Two Contenders for MRSS

Three RMAF A400M flying following the opening ceremony of LIMA 17. Airbus

LANGKAWI: Two Contenders for MRSS. Despite the MOU between Boustead and PT PAL, there is yet no guarantee that they will get the contract to build the MRSS. Facing off against the offering is a contender from China though it is not clear which ship or the shipyard yet.

Although, one China firm is taking part in LIMA 17, CSSC, it did not display a LPD-type ship, similar to the MRSS concept. In the previous LIMA, they had of course.

PT PAL booth at LIMA 17

PT PAL of Indonesia, in the other hand had a model of its MRSS and the picture of it as the backdrop at its booth. Basically its a refinement of the model shown in Indo Defense last year.

RMAF EC725 flying at the opening ceremony

Boustead, meanwhile, did not have a model although it touted the MOU with PT PAL with a banner. I did not find anyone who could speak about the MRSS or even the LCS and LMS for that matter but I guess there is still time to speak with them in the next few days. Hopefully.

ROKAF Black Eagles with their display.

I am not sure whether the competition from China is a serious one or simply an attempt to make the Boustead/PT PAL offer an honest one. I am told the project will be funded soon, likely to be in 2018, if all goes well in the economic and political spheres, of course.

RMAF A400M banking at the opening ceremony.

I am told a point defence missile system is needed while a medium calibre gun is also specified. Of course, if they decided on a China made ship, it is likely to be fitted with China made weapons system as Western companies are not allowed to fit military grade stuff on such vessels.

A PC 7 Mark II trailing smoke as an F/A-18D Hornet drives past during the display following the opening ceremony

The Boustead/PT PAL model has a 57mm gun so I guess that is probably the choice of the builders. Interestingly, KRI Banjarmasin, the third Makassar class which the MRSS based on is fitted with a 40mm L70 Bofors gun as its main gun. The ship is taking part in LIMA 17.

KRI Banjarmasin at Awana Porto Malai jetty. Note the 40mm L70 Bofors on the forecastle. In the foreground is KD Tun Abdul Razak.

Anyhow, work on the MMEA OPV is expected to start early next year. The three ships will be built at the TTHE shipyard in Pulau Indah, THHE officials confirmed. As reported previously, the ship will be built to the Damen 1800 OPV design.

A model of the MMEA OPV

However, unlike 1800 design, the MMEA OPV will not come with a hangar for an embarked helicopter. It can land and refuel helicopters up to an AW139, however, as well as UAVs. No decision has been made on the UAV.

Another shot of the MMEA OPV model.

It will be fitted with four Caterpillar diesel engines with two screws for a design speed of 20 knots. It will be 83 meters long and crewed by 70 personnel.

 It will be fitted with the Aselsan SMASH 30mm RWS on the A deck,two GPMGs on both sides just behind the bridge and a 50 caliber gun facing aft above the helo deck.

And yes, LIMA 17 was officially opened by the Prime Minister this morning.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2147 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. So Damen 1800 it is for the MMEA OPV. The reason of the deletion of the helicopter hangar is because the requirement for 70 person crew. Original Damen 1800 only accomodates 46 crew.

    THe KRI Banjarmasin has a bofors 40mm only as it is removed from a decomissioned vessel. The ship is designed to fit up to 76mm gun on its A position.

    Things that i would like to know

    1) KM Arau = JCG PL01 or PL03?
    2) Armarment for the MMEA OPV
    3) More details on the LMS
    4) Some details of the future plans of TUDM from the air force chief (or is it true the plan is just to get the MRCA or nothing at all)
    5) Names for the LCS SGPV
    6) hawk upgrade status
    7) MD helicopters details
    8) any plans for MKM upgrades
    9) Details of the police AW139, their primary mission, basing etc.
    10) 15 to 5 plan. Are they thinking of selling some of them off after decommisioning?

    PL01 I believed will be KM Arau. Its the SMASH 30mm as the NGPC. AFAIK there is no plan to sell any of the decommissioned RMN ships. Hawk upgrade tomorrow, its Airod confirmed.

  2. Seems like there is a new model of the LMS at LIMA 2017


    1) Twin stern ramp for RHIB as per my LMS-A plan!

