOT just from the U.S. And what exactly does this have to do with arming the MKM with the Brahmos and just how does this affect the chances of Brahmos being selected?


    When the first entered service the Kasturi class was classified as a ‘light frigate’, then ‘corvette’ and now ‘frigate’. The Kasturi is in drydock.

    According to Utusan the NSM is a favourite which I find very surprising.

  6. “And notwithstanding the design chosen, the cost of the ship will be much higher than the one announced earlier.” – Marhalim

    No surprise! The costs associated with every major procurement have always been above standard. Are bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement, so bad that we can never get a good deal?

  7. @azlan

    please understand what I means all about. what marhalim mention about non-French weapon just get export clearance from Uncle Sam due to this weapon contains sensitive Uncle Sam military technology inside.
    Everybody now weapon for export must get approval from export country but why Norway made weapons still need Uncle Sam clearance..

    right now IAF busy testing Brahmos for their the future if this collaboration successful maybe MKM will be equipped with same toys too..clearly RMN interested with block II or NSM not Brahmos this time..

  8. The …l Shipyard is apparently backing the French ship. I was told the reason why but since my source cannot be identified I wont mentioned it here. Suffice to say that its a plenty and one needs cojones of steel to back away from it…….
    Up till here my understanding is it refers to the French (lots of (undisclosed) reason and very difficult to reject).

    ….. now especially with many local companies/patrons benefiting if they choose the Dutch ship.
    But at the end of your sentence you mentioned the Dutch.

    Pardon my England. TQ

    Simply by going Dutch the buck will be shared by everybody but by going French, the shipyard will garner a lion share of the other contracts apart the shipbuilding of course. That’s the reason the other companies are hopping mad…

  9. Zamyra,

    Then what exactly is the point you’re trying to make?? Any aircraft, vehicle, missile, etc, , made by a 3rd country, that contains U.S. made components cannot be exported without approval.

    The RMAF has no intention anytime soon of ordering the Brahamos. Apart from the needed funds, each MKM will also have to be send back to Russia for structural and software modifications and this will take at least several months if not more. The Brahmos is simply to large to mounted on a pylon without modifications to the airframe.

  10. We paid a huge amount of money for ToT to get the Meko technology from the Germans. Now with this LCS, all that was spent is money down the drain. We are now going to spend an enormous amount of money for French or Dutch ship technology. See how the gomen waste money. If the MAF have very short term planning that changes with each Chief, like us changing underwear, might as well forget about ToT since it never gets fully developed. Cheaper to buy the ships outright, why pay royalty and what not,

  11. I am suprised to see the NSM triumph over the MM40 Exocet Block II. Both have the same range and given our experience with the Exocet series, it will be natural to pick the latest version Exocet to ensure compatibility with the rest of the fleet. With the NSM chosen for the NGPVs and SGPVs, we gonna have 12 ships each with 8 NSMs. Each ships will have the capability of a frigate despite being so called patrol boats. Does we really have the resources, manpower and enough helis to supplement the fleet? No to mention money is in short supply due to the pressing MPSS needs and ASW helis….

    The Utusan mention that the NGPV will be arm with NSM next year but i can only see it happens after the SLEP for Kasturi & Lekir. The shipyard in Lumut is already had their hands full….

    MBDA is paying the price for their arrogance and costly after sales service.
    Technically it will be a simple matter of fixing the NSM launchers on the Kedah class. But only two missiles per ship. The hard part will be integrating the missile into the CMS and only then we will know whether they had done wiring right. They also need to fire at least four missiles, one live before they can declare it operational. At least one live firing from the other five ships after installation.
    The other hard part is to make full use of the NSM longer range, the navy need more air assets whether helo or plane. They could use satellites of course for basic target fixing but we need dedicated mil satellites for real targeting solutions.

  12. did anyone realised that at the RMN website, 2 of the La Combattante class FAC(M) have been demoted to FAC(G) ?
    This means the the number of missile carrying boats have been reduced by 2.

    Also, its quite embarrassing that the RMN website copies info from Janes. It should have been able to provide visitors with more up to date info of RMN ships since its the owner of these ships instead of using data from Janes

    Since the MM38 in their stocks are getting old and its no longer economical to SLEP them. So many firings will take place…

  13. The Brahmos is still in the maze,it has not come out of its trial and deployment phases yet.

    Some success ,yes but actual hard deployment on air,land,sea assets are not going as smoothly as they want. To top it all off the Russians ,as usual are not efficient in thier work or word on the modifications required for example the SU-30MKI.

