The Armed Forces Takes A Back Seat…NGPV or SGPV edited

SHAH ALAM: Its confirmed now, the SGPV, formally the NGPV and known in Mindef now as LCS, is to be the first project under RMK10. Six billion for six ships means a cool billion for a single ship. A fairly steep price for a corvette and as VR pointed out earlier that for the same amount RMN could be getting

” 8 of the new Korean Gumdoksuri PKX fast missile corvettes, or 8 LPD similar to the Indonesian Makassar class, or 3 of Spains’s Buques de Acción Marítima (BAM -maritime action ship) OPV… Is RMN/Malaysia getting a good deal out of our nation’s money?? ”

Yes, we maybe getting a smaller number of ships but as they like to point out it will be a boon for our defence industry. What about the Navy then?
From the two reports on the issue, Bernama and Utusan, no military reason was given why the Government was funding such a huge project.

Perhaps both reporters found it too complicated to write about the military reasons for buying the six ships for RM6 billion but I guess there wasnt much on the table in the first place. And its not as sexy as saying that some 632 local contractors will benefit from the project.

By the way, the Absalon MRSS is cheap as the Danes used second-hand weapon systems on the two ships. We dont have the luxury. Of course, RM6 billion is not set in stone. Based on recent history, we will be spending much more….

What others are saying about the deal. Here and Here Dzirhan take on the issue. Here

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2203 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. And it remains to be seen if the LCS or SGPV’s [I get confused!]really will be mounted with a VLS SAM, 4 Exocets and 2 triple torp tubes.
    The folks at the treasury will probably start having ulcers soon as in 2-3 years time, the RMN will most probably be pressing the need for additional Lynx’s to operate from the LCS/SGPV…

  2. At these prices, should a conflict erupt, who wants to bet that the navy would try to hide them away as opposed to actually use them? No navy chief wants to go down in history as being the one who lost a billion dollar ship. The Pakistani and Argentinian navy chiefs did exactly that (hide their precious warships)during the Indo-Pak and Falkland conflicts. So what good are they really?

    Marhalim, why did the National Security Council insist on using military-registration Charlies for the Egypt evacuation? Haven\’t they learnt from previous overseas missions that the bureacratic redtape increases exponentially once military aircraft are involved? For instance, it was a full five days before the SMART team flying in on Charlies were on the ground after the Pakistan earthquake. By that time, rescue teams from other coutries who flew in on civillian planes, were already packing up to go home.

    Reply: No idea. I am guessing its easier to call up Jalan Padang Tembak than Mr Fernandes and MAS. But anyhow, both AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines came into the game one day after the Hercules were sent to Egypt. That is why I said its important for RMAF to have a couple of MRTT around for this sort of emergencies…..

  3. linking to an article that compares a \”East Timor paid US$28 million for the 1960s-designed, 175-tonne Shanghai class boats\”, a coast guard cutter and a small OPV as an apple to apple comparison seems a bit irresponsible to me, when you yourself calls the so-called boats a corvette eh? And with a little research, maybe you could have found the so-called military reason to fund such a project instead of taking the easy way out…let me give you a small link that may partially explain why it is being funded…

    Reply: There is no need for me to state the military reason for it. It is the job of the Kementerian Pertahanan. As for the link as I mentioned its what others have to say about it. If a layman compares an apple to an orange it is not my fault. By calling these ships a PV the powers that be set themselves up for the comparison…

  4. Well it wasn\’t the Kementerian Pertahanan who asked why there was no reason given for the funding. And as you well know reporters usually reports what is in the press release and the Kementerian may not see any reason why they should repeat themselves.

    Perhaps the links are what others are talking about but why do I feel they are linked to support your assertions … Is it too complicated to find opinions that are for the project also?

    Reply: Those articles are linked to show that defence procurements have become a punching bag against the government. If we choose to ignore these voices, we may end up like Egypt and Tunisia. And when you buy things that cost billions and with the future of the Armed Forces at stake, explain, explain, explain and then explain.

  5. is there any b/w confirmation that the navy will get the add on funnel NGPV????? is there any words or sentence that point on that design?????
    remember, a secret is a secret, untill we dont have any words about the design, we cant say nothing about it…….

