Spreading the Joy

KUALA LUMPUR: IT appears with the LCS/Laksamana class programme underway (sort of), the RMN is pushing for the upgrades to the Kedah class ships for the second part of RMK10.

RMN chief Tan Sri Aziz Jaafar made clear the priority during an interview ahead of the 79th anniversary of the service at the ministry today (Apr 15, 2013). Due to the GE13, the celebrations this year will be a low key affair.

He said the main priority of the upgrades wil be to the EADS 3D radar and the fitting of a surface-to-surface missile (SSM). The SSM is expected but upgrades to the radar is somewhat puzzling as when queried he said it was a good radar.

Two Kedah class, KD Kelantan (175) and KD Selangor (176) berthed at Lumut jetty in early 2014. The ship on the other side is KD Mahawangsa. Malaysian Defence photo.
Two Kedah class, KD Kelantan (175) and KD Selangor (176) berthed at Lumut jetty in early 2014. The ship on the other side is KD Mahawangsa. Malaysian Defence photo.

According to him one of the Kedah class ships (probably KD Perak) tracked the Chinese amohibious ships which sailed as far as James shoal late last month. Perhaps as I had reported before the navy had problems with the 3D radar (too many modes as sugggested by Azlan) but it appears that RMN wants a major software/hardware update or even a completely new radar.

As for the SSM, the chatter at LIMA was that since the LCS/Laksamana class will be fitted with the Exocet Mk 3, the Kedah class will be fitted with the Kongsberg NSM, the RMN preferred solution going forward.

Asked whether the upgrades will include SAM, the Chief said yes, they would like them as well as long as funds were available as the main priorities were the radar and SSMs. Since the Armed Forces is allergic to anything MBDA, RAM remained the most probable way to go on this route.

BTW, it appears that the Chief has lost some enthusiasm to take over the Oliver Hazard Perry frigates to be decommissioned by the US Navy this year. Last year at the same interview, he was more enthusiastic about it. This time around, although a team had been set-up to oversee the project, Abdul Aziz also said that another team was tasked to oversee the main engines of the frigates. He noted that RMN had not had recent experience with gas turbines and this was something they had to consider before finalising the deal.
Although he did not say it loudly, I am assuming that unless the Government forced the RMN to buy the frigates and even an LPD, it will quietly ignore the issue altogether.

Perhaps if the US Navy decide to cut lose its LCS, perhaps RMN will be interested again. The RMN also hopes that funds will be released to recapitalise its FAC fleet. The new ships should be between 50 to 75 metres for better endurance and seakeeping. A more heavily armed version of the Samudera training ships is the preferred solution though the RMN is open to any options.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2225 Articles
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1 Comment

  1. FareedLHS says:
    April 15, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    My thoughts…

    I like the NSM. It should also be noted that Kongsberg also offers an NSM coastal defence system (bought by Poland) and that a multi-role version of the missile is being developed (the “Joint Strike Missile”) for the F-35.

    Regarding SAMs, its shameful they are taking a backseat. What good are radars and ASMs if the ship carrying them is at the bottom of the South China Sea?

    No to ex-USN Oliver Hazard Perry frigates.

    The LCS has suffered another hiccup. The fourth ship had an engine fire during testing recently. Add that to the loss of power aboard LCS-1 several times on its way to Singapore. The ship might mature nicely, but I wouldn’t take one now if the USN gave it to me.

    As FACs and other ‘patrol boats’, I sincerely hope that they are procured in sufficient numbers to replace the entire fleet! It makes zero sense to have so many different ships in operation. The RMN is not the US Navy! (By the way, it also makes zero sense to have so many different missiles, radars, systems, etc in operation? The RMN needs to push for more standardization.)

    Glad to know that the PLAN force was at least detected. Any further details?

    The Chief said Perak warned the PLAN vessel not to enter Malaysian EEZ. I asked whether RMN plans to hold exercises with the PLAN to this he said our navy are already committed to various exercises already
    koxinga says:
    April 15, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Nice, all sound decisions. But it seems in the greater scheme of things, the MRSS have been re-prioritized and pushed further down the pecking order.