    2) single H/PJ17 30mm at the A position. Would prefer to have 2x H/PJ17 30mm behind the mast on the port and starboard position (location of the pintle mount machine guns on the model)

    3) Virtually no space for container modules aft of the stern ramp. Could be made possible if the superstructure is shortened a bit.

    4) No visible difference in capability compared to MMEA patrol boats.

    BTW could you get me some better shots of the model, side, rear, perspective view from the front side and rear of the model. Thanks!

    Yes I missed out the model of LMS at the maritime segment. That’s what happened when you happened to cover things like this for too long. Not sure whether I will go back to the place, its far from Mahsuri where all the action is on going

  3. How i wish we harness our local expertise to design our own combat management system, hull designs etc…we have our “silicon valley” and our oag experts..

    Although its basically software, in the first place it must be profitable so people will be interested in it. Either that the government willing to pay for it for decades otherwise it will not work

  4. Yeah..would really like to know about future plans for TUDM, other than the MRCA. I don’t think there will be any attack helicopters, and are they planning to replace any of the Nuris?

  5. It’s debatable whether the MRSS should be fitted with a small or medium calibre main gun as an argument can be made that the MRSS will always have an escort during periods of tension or wartime. Given how tight the budget is I’ll be very surprised if the MRSS is fitted with a point defence missile system.

    Given the age of the ships [the Laksamanas and FACs] to be retired under the 5/15 and the level of maintenance needed; it’s highly doubtful if anyone would want them, even if we handed them over for free.

  6. MITI is looking at developing Malaysia’s aerospace sector (beyond MRO and parts). It wouldn’t be too far fetch if all Malaysian companies join hand together to produce our own fighter aircraft

  7. Ec725=Nuri replacement. It’s just that the nuris still have many hour left in their airframes that retiring them prematurely seems like a wastage in assets. When they are ready to retire the nuri then additional Ec725 (or H225M) may be procured

    Also, unlike 40++ years ago, each and every military branch had their own air wing (even the police, bomba and mmea) and such are much less dependent on the air force for helo so the AF didn’t need to do 1:1 replacement of Nuri (we bought more than 40 Nuris from 1968 to 1988)

  8. More on the Chinese LMS as I got the info:

    Length 68.8m
    Displancement : 680 tonnes full load
    Top speed : 22 Knots (that is sooo slow! MMEA NGPC is faster at 24 Knots)
    Range : 2000 N Miles at 15 Knots
    Equipment : can deploy 1 TEU (20 foot equivalent unit) container at the back.
    Weapons : 20mm or 30mm RCWS front, 2x manual 0.50cal machine guns behind bridge

    My take :
    For usd60 million per ship, that is pathetically lowly equipped ship. For reference, the MMEA NGPC comes in at usd16.2 million per ship, with 30mm RCWS and UAV system. It seems like the Chinese LMS specifications is worse than my planned LMS-B concept, at 4 times the projected cost of my LMS-B ship. The main gun if not possible getting new , then it should consider recycling the 57mm bofors from the FAC’s as per my LMS-A concept.

  9. I saw Jane news about LMS design. 68m ship with 30mm gun as main gun. we seem like having a serious budget issue to get 57mm china make gun too….

  10. How long and heavy the NGPC is compared to LMS? 2 knots slower against a ship half the size may not be all that bad.

    But yes 30mm is pretty small for ship thst size. Even the FACs had bigger gun. Probably a tradeoff for better electronic suite

  11. dundun – ”to produce our own fighter aircraft”

    Seriously? How and for what gain?

    Firstly, we have no economics of scale; not as if the government will commit to a 60 aircraft order. Without numbers how do these Malaysian companies recoup their production and R&D costs [we’re not Turkey, South Korea or India; all of which have economics of scale].

    On top of that; the engine, radar, EW, flight controls, mission computer, navigation suite, etc, etc, will all have to be foreign sourced. Even China still faces issues making its own engines. Some years ago Dassault offered us the possibility of licensed assembly but there would have to be economics of scale as setting up the assembly line and paying for the rights to assemble won’t be cheap.

  12. MRSS

    2 contenders?

    No make that 3, now damen has put its enforcer 1000 lpd design into the ring!

    Looking at the reasonable cost of its MMEA damen opv 1800 design, i am looking forward to what exactly the offer is for the MRSS requirements. And i also hope the damen fcs 5009 design as per my LMS-B concept would be looked into also…

    Unfortunately putting up a proposal during an exhibition does not make one contender.

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