Thales Fulmar mini-UAV for NGPC

SHAH ALAM: Thales Fulmar mini-UAV has been selected for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) New Generation Patrol Craft (NGPC). Six of the NGPC is being built by Destini Shipbuilding and Engineering Sdn Bhd (DMS), a subsidiary of public-listed Destini Bhd.

The UAV is among the major sub-systems of the NGPC which the builder must sourced, according to the tender requirement. Malaysian Defence had reported previously that the Aselsan SMASH 30mm will be the main gun for the six-vessel NGPC. Please check out the other reports of the NGPC by searching this website.

Thales Fulmar mini-UAV. Thales picture
Thales Fulmar mini-UAV. Thales picture

The Fulmar is described by Thales as a mini-UAV. “Its size is 3.1 meters and weighs 19 kilos, it flies to the altitude of 3,000 meters and can achieve a speed of 150 kilometers per hour. It has a range of eight hours due to a low consumption of the aircraft in flight as a result of its aerodynamic design, and it can fly 800 km without refueling.

This Spanish design counts on a terrestrial and a maritime version. Fulmar is purely Spanish, contributing with a profitable closeness to equipment maintenance as well as to operators’ training.

Fulmar is a competitive solution that can be adapted to different needs and can integrate with other systems to provide a global solution.”

The attributes of the Thales Fulmar
The attributes of the Thales Fulmar

A video from Thales

In my report on the NGPC, I stated that the tender requirement for the boats called for the ship builder – among others – to supply a UAV with the vessels, which is launched and recovered by a skyhook. I stated that the requirement seemed to indicate the Scaneagle UAV was the preferred solution.

Thales Fulmar on its launcher. The launcher could easily be adapted to fit into the deck of a ship.
Thales Fulmar on its launcher. The launcher could easily be adapted to fit into the deck of a ship.

It appears now that the Fulmar also meets that requirement. Perhaps more importantly it is cheaper than the Scaneagle. According to Thales, the Fulmar could also land on water and able to float for 24 hours for recovery in case of engine failure.

The Fulmar apparently had been tested in ESSCOM AOR previously when it was still designated as Ops Pasir – but it was not selected then. The Scaneagle UAV was contracted for the role, since 2012 with efficiency and reliability, flying for some 18 hours per day.

Thales Fulmar
Thales Fulmar

And speaking about my faux pas, I stated previously that the NGPC is being built at a shipyard in Sabah. I could never be so wrong! Actually the NGPC is to built at the Destini shipyard in Port Klang, at the former Destination Marine Services Sdn Bhd yard (the original winner of the contract).

SMASH 30mm gun at Aselsan stand. Contracted for the NGPC.
SMASH 30mm gun at Aselsan stand. Contracted for the NGPC.

The keel laying of the first NGPC was held on Nov 18. The release from Destini.

“KUALA LUMPUR,18 November 2015 – Destination Marine Services Sdn Bhd (DMS) held a keel laying ceremony of the Coastal Patrol Vessels for Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) at Destini‘s shipyard in Port Klang.

DMS secured the award to build six units of Coastal Patrol Vessels for RM381.30 million. The construction of the vessels will be done in stages; with the first vessel expected to be delivered to MMEA by December 2016 while the last vessel is expected to be delivered by June 2018.

Destini Berhad, a company listed on Bursa Malaysia, has recently announced that it will be acquiring the entire stake in Destini Shipbuilding and Engineering Sdn Bhd (DES), a wholly owned subsidiary of DMS for RM90.0 million.

Upon completion of the acquisition, Destini Shipbuilding and Engineering Sdn Bhd will undertake the shipbuilding activities of these vessels.

The momentous occasion was officiated by Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and witnessed by Admiral Maritime Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar, Director General, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and Datin Junaidah Kamaruddin, Director General, Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Affairs Division.

NCPC keel laying ceremony on Nov 18, 20015. APMM picture
NCPC keel laying ceremony on Nov 18, 20015. APMM picture

The Costal Patrol Vessels are state of the art vessels with a comprehensive specification. The vessels can achieve a top speed of24 knots and will have a complement of 41 crew members. The vessels will also be equipped with a 30mm weapon system and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for reconnaissance.

Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan bin Kassim, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office said, “Once operational, these
new Coastal Patrol Vessels will be instrumental in raising MMEA’s surveillance capabilities in preventing crime in our Malaysian waters.

These vessels will be placed at the East Maritime Region in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak, which face
the South China Sea. The vessels will patrol the Economic Exclusive Zone and replace the older
patrol vessels that will be decommissioned as they are no longer effective.”

This is the Colombian Coast Guard patrol boat designed by Fassmer which will be the basis of the NGPC.
This is the Colombian Coast Guard patrol boat designed by Fassmer which will be the basis of the NGPC.

Tan Sri Rodzali Daud, Chairman of Destini Group said, “We are very confident with our capabilities and
we will perform to the best of our abilities to ensure that these vessels meet MMEA’s stringent
requirements and are completed on schedule. Furthermore, we are working in collaboration with Fassmer
Group, a very established shipyard from Germany to ensure that the vessels are delivered with
excellent quality standards.Fassmer Group has been involved in the design of various vessels throughout
the world and has over 165 years of track record.”

Will the selection of the Thales Fulmar have a profound impact on the other services hunt for UAVs? It will of course especially with our financially challenged environment.

— Malaysian Defence

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