    I dont think we can afford the MRSS
    nimitz says:
    April 15, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    About the OHP, maybe PTL found out we did not have the budget, expertise, localized support and manpower to run it. But if TLDM got that ship, our naval engineers can “play” with steam + gas turbines which is a norm for USN. Maybe 8-12 years from now we can better operate ex-USN ships IF TLDM wants to.

    Thank you to PTL for highlighting that TLDM was aware and shadowed the PLAN Amphib TF that came to JS. He never mentioned what ship/sub that done the detection? (As marhalim suspected it was KD Perak)

    “…Kongsberg NSM, the RMN preferred solution going forward.”
    If it become a reality, then TLDM operates 3 type of SSM; exocet,otomat,nsm. Looks like “spearding the joy” it will…
    yinchet says:
    April 15, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    @ MA,

    Thanks for the good news.
    btw for real the kedah going to be equip with NSM?
    if it is then high possibilities we are going to have NSM for SGPV as well.

    If the new govt funds it
    Azlan says:
    April 16, 2013 at 1:05 am

    Indeed Marhalim,

    The Danes found that the TRS-3D had to many modes and switching to the right mode when time was of the essence was problematic – this was done during trials of the SMART in the North Sea, in which the TRS-3D also participated. No surprises with the with multi, multi, multi, multi mode TRD-3D as the Germans have a habit of over-engineering things.

    With the Perry’s the message is loud and clear, the RMN is facing such a shortage of hulls to fulfill its day to day operational requirements that it was willing to explore the possibility – when offered – of getting Perry’s. However when someone at Lumut sat down with a calculator and figured out the long terms cost associated with maintaning these 35 year old gas turbine powered frigates – which share ZERO commonality with anything currently operated – the RMN’s top brass had a mild stroke. The only reason the RTN’s 2 Knox’s are still running is because of free and subsidised parts it gets, thanks to Thailand being a non-NATO Uncle Sam ally.

    As for the Kedah’s, there really insn’t much of a choice. The space below the ‘B’ position contains the living quarters so a VLS can’t be fitted, which leaves only RAM or something like SADRAL. Or a non-deck penetrating gun mount :].
    Azlan says:
    April 16, 2013 at 3:34 am


    The RMN Chief probably means software upgrades for the TRS-3D.

    I believed its replacement
    SgWay says:
    April 16, 2013 at 7:40 am

    I believe RMN is following the trend in ASEAN in terms of modernization, most certainly the rise of China is a factor. Arming the Kedah is the quickest and can double the amount of combat ready SSM ready surface combatants..

    Interestingly, a youtube cgi video of the RMN Gowind class frigate shows it launching a SSM blowing a PLAN Hubei Class FAC….
    nimitz says:
    April 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    “The new ships should be between 50 to 75 metres for better endurance and seakeeping. A more heavily armed version of the Samudera training ships is the preferred solution though the RMN is open to any options.”

    Rather than open to any options, TLDM should actively involved with the local naval industry,universities and research centres in designing and building a ship that fit to their requirement. Make it as a National Project (example MILGEM of the Turks). We have MEKO100, Samudera and other design that can be the basis to work with. But at the end of the day, IMO it is easier to wait for the salesman to come and knock at your door with an unknown yet complete product in hand 🙂

    We dont have the R/D facility to do what you envisaged and furthermore money is needed for R/D work
    stanman says:
    April 16, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Not really. The RMN is very leery of letting anyone else take the helm these days after the NGPV hijack.
    There’s no real need to reinvent the wheel. Indeed it’s pretty bizzaro that we went MEKO and now we are not. The back story has to be super ugly.
    I note that Flyvefisken class STANFLEX 300 boats have now since been decomissioned. Makes me feel my age. I remember when they were new and shiny.
    The basic concept of a boat with a big empty stern you can bolt stuff to is still one I feel has great relevance, even if it has been tarnished by the idiot Americans.
    The boat should be simple and functional with a decent sensor suite and information system. I just wish we would stop buying ever more combat systems that may or may not talk to each other and home. Ditto the smorgasbord of sensors. Settle on one, learn to live with the lumps.
    I would over provide accomodations, primarily to cater for additional crew or passengers that may be required for certain taskings, e.g. SF personnel inserting by various means etc. It also means better habitability with normal numbers.
    The mantra of simple being good is true as ever.
    FareedLHS says:
    April 16, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    I also thought software upgrades. Replacement? The TRS-3D/16-ES is the same radar in use on the US Navy’s LCS. By my count, the TRS-3D is also in use with Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Norway and Spain. It must have some redeeming qualities. Perhaps better training would alleviate some of the operational problems.