    Reply: As of yesterday, there was still no confirmation of anything proposed by Boustead for the new ship. However, if you checked my earlier posting, Lima 2009, you will see a model of the proposed SGPV and some further explaination on the ship. You will also find out that Thysenkrup, the German shipbuilder had also proposed an add-on funnel for the new boat. If you clicked on the Utusan link in the original story, there will be a picture of a model of the SGPV. I believed its the same model that was shown during Lima and DSA 2008. The information I provided here is always open source, so discussions are encouraged….

  6. I agree we should buy Airbus A310/A330 MRTT instead.No need to second MRCA or batch 2 frigate that cost fortunes but focus more to buy military asset that can utilise for humanitarian aid such as MPSS, multirole helos etc.

  7. Strikemaster,

    There is no way to predict how anyone would perform or what actions they would take should an armed conflict arise. Granted having a ”fleet in being” is as good as having no fleet at all but the Pakis and Argentine’s in 71 and 82 had valid reasons for making the choice’s they did with regards to preserving their fleet. On paper, the LCS/SGPV’s should cost more as they will be ”fitted with” and not ”fitted for” missiles, torpedo tubes and a ASW sonar.

    With regards to the proposed design, it really depends on which foreign partner is selected. If DCNS is selected I doubt if the design will look anything like the Kedah class. I’m very surprised the Kedah’s are smoky on account of having no funnel/stack, as I would have assumed that a shipbuilder as experienced as Blohm & Voss would have done their homework.

  8. My original comment that triggered this post

    To me RM6Billion is too much to be spend on just 6 patrol ships, when you can get fully armed corvettes/frigates for much less. If RM6Billion is gobbled up by only 6ship, what funding is left for the LPD requirement? Frigate?

    As for the Absalon MRSS, only the stanflex modules for the 16x(yes, sixteen!) harpoon SSM and 36x ESSM SAM and their associated fire control systems are second hand (from the retired Flyvefisken ships). So a large 6000tonne displacement multi purpose warship for the price of 1 SGPV is very2 value for money…

  9. Hahahaha… Incompetent always take a back seat and they like to walk around look important.
    Like it or not the simple explanation by the power that be is to keep his mouth shut and stay afloat and the future! explain, explain explain! easy brother and take care of your health!

  10. some info to share regarding cost for CORVETTES/OPVs/CUTTERS (US Dollar)

    Baynunah (UAE) -$137 million
    Braunschweig K-130 (Germany) -$309 million
    Clyde (Britain) -$47,000,000
    Falaj 2 (UAE) -$136 million
    Khareef (Oman) -$262 million
    Kedah (Malaysia) -$300 million
    Knud Rasmussen (Denmark) -$50 million
    BAM Maritime Action Ship (Spain)-$116 million
    MILGEM corvettes (Turkey) -$250 million
    Otago (New Zealand) -$62.6 million
    Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago)-$76 million
    River (Britain) -$31.4 million
    Sarah Baartman/Damen 8313(South Africa)-$20 million
    Sentinel -$47 million
    Sigma (Indonesian/Moroccan) -$222 million
    Visby (Sweden) -$184 million

    and for FRIGATES (also US Dollar)

    Absalon (Denmark) -$269 million
    Bertholf National Security Cutter-$641 million
    F100 Bazan (Spain) -$600 million
    F105 Cristobal Colon (Spain) -$954 million
    De Zeven Provincien (Netherlands)-$532 million
    FREMM (Franco/Italian) -$745 million
    LCS Freedom -$637 million
    Holland (Netherlands) -$169 million
    LCS Independence -$704 million
    Iver Huitfeldt (Denmark) -$332 millon
    Nansen (Norway) -$557 million
    Sachsen Type 124 (Germany) -$1.06 billion
    Valour MEKO A200 (South Africa) -$327 million
    F-22P Zulfiquar (China/Pakistan) -$200 million

    current foreign exchange USD1.00 = MR3.20

    just see the figure u will know why we always short of money

  11. To …, you mentioned – ”RM6Billion is too much to be spend on just 6 patrol ships, when you can get fully armed corvettes/frigates for much less”. The LCS/SGPV’s will be armed with 4 MM-40’s, 2 triple torp tubes and a medium range SAM. Apart from maybe having 8 instead of 4 Exocets, how much more fully armed can you get??? With the LCS/SGPV programme set to begin, there is no longer an immediate requirement for the frigates you mentioned, not only because of funding but because of manpower issues.

