Type 23s for the RMN?

Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate HMS Sutherland.

SHAH ALAM: UK has offered Malaysia a pair of Type 23 frigates to serve as gap-fillers for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) as the service waits for the LCS and LMS Batch 2. The first LCS and LMS Batch 2 are only expected to be commissioned into the RMN in 2026, at the earliest.

For details on the Type 23 frigate, their numbers and disposition go here. An overview of the frigates.

Malaysian Defence was told by industry sources that the offer on the Type 23s were made recently and discussions are only at a preliminary stage, and nothing has been finalized. Unfortunately, I have not been told of the monetary terms though.

It must be noted that the Type 23 is about the same age as the Lekius and we know from the links above at least three hulls are waiting for disposal. And even if they are transferred to RMN for free, they will be expensive to run even for a period of five years. RMN previously declined an offer for the River class OPV also operated by the Royal Navy.

Malaysian Defence comments:

The proposal is a long shot which is likely not to be accepted. For starters, a lot of things need to fall into place first before a single Type 23 frigate can enter service with the RMN even for a period of five years.

First, both governments must agree to the deal. Yes, it was the UK which made the proposal, but it is unclear whether the next UK government – a general election could be held at any time now – will be agreeable to the proposal. It might want to keep as many frigates as possible due to the military situation in Europe, even old ones, for example.

As for the Malaysian government, your guess is as a good as mine.

Second, the ships need to be transferred hot to the RMN, meaning they must be in active service with RN and ready to go once the Malaysian crew had been trained on them. A ship which has been retired or in long-term storage will not be a gap filler as they will need time to re-activate the vessel to full operational condition, which will cost more money.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

42 Comments

  1. If the pair have been recently refitted, why not? I am sure the opex for the LCS is already available this year. Just retire 2 of the Laksamanas. The pair of frigates is more useful than the Laksamanas.

  2. My preliminary comment:

    Get the Independence class LCS. Both type 23 and LCS used gas turbines + diesels. At least the LCS still have a lot of life left, and it is technically a “LCS” like the TLDM plan 😄

    Copy paste my previous comment on older post

    Recently US Government presented their Fiscal Year 2025 (FY2025) budget. For the US Navy, they presented a 10 ship decommissioning list. Of that, there are 6 interesting (and young) ships to be decommissioned.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/GIg-gOvaUAATfFw.jpg

    Most probably those ships will be declared as Excess Defence Articles (EDA) and will be available for transfer for free/at cost. In all probability it could also be done as a “hot transfer”, ie the ship can be transferred immediately after decommissioning (2024-2025).

    There is 2x independence class LCS
    LCS-6 USS Jackson
    LCS-8 (typo in pic lcs-7) USS Montgomery

    4x Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV)
    EPF-1 USNS Spearhead
    EPF-2 USNS Choctaw County Hall
    EPF-3 USNS Millinocket
    EPF-4 USNS Fall River

    The Independence class LCS is the same type of ship that protected Petronas West Capella from Chinese Coast Guard harrassment in 2020.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/GIhBxYnbMAAHQ7z.jpg

  3. How about no..expedite that lms batch 2 deal,uparm the kedahs will still be the better choice than accepting old ships..sure uparm the kedahs will need a lot of money and type 23 still a more potent ship than kedah but at least the kedahs will serve longer for us..

  4. The independence class LCS has common weapons with TLDM, the 57mm Bofors and also the NSM missiles.

    With large hangars, helidecks, multi purpose areas, it can do many other roles, such as Scaneagle UAV mothership, MCM support, etc

  5. There is a reason behind this IMHO. The type 23 uses Sea Ceptor SAM, therefore this will give them an advantage when the RMN chooses the SAM for the LMS.

  6. These ships are big in displacement. Very big. Type23s having 7.3mtr draught vs 3.9mtr (nearly half) on our LCS. Even the Formidables have just 6mtr of draught so I doubt how well these can operate within our littoral waters.

  7. please come

    didn’t they say they looked high and low for any ship? even offering ukraine money for their ada class?

    Now start your engine lmao. even if w bit dated it’ll still be the most powerful ship in rmn to date

  8. As far as I know an offer was also made years ago during the same time Chile was made the offer. We turned it firm due to the costs associated with maintenance. The Type 23s of not mistaken have an electric drive for ASW.

