Transforming the RMN

The cover of the book.

SHAH ALAM: Transforming the RMN. The RMN on Nov.8 made available for download its 15 to 5 trasnformation plan, three weeks ahead of the retirement of Admiral Kamarulzaman Badaruddin as it’s chief. The book, launched officially last week, is called the Strategy Document for RMN 15 to 5 Transformation Programme.

Befitting its title, the book within 100 pages tells us why the RMN embarked on the transformation plan. There is no need for me to repeat what the book says here, if you want to read it yourselves it is here. Do be patient as sometimes you need to click the link several times to download the PDF file.

The cover of the book.

Some of the highlights of the book include the planned procurement for the navy of multi domain helicopters (ASW), fast inshore craft and drones; airborne, underwater and above water ones. As the navy has already gotten the Scaneagles from the US, they only need to get the funds for the other drones.
RMN planned procurement under the 15 to 5 plan.

It is also interesting to note that on page 88, it was stated that KD Hang Tuah was supposed to be retired and become a museum ship in April, this year. As the ship was finally declared a museum ship last month, we know that the plan is already running late.
KD Hang Tuah

Of note the navy in the book stated that the delivery of LCS 1 Maharaja Lela is to take place between 2020 to 2023.
Maharaja Lela at the BNS facility in October, 2018. She is still missing her mast and other items. She is likely rusty after undergoing limited harbour trials.

As the book was prepared sometime back we have to wonder when the RMN realised that the LCS project was not going well as the troubles were only made known publicly, last October. I had reported recently that the LCS 1 would be delayed beyond 2019 although it was the deadline as stated in the contract between Boustead Naval Shipyard and the government. I do apologise to … for stating this again (as he had asked me not to do so after that story).

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2141 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Downloaded, thanks Marhalim. Will read through next week. This is really a good step forward towards governance in Malaysia, at least communicating a proposal plan even if there are still significant concerns over execution.

    Opinion – Seems to me either the Armed Forces are taking advantage of the political landscape to publish their wish list, or this is indeed a new policy of the commanders. Hopefully it will lead to lasting change and more advancement in the way we do things.

    Let’s see.

    @Haziq Ali
    Pendek kata, ekonomi jiran serantau lebih maju.

    Dari segi management, rancangan pertahanan itu memang biasa mengambil masa bertahun2, apa2 masalah yang ada, berakar daripada policy lalu, sampai ke abad ke20 juga

  2. The Maharaja Lela although is delayed but if it is delivered in 2020 still followed the plan, isnt it?
    The delayed due to the supply of IPMS equipment, Who is supplier? Why?

    The plan has the time schedule now, everybody can follow the progress.
    And looks like the RMN asset will not have much improvement until 2050. The next 2 subs will be replacing the current subs. Even the LMS project will last till 2050.

    RMN could be a weak navy in the future compare to the closest neighbours. Will RMN able to deal with SCS issue in the future if bad change to worse?

  3. As i.have said before the reality is perhaps we have to look at a mich smaller navy.
    Our localisation strategy also seems to reault in delays so maybe cut our navy to size maybe by half, forget about localisation (which may never be efficient because of lack of scale) and just get the best value from procurement. Look at ourself in the mirror and act the part

  4. @ Chua

    The 15 to 5 plan was hatched way before the change of government. I have read it partially and to be frank the final type of ships should be more than 5 but that wouldn’t give it a cool name right? The Samudra training ship is not included, as is a new “National Research Vessel” that is also not in the list. It is a really thorough plan, taking into consideration everything that the navy does, even to its reserves.

    But there are still areas that can be improved, and cost saved. A tweak to the plan to correlate to the APMM Pelan Perancangan Strategik Maritim Malaysia 2040 should be done. IMO PVs can be left to APMM, as both the Kedah Class and the future DAMEN OPV of APMM will be doing the same mission. Money saved could be used to accelerate the Gowind LCS buy, and can also be used to buy additional subs.

    Still it is a great and revolutionary plan from a military leader, and surely the 15 to 5 plan will be a great legacy for Admiral Kamarulzaman Badaruddin leadership for many years to come.

    Next I hope to read the CAP55 plan of TUDM. Is it ready yet?

  5. This is a lesson and we have to be honest that we may need to also rightsize the navy as well as review the need to localise production. We dont have economies of scale nor the design capability. We should just procure efficiently to maximise value. I say here is right size. Maybe we could have a smaller no of ships but longer endurance?.

  6. With budget around usd3. 5 to usd4 billion per annum in the next 5 years or so which is even lower by 25% compared to pinoy armed forces, there is no way we can afford 15 to 5 or cap 55 unless defense budget is increased at least 20% per annum without fail from 2020 onwards.

    Realistically for RMN we can only afford the 6 maharaja lela and the 2 subs for the next 20 years or so while TUDM maximum 36 fighters at any one time.

  7. @ Saharudin esa

    Right size? The right size needs to take into consideration plans for the APMM fleet too.

    ” The problem of both 15 to 5 plan and PPSMM 2040 is that they are written independent of each other. We dont need 50 large frigates/OPVs like what both plan wants (12 gowinds, 18 kedah, 20 OPV). That would cost USD10 billion to buy all those ships. My calculation is we just need around 30 frigates/OPVs to enable 10 to be always out on patrol (5 sabah/sarawak, 2 east coast peninsular, 3 selat melaka) in addition to the various small ships that we are planning for. “

  8. Some comment on the recent singapore-malaysia dispute.

    1. Does the minister in question (transport) have any idea the consequences of unilaterally extending the port limits past the declared 1979 malaysian terratorial map of the area?