  12. Its clear that something is wrong with the figures.

    Who pays a billion for a ship like that.

    Is it stealth warship?

    Dont these guys have brains,what are they doing.

  13. RM 1 billion may be reasonable for an OPV. All depending on the type of equipment to be fitted and offsets such as transfer of technology.

    I suggest we wait for more details before we start complaining.

    Reply: For my part I will complain now rather than later after the experience with the Kedah-class.

  14. Im confused…are we planning to still use the Meko A design or the GOwind by DCNS as of this news in utusan?

    Reply: Its just a shot across the bow or a Hail Mary tactic. Everyone knows that they have not signed off the final design of the LCS?SGPV so everryone is scrambing for the last minute conversion., which will translate into millions of commission dollar. Otherwise it will be gobbled up by Boustead. The Boustead proposal remains the modified A100. But whether or not the RMN remained committed to the proposal is still up in the wind….That said any move for a new design will result in the project to be pushed back for at least two years…..

  15. IMHO the only way for the justification on the RM6 billion estimated cost for the total project cost only if:-

    1) The ASuW must be Exocet MM40 block 3 version (for commanility sake)
    2) The AAM must be the latest ESSM or Aster 15/30
    3) It must have sub detecting sonar plus torpedo
    4) Must have CIWS either gun or missile
    5) Latest ECM, ESM and ECCM

    screw the fitted with but not for concept. I personally believe that this new LCS should be at least on par with the Singapore (in terms of arms at least) or else no pint doing it here at inflatable price like the Kedah class

  16. Scorpio, you can’t provide a list of prices paid by other countries for their vessels and make a direct comparison with the LCS/SGPV programme. This is not a case of buying a product off a supermarket shelf as there are lots of factors involved. It’s not going to happen but if the LCS/SGPV was fully made in a foeign shipyard, it would be cheaper.

    Kamal-Arief, the RSN’s Formidable class is armed with the Aster 15 and is around 3000 tonnes displacement, the LCS/SGPV is a 1300 tonne vessel and will be armed with something like the ESSM which is cheaper than the Aster. Big price difference.

    Reply: Its fair if its a comparable vessel such as the German K130. Its a Kedah class on steroids. Too bad two are laid up at the docks due to gearing problems….

  17. Going thru one of the linkage, there is one point that i personally believe is relevant. A defense white paper outlining what is our actual defense concerns. This is a very good point as with the outlining of the security concerns, then it will make more sense to process the government defense spending.

    My personal take only, i believe there is a strong reason why the LCS or SGPV project is been given the main priority instead of the Nuri replacement (may be wrong) or other defense project, well apart from the obvious to benefit more than 632 local vendors (and possibly ensuring their support to the gomen later).

    My assumption relates more to the well being of Petronas. Well if people has been following the news for the past 4-5 months, it is very clear that petronas will reembark on redeveloping used wells which were previously uneconomical to do. But with current technology and the anticipated high price of oil in the next 5 years, these marginal oil field which each holding reserve less than 30 million barrels, looks lucrative.

    One thing need to be noted however, these marginal oilfields located mainly in the area where its sovereignty is challenged by a few nations, namely china. Scenario 10-15 years ago, china’s navy is not that well advanced or well equipped with type 54 frigates, new class of destroyers, ssn, ssks and maybe in 2-5 years time at least one aircraft carrier. All armed to the teeth with Long range ASuW missiles and long range AAM

    Assuming there are at least 10 marginal fields, each with 30 million barrel, assuming a USD90 average oil price, we are talking about resources worth at least USD27billion. These is just conservative estimates mind you, as petronas set to spend up to RM20 billion a year on these type of operations. Assuming a 20% return on investment, we are looking a figure of RM24 billion a year, for may be next 10 years.

    So with that, i say we need to arm our navy and even airforce with better equipped ships and planes. Still we need to be mindful of potential “outage” as we were still famous for.

    Reply: Our White Paper was the recently published new National Defence Policy….