    Given the number of issues the USN faced with the Independence I doubt if we’d want them. They are also notoriously high on upkeep.

  9. If FOC + UK Pay the reactive job, we just pay for the 5 years operation ocst. I think we can go for it while still waiting the unknow LCS. 2 should enough for us.

  10. Tbf, Refit of Westminster got suspended due to poor material condition of the ship and the equipments technically got strip off.It is unsure if the Monstrose (Decom a year ago) or the Monmouth(Decom since 2021) still have their equipment attached to them or their hull condition.

  11. dundun – “didn’t they say they looked high and low for any ship”

    They looked but no idea of it was “high and low” and I doubt if they want something which will create a whole new set of issues.

    Muzz – “ give it APMM”

    Brilliant idea. If the RMN has to think twice about it; you really think the MMEA won’t face issues with a ship this size which costs so much to run?

  12. Michael – “, we just pay for the 5 years operation ocst”

    Ok what about any issues we might face in those 5 years? There’s a reason why the RMN has declined various offers in the past.

  13. KD Inderapura ex USS Spartanburg County fiasco is a good example why RMN does not want used naval vessels .. same lessons from RMAF Sky Hawks fiasco ..

  14. … – ”The independence class LCS has common weapons with TLDM, the 57mm Bofors and also the NSM missiles.”

    It also has a long list of stuff which is not common; some stuff which might also have to be substituted.

    … – ”With large hangars, helidecks, multi purpose areas”

    So goes the plus points. Pertinently how much will they cost to operate compared to what we currently have and are we willing to incurr the same issues the USN faced with the class?

    On another issue Inderapura was a ”hot” transfer. So were Jarom and Banggi; so ”hot” the former crew were kind enough to leave meat in the freezer.

  15. This could be the picture of a future TLDM fleet, if we want to.

    https://www.seaforces.org/usnships/lcs/LCS-8_DAT/LCS-8-USS-Montgomery-036.jpg
    The USS Montgomery littoral combat ship, expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Millinocket and Royal Malaysian Navy Kasturi-class corvette(sic) Gagah Samudera sail together with other participating ships during a joint exercise in the Strait of Malacca on Aug. 16. | U.S. NAVY
    .
    .
    .
    Both USS Montgomery and USNS Millinocket is to be decommissioned by the US navy in 2024-2025

  16. If not mistaken the type 23 is already integrated with NSM. So I don’t see why not.

  17. just take it. others are still rocking Oliver Hazard Perrys while loading them with more VLS than their designers ever thought. chile went from barebones to 32 sm2 plus 48 essm local bully. the space available in these vessels are very valuable for miskin navies.

    those saying “there reason RMN dont want” no, RMN can adopt them just fine as they classic personnel-heavy org, these vessel mostly retire because 1st user no longer enough personnel to man them all, and only industry connected people dont want because there no money to be made.

    just to put into perspective we did things 1000x more radical than this which is rehulling ancient vessels. turning freedom class into CODAD and turn mission bay into 32 VLS is way easier than this.

    @hulu
    speaking of american LCS easier adopt Freedom and repower than Indie, those have hull crack problem.

  18. … – ”his could be the picture of a future TLDM fleet, if we want to.”

    It’s not whether ”we want to” but whether ”we should” based on costs and other realities. On paper it looks great but the reality can but quite different.

    serial – ”those saying “there reason RMN dont want” no, RMN can adopt them just fine”

    Not as clear cut as you make it out to be. Resources are very tight and there’s a reason why similar offers in the past have been turned down. It’s also not ”only industry connected people ” but within the RMN itself. Lest it be overlooked various ships offered to us may have been fine for their original owners but not so for the RMN which has more modest requirements and more modest resources. Do you need a reminder that even sustaining the stuff we have and upgrading thiosze can and is a major issue?

  19. zaft – ”So I don’t see why not.”

    I’ll tell you why and it would be obvious if you put some objective thought into it.

    It’s a large ship at almost 4,000 over tonnes displacement and was made for RN requirements. It’s also aged and in comparison to what we already have is even more maintenance intensive. The RN and other navies might not have issues or concerns but the RMN does. The RMN – as I never tire to point out – is an extremely resource strapped navy.

  20. serial – ”just to put into perspective we did things 1000x more radical than this which is rehulling ancient vessels.”