    For us , the best is to watch closely how things develope ,then decide later if its actually worth it to get the Brahmos.

    Some one said on another thread we shud not copy S’pore.
    Personally, I love being original. But the lessons S’pore have for us is this:

    Start small,become excellent in what we do,organize the industry well.

    Then as the knowledge expands,R@D expands,the capabilities expand.

    Then when u look at budgets, u have no problems getting quality second hand subs or ship for example . Why?

    Becos u know exactly what you are doing.What systems u need to fix on yr assets, how to manage the life cycle costs.

    Thats what we need to do here.

    First of all we must define what we want first from defence. From there we can move forward.

  14. “but why Norway made weapons still need Uncle Sam clearance” – Zamyra

    See US ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) restrictions on arms and technology retransfer:

    The prohibition on retransfer stems from the requirement for all export authorizations to include the statement that “[t]he technical data or defense service exported from the United States in furtherance of this agreement and any defense article which may be produced or manufactured from such technical data or defense service may not be transferred to a person in a third country or to a national of a third country except as specifically authorized in this agreement unless the prior written approval of the Department of State has been obtained.”

    Also: “No export, sale, transfer or other disposition of the licensed article is authorized to any country outside the territory wherein manufacture or sale is herein licensed without the prior written approval of the US Government unless otherwise exempted by the US Governemnt.”

    This means that if, for example, a foreign person (company, government, etc.) wants to retransfer a USML (United States Munitions List) item to another foreign person (company, government, etc.), both must be authorized under the relevant export authorization.

  15. Where does Spain/Navantia figure in all this? It does seem pretty dumb. I would assume extending the Meko production run would be the cheaper option. Failing which a open platform design like Navantia or Damen would be a reasonable alternative.

    None they are out of the competition.

  16. Sorry for my mistake before, I mean to say the Exocet MM40 Block III which had the same 180km range as the NSM. The NSM export need to have the US clearance as it use a lot of parts from the US and assembled in Norway. The same can be said about the NASAMs air defence system which is actually modified AMRAAMs of the US which is even bought by the US to defend the White House air space.

    As a matter of integration, it is not suprising that a lot had to be done before the Kedah Class is able to wield the NSMs but i think that Kongsberg will be more than happy to help since we will be buying in bulk. Equipping 12 ships in a go is also good for their new missile image. Their missiles had also been traditionally cheaper than their other European and American counterpart…

  17. This TOT ruse seems to be used to justify much higher price tags in platform purchases, then wasted when another group sees more opportunities presented by other vendors. The Meko and now the AV8 fiasco. Never ends, how can our troops get best in class equipment in first place and high serviceability and availability later if the vested interest alway make this type of no – brainer decisions. With a different type/class of ship and manufactur with different CMS, propulsion and armament systems how can RMN ever get economies of scale, not to mention training package complexities to man the different plaforms. What is wrong with Meko design that makes it not acceptable??? I thought the reason we entered into the expensive agreement in the first place was due to the fact it was a modular design that can be adapted for various roles while maintaining basic architechture- to reduce logitic complexities and also economies of scale as we added more ships? That would be the ideal solution for RMN given that we have already wasted so much on cost over-runs to get the lead ships out and basic design is quite capable.

    No one is talking about ToT right know although the Minister had said the largesse will be spread this time around…

  18. @marhalim

    “Covering Malaysian Defence without fear or favour and with dignity”..

    that u motto but why my posting keep been denied by u..maybe u should change u motto after this so people will understand better what u want in u military forum..

  19. in defence of Marhalim…

    “without fear or favour and with dignity” does not mean that one publish comments that could do real damage to one’s career and/or life. Even “without fear” one must still exercise common sense and good judgement. Patience and perseverance are key. Allowing irresponsible comments that could put one in the dock is unwise. Ultimately, it is Marhalim that puts himself on the line in this forum.

  20. Anon,

    The RMN announced last year that the MM-38s on the 4 Handalan and 4 Perdana class would be retired due to old age. The 4 MM-38s on the Kasturi class were replaced some years ago with 8 MM-40s.

  21. So the second batch of PVs are turning out to be missile frigates.

    The original plan, back in the late 80s/early 90s, was for the navy to buy simple and cheap naval vessels to conduct sovereignity patrols in the EEZ in large numbers (27). The plan was to JV with the Aussies who had a similar requirement. The JV never took off after Mahathir got pissed off at the Aussie PM. The Aussies then went off and build the Armidale class patrol vessels.