    I agree – keep it all simple.


    Glad to know that the RMN did contact the PLAN force and warned (or politely asked?) them not to enter the EEZ. Now if only information like this could be shared in a more timely and open manner.

    The word used was arahkan so it depends on how you see it
    koxinga says:
    April 16, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    It is just so surprising that RMN would want to change the radar. It passed the various acceptance tests after all; something like a complete change is rather drastic and most countries replace their radars due to part obsolescence or for better performance, not really because the original radars are flawed. If it was that bad, shouldn’t a deal be cut or negotiated with EADS?

    We will see in the coming months
    encikadrian says:
    April 16, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Would have been a nice gesture from DCNS to let us use the L’Adroit ship to use in Sabah instead of french navy since we are the pioneers for the Gowind platform. Can say ‘ proven in combat conditions’ after that…

    Also disappointed we didnt go for more MEKO 100s if we already bought the design. Isnt it cheaper if we build more?

    Technically yes but I believe a redesign is needed for a new batch and I am not sure Boustead wants to work with TKMS
    FareedLHS says:
    April 16, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    An official white paper was just published on China’s armed forces…

    H says:
    April 16, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Thats exactly what we need! We have a school of so called professors in UM having their last paper publish in the 90s.
    zainal abidin says:
    April 17, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    To the powers that be…..no matter who it may be after PRU13…just arm these 6 vessels as they were supposed to be armed in the 1st place…namely RAM’s,Exocet’s and maybe ASW torpedoes.

    A much cheaper hull would have been the Musytari class OPV’s and both vessels were powerfully armed back then.

    If i’m not mistaken the MK3′s chosen for the Gowinds are stealth turrets.

    No torpedoes actually. Just the normal Mk3 turret as in the US LCS not like the ones fitted on the Visby
    encikadrian says:
    April 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Wouldnt six Super Lynx dedicated for each Kedah class be an effective force multiplier vs arming the ships?

    Well it depends, for starters it will probably cost more. Furthermore, it depends on the weapon and sensors. The current navy SL is meant for anti-surface warfare, with guns and SSM. And it has no anti air capability
    nimitz says:
    April 17, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    “We have a school of so called professors in UM having their last paper publish in the 90s.”- Can you elaborate?

    AFAIK BNS had proposed a redesigned Kedah-class for the SGPV project yet TLDM did not fall for it. Maybe BNS can propose a MEKO of 50-75m length? Hong Leong Lurrsen is currently quiet yet IMO they have built 50-75m naval ships for foreign customers.

    Any idea why TLDM prefer NSM in the first place?

    On the NSM its mostly about a new design and the anticipation that it will be the new Exocet of this era. More importantly its not a MBDA product.
    encikadrian says:
    April 17, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I see what you mean on cost for helos…looks like S Korea’s purchase for 8 AW159 was half a billion dollars (US). http://defenseupdates.blogspot.com/2013/01/south-korea-orders-8-aw159.html

    And they just bought 36 Apaches for US1.6 billion
    Scanner says:
    April 17, 2013 at 9:29 pm


    Mind explaining whats wrong with MBDA?
    i’m a bit lost here. Tq,

    Aah, that’s for another post soon
    SgWay says:
    April 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Apparently China Maritime Surveillance ships tried to a seismic surveillance ship doing work for Shell within our EEZ but the ship called in the RMN and the KD Perak was called in and shadowed the frigate size CMS ships out of the EEZ.

    More than ever RMN and Maritim Malaysia need more hulls to increase presence.

    Sabah waters have found large discoveries of oil and gas earlier this year, the more reason for China or even Sulu pirates under Pinoy direction to exert claim on our EEZ.
    Azlan says:
    April 18, 2013 at 3:47 am

    Here’s me getting off topic again.

    After the HK-33s were retired, some ended up with TA units, some were kept [200 were given to East Timor in 2004] and most were sold. Why are parts from ex-Malaysian army HK-33s available in the U.S.? We sold most of our HK-33s to a U.S. company or we exported parts we had in stock?