  18. dear azlan, i’m agree with u that buying ship is not like buying things in supermarket, however if u see NGPV and K-130(Germany)both are siblings and almost same price. The main defferents ……armaments and middleman profit …. lol. Does anyone hear any legal action taken to any individual regarding funding misuse?
    hopefully SGPV cost will be reduced to around RM800 million per ship with meko 100 design including asm, sam and torpedo

  19. i dont mind government spending money on defense. I m fully support of stronger military assets. But it must be useful and for the purpose of strengthening our defense and not for something else. A billion ringgit for a small petrol vessel class/ corvette?? i think it a bit on higher prices. Some more it will be built locally so labor cost should be cheaper..unless it is fully advance with the capability to bring down a destroyer then it worth it. If not waste of money as all six could be sink easily by standard class destroyer or frigate. If we want to spend 20b also i support if it is a true buying not just simply.

    Reply: There is no such thing of an unsinkable ship.

  20. priceofthi3ves, the ‘corvette’ term is a designation that varies according to various navies [the Kasturi and Lekir have been described in the past as ‘light frigates’ and as ‘corvettes’]. At around 1,300 tonnes or maybe more, the LCS/SGPV can’t be described as a ”small patrol class vessel”, as you put it. That term would be better applied to something like the Kris and Sabah class patrol boats.
    The displacement of ship has nothing to do with it’s ability to sink a destroyers as you mentioned. The Indian Navy’s Kora class has 16 Uran’s compared to 8 Exocets on the larger Lekiu class, so it really depends the requirements of the end user and of course the funds.

    The last navy to think they had invincible/unsinkable ships was the Imperial Japanese Navy, and look what happened to the Yamato and Musashi.

  21. kamal-areif,

    If that is the case, then the military should be well advised not to consider buying Chinese armaments as it is tantamount to enabling them to buy more bullets to shoot you with. Yet we find the Type 071 being considered for the MPSS requirement, plus other armaments to meet the army’s requirements. Meanwhile, Chinese patrol boats have been harassing the Paskal detachment in the Spratlys.

  22. on the topic of Boustead, what is the status of the Kasturi SLEP that was awarded to them?

    I hope that they have been doing a decent job and on schedule after the Kedah PV cockup

  23. I feel that RM6 B for just b6 crafst are very expensive.They must make sure that all monies are used for the ship and its armaments and not for commission like the submarine case. Its a pure waste of national resources. Actually if less commission is paid for the subs these subs can actually be supplied with air independent engines with left overs too.
    The new Litorial combatant ships must be armed to the brim-AESA radars, 8 instead of just 4 exocet mm40’s, a better main gun, heavy torpedoes instead of light torpedoes which we are using now.Beteter anti air weapons and a good anti sub suite.
    Anyway. does it make sense ? Why dont upgrade the Kedahs with the weapon systems which is now fitted for only but not with? Its a faster solution for the immediate future.

  24. I think it’s reasonably the price tag 1B per ship with fully capabilities… and the name is LCS but the function is Multi-Role Combat Ship… like the FREMM…

  25. No matter what type of ship and how much the ships will costs, the main thing is, these ships must give our navy boys good use, effective against the enemy, great weapons with great destructive power.
    Not only that, these ships must now be delivered on time, on budget and with the required qualities.Gone must be the days that there is incompatibility of software languages amongst the various weapon systems and when testing, cant talk to each other.
    Today the Star carried a statement from the Navy Chief that they would be working with 6 different ship builders? Dont know what he means

    Reply: I believed he was saying that the RMN is looking at six companies which will be selected as Boustead technology partner.

  26. The SGPV-LCS as shown by Boustead during the Industry Briefing last Saturday displaces approx 2400 tons, with a length of approx 115 meters, making it the largest surface combatant in the RMN fleet if realized. Also, ship will be fitted with 1 x MRG, 2 x SRG, SAM, SSM, torpedos, torpedo decoys and normal decoys, electronic warfare capability (maybe ESSM and ECM), towed array sonar, possibly Diver Detection Sonar and much more. Also, 3D radar (similar to the KEDAH class) as opposed to the 2D radar on JEBAT & LEKIU.

    If this isn’t a full fledged frigate, I don’t know what is!

  27. well if it is supposed to be a frigate then it is 3 times much cheaper than the cancelled jebat class 2 (2 purportedly for around RM7 billion) but would cost around the italian/french FREMM. But would it be as capable as the FREMM,the jury is out there.