    ”Just to put into perspective” those were things we already had and required much less resources than sustaining an aged ship with a displacement of over 4,000 tonnes and fitted with a whole range of stuff which will be new to us in terms of commonality. There is also the question of whether various things will have to be replaced if they do receive a ”KD” prefix.

    Mofaz – ”KD Inderapura ex USS Spartanburg County”

    We were very happy with her.

  21. serial – ”nly industry connected people dont want because there no money to be made.”

    It will still have to under go refits and maintenance at a local yard; there still will be spares which will have to be bought; etc. As such it’s not as if there will be zero benefits for the local industry.

    … – ” Most of the US Navy LCS issues are actually with the Freedom variant, not the Independence variant.”

    Cracks were discovered in the hulls of several and there is a host of several other inherent issues. On top of that how much would be the operating costs and how much general maintenance would they need in comparison to what we already operate? It’s not as clear cut as buying a family car. A whole host of issues have to be considered and a detailed objective look at both the plus and not so plus points to enable a clear assessment of whether the class would be suitable for our needs.

  22. Muiz – ”What about Anzac Class?”

    One is supposedly going to the Philippines. Aged and high mileage.
    The trick is not so much to find a used hull but a used hull which won’t break the piggy bank and cause us more problems; to add to the long list we already have.

  23. IF UK is giving FOC to us, yeah I will take it. Even if we can sustain running them, just ground it at some SCS shoal as a permanent base will still serve a purpose. If not free, hell no.

  24. First we must know why the UK is offering. They also tightening the budget, the economy is bad & thr Royal Navy is in a sad state. If we are that desperate for hulls just buy missile boat fro PT Pal. The KCR only cost 50M a piece. Comes with C802 ssm and 57mm deck gun. For patrol, for hit & run tactics. They maybe small but if they come in numbers still create a problem for any fleet. Thank me later

  25. @ Qamarul

    The latest KCR 60 comes with Exocet MM40 (older ones with C705). Not sure the USD50 million cost is inclusive with missiles and guns.

    Reason i am not so enamoured with FACs like KCR 60
    – hit and run tactics is hard to do in the era of almost real-time situational awareness capability and technology nowadays.
    – short-ranged, not designed to have the same endurance as larger frigates.

    What I proposed for the LMS-X are small ships, almost like FACs, but with speed and endurance at least as long as Frigates such as the Gowinds. Able to sail in rough sea state conditions. So that it could sail together with the Gowinds, for the same amount of time, as a loyal wingman and distributed lethality node. Lower cost than even the KCR 60 (target cost of USD33.33 million, with tradeoffs of course). Modular containerised weapons (like a jet fighter that can hang missiles according to missions) means it can be tailored to many missions, from surface attack to ASW, electronic surveillance, hydrograpy, diving, HADR, cargo transport and many others.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/GLww1BDbQAAtHw0.jpg

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/GMpdKk2a8AAsA6q.jpg

  26. @hulubalang
    Reason i am not so enamoured with FACs like KCR 60
    – short-ranged, not designed to have the same endurance as larger frigates.

    The larger Ada class range is at 5000nm and the kcr around half at 2500nm with 8 days endurance for batch 1.I think that is quite good for a 500t FAC. It also comes with ECM, SSM, RCWS & decoys. Batch 2/3 will be improved for range & sea state level. I mean for 50M each it is better than rehulling the laksamanas. Just my two cents.

  27. There are a number of options, two Type 23s have been decommissioned (Monmouth in 2021 Montrose in 2023) and could easily be offered, but Argyle and Westminster are both looking a little suspect though not officially decommissioned. Only the Westminster is ASW and they are all amongst the oldest of the Type 23s. Of the 4 potential ships, only Monmouth skipped a midlife refit in the mid 2010s which offered considerable upgrades.

  28. Qamarul – ”not designed to have the same endurance as larger frigates.”

    But they are no intended to. Have no idea about the hypothetical ”LMS”-X” but the main problem with FACs or hulls similarly sized is that they’re not intended for extended ops in open waters. FACs are intended for limited sea denial or littoral ops; limited range and endurance; as well as seakeeping and adding stabilisers does not fix the issue. Other issues are the low freeboard and its affects on the sensors horizon wise and the affects of vibration on a small hull on the sensors.

    Qamarul – I mean for 50M each it is better than rehulling the laksamanas.”