    Yes and no. The deal with Transfield of Australia was just proposal from the Aussie and yes, it failed due to the Keating and Mahathir tiff. The tiff indeed spoiled the Aussie proposal and as a result the Aussie put off the contract for its PV and by the time it call for new tenders, the new specifications led to the Armidale class. We of course went the wrong way and ended up nowhere.

  22. Back ground noises; with the Minister saying MEKO 100 project still on, there is no reason for Boustead not to revisit their proposal of enlarged variant of the KEDAH Class. Still meet the GSR and max profit for them plus all existing player will not be left out.

    Sekali air bah, sekali pantai berubah.

    Yes there is talk the Meko 100 design maybe used for the MMEA requirement for six OPVs..

  23. Ree,

    I believe the original plan was for 27 vessels over a 16 year period. Transfield went all out to get the contract [apart from the sun shelters at Butterworth, I can’t think of anything else in use by the MAF that is Australian].The other proposals came from Swan Hunter and Yarrow.

    Its common knowledge that the Kedah class has been wired for RAM. I’m curious if it would be possible, without too much integration costs and headaches, to perhaps fit something like an 8 cell VLS for MICA. And also if there is any truth to the Utusan report that the RMN is keen on the NSM for the LCS because it is smaller and 8 can be fitted instead of just 4 MM-40’s.

    It will be a headache to fit a VLS where the RAM is supposed to be as the deck underneath it supposed to be a mess. Since the new frigates (106 to 108 metres)will be much bigger than the Kedah (99 metres) of course they will be able to fit more than four launchers…NSMs or Exocets

  24. Interesting, I has no idea that the mess was below the ‘B’ position. that would mean that if the decision was made not to fit a RAM in the future only a non-deck penetrating system like the much shorter range SADRAL can be fitted.

    I suspect however that the extra length of the LCS has more to do with the need for a slightly larger or longer hangar. The hangar on the Kedah class is very cramped and there is hardly any space for routine maintenance or to store stuff needed for the helicopter.

    The longer length will also meant a longer amidships given them extra space to mount more launchers or anything else like a permanent RAS. One way to adapt a VLS on board a Kedah class ship is to fit an extra module to the ship. It is expansive of course and it will take at least a year.

  25. The KEDAH class does not have the required deck height even for a MICA VLS. And the space underneath is already utilised for other purposes. There is however a room left bare as FFBNW space for RAM equipment.

    As for the hangar on the LCS, the extra length may also be due to the need for a traditional funnel arrangement as opposed to the ship side exhaust, apart from the need for a larger helo hangar. Heard the RMN wants the LCS to be able to accommodate an EC725 in the hangar!

    If you want to have an idea on how the Gowind look like just look at the RSN Delta frigates, it will look almost the same but smaller of course.

  26. To make sure that LCS capable to mainland and operate chopper like EC725 Super Cougar they must provide the platform bigger than Jebat Class Frigate. I think the best opstion is 110m Long or 112m Long and 14m width. and it’s fullload 3000t. That truly multirole LCS..

  27. The LCS program doesn’t sound like LCS anymore. They should call it a new corvette program.

    I am guessing they are also not sure whether its a corvette or frigate. So its easier to call it as LCS…

  28. Taj,

    Why would the EC275 operate from the LCS as its an RMAF asset? I can see EC275s operating from the Indera Sakti or the Inderapura replacement during joint ops but not from the LCS. Anyhow, for the LCSs hangar to accomadate the Cougar, a much wider hangar will be needed, which will require a broader and longer hull, which mean a longer ship, which in turn will lead to a sharp increase in prices.

    The Kedah class has been designed and wired for RAM. The was a report in the past that indicated the Umkhonto was offered, as was also the case with the TNI-AL’s Sigmas. If the space below the ‘B’ position is already utilised and there is no deck height for a 8 cell VLS then that only leaves RAM or a short range non-deck penetraing system like SIMRAD or SADRAL, for the Mistral.

    As for the LCS, lets hope that the many reports about ESSM being the main choice is true as its a decent missile and there’s not much choice left. ASTER 15 is too costly, ASTER 30 need a ship of at least 2,500 to 3,000 tonnes displacement and MBDA has not completed development of the improved Seawolf.
    There’s also been so much talk about the LCS being given a decent ASW capability so it will be interesting to see if there are indeed funds for a towed array to complement the hull mounted passive/actice sonar which is the bare basic anyway.

  29. SGPV?LCS?FF?FFG?Corvette? if it’s larger than FF Jebat class alang-alang go for DDG standard (so as to balance out FFG of RSN and CV of RTN) If its smaller than Jebat, i guess go for max number of Corvette. Don’t play with PV, let MMEA toyed with it.But we must ask ourself first, what RMN really needs for its “deterrent force”?