  28. We should all take a deep breath and wait and see what happens instead of jumping to conclusions, especially when we don’t yet know all the facts. Yes Amin Shah f****d up the NGOPV prgramme, that is common knowledge. The ships were delayed late, are only armed with guns, etc,. But that doesn’t mean the LCS/SGPV programme will be another fiasco…. or rather we hope not. There has been so much talk by so many people as to the 6 billion price tag being hugely an inflated figure or expensive. This despite the RMN making it perfectly clear that the LCS/SGPV will be ‘fitted with’ and not ‘fitted for’ ASM’s and SAM’s, not too mention a bow mounted passive/active sonar. As to why the LCS/SGPV are needed, the answer should be obvious – because the RMN given it’s operational responsibilities, is short of patrol assets, even before the Kris/Sabah class were retired and the Mystari class OPV’s were transfered to the MMEA.

    Api, the Lekiu and Jebat at full displacement are around 2,500 tonnes. Will be surprised if an ESM system is not fitted but doubt that the LCS/SGPV will be fitted with an active jammer. The only ships fited with jammers are the 4 Laksamana class and the 2 Kasturi class. As far as I know only the Jebat and lekiu have a torpedo decoy system, the Sea Siren.

  29. P.S. Whether it’s a frigate, corvette, LCS, SGPV or OPV is irrelevent. What will largely determine the price is the sensors and weapons fit. And off course the amount of offsets and technology transfers. It’s really hard determining whether the quoted budget for the whole programme is way over the top without being in full possession of all the facts.

    1.Does anyone here know the price of a
    TRS-3D radar, the COSYS CMS or the fire control directors?

    2. Will the LCS/SGPV, like the Kedah class be fitted with a Indal ASIST landing system?

    3. Will the hangar be slightly bigger and not as cramped as on the Kedah class?

    4.If indeed the ESSM is selected will it be an 8 or 16 cell VLS [there is no space and no cash for a 32 cell VLS] What if costs overuns result in RAM being fitted as a cheaper alternative?

    5. Despite all the talk about the LCS/SGPV being given an ASW capability, what if it turns out to be just the basic 2 triple top tubes and a bow mounted sonar? A towed array will add to the cost.

    6. No foreign partner has been selected and the terms and extent of the transfer of technology has not been revealed.

    7. Not connected to the price of the ships but will the Davide smart round be bought for the 76mm Super Rapid?

    8. Will be engines be Caterpillar or MAN? Is there a big price difference between the 2?

    9. Unlike the Kedah class which is fitted with a thermal imager, will the LCS/SGPV be fitted with an electro-optical sight like the Mirador which has reportedly been selected for the kasturi SLEP? Big price difference.

    The US Coast Guard bought the similar EADS 3D radar (two) for 30 million Euros…

    On the engines, I am inclined to believe that the new ships will be fitted with MTU engines, not because for commonality sake but ….

    A towed sonar is most probably installed….Thales has come up with Captas Nano a LFA-VDS system for small warships, its probably the cheapest in the market.

    Not much technology transfer if they choose Thyssenkrup as the technology partner as the Boustead already own the right to the A100 design. If they choose the other two bidders, then they will have the dilemma whether to use a completely new hull….

    Offsets as mandated by Kementah is 50 per cent value of the contract.

  30. About 2 years ago during certification trials for their new SMART radar, the Danish navy found that the lesser number of modes on the SMART, compared to the TRS-3D, is actually more practical, making the SMART easier to use. According to the Danes the TRS-3D has something like a dozen different modes and it’s always hard and tricky to find the right mode in the right time, given the number of modes and complexity of the TRS-3D. If the market price for the TRS-3D is 15 million Euros each [based on the prices the USCG paid], than 6 will cost us 90 million Euros, a chunky slice of the 6 billion ringgit allocated.

    Marhalim, if I’m not mistaken the Captas Nano was also specified or selected for the Lekiu Batch 2’s.

    Yes thats a lot of radar but with the current depreciation of the Euro vs RM, it is advisable to sign the contract as ASAP. Come to think of it as most of the solutions are most probably from Europe, it is prudent to conclude the deal as ASAP.

    I dont think the Captas Nano was selected or specified for the Lekiu Batch 2, as the Nano was only marketed within the last two years. Perhaps its the bigger siblings, Captas 4 or 2.

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