    2. On the taking over ATC services over southern johore. Basically you will be controlling loads of airlines going into singapore, with all the responsibilities that comes with that task. Do we have competent personnel to deal with any emergencies that would happen as a consequence to our ATC service? (We delegated MH370 and MH17 to australia and netherlands respectuvely). Is our secondary and primary radar in the area good enough?

    Did we bite more than we can chew?

    Yes but we are talking about rule of law crowd here….

  9. @ kamal

    IMO the development expenditure starting RMK12 must be at least USD4.6 billion per RMK (5years) for any of these to happen (TLDM 2bil, TUDM 1.6bil, TDM 1bil).

    As I have written before here
    TLDM can have its Gowinds and even extra submarines, if it can pass all the PV tasks to APMM.

    Both NGPV Kedah and the DAMEN 1800 OPV will be performing the same mission taskings (which is peacetime EEZ policing missions), with one costing USD300million (target USD150million for batch 2) while the other cost only USD56million per ship.

  10. Frigat Lekiu dan Kasturi akan di-retired pada 2030+ selepas di SLEP.

    Kesemua 6 frigat Maharaja Lela siap pada 2023.

    Kesemua 10 OPV LMS akan siap pada 2024.

    Sebelum 2025 juga 2 buah MRSS/LPD akan masuk dlm servis.

    Jika semua berjalan lancar fleet TLDM pada 2025 akan jadi:

    Frigat & Korvet:10
    6 Maharaja Lela
    2 Lekiu
    2 Kasturi

    OPV:16 (boleh diupgrade jd Korvet)
    6 Kedah
    10 LMS


  11. @…
    Yes I’m aware of the prior existence for 15/5

    Comment was on this new publication

    (Which I still haven’t read, excuse me, so no further comment yet)

  12. Singapore is taking the latest events seriously has been recalling its NS personnel for mobilisation.

    There are multitude of code words like “turbo engine” being broadcast on mediacorp radio stations, this is probably codewords for particular NS sections (like armoured for example) to report for duty.

    There was another mobilisation just before the May 9 general election though this was the first time they posted on the RSAF one

  13. “Singapore is taking the latest events seriously has been recalling its NS personnel for mobilisation.”

    I think they are being as restrained as one could be under the circumstances. How would we react if a neighbour not only had a disputed boundary with us, but also suddenly decided to claim more they previously claimed and sent assets to enforce it without notice?

    Although it is very possible they held the mobilisation exercise in response to ongoing events, it was more likely one of their very regular events in the training timetable. As article made a point to state, tens of such mobilisation exercises (most of the time, the mobilisation itself is the exercise and the personnel can home once they have all arrived or have drawn their equipment) are held every year.

    “There are multitude of code words like “turbo engine” being broadcast on mediacorp radio stations”

    They have two methods of mobilisation. Exercises usually use one of the two although both will surely be used in a real contingency.

    “Open” mobilisation involves broadcasting these words on TV and radio as instructions for men to report to camp. A unit is given a code word or two. “Silent” mobilisation involves contacting men by phone or text rather than open broadcast, which makes outside monitoring more difficult.

    Every year, each unit spends a few weeks on notice for mobilisation (for the purpose of training the men involved, evaluating their response and for the operational need of having x number of each type of unit recallable on short notice.)

  14. @…
    There would be no war between MY and SG. Fighting small area and destroying much larger area?…both leader not that stupid.

    Now, SG is underpressure. Indonesian is closer to regain FIR over batam and natuna. TNI AU is not comfy enough with SG authority, TNI AU must request flight clrearance to pass over batam and natuna. They have a frequent flight over batam and natuna. MY also want to regain FIR over johor.

    On the sea is not better also for SG. The indonesian authority want to control sea traffic in their EEZ teritory. Now, MY also want to do the same thing in this case.

    SG right to control air and sea beyond their border will end soon. That is a bad news for them, isnt it? Their fighter and frigate must report to MY or Indonesia. Their incoming F-35 will not be stealthy again.

    It is normal for SG to react quite emotional. Looks like they only dare to show it to MY not to indonesia.
    Indonesia did not care about SG objection over their Usman Harun ship.

  15. turn 50 in a few months time. I had been avid defence related fan since I learned to read, had even followed the Spratlys issues since I was 8 years old till now.
    I used to be very proud of our defence..till now.
    I suppose it’s the end of the line for me. I had stopped reading most of our defence related article and mags. I suppose it’s the sign of time passing by..still it’s worth to share with the new gen’s, keep the country safe for our future generation. You won’t appreciate what you have till it’s gone.

  16. @ chop

    Dont be despaired. Yes there are not many goods news for quite sometime and the future doesnt look very fair too.

    Its not too late to share more of your views here. Just be patient with the spambot though

  17. Off topic


    BTW what i would like TLDM to explore, is the littoral warfare (offshore and onshore) using CB90 like crafts and paskal. It is not exactly amphibious warfare but like what the us navy calls the “riverine warfare”. This would call upon the recapitalisation and enlargement of the CB90 fleet (probably with newer CB90s). Expanding the riverine warfare capability would be concurrent with the planned expansion of the paskal force. The future MRSS should be planned to be equipped to support such riverine missions effectively.

  18. To add to the CB90 suggestion

    Recently the navy chief has spoken about the Fast Interceptor Craft project, which was supposed to be filled by 14 used ex-USN Mark V Special Operations Craft.

    In my opinion, why not we just buy additional new CB90s for the requirement? Sweden has just ordered 18 and we could probably take advantage of the hot production line to order some. For the swedish order, each CB90HSM costs about USD850k. It would also be a good time to refit our existing CB90s too to the latest standards.

    A common fleet of CB90s would be much easier on maintenance, training and manpower as there is no need of additional training for different kind of boat.

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