    It seems that the bulk of our SLRs came from Britain but some were made by Lithgow. I spoke to the former CO of MALBATT 1 in Cambodia, he recalled that his SLR was British made. Most of our SLRs ended up in PNG.

    If you have the time why dont you do a write up and sent it too me via email. I will put it up as a guest post.
    stanman says:
    April 18, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Most of the ‘HK33s’ in the US are built on Malaysian parts kits. The receiver is chopped up and the bits built onto a US made ‘flat’ (the sheet metal receiver) to skirt the import ban.

    MBDA…French….itchy skin……
    stanman says:
    April 18, 2013 at 9:19 am

    We could always get the Indons to build us a Klewang but we have to insist on a no kretek policy. Yet, we an hardly be smug after losing the Inderpura.
    H says:
    April 18, 2013 at 11:30 am

    My company is a regular in gov sponsored tech forum. You can guess who are those participants. All are “renowned” professors but looking at the bio they provided make us pengsan. Even those that present are pretty primitive stuff. TBH these forums are good for their refreshment tho.
    jack sparrow says:
    April 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    say no to mica vl. Hoping for the ESSM as the Mica cant counter the the threat posed by supersonic skimming missile which is quite popular in the SEA region right now with the Indons and Vietnams currently used. As for the Mica, we will be the test bed. I dont think Navy top brass really want this missile onboard their shiny Gowind, its the politician
    FareedLHS says:
    April 18, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    On China and the South China Sea:

    FareedLHS says:
    April 18, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    And those ‘HK33s’ (various versions) command a high price too. Various bans have also gradually reduced the supply of original parts over the years.
    FareedLHS says:
    April 18, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    LCS-1 (USS Freedom) arrives in Singapore:


    Hope she will be open for media visit during Imdex next month
    SgWay says:
    April 18, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Interesting, a shipyard called Nautica Nova in Malaysia supplied fast patrol vessels to Nigeria..snazzy German designed but built in Malaysia. Is Nautica Nova Hong Leng Lurssen?. MMEA and even RMN should get a dozen or two under Fot but Not With..I am sure the Joy can be spread with higher economics of scale.

    encikadrian says:
    April 18, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Ni kata pakai stealth cupolla? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61mjbivgK_8
    meto5 says:
    April 19, 2013 at 9:33 am

    both nova and HL Lurssen use same company address…

    Perhaps both HL and Lurssen had divested from the company hence the change of name but the new company had obtained the rights to the ship’s design HLurssen had before
    Azlan says:
    April 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm


    Would love to but I don’t have enough info yet. Still compiling info from whatever sources I can find.

    No need to do it on one go, you can always start with a small one, with a 1000 words or so with pictures. This is also an open invitation to other readers who are willing to send in their materials for publication in this website, nothing too political or academic or blatantly commercial, in English or Bahasa (it will be translated), original works on Malaysian defence and national security with pictures if possible, preferably not more than 2000 words. The content will be edited for clarity and style.
    At this moment in time, however, I cannot afford to pay for any works used. Please note that the discretion to use items submitted is entirely up to me.
    Jack Sparrow says:
    April 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Is it possible to fit a Mark 29 Guided Missile Launching System mk 4 or 5 on Kedah class B position as it doesnt need deck penetrating renovation as I can see. As long it has far more capabilities than the RAM.

    I hazard to guess no as when I was taken aboard one of the Kedah class during outfitting, the space under the B mounting was a ward room or an officers mess (I could be mistaken of course, those with more intimate knowledge like LYM can correct me).
    Note that on the LCS/Laksamana class there is a lot of space between the B mounting (VL MiCa launcher or ESSM if the navy gets its way). I asked one of the Boustead officials at Lima 13 whether that area was intentionally left empty for future upgrades but he replied with a firm no indicating that area was designed for something though he did not say what. Perhaps it is where the spare RAM magazine are placed
    Azlan says:
    April 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Jack Sparrow,

    We also have to take into account integration and certification costs – which will not be cheap. It needs to be able to ”talk” to the TRS-3D, COSYS and the fire director.


    Yes, I was wondering what the space was for. Is it just me or does the LCS look top heavy?