  30. Last I heard the RMN is insisting on a frigate notation for the LCS. And the need for the design to accommodate the EC725 is for joint operations. Previous Nuri’s could only land on the deck but could not enjoy the full facilities available on both the JEBAT-Class and the KEDAH-Class. With the Cougar, the LCS would be expected to be circa 110 – 115 meters long and a bit wider (maybe 14 meters?).

    A query I have with the ESSM is whether the facilities are available in country to support the missile. I understand that there are various support equipment needed for the ESSM to perform to its designed range. Anyone know whether this is true or not? What I do know is that the ESSM would be expensive!

    On the ESSM support I guess if we buy them, the US Govt will insist we join their support solutions like what would happened if we decide to buy the Super Hornet. In the short term, yes it will be expensive but in the long term with Uncle Sam guiding the support it will be much cheaper than going the Aster route.

  31. Nimitz,
    Because the LCS will be team A for RMN so it’s should be bigger and longer than Jebat FFG and equip with longer range ASW/AAW and ASuW weaponary.. thats why they propose Gowind 2500t or Sigma 10614 class. For me if they choose Sigma 10614 the best solution for 6 LCS is 3 will be develop as ‘Air Defence and Command Frigate’ using ‘The Zeven Provisien Class Frigate’ model.. and if they select Gowind it should be look like FREMM Comand and Air Defence Frigate’ model. It’s should be 110m long or 112m long and 14m wide. The last three developed as ASuw Frigate.

    I only imagine that the RMN will equipt with new once Coper with longer range an longer flight time. So to reduce maintance cost I think the EC 725 Super Cougar it’s the best solution…

  32. Taj,

    The RMN has made it clear that it wants 6 additional helicopters configured for ASW. The Cougar has not been integrated for ASW work and will not fit in the hangar of the Lekiu and Kedah class. The perfect solution would be to go for additional Super Lynxs [which the RMN has also publicly said], but in 2-3 years time, Agusta Westland will stop production of the Super Lynx and offer the Wild Cat, which is an improved Super Lynx with better sensors and engine. It will also have an IR version of the Sea Skua which is much more useful than the current Sea Skua.


    An ESSM buy will be under FMS, which offers better product support than anything offered by the Europeans or Russians. The first helicopter to land on a deck of an RMN ship was an Aloutte 111 which operated from KD Rahmat when it took over the guard-ships duties from an RAN frigate in Tawau during the Confrontation. the Super Lynx and feence got most of the limelight but a Nuri was also on the KD Inderapura durring the first Aden deployment.

  33. @nimitz,
    lol DDG, that’s sound much better. Anyway, the new LCS along with the submarine and the proposed MPSS will make a good deterrent forces I suppose. Any updates on the MPSS?

    As I had mentioned before it looks like the MPSS had been KIVed

  34. Found French message below on the internet. I thought navy preference was ESSM and NSM???
    Does French industry dictate the strength and policy of the RMN

    Nouvel eldorado pour DCNS

    DCNS et MBDA sont dans la phase finale de negociation pour vendre six corvettes Gowind (Offshore Patrol Vessels) equipees d’Exocet et de VL MICA a la marine malaise. En 2002, le groupe naval francais avait deja vendu deux sous-marins de classe Scorpene a Kuala Lumpur. Pour la vente des Gowind et de leur systeme de combat, DCNS et MBDA ont notamment ete conseillees par l’ancien aide de camp des présidents francais Francois Mitterrand et Jacques Chirac, Peer de Jong, par ailleurs vice-president de la Chambre de commerce franco-malaise. Ce dernier travaille avec l’ex-responsable du bureau de politique internationale de DCNS, l’ingenieur general Jean Laporte

    New Eldorado for DCNS

    DCNS and MBDA are in the final stages of negotiations to sell six corvettes Gowind (Offshore Patrol Vessels) equipped with Exocet and VL Mica for marine malaise. In 2002, the French naval group had already sold two submarines Scorpene class in Kuala Lumpur. For the sale of Gowind and their combat systems, DCNS and MBDA have in particular been advised by the former aide to French President François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac, Peer de Jong, also vice-president of the French Chamber of Commerce -malaise. It works with the former office manager of international policy of DCNS, the general engineer Jean Laporte

    Yes they are trying hard. I am told they do not make much money from the hull but its the combat system and related equipment plus support that’s the money maker

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