    Yes but the wheels of bureaucracy have to spin don’t they? There was cash allocated to rehull the Laksamanas but no cash allocated yet for anything new.

    Whether or not actually get the Dukes remains to be seen. At one time they were my favorites; especially the electric drive for ASW. The do come with penalties however and nobody needs reminding that the RMN has been facing issues with what it currently operates and is cost conscious. A whole host of issues have to be considered and a detailed objective look at both the plus and not so plus points rather than just the on paper advantages.

  29. Azlan-Yes but the wheels of bureaucracy have to spin don’t they? There was cash allocated to rehull the Laksamanas but no cash allocated yet for anything new.

    This is true. In fact even larger navies around the world are facing almost the same problem but they still get it done because they know this is for the nation protection, to guarantee safety & security so the economy can grow. It is like throwing money to build roads connecting cities. Yes they cost a lot but the impact far surpasses the cost. When it comes to sovereignty they did not compromise. We have substantial amount of interest to protect in the EEZ. Almost 30% of our GDP came from that area. Heck even the Philippines got more combatant vessels than us. I mean the one that works.SAD BUT TRUE

  30. If RMN can’t even maintain 2 frigates, how are they going to maintain 12 LCS in the future?

  31. >how they going to maintain 12 LCS in the future?

    Force expansion to 40k personnel, new naval bases in Sarawak, Johor and sabah?

  32. I have asked this before,

    Does anyone (marhalim?) know the cost for the Laksamana OP+?

    At least now we know the costs of Lekiu, Kedah and jerong refit…

    KD Jebat – RM99 million
    KD Perak – RM87 million
    KD Baung – RM35 million

    By the way KD Baung was the 1st ship to go through the OP program, repowered with 3x Cummins QSK50 engine, also done at Weldan Shipyard in 2020.

    https://www.malaysiandefence.com/kd-ganyang-in-the-shipyard/#comment-810422

  33. Qamarul – ”they still get it done because they know this is for the nation protection, to guarantee safety”

    They also have a clearly defined existential threat they can channel their resources and attention to. The problems we face in the Spratlys and other areas are not seen in the same light.

    Qamarul – ” Heck even the Philippines got more combatant vessels than us. I”

    Why ”even”. Theirs is an archipelago. Much larger area and they have areas which during natural disasters are only easily accessible by sea. They need more ships.

    dundun – ”Force expansion to 40k personnel, new naval bases in Sarawak, Johor and sabah?”

    No. A sustained level of funding over a certain period.

    syam – ”If RMN can’t even maintain 2 frigates,”

    Well you would have noticed that the RMN is a small all volunteer organisation [the whole service can fit in a small stadium] and that used and high mileage hulls like the Type 23s are resource intensive to run.

  34. Azlan-Why ”even”. Theirs is an archipelago. Much larger area and they have areas which during natural disasters are only easily accessible by sea. They need more ships.

    Believe it or not their focus is not somewhere else but close to us. They have a defense blueprint called “The Horizon Project”. You wont believe me if i tell you that the goal is to match or surpass the amount of naval vessels, jets & mechanized that we have. First i find it weird but after looking at the paper horizon 1/2/3 i mean shit you wouldn’t believe me.

  35. Qamarul – ”You wont believe me if i tell you that the goal is to match or surpass the amount of naval vessels, jets & mechanized that we have. ”

    I have no idea and I’m not really interested but I do know that they need more ships than us because theirs is an archipelago. Much larger area and they have areas which during natural disasters are only easily accessible by sea. I also do know that their force modernisation is not driven at us and that prior to the new hulls these past few years the PN’s most capable ships were launched in the late 1960’s and that a significant bulk of the fleet dates from the 1940’/50’s.

    I also know that despite people going ga-ga about what they’re doing the AFP has been in a constant state of neglect far longer than the MAF and what they have done is a bare fraction of what they need to do and that funding or rather sufficient funding over a sustained period remains the key.

  36. apparently the turks are offering kuzgun asm to arm laksamana and perdana class ships. the launchers are pretty small especially when compared to the usual exocet and unlike the usual arrangements of 2/4 missile each facing both port and starboard side, the launcher is small enough that it can rotate 180 degree

    I don’t think we need to arm both laksamana and the FACs with ASM they can do their new job as patrol boats but perhaps we can equip our NGPV with them.

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