    Yes the LCS looks top heavy just like Kedah class
    duuude says:
    April 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    something for everyone

    koxinga says:
    April 19, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    More used/refurbished SH-60F are coming into the market soon. What caught my eye in the article is the request for information on the MH-60R by RMN.


    Nothing new there since the navy has been looking to add to their helo fleet for sometime now
    encikadrian says:
    April 19, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    This would have been cheaperhttp://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/world/story/new-zealand-defense-force-buys-8-kaman-choppers-20130419

    Cheap, yes, problematic absolutely. Thank goodness we bought the Super Lynx instead of the Kaman hangar queens. For all we know the Kiwis bought the stored Aussie Sprites for spares
    FareedLHS says:
    April 19, 2013 at 10:46 pm


    No Rafales.
    Azlan says:
    April 20, 2013 at 2:51 am

    The Seasprites were not problematic at all. They became an expensive and embarassing nightmare for Australia simply because of the mission sensors fit chosen by the RAN and associated integration problems. The RNZN is quite happy with its Seasprites as they chose a less ”demanding” and ”complex” mission sensors fit – like us the Australians have a nasty habit and a history of making bad defence descisions. The main issue with the Seasprites were the fact that they were used, not any problems with the platorm or spares for its projected 25 year operating life. The Super Lynx had 3 things going for it [1]. It was already integrated with Sea Skua and the A244/S [2]. The avionics fit met the requirements of the RMN and there was no need to integrate anything not already integrated, apart from Link Y [3] British companies during that period had a lot of pull, similar to what the French enjoy now. The other helicopter offered was the McDonnel Douglas MD 900 Explorer which was never a serious contender.

    WestlandAgusta [or Agusta Westland] will soon stop producing the Super Lynx and will concentrate on the WildCat, which isn’t an issue for us because of the shared commonality, namely the engine. The main problem with configuring the Super Lynx for ASW is not space – which many assume – but problems with sufficient power supply. Interestingly, the Algerians complained that fitting torps on their Super Lynxs severely affected flight performance.
    SgWay says:
    April 20, 2013 at 9:02 am

    From the comments i gather that ESSM for the LCS is still a possibility?

    Until the contract announcement is made it remains a possibility but as I had posted previously the Exocet/MICA combo remained Boustead’s solution
    Jack Sparrow says:
    April 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    please no to Mica. Enough with this French disease please. Vote for ESSM and Milennium Gun combo. Dont know why the navy is keen to choose the REMSIG MSI 30mm. is it the politician ?

    Not really, but yellow letters were flying!
    Azlan says:
    April 20, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Jack Sparrow,

    Why wouldn’t the RMN choose the MSI 30mm? It makes sense for commonality as it is already fitted on the Lekiu class. Would you rather we get a totally new system and add to our logistical footprint??
    Jack Sparrow says:
    April 20, 2013 at 7:49 pm


    Millenium gun is also a CIWS and paired with the ESSM we could have a low budget air warfare frigate. That is the most important RMN should get as if it true we are getting a MRSS, we need a air defence umbrella to cover the fleet. The coast guarding job can be passed to APMM, using a multi-billion sophisticated ship for fisheries patrol/coast patrol doesn’t sound clever right ?

    The case for MRSS is getting colder daily…
    Azlan says:
    April 20, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Jack Sparrow,

    Millenium and ESSM doesn’t automatically equate to ”air warfare frigate”. What also makes a ”air warfare frigate” is the sensors and network centric feed, plus integration to ISR assets [which we don’t have] ……..
    Jack Sparrow says:
    April 20, 2013 at 10:20 pm


    Okay maybe not a what so called “air defence frigate”. But the ships is capable of protecting the fleet as VL MICA perfomance is limited to ship point defence, same like the seawolf. Furthermore, the LCS can be used as escort for the future MRSS fleet/ task force.
    SgWay says:
    April 21, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Thai navy selected DSME to build two frigates that will be ESSM equipped.

    Jack Sparrow says:
    April 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm


    what a nice ship and nice combo of armaments. Any chance we will get it too ?

    We got the LCS/Laksamana already…
    SgWay says:
    April 22, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Hopefully the Thai decisiin will invigorate the push for ESSM for the LCS.

    The Thais say two european frigates are too expensive,and we bought six.but with ESSM, the Chinese and Korean frigates seen to mor4 value for the buck.

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